Wednesday, 4 April 2012

CRAFTS: The Difference Between the US and UK

Source

There is one thing I wish the English embraced like the Americans - CRAFTS! 

There's two reasons I believe why I've really got back into cross stitching and experimented with trying new crafts. Not only because I can't work but it's a great way to productively waste a good couple of hours but because of the American love for crafts. And because this love exists there are huge crafts stores all over the place - living in walking distance of two [a Michael's and a JoAnns] I'm in craft heaven.

Growing up I was always considered a little odd because I knew how to sew, I could attempt to knit and that my mam knitted a lot of her own cardigans and jumpers and because I taught myself how to crochet [all the older relatives who use to crochet had died before I was interested in learning].  I knew other people had such hobbies but no one would talk about it, even at work. While the UK has Hobbycraft stores and a tonne of independent retailers [the later I'll admit the USA doesn't have] they are nothing like as big, or as cheap as the American version. The aforementioned stores make me wonder how British shops charge so much - for example one DMC thread retails [although cheaper online] at 75p [or it did when I was back in the UK]. Here they retail at the equivalent price of 26p [39c - excluding tax, JoAnns]. While I know DMC is an American company, Anchor cottons retailed at the same price. Yet it applies to everything.

Source

These stores will tempt your dollars out of your pockets, they introduce you to crafts you never knew existed. From art, baking, flower arrangements, framing, scrap booking, wool, sewing, equipment, patterns and fabrics. JoAnns even offer free patterns so I always grab them, I might never use them but I love the inspiration. As with a lot of American stores coupons are a plenty often ranging from 40 percent off an item to 25 per cent off your entire purchase. While you might have to sign up for them it's always worth it - I always use the sales as an excuse to stock up on my sewing basics.

There is one thing America and it's passion for crafts slightly falls behind on - craft magazines particularly ones for cross stitching. Predominately they rely on and sell British imports which I'm all for because it means I can still get the Cross Sticther magazines with all the freebies but I've even spied British crocheting and even Mollie Makes.

Source
If you're ever in the USA and you love crafts, take a couple of hours out to check out a craft store - if you're a big crafter it's really worth it!

Do you have any crafts? Do you agree that the UK needs to embrace it's craft heritage a little more?

22 comments:

  1. It sounds like such a big difference, and I must admit the only place I do really seek out craft supplies is Hobby Craft so you could say there really is quite a lack of UK craft shops.
    I remember always being glued to Project Runway and when they would visit fabric stores I always got so jealous!
    It sounds like you really have got some great craft stores on your doorstep xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah you walk into JoAnns and there's just lines and piles of fabric, all colours and all types. You're just so spoilt here for things like that.

      Delete
  2. Wow, that's something I never thought about...crafts everywhere else in the world. I know in Thailand, crafts are huge! Especially scrapbooking, but never thought about the UK. Now I kinda feel spoiled because I have 2 AC Moore's, 1 Michael's, and 1 Joann's Fabric Store like in a 5 mile radius from my home! I'm very lucky!

    Good for you knowing how to sew! My mom works at a Joann's, selling machines and I still don't know how to sew! =P

    Lemanie's Randomness Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah in the UK I feel there's a bit of an idea that crafts might be for the older generation, that it's not cool enough for the younger ones. Probably because clothes are so cheap people don't need to make their own and people have so much other things to do they don't need to sew for entertainment or whatever. Also I never felt the textiles lessons we had at sew were very tangible and approachable, it was very formal and not very hands on. It was just this is how you would sew with a machine and that's the only thing to do.

      I haven't been to an AC Moores, not sure if they have any around here, saying that JoAnns and Michaels tempt me enough without needing another shop to have an excuse to visit!

      Delete
  3. i wish we had craft stores like in the USA. I hate how expensive Hobbycraft is! The Range is pretty good but again I find I have to get most things on ebay and fabrics from the market. Although if we did have such big craft stores I would be likely to go in and never come out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I didn't mind the Range when I got to pop in once but I found their yarn based craft section was a little lacking. My mam has to to buy a lot of her wool through mail order catalogues but the prices were crazy especially with the postage!

      I get so tempted in the craft stores here - we'd save loads more money if i avoided them but I claim they keep me out of trouble!

      Delete
  4. I'm just really getting into crafts and do wish there were more stores in the UK, esp as Hobbycraft is so expensive... :( That turquoise sewing machine is sooo pretty!! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its great isn't it?! I've noticed Hobby Craft wasn't the cheapest of places, only got to visit it a couple of times because it was rather a drive away from where I use to live.

      Delete
  5. I'm quite excited to (hopefully) get a chance to visit the USA soon and go to a big craft store. I feel a little bit tragic for saying that haha - there's millions of other things I could do in the country but one of the big things drawing me into visiting is their giant craft shops. I love going to Hobbycraft, but it is pretty pricey so I normally shop online instead. I shop in the local independent shops I have near me fairly frequently too, especially for things like yarn - if I'm stuck on a knitting pattern or need exactly the right type of fabric for a project, I find that the staff in chain stores are basically useless as I know more about their products than they do, and the staff in smaller independent shops are so helpful as they often have a wealth of knowledge so they can always help you out with your problem (and even give you hints and advice you didn't know you needed!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could waste hours in such stores - it's so easy to just want to go around and see everything. So many goodies! I use to shop online for my cottons for cross stitch, the price was so much better even with shipping costs. Saying that I would prefer buying them in stores especially like you say the independent craft stores. Haberdashery shops are amazing for crafts items too [which America lacks] but they seem to be a dying breed which is a shame. I guess perhaps everything will become more online based in the UK, which may be great price wise when it comes to material and yarn i'd rather be able to see and feel it before purchasing.

      Delete
  6. I love crafts! I find myself collecting things for projects that I keep on procrastinating on. And you're right, you can seriously find any type of diy's at these crafts stores nowadays. It's a great way to kill time and I remember how creative I was when I was actually younger when it came to sewing and knitting, but it's like my mind has downgraded. I want to re-learn and hopefully make something for my son to pass down to his kid! Wouldn't that be something!~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be gorgeous thing to make Jen! I see so many things to make for babies, like say alphabet samplers which i'm storing up for the "one day" case when we have children or even friends/relatives have one. Any excuse for more crafting!

      Delete
  7. This is so interesting. I'd love to visit a craft store in the US. Ours just feel so lame. But our magazines are pretty good espesh Cross Stitcher! I love that mag.
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a great magazine isn't it?!

      Delete
  8. hence my emailing you about crafting stickers. i'm not joking about you setting up some sort of import business. you should do it. craft supplies and jolly ranchers! you'd beb on to a winner, i promise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have got me thinking about perhaps selling some things on Ebay!

      Delete
  9. I think the Uk is beginning to rediscover crafts.... I'm 16 and I have a list as long as my arm of classmates who want me to teach them how to knit, and our textiles class was oversubscribed! And, sometimes the independent stores are quite brilliant... my local sells 50g balls of wool for 70p! I always stock up when I get some spare money. Ever since the recession hit, I've noticed more and more people beginning to want to craft

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to hear and it sounds like you have some amazing independent shops buy you with wool for that price!!

      Delete
  10. I am not creative at all, which I'm jealous of because I want to be crafty!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I presonally lack the patience for most crafts and it takes me forever to learn new things! I think craft has definitely picked up in Australia in the last few years though. Our big chain is Spotlight and currently they don't have much competition which means that aren't super cheap. xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. The first time I went to the US I was amazed at how cheap crafting material was - brought back loads of stuff! Difficult to find a large selection of craft materials that don't cost the earth where I live.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wish I had found this thread long before I opted to fill a shipping container and move from Canada to the UK without stocking up on the items I have grown to know and love. It has been so challenging-I am feeling a tad deflated about crafting and healthy eating in general these days.

    It's a bit crazy really because the culture is RICH in markets and handcrafted items, but people like me who have had access to Michaels, dollarstore crafting items etc are left feeling kinda stunted here.

    Every time I locate something online at a reasonable price I feel like I have to buy it all in case I never see it again and it creates a bit of a craft hoarder feeling in me. :(

    The same is true with healthy convenience foods. *sigh*

    Anyhow-thanks for the read. I guess I am not alone.

    ReplyDelete