On Saturday I had a little jaunt to Caterham in Surrey to investigate the craft shops. Caterham is about 45 minutes from central London by train and just inside the M25. It’s also quite a small place, but the locals clearly enjoy making beautiful things as there are three craft shops and it was the original home of Caterham cars.
Top of my list was The Yarn House. I’ve visited once before by car, but on foot it’s a 10 minute climb up the steepest hill in the world. Everyone was crawling up the hill on their hands and knees. At the top of the hill is a parade of shops including a bakery/cafÃ©, a second hand book and record store and a rock’n’roll diner in a pub.
The Yarn House is quite small but friendly and has a reliable selection of basic yarn in appealing colours including acrylics, wool, linen and some luxury yarns including Artesano Alpaca and Noro, some pretty quilting fabric and an excellent selection of sock yarn. There was also a tempting pile of sale yarn.
Back down at the bottom of the hill on the main shopping street, is a haberdashery called Surrey Foam. From the outside it appears to just sell bean bag beans and foam for stuffing things. Inside the shop was an excellent haberdashery, packed with customers who were clearly as impressed as I was with the comprehensive selection of sewing bits and bobs. I was most tempted by the buttons and the printed cotton fabric.
Across the road is the Treasure Chest, a shop which primarily sells cards and paper craft items, and the sort of inoffensive novelty gifts you buy for people you don’t really know. On one wall there is a small selection of budget knitting yarns, mostly King Cole as well as some of those giant 500g balls of acrylic aran.
My final stop was at the East Surrey Museum which is a very old-fashioned museum in a pretty building. The rooms are packed with bric-a-brac relating to the local history, including a corset and lace scarf from a long departed local department store. Most of the museums in London have had glossy lottery funded makeovers, but this museum is quaint and sweetly pottering about in the past. I love a good local history museum and enjoyed the East Surrey Museum, despite not knowing the Tandridge area.