Posted by: marymarthatours | December 30, 2010

Martha’s Shopping Adventure Continues in London

After several shopping successes while in York during the sisters’ fun trip to England in September-October, it was on to London. I had some very definite items on my London wish list. So join me as I share with you some good treasure spots to explore if you quilt, sew, knit or just love fabrics and embellishments.

I told you about the wonderful Cath Kidston shop in York. There are several scattered throughout central London. Check out the website, www.cathkidston.co.uk/ for the store locations. If you like fabric and cheery, cottage style items, do visit a shop even if it is just to soak in the happy atmosphere and gather ideas for projects of your own. Yes, I do copy (with adaptation); it’s called “inspiration”.

The neighborhood of Soho has a number of truly great shops full of yummy fabrics, ribbons, buttons, and trims that I have never seen anywhere else; some vintage, some ethnic, and most just gorgeous. I explored several shops on Berwick Street. I especially liked the two Cloth House shops at 47 and 98 Berwick. I purchased a couple of buttons and some ribbon. I splurged on the hand made, painted wooden house button. You could just go crazy trying to decide what to take home from the Berwick Street stores.

Not far from Berwick and very near to Liberty of London is a darling little yarn shop called, All The Fun of the Fair. It is located at 8 Kingly Court on the third floor of a court yard of shops and cafes. If you want to find it, I recommend you download a map ahead of time. I had seen their cute knitted cup cakes and donuts on the shop website, www.allthefunofthefair.biz/ Sadly, the shop was sold out of the patterns. I did find a couple other patterns on sale. I will knit the little girl’s cardigan for a granddaughter’s January birthday. I treated myself to a tin needle case from Germany. It conveniently held treasures of buttons and ribbons for my trip home.

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Finds at All the Fun of the Fair, London

My big mission for London was to purchase some Liberty cotton lawn fabric,. I wanted multiple, small pieces to make a small quilt. This fabric is so fine it feels like silk. It is very dear (the English term for expensive). The plan was to split what I purchased with a quilting friend to stretch the variety for each of us. In my hunting I discovered that the Liberty of London store, www.liberty.co.uk/, now sells packets of multiple pieces. I ended up purchasing a packet there and also some individual pieces at Shauket & Co. at 170-172 Old Brompton Rd, www.shaukat.co.uk. While at Liberty’s I spotted a small quilt made of Liberty fabrics. I asked the sales clerk if they had the pattern, sold out. I asked if I could take a picture of the quilt, sure. That is all I need to replicate a wall quilt for myself of this heavenly fabric. Just check out my picture for the fabrics and the quilt I will make. The floral fabrics will remind me of the gardens of England that I love. I have entitled my not-made-yet quilt, “Love of Liberty’s”. The title refers to my enchantment with the Liberty of London department store, its wonderful Tudor Revival Arts and Crafts architecture, its historical connections with William Morris and other leaders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement and its beautiful cotton lawn fabrics. My first purchases from Liberty’s were made in 1962 when I visited the UK on my own for three weeks while in college. I have visited Liberty’s on every London visit since then, and I do hope to return again if only to touch the heavenly fabric and view the antique Arts and Crafts furniture for sale.

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Liberty fabrics and “inspiration” quilt

Contact me if you have any questions and check my first blog posting on finding knitting and fabric shops in the UK. Happy stitching!!!

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Responses

  1. You haven’t yet mentioned how “interesting” it is to shop in metric! Do you have any tips on mentally converting yards to meters? (Or dollars to pounds?). We once traveled to Indonesia where the exchange rate was 1750 rupiah to a dollar. My brain failed beyond a two dollar conversion.

    I’m also keen to hear the proper British way to deal with the news that something is “very dear.” Does one simply look serene and “change their mind”? Hints, please!

  2. Hi Ellen,
    In answer to your questions: A meter is 39 inches, so I just think “a yard plus a little”. Knitting patterns usually give the directions for the amount of yarn needed in the metric system and yarn is labeled in the metric system. I take a tape measure that has both systems and also a knitting needle size converter as the sizes of needles in the UK have always been different that ours. Since I don’t drive in the UK, I don’t need to convert miles/kilometers. And pubs still serve in pints, not liters. Money is pretty easy to convert approximately and a small hand calculator is in my purse for serious money conversions. When an item is too expensive “dear” for me to purchase, I reply with the same response I use in the US, “I’ll pass.” Hope that helps. Cheers, Martha


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