Hoop Haberdashery

8 May 2013

Temptations aplenty at Hoop in Tenterden

It's always a lovely thing to spend a Saturday morning in spring pottering about a a quintessentially English market town. And when that market town is Tenterden in the Weald of Kent, it's even lovelier. The whole experience is at its loveliest when you stumble across a new haberdashery at No. 92 the High Street.

You go inside. And then we're in a world beyond comparatives and superlatives. We've reached a new level of "lovely" and may even deploy a "fantastic" and "wonderful" with an exclamation mark thrown in for good measure in any ensuing description. Or possibly a pseudo foreign word to convey a similar sense of excitement.

A wonderful and light space to show off the fantastic range of craft goods on offer

For Hoop Haberdashery is marvelous. It's an elegant, light space with Scandinavian overtones (oh, how I love a bit of Skandi minimalism) and enough room to have a proper look at the wares on offer. There are buttons a plenty, which make wonderful entertainment for toddlers when sorted in trays whilst Mama surveys other crafty delights. 

Buttons. So many buttons.

Yarns by Rowan, Debbie Bliss and Rico will keep the knitters and crocheters content and colouful ribbons at the back are demanding their use in a project. Any project. Just buy lots of ribbon. Now.

Ribbons. Lots of ribbons.

Ribbons aside, Hoop (as the name might suggest) has a focus on embroidery. With embroidery flosses by DMC, linens from La Croix & La Manière in Paris as well as - quelle surprise - hoops you're set with all the kit you need. 

Wow. I didn't even see these drawers full of embroidery threads when I went into Hoop. Gosh. Where to begin?

And now for a pattern. Fortunately Hoop has many books to choose from including a number of French ones. Fear not, there's no need to dust off the GCSE French notes. Like those whizzy Japanese crochet patterns, these books have clear charts for which being billingual is not a prerequisite.

Oh, and if you can't crochet, knit or embroider but wish to learn or you're a Kentish crafter looking for a space to socialise and do your thing there's a table in Hoop. Around this table classes are taught, tea is drunk and crafters can natter. Brilliant.

The table around which tea is drunk and classes are taught.

Vanessa Davies is the lady who set this all up in late 2012 because she was  "... getting tired of going into dark, cluttered craft shops run by old ladies that simply didn't have the quality of products I was used to working with". And by the phrase "working with" Vanessa doesn't just mean using in her own projects. After twenty years as a professional photographer working with publishers like Jacqui Small and manufacturers like Rowan, she knows a thing or two about quality. 

On an aside what a fascinating two decades to be working in the world of craft, watching it go from the doldrums of a perceived frumpery and folkery to the slick and chic beast that it is today. Hmmm... methinks a small interview with Vanessa sporting her photographer's hat might be called for.

What's the collective noun for a heap of embroidery hoops? A cluster? A chaos?

But back to Hoop... Hooray! Thank you, Vanessa for bringing us, The Masses in Kent (although an online shop is pending for The Masses beyond the Garden of England. Do sign up for the newsletter) such a lovelissima haberdashery. For of course if "haberdashery" were an Italian word it probably be feminine.

(Images: Vanessa Davies of Hoop Haberdashery. I did take some of my own on the point-and-shoot but upon discovering that Vanessa is a pro, sheepishly put my camera away and asked if I could use her much prettier images. Bless her, she did smile and say "all photographs are valid!" in an encouraging way but I just don't think my wibbly pictures taken with a writhing toddler in a sling before the introduction of a tray full of buttons would have done her shop any justice)