I’ve Been to London!

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I did not get to see the Queen, but I did get to see the changing of her guards.

We just spent the last couple of weeks on a fabulous vacation to Great Britain.

We stayed in Oakham in the East Midlands and traveled by trains, subways, and a few taxis to see as much as we could while we were there.

We spent time in York, Peterbough, Stamford, Oakham, Melton-Mowbray, Stratford-upon-Avon, and of course London.

We even made it to Edinburgh in Scotland p1000526where we spent the night in a haunted castle.

p1000534But not even while on vacation do I take time off from looking for fabric and sewing notions, and this time the hunt included yarn and snap on eyes.

I did not find as many sewing items as I expected to on this trip, but we pretty much kept to the tourist type places, which as a general rule, don’t carry a lot of fabric or sewing supplies.

Although a couple of places did stand out.

p1000373I came across a small shop in the Shambles of York whichsold a huge variety of buttons and lace as well as sewing notions. There was a second floor, but the store was about to close when I found it, so I did not make it upstairs. I was amazed by the selection and the number of women in the store especially since it was in a tourist area, but there was plenty of buttons and lace being sold.

p1000625In Stratford-Upon-Avon I found 2 fabric stores. The first store was all upholstery. The second store was a furniture store in the front and a fabric store in the back. This store sold upholstery but also sold cottons, silks and satins. It also carried patterns and sewing notions, things that a seamstress would need to make clothes. No knits though. I did not find a single piece of knit fabric while there.

Being as it was Halloween and I could not pass up the chance to purchase fabric in a foreign country, I bought 1 meter of a Halloween print. It was odd and fun to buy a meter of fabric.  I don’t know what I am going to make with the fabric, but I will have to come up with something fun to commemorate it both being Halloween and from England.

I felt that the prices of their fabric was a little steep compared to the US, but since I had only been in one store, I may be misjudging.

p1000760After visiting the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, we made our way down to the gift shops on the Royal Mile.

In the basement of one of the shops is an actual working woolen mill, weaving tartan fabrics. It was very interesting to see the process from the shearing of sheep to the weaving of the threads and how the plaid designs are made.

Of course, they had meters of tartan fabrics for sell in several different colors and weights, but since I am not planning on making a kilt in the near future, I passed on the purchase of any of the wool, not to mention that my suitcase was already getting quite full with other souvenirs from the trip.

p1000402As far as yarn goes, I did not find much considering the number of sheep I saw.

In a little discount store in Melton-Mowbray, I found some skeins of black chenellie for 50p a skein, about $0.75. I would have bought it all except for the already full suitcase issue. I did buy 2 skeins.

At market in Stamford, I came across a lady selling a wide variety of wool yarn for about 2 pounds a skein, about $3.00 a skein. I, of course, had to buy 1 skein from her. She had several patterns for sell as well but they were for knitting. I can barely handle one needle for crocheting no less two for knitting. This lady and the ladies buying from her gave me hope that the art is not dead.

Another lady at the Stamford market was selling upholstery. If you can’t tell, I did not get too excited about the upholstery, but her prices were excellent, 2 pounds per meter.

Now for my big find! At market in Melton-Mowbray, p1000863one man was selling buttons, lace and notions much like the store in York, but on a much smaller scale. While checking out his wares, I came across some craft eyes and noses and best of all, safety wiggle eyes. I was so excited that I told him I would buy all the safety wiggle eyes he had.

He said that he did not have many because no one wanted craft eyes anymore, but he came up with 8 pairs of wiggle eyes with backs. I also bought green and blue safety eyes from him as well as some noses. I have never seen safety wiggle eyes in any craft store in the US, only the glue on types.

I did find some crafting books in the local book stores, which lead to the purchase of “The Little box of Crocheted Hats and Scarves” book while there.

Once again, my husband shakes his head as I fill my suitcase with yarn, fabric, and craft eyes as souvenirs of our trip to Great Britain.

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One thought on “I’ve Been to London!

  1. Hi, I’m glad you had such a lovely trip to the UK. You are right about the fabric prices being high here. We usually pay about £9 per metre for good quilt-shop quality fabric. That’s about $15 USD per metre! It’s not unusual that you didn’t find many sewing shops. Most places will have the usual mending supplies, but nothing fun or exotic! However, if you plan another trip to England sometime, you should try to visit The Quilt Room in Dorking, Surrey,(southeast) or Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns, Norfolk (East Anglia). If you get to Northumberland (northeast), there is Sew Much in Alnwick. These are only a few — but definitely good ones that I have visited on holidays. Kindest regards from Rosewillow in England

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