one crafty street

I was somewhat stranded in Sydney for a day or so (not a bad place to be stranded!) and found somewhere to stay right near King St, Newtown.  This was fortuitous for two reasons; firstly, because I love the area and it’s one of the few places in Sydney that I’m relatively familiar with, and secondly because since my last visit, two new yarn shops have opened up.  Hurrah!

Any prizes for guessing how I spent my day in Sydney?

My first stop was The Granny Square at the city end of King St (number 47).  It’s actually owned by Morris & Sons, but they’ve attempted to give the shop a discernible point of difference from their other locations.

It’s a small shop, nicely laid out, all white and bright with yarn displayed in cubbies.  Original features, polished floorboards, and a very cute cinema seat in the front window (but I wonder if it actually gets used?)

There are a few hand-dyed yarns but not as much as I was expecting.  They had a range of Sugar n’ Cream, lots of their own Empire line of  yarn, and some Noro.  Although it’s a nice little shop, there was nothing that jumped out at me to say, “Sydney souvenir yarn – buy me!” so I carried on my wanderings along King St.

The second yarny stop was  A Coffee and a Yarn at number 413, at the other end of the street.

It’s billed as a ‘knit cafe’, which is an idea that really appeals to me, and how many knitters don’t dream of opening a cafe/yarn shop?  Well, I was expecting a yarn shop/cafe combination, but there seems to be more emphasis on the cafe side of things, with yarn as a sideline.  (It’s sort of the reverse of somewhere like the gorgeous K1 Yarns in Edinburgh which is clearly a yarn store, but you can also get a nice pot of tea and a piece of cake).

The emphasis on the cafe rather than the knitting is highlighted by the website which lists a food and drink menu, but no details of what yarns are stocked.  I didn’t make notes, but from what I can recall they had stock such as  a few yarns from Dairing, Araucania Ranco in lovely rich colours, some Louisa Harding, and KnitPro needles.

As the shop has been open for a while now, I was surprised at the limited stock.  Even for the yarns that they had in, there didn’t seem to be much available in each colour.  My understanding is that they were hoping to focus on yarns with eco or fairtrade credentials, but it still seems to be a bit lacking.  Again, there was nothing there that I wanted to buy, so I settled down with a pot of tea, a slice of walnut and date loaf, and took the opportunity to do a spot of knitting.

After finishing up I wandered two doors down to one of my all-time favourite button stores, All Buttons Great and Small (that reminds me, I really need to compile a list of my international favourite button shops one day).

The shop was as lovely as I remembered it, but maybe it just wasn’t my day for shopping, because I came away empty-handed.  How on earth could that happen?  It’s probably got something to do with the size of my button stash already; with all the buttons that I already own something needs to be pretty special for me to be able to justify the purchase.

Whilst I didn’t come away with any crafty items from King St, I was very pleased to see two new yarny additions to my favourite Sydney street.  I’ll be interested in how they develop.

 

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melbourne buttons

One of my little quirks is a strange fascination with buttons.  I remember as a child spending hours playing with my mum’s (very small) button collection, having such a great time rearranging them, sorting them in to different groups according to colour, size, etc.  Since I started knitting a few years ago, my interest in buttons seems to have renewed itself, and my button stash now rivals my yarn stash.

In my crafty travels I have to incorporate some button shopping,  so here’s the rundown of Melbourne (Tokyo button shopping adventures to follow).  I made a new button source discovery, and visited an old favourite.

jimmys-buttons-door

Surely this is one of the best shop doors ever?  This is the entrance for Jimmy’s Buttons at 375 George St Fitzroy, a new discovery of mine,  found through one of my favourite blogs, Craft City Melbourne.  The set-up is pretty basic and very much has a factory store-front feel.  The left hand side of the shop is dedicated to tubes and boxes of buttons, but I was surprised that the majority of the store is actually dedicated to various ribbons and trims.  After a bit of a rummage I found some buttons that I wanted to buy, but the member of staff was particularly engrossed in speaking to a regular, so after quite a wait (and feeling somewhat like chopped liver) I decided to leave empty handed.

My last day in Melbourne was spent with the awesome Kylie.  We started off the day with the most delicious bagels and Vietnamese iced coffee (I was so excited, as I’d never had one outside of Vietnam before!).  One of my must-dos was to have a rummage in the gorgeous Nicholas Building, surely my favourite building in Melbourne.  After visiting the wonderful Kimono House, we hit Buttonmania, without a doubt the best place for buttons in the whole of the city.  We had a great chat to the owner Kate.  Turns out that she was hosting one of her amazing sales the following week (damn!) so we got a sneak peek at a small selection of what would be on sale.  Kate had somehow purchased a whopping 12 crates of depression-era buttons from Brazil.  She had only opened one crate so far, so we got to check out the gorgeous buttons that were inside that one crate.  I could only imagine what the other eleven might contain!  I can never leave Buttonmania empty-handed, so walked away with a few vintage beauties.

One of the best elements of the Nicholas Building is the original rickety elevators (including one that still has an attendant) so even if you’re only heading up a couple of floors, I’d highly recommend catching the lift.  Just to add to the fun, Kylie and I briefly got stuck, but only because we’re a bit rubbish at operating the thing.  Hint: don’t be afraid to press the red button!

If any of you Melbournians made it to the buttonmania sale, I’d love to hear about it.