It would be remiss of me to talk about today’s trip to a craft shop without mentioning its absolutely beautiful surroundings. Today we’re going to take a trip to Split, in the Dalmatia region of Croatia and probably one of the most effortlessly beautiful places I have ever been.Read More »
As an embroiderer, it’s often difficult to find shops that stock more exciting thread than just the standard DMC/Anchor floss ranges. It can even be difficult to find places that stock embroidery-suitable fabrics that are more exciting than 14 count Aida in white. This is why it’s always so exciting to find a place like The London Bead Co., which while formally being a shop for all things small and shiny, has one of the most beautiful thread collections I’ve ever seen. I think only Old World Designs comes close!Read More »
One of the nice things about being in Switzerland, as well as the beautiful scenery, perfect trains and wonderful cheese, is the number of Bernina stores dotted about the place. Some of them are in surprising places, it often feels like you’ll see one in every small village, but they are usually excellent haberdasheries as well as sewing machine technology wonderlands.
I’ve been debating for a while when would be a good time to publish several of my posts that have been languishing from trips I took back when international travel was still a routine part of my job. As things tentatively start to open up, in those countries at least, perhaps now is a good time to give some airtime to two truly excellent fabric stores in Italy.
When I heard there was going to be a special exhibition on orchids at Kew Gardens, I knew this was an exhibition I would happily make an effort to see. For those of you not familiar with Kew, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site home to over 50 000 plants and has one of the most diverse plant collections in the world. For the embroiderers, it is a beautiful botanical garden situated nearby Hampton Court palace if you want to sneak some stitching!
It’s very easy to feel that you’re in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland. Even Geneva, which is the second most populated city in Switzerland, has a population of less than two hundred thousand. The five biggest cities represent 40 % of the total population, making it relatively easy to ‘escape to the countryside’ where there are some excellent hidden gems of craft shops.
As well as the wonderful local architecture and the delightful Museum Appenzell, there is another historical textile treat outside of the main village, the Appenzeller Volkskunde-Museum, which also affords you the opportunity to enjoy the local, rolling hills and scenery. This is the folk museum dedicated to the local working culture and heritage.
On the north east side of Switzerland is the canton of Appenzell (well, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden if you want to be exact). Confusingly enough, the capital of Appenzell Innerrhoden is a village also called Appenzell, which is the largest village in the canton with a population of a whopping 6000 people.
After a fascinating visit to the open-air museum in Ballenberg, the next stop on the tour was to see another geographical feature Switzerland is famous for, lakes. Apparently, Switzerland has a total of 103 lakes of varying sizes, impressive given the total area of the country only amounts to 41 285 km2 (15 940 sq mi) with a lot of mountains to squeeze in that area too.
I’ve blogged before about how a country’s textile history often shaped its social and cultural history, as well as infrastructure and landscape, and Switzerland is no exception to that. While perhaps most famous for the St. Gallen embroideries and lace (and you can see some fantastic examples of that at the local textile museum), Switzerland also has a rich history of silk and cotton production and even passementerie, particularly in the Basel region.