Stitches & Daughters

There’s a scene in ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ where Alice walks into a shop owned, I vaguely remember, by a sheep who did knitting (entirely irrelevant to the point I’m making, but it might help you remember the bit I’m talking about.) It is full of the most delightful goodies – beautiful things on shelves up to the ceiling and bright shiny things that she KNOWS are just what she needs. The trouble is that whenever she tries to focus on anything the shelf she’s looking at is suddenly entirely bare (though all around the shop still seems to be full) and Alice finds herself supremely frustrated because she is desperate to buy something lovely.

That’s a bit how I feel when I go into Stitches & Daughters. I want so much to like this shop. From the outside it looks utterly beautiful – a cute little multi-paned window with lovely displays of Emma Bridgewater crocks and pretty greetings cards. I walk in the doorway, where there are some natty pieces of wrapping paper on rails and as I get to the main part of the shop my heart rises. The nice lady always says hello and I think “Today I am going to find something perfect.”

The Buena Vista Social Club are playing gently in background (I have never heard anything else) and all around me I can feel the presence of sparkly, feathery, fluffy, painty things. I’m in the mood to spend. But when I get down to specifics, there’s really nothing that particularly grabs me – not even as a potential present for friends even girlier than I am. There are usually some good quality, solid clothes – individual pieces or short-runs which I would describe as elegant items for ladies-of-a-certain-age – but nothing that truly catches my eye.

There is a glass case full of sparkly jewellery – but if I try to find a single piece on its own that I must have, I’m stumped. There’s the odd antique – usually a pretty kitchen or household item – but nothing I really want enough to move something out to make a home for. Some of the toys for well-heeled kiddies are fun – including some pretty china plates, and there are some rather nice little leather bootees – presumably christening or First Birthday gifts – but still – nothing that I really need or want.

In the end I find myself having to wish the lady a polite “thank you” and beating a blushing retreat. This is a lovely shop. What’s wrong with me that I can’t find anything I want to buy in it? Am I trying too hard?

I am pleased to say that SOMEBODY must like the goods in Stitches & Daughters because it’s been there a long while and shows all the signs of being prosperous. Long may it continue to be so. I’m going to keep going in there and one day, maybe one day, I’m going to buy something.

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