I returned on Wed and am quite happy to be home so I can get back to my normal hobbies: beading, knitting, crochet, embroidery. It's so hot that beading and embroidery are the best to do now. I've decided to redo all the items I learned in class and then to keep on. Class really helped me as now it's easier for me to understand my printed books and magazine patterns. I didn't see any bead books I wanted to buy in London (I guess I have all the good ones) but I did order one of Suzanne Cooper's books.
I found the knitting books on sale to be of no interest with one exception: Louise Roberts book of 1000 motifs. I just hope it's not a repeat of materials I already have which it might be as it's Rowan inspired.
John Lewis was pretty bad in selection this time both on embroidery and on knitting. Liberty is still in the dark hallway but at least they have a good selection of Rowan yarns and I chose 8 different balls of Harris 4 ply to play with.
One of the beadstores up on the Kentish Town underground stop (Northern line) had not only beads, but lots of other crafts including some knitting and lots of embroidery materials. The most interesting threads though came from America so I didn't buy them. But the best beadstore for me was near Covent Garden and down in the lower level they sell wholesale or 100 gram bags. The prices were too good so I stocked up. They carry mainly Japanese or Czech beads in lots of colors.
I also did well in school as every day sellers came there. The best price on beads was from a seller there. I finally found triangle beads which I bought from a teacher and my own bead teacher also sold us beads.
The only other item I bought was a kitchen electronic scale so I can weigh my yarn and beads and it has the grams and measures even as small as 4 grams.
The day I was supposed to head back to London was a bit of a strange one as I discovered there was an opening for the stumpwork embroidery class and also one room left at the Abbey. I changed my travel plans and spent the next week working very hard trying to learn stumpwork. This is a little used type of embroidery which might be coming back and it is difficult. It also includes needlelace and I found it very interesting but it requires good vision or strong eyeglasses. Mine wern't that good for this.
Class atarted on Sun aft and I was intimidated by the other students who came in with lots of suitcases holding all their materials and equipment. All I had was a pair of scissors! The next morning I came very late to class and everyone was trying to find me. I had been in another class of embroidery but I left it as it didn't go in the direction I wanted which was stumpwork. My teacher Kay Dennis immediately came over to me and I got involved in making a strawberry. I also made a bee, some acorns, a squirrel, some berries and an orange, or lemon. I still have plenty of room on my sampler for more. Kay is a fabulous teacher and really loves and knows this subject. The other teacher Pat Trott also had a lot of demos on doing 3-D stitches which is the subject of her new book. Both teachers were lots of fun and I still have lots more to learn as I stopped improving my embroidery skills almost 30 years ago, so it was great to make some progress. Pat worked with me on long and short showing me her tricks for doing it right.
I also learned about a course on batik maybe for next time and I might even take a drawing course at some point. Possibly here in Israel. I attended some of the evening lectures and there was a very good one on the National Gallery so on my last day in London I went there with Rita who had come in from Indonesia. She introduced me to Gaby's, a hole in the wall place for Arabic foods on Charing Cross Rd.
The embroidery stores in London were not as good as the two near my school. Threads of Amersham and Rainbow in Great Missenden had much better selections.
Just before flying home, I met up with my bead teacher in Israel, Tami, and we had a good chat. I think she bought more beads than I did, but not by much. Until I actually got on my plane, I was worried there might be a wildcat strike as nothing had yet been settled by the strikers of the catering company for British Air. However I was given a 5 pound voucher to buy food at the airport and we also got baggies of sandwiches on the plane so I had a surfeit of food and can't complain. As far as I'm concerned they can hand out vouchers or lower their fare and the baggies inflight and for me that will be plenty.
My friend Jennifer told me I missed some really unpleasant hot weather in Israel while I was gone.