Cornwall LivingIssue #92
A stitch in time
With a deep connection to Falmouth, sisters Sandra Wakefield and Jane Abraham realised a long-shared ambition this year, opening their very own knitting and sewing shop – Stitches and Cream.
Jane and Sandra always wanted to open their own sewing and knitting shop, Sandra tells us, “mainly because it’s both of our hobbies.” Sandra only recently moved back to Cornwall after years of working in London for a pharmaceutical company, and whilst she was happily planning on not working, the draw of Falmouth’s boutique shopping scene proved far too strong. “I was talking to Jane about our old ambition to open a shop here and she said ‘oh that’s really interesting, because I’ve bought a domain!’. We looked at each other and thought ‘we could do this.’” From that moment the idea spiralled and when a shop became available, Sandra continues, “we were headlong into it.”
“we wanted to create a space where people felt they could just come in, have a chat and sit and do their projects, with no pressure to buy”
“Growing up we spent most of our summers in Falmouth. Our grandparents used to run Star and Garter pub for many years and our grandad was Tug Master of Falmouth.” Jane also went to school there: “So for us, Falmouth was always home.”
Driven by a passion for their shared hobby, they each felt that there was a need in the town for what they had to offer. Indeed, proving that hunch to be true, Jane tells us: “When we opened there was actually a queue!”
“We’ve become something of a destination shop,” Sandra elaborates. “For instance, last week there was a lady who’d travelled from Wales, having insisted her husband brought her down just to come to the shop! There have been a number of customers like that,” she laughs, “many with very quiet husbands, sitting down on the sofa and patiently waiting.”
So, for those of you who love knitting and sewing, why should you visit Stitches and Cream when you could easily source yarns and fabrics online? For starters, Sandra and Jane, wherever possible, source products from local, UK-based indie suppliers. “We don’t go for mass market or cheaper fabrics; we go for good, high-quality products. People spend a lot of time and effort making their clothes and we want them to have a good quality product at the end of it.” With regards to the yarns they stock, Sandra and Jane only source the most beautiful natural yarns from British sheep. And that’s what sets the shop apart from any internet store – the experience. As Sandra puts it: “It’s about coming in and seeing and feeling what the fabrics and yarns are like.”
But that’s not all. While it is, first and foremost, a shop, the retail side only accounts for half of the business; between them, Sandra and Jane run regular sewing and knitting workshops, covering a range of skills, from knitting and crochet, to modern embroidery and invisible mending. “We do these partly to teach new skills,” explains Jane, but it goes further than that. “We’re very passionate about mental health and helping those who feel really isolated, so we wanted to create a space where people felt they could just come in, have a chat and sit and do their projects, with no pressure to buy. We run family workshops as well, which are a great opportunity to just set life aside and focus on something that’s really creative.”
Impressively, their work with the community doesn’t stop there. In fact, they are currently working in collaboration with the Fashion and Textile Department at Falmouth University, helping students in the development of fabrics and products and testing them in a commercial environment. Frankly, we don’t know how they find the time, especially considering that Jane still works as a Civil Servant in London, as well as being a Non-Executive Director for the Cornwall Partnership (NHS) Foundation Trust!
With winter nearly upon us and Christmas looming, our conversation inevitably turns to the festive season and what Stitches and Cream have planned for the holidays ahead. “We have a range of workshops that are purely Christmas related,” Sandra tells us. These range from sewing your own Christmas decorations and advent calendars, to customising Christmas jumpers, sewing Christmas stockings, even making your
The pair will also be busy preparing a range of knitting and sewing packs and kits, as well as a broad selection of small pieces, gifts and quirky bits, many of which will only be available in store. With gift vouchers available too, it’s fair to say that if there’s a sewing lover yet to be ticked off of your Christmas list, then a visit to Stitches and Cream on Falmouth’s Old High Street is an absolute must.
Did you know?
Did you know that Stitches and Cream work in collaboration with SeaSalt? In fact, it is the only company in the UK to sell SeaSalt fabric on the bolt. Available now, in-store and online!
Falmouth’s Old High Street is home to a number of small, quirky, independent shops like Stitches and Cream. Each offering great customer service and a very different shopping experience to the high street of Truro, itís well worth a visit at any time of year.
STITCHES AND CREAM
"we wanted to create a space where people felt they could just come in, have a chat and sit and do their projects, with no pressure to buy"