It’s been a strange week. Here in England the second lockdown began on Thursday and I felt strangely calm and ready for it. I had spent the earlier part of the week preparing for it – a final lunch out before the restaurants shut and on Tuesday, a visit to the Amble Pin Cushion to stock up on some odds and ends I know I’ll need to keep on crafting over the next month. I haven’t been to shops much at all this year so it was lovely to get back to one of my favourites.
I’ve been a regular member of the shop’s knit and natter group and attended craft courses, there, held in the training room upstairs before the pandemic. There is also a workroom where staff can carry out alterations – we knit and natterers have enjoyed a sneaky look inside in the run up to the local high school prom to see the students’ dresses being worked on! More recently the staff have turned their skills to making face masks, using some of the wide variety fabrics in stock.
As well as fabric, yarn and haberdashery there are all sorts of other craft supplies in the shop – it’s a bit of an Aladdin’s Cave really. Fortunately the team have excellent knowledge of what’s in stock (as well as a lot of skill in how to use it)
I bought some buttons to use on a project I’ll be finishing soon, some metallic thread for something I’ll need to embroider soon and some spare needle felting needles. If you’ve ever needle-felted you’ll know how they snap quite easily – I don’t want to run out in the middle of a forthcoming project.
I was also after a very specific shade of yarn. When it comes to colours I have to admit I’m really picky. Seeing something in a photo online just doesn’t work anywhere near as well as actually seeing it “in the flesh” After checking through my stash and drawing a blank there I had looked online at some well known yarn suppliers I found that the same yarn looked a completely different colour on different website. Of course as soon as I arrived at the shop I could see the exact colour I needed right in front of me! Even in this photo it looks much yellower than in life!
Another downside to online shopping is that temptation to spend more (on things you don’t really need) to qualify for free postage! Not an issue here!
It was also lovely to see my knitting friend Anne, who works at APC and featured in my very first blog post almost a year ago. She was involved in a project to yarn bomb her village with Christmas angels and had hosted a knitting event at her home as part of this.
To keep customers safe a temporary counter was set up in the doorway and though there was a steady stream of customers they were all able to complete their purchases before a queue formed (and Anne and I still managed to catch up).
The current window display at APC features poppies for Remembrance Day, including some beautiful poppy print fabrics and some handmade poppy brooches being sold to support the British Legion charity in a year when the usual collections have been able to take place.
Small independent shops like this are more than part of the economy – they are part of the community. Before you go online shopping this Christmas, especially to the big multinational companies, check out small independent businesses, especially those in your locality. Many offer an online service for delivery or click and collect which may be available through lockdown. They need our support.
Do you have a favourite shop in your area?