Now most people seem to like to go somewhere abroad for their honeymoon but my husband and I decided that Yorkshire was calling, so instead of spending our time on a sunny beach, we spent it eating scones in sunny Brontë country!
We also spent a considerable amount of time in craft shops because that is my idea of a good holiday and my wonderful husband is kind enough to indulge me and, if I am totally honest, carry all my shopping…
I haven’t had time to actually make anything out of what I bought (YET) but I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on some of the shops I visited in case anyone else is looking for northern craft shop recommendations. I think it is so important to support and promote smaller independent shops; whilst they may not always be the cheapest place for well known brands, the staff are frequently able to give you really great advice about suitable materials and projects, they really know their stock and I usually manage to find some unusual things or local products that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. Also, Yorkshire is a beautiful place that everyone should visit. If you like walking, you can do this. If you like food, there are big portions. If you like interesting shops, there are many. And what more could you want in life?
The best thing about craft shopping in York is that the ‘Visit York’ website has a wonderful ‘craft trail‘. This was a great start point, but some of the shops seem to have closed/moved; The Viking Loom, for example, is now outside York and sadly we didn’t make it there, so do check things online first if you feel very excited about a particular establishment.
This is a totally delightful shop. To be fair, I knew I was going to love it as soon as I walked in because they had Toft yarn and patterns and I have long been a Toft lover. The York Makery is well stocked with a variety of knitting and crochet patterns, as well as a good selection of wool, including EXTREMELY SOFT Yorkshire spun yarn. I actually bought fabric from here instead of wool:
This is actually a really rich mustard colour, but for some reason my camera doesn’t seem to be picking it up. HERE is a better one. And you can see who designed it too.
LITTLE TINY SAUSAGE DOGS WITH FLOWERS. I will make a sort of tunic dress out of this I think. Because I am all about the organisation and planning (HA), I actually bought matching thread as well, but I need a zip and lining before I can start…
The other fabric I bought was also from Dashwood Studio:
Again, the brightness of the colour doesn’t seem to stand out so well when I take a picture that shows the full pattern. Have a smaller close-up:
Still not perfect- it is a VERY bright green.
I love fabric which tells a story and this park scene is great. I might have to find some little people buttons with which to decorate whatever I make out of this. Probably a dress.
The people in the shop were really helpful and friendly- we had a good chat!- and I would highly recommend The York Makery if you are looking for a range of interesting crafty bits and some good advice. Make sure you check their opening hours before visiting though, as they are shut on a Monday and Sunday. We had to go into York again to go here as I didn’t check the opening times, but I am so glad we went back; it was well worth the visit.
Gillies Fabrics (I really want to put an apostrophe in but it doesn’t have one)
This is what I would call a proper ‘old-school’ fabric shop! Superb range of diverse fabrics, from fun stuff (intended for kids, but also fun for adults) to quilting prints, lots of buttons and zips, and sewing machines. If you are looking for fabric, go here! It is down a little alley and I did feel a bit like I might be unable to read maps, but have faith; the shop is surprisingly big and worth the (my) momentary fear of alleyways.
I also bought fabric here:
Nautical scene? Check. Mermaids? Check. NARWHAL? Oh yes. Obviously I had to buy this. I have no idea what style of dress I will make with this, but it will be AWESOME because there are NARWHALS.
Gillies had a great selection of zips and thread so all I need now is lining. And a plan. And time.
Well this is a little gem of a shop. It is down Walmgate which is basically a straight line down from Fossgate. I love this whole road (although technically I guess it is two roads?) It starts in the centre but then gets really quiet as you go further along it; do persevere though! There are many exciting shops here, including the best coffee shop in the whole of York. This is key info as husband and I are both coffee snobs and he needs refuelling regularly when I inflict much craft shopping on him. It is called Spring Espresso and if you can, go. Drink, eat and save me a seat.
I love buying paper. I don’t really know why. It needs to be kept flat so takes up loads of space, I already have more than I will use in my lifetime and I wouldn’t say I am an expert card maker. I do make (simple) cards (for friends and family), but I don’t really count cutting and sticking as higher level skills…ANYWAY, going into a paper shop can be quite a dangerous (read : expensive) activity for me. And so it proved. First I bought much paper (so lush):
Photo is a bit blurry due to my excitement over having so much nice paper. This paper also feels nice, do you know what I mean? It has texture and oompf. Paper should have oompf. This kind of paper will always be your friend and never give you a papercut. The sheets are wrapping paper size (perhaps they are intended for wrapping paper?!) and were 5 for £10 which I think is quite good considering how many cards I could theoretically get out of these. I say theoretically because I might equally just stick them to my wall and stroke them. SO PRETTY.
I also bought washi tape because I literally cannot help myself. What will I do with it? I do not know. I never know. I just like the tiny, tiny pictures:
OWLS. I bought various other bits (told you it was dangerous) and would therefore recommend that any persons also keen on washi tape and touchable paper visit this shop post-haste. Again, check opening times as they were shut on Monday also. If you can’t get to York then they do a LOT of online orders (there was a veritable mountain of parcel boxes in the shop when we went) so you can still participate in the excitement.
I can’t really talk about craft shops in York without mentioning Dutton’s for Buttons (Total joy! An apostrophe!). If you need buttons, this is the place to go. They have all the buttons. And if you like stairs and architecture, then go up to the top floor to the medieval room. I think this is cool. And if you walk up many stairs, you don’t have to feel any guilt when you then later eat a cake or two.
I would like to tell you that one of these cakes was for Long-Suffering Husband but that would be a lie. I ate both of them.
MOVING ON: we then went onto to Haworth, which is where the Brontës lived. It is very nice here, much nicer than when they lived there when everyone was dying of cholera or small pox or measles. Now there are pot painting places, tasty cafes and many wondrous shops, which I think we can all agree are better options.
Haworth doesn’t have ‘craft shops’ in the strictest sense of the word but I did manage to pick up some lovely Katie Almond buttons from Hawksbys (which is the kind of shop that makes me wish I were very rich and had a very large house and cats whose hobbies were not: breaking things, knocking things over and sitting on things):
We also popped into Hebden Bridge; I had heard rumours that this was ‘craft central’ but sadly the Boxing Day Floods (the floodlines for which were above my head) seems to have put some shops out of business/left some of the smaller independent places still fixing up their premises so it wasn’t as ground shaking as I had hoped (my bank balance did a happy jig though). That said, we did find a lovely place called ‘Ribbon Circus‘ which was just recovering from the flooding. Confusingly, there was not much ribbon here but there was WOOL so I was very happy about this. I nearly bought some very very very soft blue purple yarn from Juniper Moon but I didn’t have the pattern I would use it for and I didn’t want to miscalculate the number of skeins because then you end up with different dye lots…I have however discovered that you can buy this online so there is hope. What I did buy in Ribbon Circus was some Sirdar Snuggly baby bamboo which I have been visiting in many wool shops for a while. Just to stroke. And desperately try to find a pattern for. Which I have now done. So I bought it.
But I will talk more about that another time as it is the basis for my next project!
And that was the end of the shopping (which is quite restrained for me to be honest) because we then did many walks in gorgeous countryside and were generally far too happy to even pretend to be Heathcliff and Cathy for the sake of a selfie.
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”