Monday, February 25, 2013

Another Quilting Mecca Discovered

Here in New England, we used to have a wondrous semi-big box store called Fabric Place. It had everything you could possibly want for fabric for any kind of project you could ever dream up, from bridal dresses to custom upholstery to swimming pool covers to quilting. It was insane. It was awesome. It was 3 miles from my first home.

I spent much time and money there, but did Fabric Place care? Apparently not. They closed down their 4 or so stores about 6 years ago, rather suddenly as I recall, and left the quilters and sewists of New England lying on the floor doing a collective Nancy Kerrigan.

It was a dark day in history indeed.

Fabric Place Basement was a mythical creature I had heard tell of, had even seen from the outside when bringing my daughters to their own personal mecca, American Girl, which as my friend Renae put it "is so alarmingly close to (Fabric Place Basement) so as to render any savings null and void", but had never actually experienced it. Until last Friday, which was the last and final official day of the most useless week of the year February vacation week, a day upon which I greeted my waking children with the announcement: "Today is Mom Day. I have spent all week and part of last week entertaining the crap out of you people and many of your friends, and today is all about me. We are going to Fabric Place Basement to use my Groupon which expires on Tuesday and we are all going to like it. Might I remind you we used a Groupon at the roller rink two days ago? No complaints. Up and at 'em. The bargains won't wait."

As you might imagine, there were complaints anyway, most along the lines of why couldn't we at least go to American Girl too, to which the answer was a big fat no because I am mean and didn't want to go there on Mom Day, but I somehow managed to wrestle them into the car and get them there without too much incident.

Hands down to FPB. They won my children over the second we walked in the door, because A. There was a ladies room right there, thank God, and B. this was hanging on the wall.

If you can't tell, it is a bicycle which has been wrapped in fabric and trimmings and for whatever reason Greta was completely taken with it. The other two thought it was pretty cool too, but were not begging me to buy it so they could ride it in the 4th of July parade like G was doing. A reminder that she still can't ride without training wheels brought her back to reality. But it was a cool welcome.

Then it was down the stairs - it is FP BASEMENT after all, so it wouldn't do to have it on the first floor - and the vastness of the awesome fabulosity began to envelop me. In other words, I drooled.

This is the best photo I could get, which makes me sad because it seems to be of a yarn shop. The quilting fabrics start at the pinks you can see and go all the way back to the far shelves, and behind that wall on the left of the photo is another whole set of shelves of quilting fabrics. It was so much more than I ever thought possible.

FPB specializes in current fabrics (and apparently yarn), notions, and gadgets at cut rate prices. I was there to gather some fabrics for a few more "Quite Contrary" kits; when I buy kit fabric, I need to have the prices be as close to wholesale as possible to make it worth my while to cut kits and price them fairly, and between the yardage here all being between $5-$7/yard plus my Groupon, I came pretty close.

So the fun began, and believe it or not, the girls actually enjoyed helping pick out fourteen fabrics for the kits. How do I know? Because in a moment nothing short of a miracle, all three of them grabbed bolts that all looked awesome together and collectively announced that "This place is FUN!" I had to sit down and collect myself to get over the shock. It also helped that I didn't say no when Eva found this kitty fabric and had to have it to make a quilt for her American Girls. We call her Kitty, so it felt like it would be mean to leave it there, plus it only seemed fair since we weren't going to AG.

Plus it really is just cute.

But back to the kit fabrics. So how many of you have ever stacked bolts up leaning against the shelves to audition them to see if the fabrics blend? We all do this, right? The girls and I were up to about 8 bolts in a neat little row against the shelves, and I was trying to locate a cart as there were going to be more. Around the corner came two customers, who looked at my stack, and I kid you not GAVE ME THE STINK EYE, and asked "Are you really going to buy ALL of those?" It was 8 fabrics. Eight. 0-8. Not 80. And if it had been 80, who cares? But 8? I was rather entertained but yet confused. I told them I was a designer looking for kit fabrics, so yes, I would be buying some of each but not too much from any one bolt, and offered to leave them at the counter for them if they wanted some of any of the bolts. I was proud of myself for being so polite, honestly, as they kept staring at me. Then one of them stink eyed me AGAIN and said "That just really seems like a lot of fabrics to put in your cart."

I was more than happy to make sure I passed them again when I had 18 bolts in my cart. I'm still terribly confused by this reaction to my fabric shopping, but whatever. The cutting counter lady, who had seen the exchange and also thought it odd, wondered if they were just really impressed with/jealous of my color sense because these are the fabrics I chose for the kits.

Close up below.

I really really love them, and I really hope everyone can someday know the joy of buying 14 coordinating fabrics. I begin to think it doesn't happen as often as I thought.

In final news on my DaGMT minutes, I worked a bit today on a quilt which is a surprise but I can show you soon, and another which I am throwing together from some orphan blocks which I will be donating for a raffle. Once I finish it I will tell you more about that, but for today I put together four big blocks and decided to go rogue on one of the border fabrics and I am kind of loving it.

Four more days to finish all your entries for the DaGMT prizes! Don't forget to comment on blogs, throw some photos on the flickr, and finish a few more UFOs. Critiquing fabric buying habits of strangers does not count, though.


JLVerde said...

Oh, there is no way I could resist that kitty fabric either (in fact, I had some in my stash for a while before I finally used it).

Ok, I've had 4-5 bolts at one time and I wasn't event trying to make kits. They were just random fabrics. So 8 when you're trying to match up is NOTHING. Those women just need to mind their own bolts!

Sharon said...

They were jealous, jealous, jealous!!! As am I - I had to go to the Container Store (less than a mile down the road) last summer for Boy Scout Camp foot lockers and announced to my two boys that they should not once ask if I was almost done or there would be no Cheesecake Factory for them. It's almost 2 hours from my house so very doable for a pilgrammage but far enough away to not be a budget buster!! Love those fabrics!

BCT said...

Beth - I have had a very successful month of Feb but beginning to panic because it is almost over and I have so many more UFOs I want done. I am currently quilting "Kickin' Stash" and hope to finish it by "The Deadline." I haven't posted anything because I have no clue how to do it!

Lorna said...

Lucky you...I would be so dead in that store, I quilt and knit/crochet. Actually we have a similar store about 30 mi from my house. Very dangerous!! Thanks again for the DaGMT inspiration...I hope to keep up the 'habit'. Great work finding all those wonderful fabrics.

Kim said...

I love your stories! I need to know where this store is! I am also in New England and the only American Girl store that I know of is in NYC. Not that I need to know where the AG store is...but I really want to go to the Fabric PLace Basement!!!!!

I just got the walking foot for my sewing machine and have been practicing on some quilt sandwiches.... I plan to do a blog post with what I have accomplished this month.

meg said...

I was quite depressed when I went 'home' to visit my parents and found the Fabric Place in Woburn was gone. I'll have to hit you up for directions to the basement on my next visit~
Those women must have been just checking out the store because, clearly, they had no idea how to shop for fabric. Less than 8 bolts? Psssh.

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