I haven’t written in absolute ages, for which my apologies. In my defence I will say that we’ve been away for a week, visiting the Lake District, and that the time before and after a week away tends to be taken up with "getting everything done before we leave" and "dealing with the backlog".
We made the most of the beautiful scenery by going for plenty of walks (the friends we were with have a dog, which makes walkies even more of a joy), and we joined the local church for a very moving Remembrance Day service. We also found the most gorgeous pub which did very good food indeed (check out the Kirkstile Inn when you’re next in Loweswater), and if it wasn’t for the many walks we’d have gained at least a stone. Each.
You may wonder what all this has to do with the topic of this post; you may even wonder what an LNS is (it took me some time to find out when I first saw it mentioned on stitching forums!) Well, LNS stands for Local Needlework Shop, and there are precious few of them left, so if you’re lucky enough to have one, please use it! I realise that the prices of these independent shops may be a bit higher than those of online shops, and that if you want something special they may have to order it in and you won’t be able to HAVE IT NOW! but there is something about being able to see threads and fabrics in the flesh (or should that be "in the fibre"?), chatting about your next project while choosing materials, and asking advice from a fellow enthusiast which you just don’t get online.
Unfortunately there is no LNS where I live (although there is a fabric shop which does stranded cotton and the like) so I am reduced to supporting other people’s LNS. Smuggler’s Needlecraft in Ilfracombe springs to mind, and Stitches Coven in Shanklin, Isle of Wight. This time it was The Silver Beaded Needle in Cockermouth.
My husband will tell you that whenever I spot an as yet unknown needlework shop my eyes start to sparkle and there is a distinct spring in my step as I walk to look at the shop window before going in. Often it turns out to be mostly sewing machines or knitting wool or quilting fabrics. Occasionally it surpasses my wildest expectations. As it did here.
Stranded cotton, yes. Aida, yes. But also beads, sparkly fabrics, Caron threads, Thread Gatherer threads, Sweetheart Tree kits, Pearsall’s silks! I was beginning to feel quite giddy, and then the lady behind the counter, who saw me looking at the Pearsall’s silk perles, said "the Pearsall’s stranded silk is on offer, there’s a whole basket of it over there". You will not be surprised to know that it took me about a second and a half to get "over there", where a treasure trove of pretty silks at a 40% discount was waiting for me. In the end I got six (3 pairs of shades), which I hope to use for Hardanger on 28ct or 32ct fabric.
What better souvenir of your holiday than threads you will be using later? You can enjoy the threads and remember the holiday at the same time! But I did get another souvenir as well. I have two (three if you count a broken one) Victorian stereoscopes, with which you view stereoscopic photos; these consist of two photos next to each other, and seen through the viewer they become three-dimensional. I had hoped for a local view – the Lakes must surely have attracted many stereo-photographers over the years – but unfortunately I didn’t find any. I did find a souvenir, though; of my own country. It shows the Dutch fishing village of Marken, showing people in traditional costume. Who would have thought I’d find that in the Lake District!