Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fabric Fun

I was born in Port Arthur, Texas, a refinery town on the Gulf Coast. The first 5 years of my life were spent there, and it was rather magical as I saw my grandmother on a very regular basis. Then heartbreak, we moved away. We weren't that far away, but far enough that our visits were reduced to no more than 3 times per year. 

The night before we would leave to travel back, I would be so excited that I just could not go to sleep. I thought of how my grandmother's house smelled, the biscuits that she would make each morning for breakfast, hanging the fresh laundry on the line, and then bringing the crisp linens in and heating up her massive iron and ironing sheets, pillowcases, as well as our clothes. Everything smelled of fresh starch. Hardly Disney World, but it was all I needed. 

Our trip would come and go far too fast. As the car was packed, a big pit would form in my stomach, and then when I was told that it was time to leave, a flood of tears would poor from my eyes. My poor grandmother could not contain her tears either. My departing memories were always remembered through the fog of tears. 

Over the weekend, some friends came to visit. Their oldest daughter who just turned 5, is a bundle of energy. I soon became her best friend. We cooked together, played hide and seek, went sledding, and played make believe, As they prepared to leave yesterday morning, the tears began to pool in her eyes. What a gift that was given to me. A little child who enjoyed me so much that she cried upon her departure. As I watched them drive away, I did my best to hold on to the moment. No gift could have been sweeter.
A few weeks back, I shared that my husband took me to Madison, WI for my birthday. When I visit, I buy cheese, visit a bakery where I buy fresh from the oven bread, and most importantly, visit Gayfeather Fabrics. 

The store is located in a vintage building on Williamson Street with awnings over the front windows. 

The owner is Virginia, pictured on the left below. This woman has the most incredible sense for great fabric. When I visit, after saying hello and getting a great big hug, my first question is always, "so, what do I need to see?"  

On this recent visit, she asked me what had brought me to town and I told her that my birthday was the day before and this was my birthday trip. Her eyes grew large as though she was about to spill a big secret and she said, "Then you will get the birthday discount on whatever you purchase. The percent is half your age." As I quickly did the math in my head, I smiled and said, "Virginia, that's going to be a fairly big number!!!" Needless to say, I had a VERY good time :)

So here's what I purchased...

Sadly, my photographic skills are rather lacking as the colors are not as vibrant as they are in real life.
This piece is a chocolate brown wool that has been embroidered and appliqued with chartreuse green velvet flowers.

Virginia had started a jacket with the fabric and was trimming it with the silk velvet, so of course I have to as well ;) She also had a piece of light chartreuse green wool for pants and a matching silk charmeuse for a shell.

I fell in love with this panel print. It too is wool. 

I purchased a piece of silk velvet in eggplant to mix with the fabric.

And finally, I just couldn't resist this piece. It's a silk and cotton blend that has been quilted on to the backing fabric. She only had a 1 yard remnant left, but it's quite wide so plenty to do something fun.

If you are anywhere near Madison, I encourage you to plan a visit for your birthday. Here are all the particulars...

Gayfeather Fabrics is located at;
1521 Williamson St.
Madison, WI   

If you do visit, be sure to ask Virginia to show you something special, and she will!

Now to get busy sewing!!!

At the moment, I need to finish up my Stephen Burrows inspired coat. 

You'll be seeing it soon :)

Happy Sewing!

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  1. Wow! What gorgeous fabrics you bought! I'm eager to see your completed outfits.

  2. What beautiful fabrics! I can't wait to see what you make. I wish I was close enough just to get to go in the store, no matter what time of the year.

  3. What beautiful finds! I'm sure what you make will definitely do the fabric justice!

  4. Rhonda, what a beautiful story of the love-filled time between your grandmother and you, and you and your young friend. Circles of love....

  5. That was such a lovely story, Rhonda and it made me cry a little to be honest. I reminded me of visits to my Aunt when I was little, my Mum's older sister. She would bake too and I was always sad to go. She lived at the other end of the UK so I would only see her once or twice a year. She was quite a bit older than my Mum so became a "granny" figure for me. She is very sadly missed but I have carried on her traditions of sewing, growing and cooking. That is such a generous discount and your fabrics are all lovely. Xx

  6. Loved seeing your finds from Gayfeather Fabrics, my almost next door neighbor. We are so lucky to have her nearby! Can’t wait to see what you do with the embroidered wool, the jacket she made with it is amazing. Her birthday discount is the best thing about getting older!

  7. You did get some special Fabrics. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday!

  8. Oh, they are beautiful fabrics!

  9. Rhonda, I was going to suggest you stop in at Gayfeather's! We love this store in Madison!

  10. Great post, lots of interesting stories. What a lovely birthday present, and gorgeous fabrics to be had. Can't wait to see what you do with them and your new coat.

  11. You bought some beautiful fabric, and how nice to offer a birthday discount!
    Enjoy using touristic Rhonda - I know I will enjoy seeing the results ­čśâ

  12. What a heartwarming post!I loved my grandmother in that way too. She lived four hours away, and we visited her three to four times a year. She didn't have to do anything special, I just liked being around her. I have the same experience with my oldest grandson who is four. (I think) he thinks I'm the greatest... what a wonderful feeling that I can return what my grandmother gave me. BTW...that fabric is gorgeous...

  13. Thanks for sharing your beautiful childhood story! You made me teary as I thought of my grandma who sadly passed away when I was only 11. Having such a lovely and welcoming fabric store is just beautiful Happy birthday