Do you know of where I speak?
Even their own website describes the location as "iconic". And yes, it is.
Please forgive my pictures but it was overcast and cloudy the afternoon I went to Liberty. It affected the lighting outside and inside the store, an open space with a large glass skylight. It didn't rain -- more's the pity as it would have given me a terrific excuse to just hang out in the store, lingering on the 3rd floor with the fabrics.
As you're reading this, I'm in Wisconsin this week. I'm there for a Shopowners Retreat at Primitive Gatherings. No, I am not opening a shop. No, I am not buying a shop. But after seeing a card about it at Fall Market last year, I asked Ms. Bongean if I had to do one of those two things to be able to attend. After a little bit of a discussion, she decided that I was probably harmless enough -- less annoying than she originally thought -- and it would be okay to go. So here I am -- or there I am. I'll tell you about it when I get back. In the meantime, I'll tell you about another great fabric shop.
Over the years, I've managed to collect some Liberty of London fabrics, mostly the lawns for which they are very famous. But as many of you know, they can be hard to find in much of the US, and when you do find some, it is often very expensive.
I knew I should have brought a bigger suitcase -- wouldn't this dressform have been fun?
Ribbons and trims -- I loved how the ribbons were wrapped on the cards. I almost bought a couple just to put on a shelf... but then my attention was diverted. (It was a mixed blessing. Given that I didn't know what I would do with the ribbon, and the price of it, I was better off being led away from this particular temptation. Except that sometimes the temptation you leave behind isn't quite as bad as the temptation you're replacing it with.)
These vase-like things were on the other side of the building from where I was standing when I first spotted them.
I was told that George Clooney walked right by me, said "Hello gorgeous!" and I didn't even notice. (Okay, I would have noticed... I would have noticed anyone who tried to get close enough to this to try and grab one of those rolls!)
Packaged primarily by weight, each of these little rolls has between 10 and 12 different prints, each measuring about 48" long by anywhere from 4" to 6" wide. Packaged and sold for patchwork, the tag says that if the pieces were sewn together, the finished quilt would be about 48" x 60" or thereabouts.
Naturally wanting a big quilt, and to share these lovely rolls with all my friends, I picked up the vase-thing and carried what you see in the picture to the salesdesk. While waiting in line and making a mental list of who might like a roll of Liberty fabrics, I happened to see a price tag. When it was my turn, I told the lovely saleslady that while I didn't need the vase, I would take all four of the rolls contained therein! When she questioned my count, I apologize profusely and told her that I hadn't realized that there was a fifth roll tucked in there. My mistake. Please forgive me. Yes, I will take that one too.
Hey, at 49.95 each, my largesse was going to get very expensive, very quickly. That's 49.95 pounds -- British Sterling. That's $81.82 at the current exchange rate. Each. Five times $81.82... oy vey. So just how much do I really like Ginger?
After the formerly nice saleslady mentioned the possiblity of calling security -- oh, to have still been in Paris -- I closed my eyes and picked one. Then I put it back and picked another one... which I bought. I'm not sure exactly what I'll make with it but I think it's a safe bet that it won't be very big.
Nor far from Liberty of London, at 4 Avery Row in Mayfair is another lovely shop known for their fabrics -- and soon to be better known here for their quilt fabrics.
Did you know Christina has a blog?
(No, this shop didn't have any fabric. There are two shops that stock the home decorating weight fabrics for which Cabbages & Roses are known, but those stores were a little further afield. I could have taken the Underground, and I did consider it, but with just a few days in London and rapidly decreasing luggage space, I thought it best not to throw any more temptation in my path. Next time, right?)
More on London later... though not much more.