Thursday, August 26, 2010

Diamond in the Rough

You wouldn't think so to look at it, but the funnest fabric store in Pensacola has got to be the fabric store with an identity crisis.

First of all, it is, in fact, a compounding pharmacy.  When you walk in, it looks like an old fashioned dime store, with just about anything you can imagine.  A visit to the back of the store finds all of your pharmacy needs, I'm sure.  Their selection of Little Golden Books takes me back to my own childhood. It was the first place I went to buy little Abby-frog those classics  she MUST have, like The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy, Baggy Elephant, and The Tawny, Scrawny Lion.


But take a left, and then a right, and fabric junkies, Enter Paradise!!  Who would suspect that the back of the store has bolts and bolts and bolts of fabrics from all our favorite designers?  Moda and Michael Miller are two of my favorites so far, but I can't wait to try some of the rest.   It is the only place in Pensacola I have found Moda charm squares, jelly rolls, and fat quarters.  OK, I'm new to these things, but now that I KNOW about them, I have to have them, right?

When my children were little, there used to be nearly a dozen fabric stores in Pensacola.  I have often joked and said that when I went back to work full-time, I stopped sewing, and they all went out of business.  Too sad, but true?  Maybe?  No, I couldn't have kept them all in business by myself....  Could I?

I used to work in Warrington - oh, 25 years ago now - and I shopped at AandE frequently.  But after we moved away, and moved back, I kind of forgot they had such neat stuff.  Then, in 2009, when Beautiful Daughter #2 was looking for some special trims for her prom dress that the ordinary fabric store didn't have, a lady at the cutting counter suggested we try AandE.  And I had one of those, "You Dummy!" moments.  Of course!  I knew about it all along, and just forgot.  And so we drove across town and they had exactly what she wanted.  And it was on sale, even.  And I was hooked.

But I really didn't appreciate just what a treasure it was until Beautiful Daughter #1 turned me on to how much fun designer fabric can be.  And so I have to wander by once or twice a week on my lunch hour or on the way home from work.  I browse.  I touch.  I imagine.  Too often, I succumb to the subtle charms of these beautiful fabrics.  Like I need more fabric.  But I need to feed my addiction.  Still, it is an innocent enough habit, I suppose.

And the ladies there are so nice.  And (I'm not sure this is a good thing) they remember me.  The other day, a lady and her daughter were buying some of the Michael Miller Lanterns Bloom collection, and when the lady at the counter saw me, she said, "Here's a lady that has already made that quilt," and so I stopped and chatted, and gave them the benefit of my experience (and told them that the pattern is on Michael Miller's website and they don't need to reinvent the wheel, like I did).  Then, when I was in there today after work, the manager of the fabric department told me I should have been there earlier - that they had some quilters come in with "show and tell", and I would have loved it.

And I would have, too.

I plan to spend the weekend finishing projects.  Maybe I'll have some time Monday to do some "show and tell" of my own!

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