Fabric souk

I am a travel junkie! As soon as I’ve paid off the credit card from one trip I’m getting itchy feet and planning my next trip. As soon as I get my crisp new Filofax diary for the year ahead I turn to the year planner page and start marking out the most economic way to use my holiday allowance. Quite a few years ago I made the decision to stop buying mementos on my travels. Firstly nothing fills up a back pack faster than a didgeridoo or a scale model of the Eiffel Tower, secondly I used to live in the world’s tiniest house (er probably because I spent all my money on flights to somewhere else) and didn’t have room for more stuff and thirdly I hate cleaning and will do anything to avoid it, so buying stuff that gathers dust is never a good idea. I still wanted a memory or two of my trips though so I decided to buy Christmas Tree decorations. These are great, they are usually small and light and I love unpacking them each Christmas and remembering where and when I bought them. The second thing I decided to buy on my travels was fabric. Some of it stays in my stash for years and I regularly fondle it and think about the fun I had buying it. Other pieces get used pretty quickly but every so often I find a small piece at the bottom of my scrap basket and the memories come flooding back.
If I’m honest though fabric doesn’t really meet my travel requirements because I’m like a kid in a candy shop and can’t stop at just a few small pieces. Ok, so I’ve been known to hoof out clothes and the odd pair of shoes at the end of my travels so I can squeeze in just a little bit more fabric.
I’m currently in Doha and read a great review of the textile souk from Inspiration Station and decided to go and have a look.
There are two indoor markets next to each other that sell all kinds of fabric including brightly coloured sari fabric, machine lace, silk and printed fabric. The choice is enormous and I really enjoyed looking at the variety of fabric available. Most of the shops have the bolts of fabric piled up one on top of the other so they can be quite hard to see. They encourage you to look at books of swatches. These are great because you can quickly see the number of patterns and colour-ways they have of each.

In one of the shops my daughter started playing with some of the swatches. Instead of telling her off the owner quickly packed up some old swatch books and gave them to her in her own bag. My little girl was so chuffed to have her own fabric. She got them out of the bag rearranged them and then put them away again. This is one of the lovely things I have noticed about Qatar. Everybody loves children, blonde children especially are considered good luck so everybody likes to make a fuss of them. My little girl’s swatches are charm pack size and contain some really fun patterns including some safari animals. I’ll have make her something with them so she has a great reminder of our trip.

I bought a lovely fairy tale fabric. It’s a curtain weight fabric so I think I’ll use it to make my daughter a cookery apron and bag for her cookery things.


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I also bought a lovely cotton flowery fabric in pink and turquoise.


I bought some solids to go with a baby quilt I’m making.


We are having a great time in Qatar. My little girl loves water so we have had lots of trips to the beach where she has gotten a lot of use out of her bucket and spade. The main public beach at Katara is lovely and clean and has lots of lifeguards on duty. Because it’s a public beach you can’t wear a bikini. It’s a lovely family beach and I’m more than happy to wear a t-shirt over my bikini. If you want to get a sun tan then most of the large hotels have big pools and small beaches with no dress code. They also sell alcohol but days out at these can be quite pricey.


Katara is also a cultural village with a number of theatres and museums. It’s a lovely place to go for a walk or get a meal. The village is decorated with beautiful dove houses and springs of running water. >
Out trip coincided with Eid Mubarak, a religious festival. Most people were on holiday and there were lots of public events. We went to a wonderful giant puppet show of Ali Baba on the beachfront at Katara. Our daughter loved it and was mesmerised by the huge horse and flying bird.


Eating and enjoying the long warm evenings is a big part of Qatar’s culture and we have eaten at some great places. One restaurant had a brick oven where you could watch them making fresh flat breads.


We have a few more days left and still have lots we want to do.


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