The thing I always enjoy about my craft shop excursions is they often take you to places you’d never otherwise go. I have to admit, after some internet searching turned up The Quilter’s Cupboard and I started looking on a map, I thought this trip might end up rivalling where Wonderwool, Wales in terms of the amount of adventuring required to get there.
It’s not uncommon, particularly in the UK, for craft shops to be located in industrial states or smaller villages, probably in an attempt to escape the high rents of the city. Plus, I think most quilters are determined enough that, if you put a good enough shop up a mountain, they’d still go there, rain or shine. Thankfully, it turns out that The Quilter’s Cupboard, in County Durham, is a very straightforward and scenic bus ride (X46) from Durham city centre.
It was going to be very hard not to love this place after being offered a cup of tea as soon as I’d walked through the door and told that the kitchen would be there if this was going to be an extended visit! At first, it looks like quite a small store, but in closer inspection I realised this was a very cleverly presented goldmine of fantastic fabrics.
If you like metallic fabrics, and you like having a choice of fabric types with your bling, this is the place to be. They’ve got the absolutely stunning William Morris collection, with beautiful, intricate designs and some nice metallic flashes, as well as plenty of Japanese and Christmas fabrics to draw your eye. I usually hate seasonal and novelty fabrics (except for entertainment purposes) but some of the Christmas ones here are beautiful, abstract designs in red and gold that I could see myself buying.
I know I have an eye for batiks but the collection here was really beautiful and reasonably priced. I definitely want to pick up some more of the batik landscapes. I find them so helpful when making patchwork pieces that you don’t want to be completely crazy, batiks everywhere, for giving a nice, calm contrast while not looking boring and a bit lost as some solids can against batiks.
There’s a really big selection of panels of all of your favourite characters, or a charity collection at the front of the shop where you can pick up some bargains for a good cause. All the usual sewing notions and everything you’d need to get started can also be found here. There’s a particularly nice choice of threads to go with all the wonderful colours of fabric they have in stock. I’m not normally a fan, but there’s some Japanese fabrics with very lovely smaller panels you can find that look very intriguing. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting such a magnificent collection of Japanese fabrics here… I spent a bit too long working in Japan and loitering in Japanese craft shops, which are just wonderful, to find most places appealing for this but The Quilter’s Cupboard has some really nice pieces! Now just to find somewhere that sells kimono offcuts…
For the less flashy, more practical fabrics, there’s an excellent Moda Spraytime collection (their black is one of my crafting staples) and solids. All of the prices, particularly the Japanese fabrics, are really reasonable too, so this might be a place to consider if you fancy a bit of a splurge. There’s a regular class schedule you can see here, with plenty of flexible drop-in dates if you’ve got your own project you need some help with.
It’s such a charming, friendly little store, with lots of fabrics that you’d like to end up in your own quilter’s cupboard, that it’s hard not to be taken with the place. I like that I was left to browse in peace at my own pace but when I needed anything, there was a huge amount of expertise and friendliness on offer. Quilting can get a reputation as being unwelcoming for beginners but it’s definitely not because of places like this. I really hope I can get here for a class at some point because it’s such a charming shop, and judging from the laughter coming from the work room, a great environment to learn some new tricks in too!