Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crafty Lisbon

Browsing Lisbon for fabric was a fun adventure despite not really buying any.
I came across a few good shops, and had I not needed to be so discerning due to lack of space I probably would have left Portugal with more.

I didn't actually find any material that was so unique that I had to have it. Speaking with a gentleman at one of the shops, he told me that I wouldn't find any "Portugese" fabric per se, as it was only produced for clothes manufacturing. Likewise, when it comes to yarn there were a few Portugese spun yarns available, but all the wool is coming from elsewhere - mainly New Zealand.

My favourite shop was called Retrosaria - Rosa Pomar, found at Rua Do Loreto, 61 on the 2nd floor(the main floor counts as "0"). (If you happen to arrive there with your baby fast asleep in the stroller just head next door for a 'pasteis de nata' and a drink until he wakes up!).
This shop is just getting in to producing their own yarn and sells a wool they have spun from Portugese sheep - though it is quite a harsh wool. I was told they are working on another, spun from a Southern breed which is much softer.
They sell some great designer fabrics, of which I bought a small bundle of scraps. Unfortunately, I am in love with one of the fabrics in the bundle, but no one knew the designer, or name. Bummer... Maybe, I should post a pic and someone may know?...
The shop also sells a ton of Japanese pattern books for crochet, knitting, and sewing. They were tough to resist- so much so, that I bought one. Shhh, don't tell my hubby. Could there be a worse thing than books to buy when all you have is a backpack?? I suppose yes, maybe a lamp... I know because I wanted one when we were in Egypt but I suppose it made sense that I couldn't buy that one.

I also picked up a few Portugese knitting pins (Aha! something local!). They explained to me that they are the alternative to draping the yarn behind your neck while knitting, which I also was not familiar with. Now, I'll give both techniques a try and see where I'm at. Maybe, it'll all of a sudden make me a crazy, super fast knitter!! Ahhh, dreams...
A woman, who I believe may have been Rosa herself, warned me to use the pins while wearing a shawl or sweater - just something that it will easily pin to - as otherwise you will be left with a hole in your top.

Despite the lack of "local" fabrics, I did pick up a couple of "Portugal" tea towels from a tourist shop for 1 Euro each to use in sewing projects. I have also seen some great tablecloths that I would love to sew with at only 5 Euro a piece. Maybe. before I leave Portugal I should grab one of them too...
No matter what I do buy on a trip, I pretty much always end up kicking myself for what I didn't buy.

A few other shops:

Rua Da Conceicao in the Baixa Ciado area, had several "haberdashery" shops, of which I learned are shops selling pretty much all crafty bits - buttons, ribbons, knitting spools, embroidery floss, yarn, needles etc. Some specific ones I checked out were at #91, 93, 95, 115, and 121.

Rua De Aurea also in the Baixa Ciado area, had a very large multi-level fabric shop called Feira Dos Tecidos. Just down from that one was a 2 level fabric shop called Retrosaria (as so many are), with a nice selection (especially on the lower level).

A small fabric shop is located on the corner at Rua Dos Fanqueiros, 69.


  1. The tea towels look great! Sounds like a fun day looking.

  2. I don't know how you got out of this cute shop ;)
    I love the dolls in the first shot.
    Awesome trip!!!