Sunday, August 10, 2008

Trawling Europe for Fabric

The camera now has batteries so let me take you on a tour of European Quilt shops. I am good at touring quilt shops so this will be a long post but its mostly photos of fabric so I am imagining you'll stick with it! You will recall the plan to assemble a quilt kit as I travelled...

First the fabric that began it all from Creative Quilting in Hampton Court.

Then the fabric from Berlin gets added. (see previous post)

Next Traumstoff in Osnabruck. Osnabruck is a charming town - very quiet because most of the locals were on holiday and shops were shut. But not this gorgeous quilt shop. The owner was there sewing away. They have an amazing collection of beads set out in trays in this table and another in the back. They also do yarns. It has such a delicious atmosphere - modern but cosy. They have a real talent for shop dressing too.
Sadly fabric in Germany is expensive and the euro rate did not help so I spun out choosing this half meter so I could linger as long as possible.

It was here also that I discovered this magazine Patchwork Professional with which I was very impressed - the slight problem is that it is all in German but whilst I was away the pictures are perfectly understandable as was about 50% of the words ( I did A level German 20 years ago!). Now at home with my dictionary it is both entertaining and educational ( in both the linguistic and the textile sense!) Sounds daft but I may subscribe.

Next stop Irma's sampler in Haarlem, just a short train ride away from Amsterdam. We were feeling lazy having just arrived on our canal boat and wanting to rest after all our travels so we only arrived in Haarlem with just enough time for lunch in the square and the last English Tour of the Corrie Ten Boom House ( more in the next post). So we moved quick smart ( I deny I was actually running, but it was quick smart, muttering, I'llmissiitI'llmissithurryupmanI'll missit under my breath) to this shop in a street where even the pavement outside has quilty patterns.

I burst through the door hot and red faced, twenty minutes before they closed, to be greeted with instructions to sit down, have a cup of tea and enjoy myself. Oh. Ok then! I broke the rules here, relieved that fabric was, whilst more than the UK, less than Germany, and added two half meters. The welcome was such that it seemed a disproportionate response to buy just one!

I got to the till dead on closing to be told to take my tea and camera upstairs and look at the exhibition in their classroom. I think this shop probably had the most tempting collection of fabrics of all the ones I visited with a small Dutch section also, although these fabrics were a bit 'rural' for my taste, they would have made a good souvenir. The owner is also going to Festival of Quilts so I hope to meet her again and return the cup of tea maybe! If I was in Amsterdam I'd definitely take the side trip to this shop again and have a bit of a blow out ( in the morning this time). I'd like to see more of Haarlem too which seemed a friendly easy going place.

There are two shops side by side in Amsterdam not far from Central Station and Dam Square. the first specialises in reproduction Dutch chintzes and is charming but old fashioned. The fabric is not my style particularly - although of course it is still tempting to buy those nicely beribboned bundles. I think it would be hard to mix with other fabric though. So no purchase here.

By the way, from Irma's onwards Dennis appointed himself official shop photographer so all these photos are his candid shots as I shopped.

Next door is Birdblocks which has the second best range of fabric I saw. By this stage I had begun a design (see later post) and realised that I should have bought more focus fabric and also that I needed to start adding lights. It was getting harder to pick stuff to match and I enjoyed mooching. Eventually though the shop owner could not resist and came to help, obviously relishing the game!
As soon as I went in I recognised the blue Dutch houses quilt which I think won some European prize of other. ( I don't know - I saw it in some magazine!) They sell the pattern at the shop.
I chose this as the second focus fabric (Half a meter)and a meter of this ( which photos badly)

We had planned to visit shops in S'Hertogenbosch and The Hague but in the end decided to skip more train journeys in favour of rest and recuperation so the last shop was Carol Cox in Utrecht. Utrecht on arrival appears a modern town with nothing particular to distinguish itself but then you come across a long canal which is lined with shops and restaurants on two levels and suddenly it is a charming bustling town full of individual shops ( and a great Italian ice cream cart!)

Right down the end of that cobbled street is Carol Cox. ( It is not far from the unusually located Museum of Aboriginal Art).Carol is originally American ( although her English now has a Dutch accent given that she has been in Holland some 37 years). The shop has a very large selection of plains and solids which I found restricted my choice but again, I could not have asked for a better welcome and enthusiastic joining in with the inspection of my design and comments on possible selections despite that fact that we turned up in the middle of her lunch. She also sells Shaker boxes and furniture. The shop has a cool, restrained, polished feel - despite the temporary presence outside of a horde of young men queuing on the pavement for electronic bargains at a closing down shop next door! It does stock some Kaffe Fasset designs but I would say overall has a more calm, restrained, more traditional feel than the Haarlem or Amsterdam shop. I liked the contrast and that each had its own personality. Having maybe gained (and probably given you) the impression that this one had the most restricted ranges I still bought the most fabric here - it is the quiet ones you have to watch out for!I bought fabrics for borders here - when I bought the original Hampton Court Fabric I assumed I'd end up with quite a modern quit but in fact as I went around it seemed to want to become more traditional so I let it, with this Moda fabric being for the outer border.

the green for some applique leaves
and the lighter brown for a thin inner border.
So, with the fabric trawl over it remained only to reclaim my camera and let Dennis carry the spoils and then to bring them home and start sewing. More on progress so far in the next post.


katelnorth said...

Lucky Dennis, who gets to be The Holder of Quilt Shop Bags!

Love the fabrics you've chosen to go with that floral - totally different to what I made with mine...

Looking forward to seeing what you do with them!

Vicki W said...

What a fun way to tour and I love the palette that you put together. It will be fun to sew and remember the trip.

Laura Jane said...

Yummy focus fabrics. Great combos.

Nice to see some photos of you as well, thanks Dennis!

Gina said...

I see that you've trained Dennis well. On the rare occasions that Mal comes shoping with me he is official bag carrier aswell.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

Helen did not say, "I'll miss it" etc in Haarlem; her exact words OUT LOUD were, "We're too late; we're too late; It's going to be closed."
Why the rush? We got there 15 minutes before closing; is that not more than enough time?

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfull time you had with all those shops, its great thankyou