Having just returned from a business trip to London and Madrid, I am still a bit jet lagged and a little confused as to which language I am supposed to be speaking. I think the best moments were when I started speaking Polish in the middle of teaching a quilt class in Spanish and the moment when I arrived at my great aunt's home [she speaks Polish & English and a host of other languages but certainly not Spanish] & greeted her in a traditional Spanish greeting! Let's just say that I could tell I was saying something wrong by the blank stares on everyone's faces…
Other than the moments of language confusion, it was a wonderful trip but boy am I glad to be home again.
My time in London was mostly my own and it was my opportunity to learn and see and explore, getting to know the city a bit better. I wandered around various portions of town that I had never been to before – the theatre district, Chelsea, Soho, Portobello Road, just to name a few. I had never realized that there were so many parts of London with such different "feels". I have a million photos so stay tuned for a series of posts of my voyages….
A Favorite Moment
I had never been to Portobello Road before [the famous antiques street in London] and even though the famed Portobello Market happens only on Saturdays, there are still plenty of fascinating little shops to visit during the rest of the week.
As we strolled through the shops and a few sidewalk stands, I discovered shops full of wonderful purses [that are inspiring many a new purse idea], vintage maps, little trinkets, vintage china, beautifully colorful Indian imports, pottery, but most importantly I found The Cloth Shop…
The Cloth Shop is literally a little hole in the wall fabric store. Perhaps a teeny bit bigger than a hole once you actually walk in through the old fashioned, heavy black door, the store opens up into a room packed with old & new fabrics alike, stacked, propped, bundled and rolled. Their stock includes vintage French tickings & linens and sheets, old British chintz quilts, Indian handwoven cottons and hemps, Hungarian grain sacks, antique silk waistcoat fabrics among others.
We befriended the very knowledgeable storekeepers, Sam & Alex, who told colorful stories about some of their sources and some of the most interesting uses for their products. I purchased 1 1/2 meters of a beautiful peachy cream colored woven Indian cotton fabric called Mangle Cloth . With a fairly loose weave, he recommended washing and drying it in order to transform it from its fairly stiff texture, to a super soft, delicate scarf. He thought 1 1/2 meters would be exactly what I would need in order to wrap it around my shoulders and neck at least once. I am planning on doing just that.
As we were browsing through the "waistcoat" fabrics he told us proudly that not only is one of the only stores in Britain that still carries this particular type of vintage reproduction fabric but that movie producers come to him to get authentic looking prints. He has supplied Star Wars to more recently… Harry Potter with specially produced silk "waistcoat" fabrics in various appropriate prints. A story that not only did we enjoy, but had a great time sharing with our kids when I returned!
You never know what you might find in one of those little hole in the walls. Wouldn't have missed this one for the world.