Just prior to being hit by the plague I did accomplish something over the holiday weekend.
You may recall how I made my first quilt two years ago for Diana's graduation....ok, fine, I didn't actually finish it until 15 minutes before we drove her to college but the idea was there. Well, Calypso is set to graduate this June so that means this Christmas she gets her fabric. Last time, Mom and I went halvsies on the cost of fabric (it ain't cheap, lemme tell ya) since she is my quilting/sewing mentor (the woman has made more quilts during her lifetime than I think she can count and I recall playing under her frame as a child...quilt frames make the most awesome set up for blanket forts, by the way). We planned to split the cost again. Last time we had a hard time finding what I wanted in my area. This time Mom suggested we head closer to the Lancaster County area where fabric stores are plentiful, well stocked, and generally cheaper.
She had hoped we'd be able to find what we wanted at a Mennonite place that was selling flannel for a dollar a yard in October. For the record, a dollar a yard is unbelievably cheap. We arrived and their prices had increased to $2.49/yard, which is still crazy cheap considering the good quality of the fabric but the selection did not include the colors we were looking for. I was able to get the batting layer for a great price though.
After I checked out I had to go looking for Mom, who had gotten talked fast to another lady making a coat. they traded suggestions. Mom gave altering tips and the other lady hipped us to another fabric place she was sure would have some things we'd like so everyone benefited. Mom and I headed down the road and very nearly missed the place. From the outside it looked very tiny and not at all promising. From the inside it was completely amusing.
Floor to ceiling it was packed with bolts of cloth stacked in an disorganized, ominous, Jenga-like fashion. It was pretty hilarious. We were greeted in a friendly manner though and asked if we needed help. We asked if they had flannel and where it might be. The clerk directed us to the back corner of the store.
Here's mom squeezing sideways through the aisle. We giggled the whole way to the back of the store, marveling over the stacks and wondering how anyone found anything. Once we found the flannels we rooted through the skewed towers of bolts and found a few colors we thought might work. The challenge was how to get at them without topping the whole wall of fabric on our own heads. At that moment the clerk poked her head out from behind a row of teetering bolts, peered down the narrow aisle, and asked if we needed help. After retrieving a step stool and getting her weightlifting workout we had 6 bolts to look at and decide upon. The lighting was pretty bad so Mom and I brought them to the front to be able to see them better. We noticed the sign on the door warning us against stealing and asked if we could just open the door to get some good light. The clerk said we could go outside with the bolts if we wanted. Mom was delighted and promised not to steal the bolts. The clerk laughed, gestured at the disarray surrounding her, and declared, "I don't think anyone would notice if you did! Just before you got here I was nearly buried by an avalanche of Christmas potholders!"
We found two suitable bolts and shared another chuckle as the clerk swept aside a pile of who knows what on the cutting table in order to cut our yardage. Mom and I hit a third store to find the last color we needed. It was more expensive and not nearly so entertaining a place as this little country store.