Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fabric shopping in... Holland! (part 1)

Despite some prevarication because of yet another heavy cold, I set off last Monday afternoon for another of my fabric finding adventures, this time to... Holland! Spreading my germs where-ever I went!

It must be 25 years since I last visited the Netherlands and I had long wanted to visit Zutphen where Petra Prins has what I was sure would be a lovely quilt fabric shop. Each year, Petra has a stand at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK and I love her selection of fabrics, many of which we do not see in the UK. It is rare not to find a group of quilters 3 or 4 deep around her stand and I was not to be disappointed by my visit to her shop!

Stena Ferries (no affiliation), have a great "Sail and Rail" deal for the Netherlands which includes a return rail ticket from any National Express East Anglia station, which in my case was London Liverpool Street to Harwich, then a return ferry trip to Hoek van Holland followed by a travel anywhere by rail ticket in Holland on the days that you arrive and leave Holland - a fantastic deal.

On arrival at the Harwich passenger terminal, there was this wonderful embroidery.

Made by members of the local embroidery group, these panels depict the history of the area over the past 2,000 years through the use of raised embroidery or stump work.

Unfortunately, because of the reflection of the lights on the protecting glass, it was difficult to get clear pictures, but hopefully these photographs will convey some of the attention to detail within the panels.

Farm girl and her Gloucester Old Spot pig

As I had decided on a night crossing to Holland I had a cabin. I was shocked when I saw it. For me this was far beyond what I was expecting, but then the last time I slept on a ferry it was in my childhood and believe me the cabins were nothing quite like this!

My cabin (above) and shower room (below). I even had television to watch, although I could have gone to the on-board cinema. The meals were pretty good too!

My ship, the Stena Hollandica taken as the sun rose through the mist. My cabin was on Deck 11 - at the top.

To Zutphen...
I caught the train from Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) to Zutphen, changing trains at Rotterdam Central and Apeldoorn. A very easy trip undertaken in just over three hours.

Zutphen is a beautiful medieval town which has retained a lot of its charm as I hope some of my photographs show, with cobbled, narrow streets and interesting buildings and of course the ubiquitous bicycles.

The Groenmarkt... I was very lucky with the weather, it was very warm for the time of year.
My hotel...

There was a shell grotto in the hotel grounds...

Petra Prins' quilt shop is situated just off the Groenmarkt down a narrow cobbled street. Unfortunately, you cannot tell from this picture, but the cobbles were all laid out in a clamshell pattern which I thought was very appropriate.
Inside, the shop was like a fabric wonderland! This photograph shows just about half of all the bolts of fabric. Bep and Gerda were really kind and allowed me to virtually take over the shop as I tried to match the fabrics in an old quilt I had brought with me and plan to reproduce. I spent a total of 6 hours in there (spread over 2 days I hasten to add), but all the same I don't know how they kept their patience with me! But it was fun, fun , fun to play with the fabric.

The above picture shows my final collection of fabric to reproduce the old quilt including enough background fabric for the project.
And then I chose a few more fabrics for other projects. I could have chosen so much more! Gerda and I spent a little time sparring with each other as to who had the largest collection of quilt patterns by Di Ford (an Australian quilt designer), I think I just about won that one, by two patterns! The above fabrics are for my Beyond the Cherry Trees Album Quilt, the Poppies quilt and finally the Phoebe quilt, because I have decided to do the centre block - again and Gerda was generous in sharing with me the two fabrics she used for the centre pot.
In far too short a time, it was time to leave Zutphen and head for Amsterdam, but I will be back...!!

If you are ever in the vicinity of Zutphen, do visit Petra's shop - I have added it to my personal list of the 10 best quilt shops in the world!

Danke Well, Gerda and Bep for all your help and hospitality.


  1. What a beautifull pictures you show us!!!
    And it was a plesure to met you....the antique quilt..your fabrics and patterns..and your visit gifs me a lot of energie!!!!
    have a nice day!!..;0)

  2. ..ofcourse..*Ü*...

  3. Your trip looks fabulous, thanks for the great photos that 'take us along' - great fun!!