Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Dispatch From England: Needlecraft Heaven

So I'm going to go ahead and pretend it hasn't been three months since my last post. (Fine-three and a half.) Those who know me are aware of my family's recent move from the States to the UK, so I'll leave it at that as far as excuses go. But we're settling in nicely-the kids are in school, I have moved into my studio, and the rhythms of a more structured existence are falling into place. Everyone is happy.

I've posted before on various embroidery projects that I've done, and I continue to love the versatility and gratification that embroidery-either on its own or incorporated into another craft, provides. Though I'm still a novice to the craft, my interest in this art form continues to grow, and today I died and went to embroidery heaven when I visited The Burford Needlecraft Shop.

When I first walked through the door, into a little room absolutely bursting with supplies, I was a touch disappointed, because the shop seemed so small. Here was the view from the entrance:

But before long I quickly discovered a labyrinth of rooms, including some upstairs, that stocked needlecraft supplies I never even knew existed. Here's a quick visual tour:

Above: a bunch of wool for crewel work, which is my favorite form of embroidery to look at.

Here's some of the tapestry wool (above); they also stock several printed tapestry canvases. But that's way beyond my modest abilities at the moment.

Their collection of books is rather small, but I was so happy to see that they carry Diana Rupp's "Embroider Everything Workshop", an excellent book by the woman who taught me basic embroidery!

On one half of the upstairs (above) I found tons of specialty threads, including lots of beautiful metallics, as well as buttons and silk ribbon.

And the other half is stuffed with a delicious selection of knitting wool. This part of England is known for its wool, and Burford was once a wealthy beneficiary of revenues from the trade.

Stuffed into various pockets of the shop, I also saw all sorts of unique supplies that I've never seen elsewhere, like Danish Flower Thread (which is a single strand thread with a matte finish) and Mandarin wool floss for cross stitching:

They also carried the biggest selection of metallic floss I've ever seen. I need some of that.

I wanted to buy one of everything, but I settled on one skein of the Danish floss, and this pretty crewel starter kit with a pomegranite motif. 

 I also picked up this mini Tower of London cross stitch kit. There was a whole series of famous London buildings-I might have to do all of them.

The Burford Needlecraft Shop sells some of its inventory online, here. Its a pretty limited selection compared to what's in the real shop, but still worth a look if you're a needle arts geek like myself. 

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