Thursday, May 6, 2010

confessions of a fabricholic

OK--I admit it. I love to buy fabric. You know the famous saying--"She who dies with the most fabric wins." There's the other bumper sticker: "My husband said he'd leave me if I brought home more fabric. Too bad. I'll miss him."  Luckily for me, I have a great husband and my own studio space--but that's another story.  Sometimes though I think I make quilts just so I can buy more fabric.

Now, if truth be told, when Threads magazine came to visit my studio back in 1999, they said I had one of the most "restrained" collections of fabric they'd seen. We figured it's just because I use it.

But I do love to buy fabric. Indeed while stuck in traffic on the NJ Turnpike recently, all I could think about was my trip to The Textile Company on Tuesday. You must admit--I'm lucky. This store is just 10 miles from my studio in Shelburne Falls. Set in an old mill factory in Greenfield, MA--they used to make baby carriages there--it has been in the same family for three generations. Indeed they still keep mill workers hours--open until 5:20 (8:20 on Friday) so the workers could shop on their way home. Always closed on Sundays. Closed all holidays and Mondays during the summer.

The building itself is about as unpretentious as it comes:

It's tucked away on Power Square--do call them at 413 773 7516--for directions.  Inside, the wooden floors are worn into patterns from endless walking-- the wood is even slightly raised around the nails.


And the fabric. Bolts and bolts of fabric tucked into every nook and cranny. A couple years ago they tried to count it all--last I heard they were up to 4000 and still counting.

Sweeps of color. This is where I stand while getting my fabric cut. I start a pile and then add to it as they cut the fabric.  There's another row or two beneath this also. It's so hard to decide.

Do I have a project in mind? Will the fabric inspire a quilt? Am I short on this particular color? What about the design?  Just look at those colors. Don't you want them all?

For instance this mauve and electric blue fabric--such an unusual combination. What will I do with it? Have I seen it before. Hmm. A challenge.

Of course I got it. Though I can't capture the blue in the camera. Oh well. I'm still not sure what I'll do with it but I knew I would dream about it if I didn't get it. I do love a challenge.

And a few fun fabrics--great for the evening skies I love to make. In wonderful new designs and colors. Irresistible.

I want everything but restrain myself. I really can have too much fabric. More importantly I wouldn't  need to go shopping again next week when they will have another great fabric.

Besides, there is another fabric store near my studio--different fabrics, different colors, a different feel. But I'll save that for another day.

And you--how do you buy fabric? Do you have a favorite store? Or is there something else that you just have to buy?


  1. Hi Ann
    Yes, I recognise all these traits of yours in me too. My heart starts to beat faster when I see these neat rows of colour.
    Unfortunately Scotland isn't as well served with fabric shops as the US and I buy much of my fabric online. I use a lot of cotton tartans and plaids which I get from the States even though Scotland is the home of tartan.
    But when I do get let loose in a fabric shop I'm in seventh heaven. As for the trade stands at Quilting Shows.......mmmm.

  2. Oh I do feel sorry for you in Scotland. I'm lucky since many of the fabric stores in the US are closing and I still have two great stores. Of course I shop until I drop.

    So what do your pieces look like with tartans and plaids. Interesting.....

  3. oh my! NOW you've done it! As long as No One mentioned fabrics or fabriholics I was ok - no shopping trips, etc. NOW I want to head right on over either to my favorite haunt at Southampton quilts - or better yet - to discover WHERE and HOW to get there for Greenfield MA (I'm in MA as well!) The timing is just not great - and definitely I've NEVER been able to just window shop - but on the few occasions where I tried it - actually made an extra trip home to pick up credit card, money - whatever and then went back!

  4. Hi Helen,

    Well if you can make it to Southampton quilts then you can also make it to The Textile Company. Greenfield is also in the western part of the state--exit 26 off I91--or take Route 2 west.

    I should have warned everyone though that The Textile Company does not take charge cards--they do take cash or checks. They really do still remember when the mills were in existence.

    And if you are in the area--you might as well also visit Notion to Quilt in Shelburne. My studio is in Shelburne Falls--but I don't sell fabric. You are saved.

    Hope to see you soon.

  5. It's nice to know that others share my affliction. Not a lot of fabric stores in the town I live in, Taos, NM. We do have one small very lovely fabric store, Common Threads. And a quilt store, that actually has lots of fabric bolts.
    Since I handpaint white silk, I create the color that goes on the fabric. However, I will never tire of visiting fabric stores to browse through all the different colors, patterns and motifs. This started when I was a child in Los Angeles, and went to many wonderful fabric stores with my mother and sisters.
    We all sewed together..Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Nasmaste.