The reason why the Stitching Sheep has been so quiet over the past few weeks is because my boyfriend and I have been on holiday to Hong Kong and Australia! We have had an amazing time. From the cities of Melbourne and Sydney to the wildlife on Kangaroo Island and the Grampians and from the spectular views on the Great Ocean road to snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, we loved it all!
Even though holidays are mostly about sightseeing and relaxation, holidays for me very much include crafts as well. Whether it is shopping for craft-related items, being inspired by new surroundings or crafting itself. This first post will be about the 3 specialist embroidery shops I have visited.
Before flying out to Australia I contacted Alison Cole, who is from Australia, to ask her for some recommendations for the best embroidery shops in Melbourne, Adelaide & Sydney. I had googled for shops and I had seen advertisements in Inspirations Magazine but since my boyfriend and I were on holiday together I didn’t want to drag him to every single embroidery shop, especially as they might not all be as good. Thank you Alison for your recommendations as I definitely was not disappointed!
For Melbourne she recommended The Embroidery Den and Lazy Daisy. Since neither of them are in the CBD of Melbourne I had only time to visit one and based on the range advertised on their website I decided to visit The Embroidery Den. The shop is located on the main street of Highett, a southern suburb of Melbourne. The shop is rather large but the back end of the shop is taken up by a large workshop space. The actual shop part has lots of racks and carousels for the different threads and tools. Towards the front there is a display of books and kits. I was able to pick up a large number of the threads I was after and also by a pair of Alison Cole’s goldwork scissors and curved tweezers which I had seen on her website. The lady in the shop was very helpful and helped me navigate the large number of threads on offer. She was actually stitching one of the projects I was shopping for: ‘Chatterbox’ by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations magazine issue 93. It was really nice to see it ‘live’ instead of photographed. She offered me some very helpful advice on transferring the design onto the fabric. Since it is a large design the chalk rubs of so it is better to use an iron-on pen instead. I will definitely take up her advice!
The next few days we spend driving along the Great Ocean road and in the Grampians. On our way from Mount Gambier (SA) to our hotel in the CBD of Adelaide we stopped in Highgate, which is one of the suburbs of Adelaide to visit Create in Stitch.
The shop is very modern and bright and very well kitted out. Many embroidery shops are very old-fashioned and have not paid particular attention to the layout and the look of the shop and use standard or rickety fittings and shelves, so this shop is a very welcome change. Upon entering you immediately notice the large bookshelves which form the back wall of the shop filled with many specialist needlecraft books and magazines. They had just received the Stitching with Beatrix Potter book by Michelle Hill in store, which I really liked the look of. I also picked up two back issues of Inspirations Magazine.
There are a number of large and neat displays with the mainstream threads but they also have a good selection of more specialist threads. If I couldn’t find what I was looking for they offered to order it in for me. Shame to be in Adelaide for just one day! The staff is extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, immediately recognising the projects I was shopping for! Since I was partly shopping for a project published a few years ago, they were also able to recommend substitutes for threads that are not made anymore or are hard to come by.
Create in Stitch also stocks some very gorgeous embroidery kits. I picked up two adorable miniature needlepainting kits by Trish Burr. Besides embroidery items the shop also stock yarn, fabric and exclusive children’s garments.
When I had paid for the items I had selected, I mentioned that I have a blog and that I was intending to blog about my visit to their shop, they immediately asked whether they could take a picture of me and publish it in their weekly newsletter. Of course I agreed, despite the holiday-look I was sporting! I took a picture of the lovely staff on duty that afternoon in return.
The newsletter duly appeared in my inbox the following Saturday. They had not only published the picture they had taken but they had also written quite a big piece about me, the Stitching Sheep, my visit to their shop and Australia and my purchases! I was really flattered and it created so much traffic on my site, even though I was not even blogging at the time! Welcome to all of my new followers!!! The text from the newsletter also appeared a few days later on Create in Stitch’s Facebook page.
One spin-off from the newsletter was a lovely e-mail from Hendrika, a Dutch lady who lives in the Blue Mountains (near Sydney). She wrote to recommend a few shops in Sydney in case I was visiting Sydney too. As I was reading her e-mail, we had just arrived!
For Sydney both Alison and Hendrika recommended The Crewel Gobelin in Killara, which is one of the northern suburbs of Sydney. On a Monday morning I took the train from Sydney’s central station, which incidentally travels across Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge with beautiful views of Sydney Opera house, towards Killara. The shop is situated very close to the station in a small, traditional, strip of shops in an quiet neighbourhood.
The shop, as most needlecraft shops, is not very large but filled to the rafters with lovely threads, fabric, kits and accessories. There is just so much there that every time I walked round I spotted something else I wanted. The shop is furnished in a traditional style, which fits in perfectly with the style of the building and the range of kits and accessories they stock. It is impossible to have the wide range of threads they stock on display and as a result they keep many items in drawers, so do ask the staff if you are looking for something particular as they will probably have it (or they can order it, if they don’t).
In particular, I enjoyed seeing so many items I had not seen anywhere else. Upon arrival in the shop I was immediately informed that one of the staff had just returned from Nashville Needlework Market with lots of news kits and items, which were displayed around the shop. I seemed to have timed my visit perfectly as, in addition, some gorgeous Stitch Dots – Needle Nannies and items by L’ucello had only arrived in store two weeks earlier! They also stock some beautiful handmade metalwork dishes and pincushion bases.
The photographs below show all of the items I bought at The Embroidery Den, Create in Stitch and The Crewel Gobelin. If you like more information on any item in particular do let me know!
I really enjoyed my visit to all 3 shops even though they are very different. It is such a shame that they are on the other side of the world from me, as I would love to have such great shops nearby.
Even though internet shopping is not quite the same as browsing a real shop, all 3 have an online shop so even in the Netherlands, or wherever in the world you are, you can take advantage of their fantastic ranges, service and expertise. I certainly will!