It was my birthday this week and while I’m way past the age of celebrating getting a year older, I like to do something different. This year I planned a bit of retail therapy in Leeds, a city that lies about 25 miles to the west of where I live.
I went with Nicola, a friend from the crochet and chat group I go to in Selby most weeks. She is @creative.explorer on instagram and is, like me, totally in love with crochet, yarn and crafting generally. We decided to have lunch out, see the big new shopping centre that’s only just opened and take in a few yarn, craft and fabric shops.
Victoria Gate Shopping Centre
This is the new centre that has been under construction in Leeds for a couple of years and it opened for the first time in October. I’ve not been to Leeds much in recent years but it was a regular shopping destination when I was growing up. The agony of going on a trip to buy new school shoes or a new winter coat. How I hated it!
These days I like shopping a bit better but I’m not really one to spend every Saturday going round shopping centres. I prefer smaller, quirkier shops, anything to do with crafts or a car boot sale to be honest.
Victoria Gate was certainly impressive – lots of marble, glass and lights and with a big John Lewis store and some very big high street names.
After a quick cup of tea and opening a handmade present from Nicola – a crochet hook case – we decided to go out of the centre and find the craft shops we wanted to visit. The plan was to come back later but only if we had time. Priorities!
Our first destination was B&M Fabrics, a small but absolutely crammed fabric store run by the same people who have had a fabric store in the inside market for years.
As you can see from the photo above, the shop is right next door to one of the entrances to Kirkgate Market, which is the indoor market in Leeds. It has a fantastic range of fabrics including lots and lots of 100% cotton in many different designs.
And every colour of cotton thread you could imagine to go with it all…
No surprise that we spent quite a lot of time in here and I bought some cotton fabric, only a metre of a couple of designs and some plain cotton so that I can make more bags and practice my sewing skills.
A vintage birthday lunch
We could have gone into the new centre to eat at lunch time but Nicola had planned ahead and had booked us an afternoon tea lunch at a vintage/retro tea rooms in one of the arcades. It was fabulous and its called the Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom. They had crochet blankets on the chairs, mis-matched china, music playing and loads of things from the era of the 1950s/1960s. I even got a birthday balloon!
The lunch was perfect – and although it looked dainty, eating a round of sandwiches, a scone with cream and jam and several cups of tea meant we had to take our cake home to eat later.
After lunch time was really speeding along so we went off to find two more shops – Samuel Taylors and Fred Aldous. The first shop is very old and has been there years while the Fred Aldhous store is quite new – I think its been open just over a year. The bigger mother store is in Manchester and they have been selling by mail order for ever.
We managed to get more fabric in Samuel Taylors, which was downstairs and was handily packaged already cut into metre lengths. I have quite a fabric haul – but I’ll talk more about that in another post next week. See you then, Kathryn xxx