I'm afraid I do have a weakness for eye-candy books especially if either sheep or yarn is involved, so when I heard about London Stitch and Knit: A Craft Lover's Guide to London's Fabric, Knitting and Haberdashery Shops by Leigh Metcalf, I succumbed and ordered the book, and I've really enjoyed browsing through it.
I don't get down to London nearly as often as I'd like; in fact I think I visited the city more when I lived in Toronto. Though the trip only takes about two hours from Liverpool, and there are many trains a day, the fares are quite expensive unless you book many weeks in advance. I have on occasion treated myself to a rare Saturday trip and those tickets come with an all-day underground pass so you can easily whip around the city.
This book is exactly what it implies in the title. Metcalf has divided this guide by neighbourhood and included a brief description of each of the almost 50 shops and their wares. I've only been to a handful of them and those include London stalwarts like Liberty and the big John Lewis on Oxford Street, so there are plenty of new establishments to explore on my next trip - knitting, fabric, buttons and trims, and even a weaving shop! There's a handy map at the beginning of each section - the one below is of Islington, around Angel station where I usually make a pilgrimage to Loop and Ray Stitch. I'm thrilled that there are a few more stores in the area because it's such a great part of the city to walk around in, with lots of intriguing indie shops and restaurants.
Guides like this are fun; I want to pick an area of London that I'm totally unfamiliar with, and see what else I discover as I walk from one store to another.
But the book's main appeal to the non-Londoner, is of course the photography of haberdashery goods, so it works well as a coffee table book too. The photos give a nice insight into how each shop has curated and displayed their goods, and they certainly can inspire some colour palettes and get the creative juices going.