Support your independent needlework suppliers

If you’re not one of those lucky stitchers who has a local needlework shop to supply their stitching needs, don’t immediately head for the nearest Hobbycraft! For one thing, they won’t have any speciality threads or fabrics anyway so it would be a waste of time – time that would be much better spent studying the covetousness-inducing price list of Margaret Roberts’ Little Thread Shop or browsing the delectable Sparklies website for Kate Burgess’ vibrant hand-dyed fabrics. The Little Thread Shop was a great find, and I am grateful to a friend from the Cross Stitch Forum for recommending it. You can email Margaret direct if you want a different combination of threads, her shipping costs are very reasonable indeed and she is most helpful in working out how much you can have sent to the UK without incurring import duties! So now if I want a few Caron threads, or decide to treat myself to Gloriana silk perles or Thread Gatherer hand-dyed silk ribbon that’s where I go – and just have a look at some of the lovely things I got from her this year …

Caron threads from Margaret Roberts Thread Gatherer silk ribbons from Margaret Roberts

Sparklies is more local to me (in the UK instead of in the US!) and so I occasionally get the chance to see her fabrics in real life at the Knitting & Stitching Show (although I’ve just heard she won’t be doing Alexandra Palace next year, which is a shame as that’s the one I go to). What I like about Kate’s fabrics is that besides the pastel, subtle shades that you often get in hand-dyeds, she does some extremely bold and vibrant colours which definitely make a statement! For most colours you can choose aida, evenweave or linen (with pictures that show the difference in colour between the various fabrics) and a good number of thread counts. I tend to go for my favourite 25ct Lugana, of course, but Kate has promised to dye me some Hardanger fabric for a course I hope to be teaching next year. And if you can’t decide what shades would be right for your project, you can order some samples – an economical way of making sure you go for just the right colour, and great to use in their own right for mini projects.

Sparklies samples

And sometimes when you buy things from different shops it’s not until you see your purchases together before putting them away that you realise you’ve just bought a magical combination that cries out for a new design. Here is Sparklies’ Fire combined with Caron Bittersweet and Flamingo. Doesn’t it just zing?

Caron and Sparklies

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