“What you need,” my daughter said before I headed back to Saudi about a week ago, “ is a project.”
I woke up a few days ago with her words ringing in my ears. I realized the many minutes of empty space that needed to be filled in the days ahead. She was right. Over the last weeks in New Zealand there’d been Christmas and a wedding to celebrate. It had been busy and fun, but now I was back in Riyadh and it was all over.
So, yes to a project. I considered the possibilities. Last year I'd bought a sewing machine and used it a little. There was a quilt I'd pieced together from Liberty fabric that I'd bought in London. It needed backing and quilting. Definitely a project in waiting.
Then there was knitting. I'd been given a book of vintage knitting patterns for Christmas and already made one small jersey. Flicking through the pages, I found a pattern for a hat which would use up the left over wool. Another project sorted. Well, almost. I realised as I read the pattern that I'd have to find needles in the correct 4mm size. And if I was going to complete my quilt, I'd need some quilting cotton.
So, off to the DMC shop. In case you're wondering where it is, it's on Musa Bin Nussair Street off Olaya Road and opposite Al Akariya Mall. It's also just around the corner from Cafe Bateel, which is a good place to go for a coffee and dates when you've done with shopping.
I discovered the DMC shop through a friend here who also quilts. It's a sewers' treasure trove of ribbons, buttons and the sort of frippery that you'd only find in Saudi.
A little further into the shop and around a corner, I found this tapestry with a unique Saudi flavour.
Walking further again, I was reminded of a line from a Spike Milligan poem, The Quangle Wangle's Hat. Like the hat in the poem, this place too had " ribbons and bibbons on every side / And bells, and buttons, and loops and lace." It was all quite fantastic.
I found my needles and quilting cotton after only a few minor distractions, and then headed home. It had been an interesting morning, but then every project or undertaking in Saudi is a bit like this – an adventure in its own right.