Here in the UK, there is a gigantic department store chain called John Lewis.  This is not just your average Sears, JCPenney or Macy’s, and my main proof of this is that they have a CRAFT section.  Fabrics, sewing machines, notions, yarns, embroidery supplies, books, magazines, etc, etc, etc.

Hubby and I visited this craft-store-inside-a-department-store this past weekend, as I was in need of a sewing machine.  Before we moved I passed along my machine to a friend who was going to re-learn to sew, and since we’ve moved I’d already borrowed a machine from a new friend (thanks, Katy!).    Normally, I would have assumed that I could make it more than two weeks in a new place without a sewing machine – I mean, sewing is a hobby for me, not a job.

However, I actually did get a job sewing here in Edinburgh – super part time sewing for a company producing a line of eco-friendly accessories, all made from reclaimed waste materials.    So far for them I have stitched up eight re-usable grocery bags, with more orders coming this week.    They have hired about six sewers around the Edinburgh area – the company cuts out the fabric for us, and all we have to do is stitch the bags together.  Each one takes less than an hour to complete.

Because of this job,  and because it would be friendship suicide to keep borrowing Katy’s machine (she is a very avid sewer herself), I was happy to HAVE to buy myself a new machine.    I ended up picking out the lower end, lightweight Janome after debating about how much money I should spend on a machine when I don’t have a grown-up job yet… better quality? more heavy duty? more expensive.  Good enough? less expensive – and really, besides these simple tote bags for work, I probably won’t be able to afford to sew like mad while we are here – because let me tell you: Fabric here is expensive.  Too expensive.    Therefore, the less expensive machine came home with me on Saturday.    And I LOVE it.

The bonus to buying a less expensive machine?   I didn’t feel the least amount of guilt picking up a few other things while at the craft section of the John Lewis…

{Rowan Lima – Baby Alpaca & Merino wool}

My first Edinburgh yarn purchase – destined to be a hat for me. It’s a dark taupe-y gray with hints of purple.  This yarn is so wonderfully soft, and they must know what they are doing to have some sample knits in this yarn out at the store – it totally sold me on this yarn when I was able to see and touch a finished garment made up in it.  Yum.

{Sophia Carry-All by Amy Butler}

I also picked up my first ever Amy Butler pattern (though I have been eye-ing them for a while).   The one downside is that I think I shall have to wait to make this bag until I can save up the money to afford all of the materials that go into it.  I never thought I would miss JoAnn fabrics and a 40% off coupon…

I think I will start a change jar dedicated to the future purchase of fabrics and yarns. It should be a slow enough way to save that I won’t accumulate any sort of “stash” while we are here (my goal from here on out).   If anyone has any pence they’d like to donate, send them along!

Happy Tuesday!