Fabric Miracle in Indianapolis? Part 1 of 2

August 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

(I wrote several posts while on vacation, but I’m spacing them out over the next couple weeks.  I’m not going to go back and edit them to make the present tense past and so forth, so there may be some temporal anomalies.  I trust you all to manage them gracefully.  Thanks!  — Sarah)

We’re on vacation, and I imagine having an antique Lone Star quilt on the wall above the bed in our room is an excellent omen as far as good quilt-y things happening.

Lone Star @ Nestle Inn

We’ve been coming out to Indianapolis every year for GenCon since 2003, and staying at the same bed & breakfast, the Nestle Inn.  We always try to get the quilt room.  Although GenCon is primarily a games convention, I make it a point each year to not only attend some crafty events there — this year, including a costuming workshop held by two sisters who make prizewinning costumes, and a workshop to learn a new chainmaille pattern — but to also take the time away from the convention to explore the local shops and guilds.  In addition, I have in the past attended a show of antique quilts held in an historic home, and even gotten my husband to accompany me on a pilgrimage up to Marion, IN to visit the Quilters Hall of Fame!

Last year, I had the inspiration to investigate the Indianapolis quilt guild, and discovered their meeting fell within our visit, thus allowing me to hear Bonnie Hunter speak for the first time.  This year, the convention fell a week too early to coincide, but I found a wonderfully helpful webpage listing all the Indiana guilds and their meeting times, allowing me to discover a local chapter of The Applique Society which met Wednesday.  A very nice, informal group of skilled appliquers (appliquists?), they welcomed me as a guest and held an informative program about quilt labels in which all the attendees participated.  They also had excellent show and tell, as well as providing a friendly, cool place to sit and do handwork for a while (it’s been in the 90s and very humid.)  They meet at Back Door Quilts, a shop in Greenwood, IN, just southeast of Indianapolis.  It’s a lovely shop, with an interesting dichotomy of strengths:  19th cent. reproduction fabrics and batiks.  I don’t always get to their shop, as all the other Indy-area shops are to the north of the city, so I was happy to have an excuse.

And there I found… THE FABRIC!!!

I have to back up a little here and explain.  Every quilter knows the pain of having passed up a great fabric, only to never see it again, or of finding the perfect fabric for a project and not getting enough of it.  The Quilter’s Corner in Chadds Ford, PA has brass plaques mounted on their cutting tables that say something along the lines of, “Remember, If You Try To Come Back For It, It Will Be Gone.”  While this normally doesn’t happen to me, as I tend to work very scrappy — if I run out of a fabric, it’s just an opportunity to use an additional fabric — sometimes, you just need a fabric miracle.  This has occurred in my life three separate times in the roughly ten years that I’ve been quilting as an adult.

The first time was when I offered to make a quilt for Kathy, several years before she started sewing.  We had visited her local quilt shop while attending a craft fair that sets up along the main street in Haddonfield, NJ, and I had floated the idea that I would make her a quilt if she picked out the fabrics.  As we walked past the crafters’ booths, a woman was selling adorable toddler- and preschooler-sized raincoats with matching pants.  The raincoats were all made of shiny vinyl in bright colors, but were then lined with various juvenile and conversation print quilt fabrics, of which the matching pants were also made.  I was admiring these, and lamenting the fact that my family didn’t currently include any children of the appropriate size, when Kathy pointed at one set and said, “That’s what I want my quilt made out of.”  The fabric in question was a delightful watercolor-style large print in pale green, aqua, and bubblegum pink, depicting two little Chinese girls in traditional dress.

Kathy's fabric

My heart sank, and I did my best to explain the quilting facts of life to Kathy:  I had no idea how long ago that fabric had been produced.  The crafter may have had that fabric in her stash for years before making that raincoat.  And even if it were a relatively new fabric, there was no way to be sure that I would run across it anywhere, as not every shop stocks every brand or every line of fabric, especially a large specialty print such as this one.  (This was before I found out you could shop for fabric on the internet!  Such a long-ago, simpler time!)  We would find another fabric that she liked just as much.  She took it well, and we moved on.

Nearly a year later, Diane and I were at Quilt Odyssey (back when it was still held at the Eisenhower in Gettysburg, shudder shudder) and as we walked towards the booth for The Fieldstone House, I saw — Kathy’s fabric!  I think Diane thought I was having a seizure or something, until I regained enough composure to explain my reaction.  I bought five yards, which I NEVER do, and made Kathy’s quilt from that.  I have never seen that fabric on the bolt anywhere else.  Fabric miracle.

Kathy's Quilt, 2005

Kathy's Quilt, 2005

To be continued…

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Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, Travel, UFOs. Tags: , .

For All the Quilters Living with Cats Fabric Miracle in Indianapolis? Part 2 of 2

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