Wednesday, April 02, 2008

UK Bound

Hi! Getting ready for a combo work/pleasure trip to England next week and have a question for any UK-familiar readers. Any tips for quilt shops in/around Exeter, Hemel Hempstead, and/or London? Tips for charity shop gems where I might find some interesting/inexpensive textiles while there? I should say, I did live in London 2001-2, but was on a quilting hiatus back then (and on a student's budget), but any kinds of London/Exeter tips are also welcome!

I have a little give-away I'll send one respondent chosen at random (deadline Sunday evening Finnish time - comments on this post or emails re London/Exeter tips). Thanks!


Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady" said...

Unfortunately, NOTHING is cheap in London! We lived there for 10 years (3-1/2 in the early '80s and the rest ending in 2005). And with the exchange rate doing so poorly against the dollar, not it's even worse. There are charity shops everywhere - Scope, Oxfam, are on about every high street in the UK.

I had friends in the American Women of Surrey who actually flew to Houston for the annual quilt show at the convention center and brought their UK friens with them. Most of the quilting shops were there mainly for areas with high expat populations and were stocked with goods from America.

John Lewis on Oxford in London has lovely fabrics but they won't come cheap nor are they likely to be cotton quilt appropriate - but for something luxurious with silks and brocades, you might be able to find some gems there.

On a different note, two restaurants we really liked and miss a lot are Nando's Portuguese Chicken and a sandwhich shop (owned by McDonald's oddly enough) called Pret-a-Mange (pret -a mohn chay). They are reasonably priced and super yummy! We wish BOTH were in the US and Texas in particular (where we live now).

Enjoy your trip and be sure to book a tea service at the Ritz or walk in at Harrod's!

Lissa Jane said...

Oh how I wish I could go with you! Do you need someone to carry your bags??? I have never been, so no travel tips from me except have fun!!!!


Clare said...

Forget John Lewis. It may be worth a quick look, but when I was there Xmas 2007 there was hardly anything. Lots of notions and Janome's, but hardly any fabric. I asked where the nearest fabric shop was and they didn't know. Oh for the good old JL with the blue carpet and the smell of leather on the ground floor. You might try Selfridges - didn't get there. Whereabouts in London are you going to be? Pret a Manger is trés cher maintenant, but if you come across a chain of Japanese restaurants called Wagamama don't ignore. The food is to die for. OMG Harrods - don't go near it. If you have time go to the Textile section in the V & A. Books? Hatchards in Piccadilly and give it my love.

Anne's Bebbs your best bet for Exeter and charity shops.

The UK has changed so much in 10 years and even though we have been back twice in the last 18 months, I still feel odd. Don't like it any more, apart from the book shops!

Clare said...

Whoops - meant to say have fun!!!!


Jodie said...

Have an awesome time!! Haven't been to London since '93/'94. Way before your time.

Yvonne said...

Have a wonderful trip! I've been to Scotland, but didn't get the chance to hop over to England.

anne bebbington said...

I don't actually know of any specific fabric shops in Exeter itself (however I will ask on my yahoo list and come back to you) - but I'm only 20 minutes away in Taunton if you need somewhere for a cup of tea or lunch if you're travelling under your own steam. There are fabric shops in the Somerset/Devon area but all are a good way from Exeter

We are on a fortnight's break from school so at home starting this Friday 4th but will be away Fri-Mon 11 to 14 - you'd be most welcome to call any other time and we can talk quilting etc

Jacquie said...

Wish I could help...actually wish I could travel with you. Have a wonderful time and be sure to show us the treasures you pick up!

anne bebbington said...

Back again - this is a list given to me by someone from my yahoo list - it may be of use but bear in minf that Ottery St Mary, Axminster, Bovey Tracey and Holsworthy are all well out of Exeter itself even if they are all still in Devon

Exeter Sewing Machine Co., Heavitree Road, Exeter. Opposite the swimming pool
Coles, 11 Silver Street, Ottery St Mary
Axminster Quilt Store, Milton's Yard, Axminster
Serendipity, Bovey Tracey, off the A38 to Plymouth. Down the main
street and past Riverside Mill, Devon Guild of Craftsmen centre
(always worth a visit)
Percy's, Sidwell Street, Exeter. Near the bus station. A shop that
sells lots of different fabrics but one can sometimes find something
you want.
Villavin Crafts, Holsworthy, north of Okehampton n the way to Bude so
quite a way.

Hope this helps!

anne bebbington said...

sorry that should read mind not 'minf'

Email me if you want contact details etc to call in while you're in the area

Valerie said...

What a nice trip. I would love to go there. I really enjoyed my visit to your blog and would love to be in your give a way.

Karol-Ann said...

When I lived in London I was also on a quilting hiatus. We are a few hours away by train now and have to lug the little ones around so I don't go down to London as often as I would like. However, Kate N is close enough to London to be in the know.
Most of the charity shops have interesting bits depending where you're staying. Our local 'Age concern' often has nice bits for accessorising bags etc. there's also 'Scope', 'Oxfam'... all worth a visit I should think.
Have a great time and if you ever get up to North Yorkshire, I'll be a better guide!

Angelcat said...

Here is a link to a quilt shop in Hemel Hempstead.

Depending on how much time you have in the area, Knebworth isn't too far away from Hemel. Not a quilt shop but great for lots of other textile supplies in Art Van Go.

There is also a great little bead shop in Knebworth.

If you go to Knebworth you might as well take a quick trip to Stevenage, where there is a hobbycraft store (small range of quilt fabrics and tonnes of other craft stuff)

Also in Stevenage is Dunelm. More a home store than anything else but they do have a range of fabrics, mainly for furnishings but also a limited range of felts, organzas net etc, also a small craft/habedashery dept.

Hope you have a great trip

Nancy said...

I've never been to England, but I'd love to enter your drawing!

nancy, near philadelphia

Libby said...

Have a great trip! Cheerio *s*

Helen in the UK said...

There aren't a lot of quilt shops in London. There are a few around the suburbs - but I bet you'll find them very expensive!! Check out this link for the Quilter's Guild Region 1 (London) info - scroll down for shops. If you are thinking of visiting any do check before you go in case the info is out of date.
Creative Quilting at Hampton Court is worth a visit. Green Mountain in Staines is small and is closing at end April, so there may be bargains to be had!!

Helen in the UK said...

Opps - forgot the link:

sbonetsue said...

I went to London for a month back in 1976, it was so fantastic and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I wish I could go back, I am so jealous.

Guðrún said...

Have a safe trip to the UK

katelnorth said...

nothing cheap in London, sorry. there are some quilt shops on the outskirts, but not much central. when will you be here - and do you know when you are planning to be in London itself? Fancy a cup of coffee (or tea)? A trip to the V&A is always fun for those who are keen on textiles and my kids are off school and have been nagging me to go to the V&A so perhaps there's a meeting in the making, if it fits your schedule...

katelnorth said...

Or, if you fancy a trip out to hampton court palace (which is well worth a visit in itself) there is a very nice quilt shop right around the corner - and that's my local, just 15 minutes down the road from me...

vonnie said...

Have a safe and lovely trip to London.....take a few pictures to share with us later, ok?
vonnie in US.

Clare said...

If you do get to Dunelm, I am a huge fan of their "square" fabric. I used it for the letters on my Halloween quilt. The fabric is a bit thick to start with, but when washed it's fine. It also comes in a wide variety of colours and at £5.00 a metre is not to sniffed at. I've just asked my Mum to send me over another metre in the same colours as the Halloween top and I've got some pastel ones too.

I've made a note of everyone's suggestions for my next UK visit LOL!

Cathy said...

If you are still in England or going again, go to The Bramble Patch in a little village called Weedon, it is absolutely fantastic. About 20 minutes from here is Althorp (where Princess Di grew up and is buried. And there are great pubs on the way! There are quilt shops around but you need to invest in the English patchwork magazines and check them out on line. This is what I did, and travelled to England with my magazines (from New Zealand). Have fun.