Friday, October 23, 2009

Confessions of a Fabric-A-Holic

Getting my fabric fix!
Last Saturday was one of those unusual lazy mornings where we stayed in bed a little longer than normal, mostly because we were over at Rugged Country Lodge in Pendleton, Oregon  It's uncommon for us to lay in bed and just talk--as if we had nothing to do--but Rahn was in that rare mode, and I wasn't about to move until he did.  We had had an extra crazy week so this moment was a chance to finally "catch up" with each other.  I snuggled in closer and said, "Honey, we can't leave Pendleton until after Charlotte (my dear friend and manager of Rugged Country Lodge) and I go to the fabric store to get material to make a baby quilt--hope that's okay."
"Fabric store?" he asked sounding confused.  "What for? You don't sew." 
"Well, ya-yes I do," I said with a slight stammer.  Don't you remember Charlotte and I made fleece chicks at Easter?" (I'm thinking he doesn't remember this because mine turned out looking more like a whale than a chick.) 
"Hunh? Let me get this want to go to the fabric store to get material to quilt?"
"Yes." (I'm thinking..."I just said that."
 "So, you sew?" (If you're following closely, dear reader, you know this is the third "you" with emphasis.) "In all the years I've known you I've never seen you sew."  (Long pause)
Well--no--actually...mostly...I...cut (another long pause) barely."--hence--the WHALE CHICK....
"Then Charlotte knows what it means when you say, 'we're going to make a quilt?'"
"Yeah, I guess it means she's got a mouse in her pocket, hunh?"  All I can think is:   How does this man know me so well, and better yet, why hasn't Charlotte figured me out?!
The truth is I hate sewing and what's really funny about that is I was a Home Economics major in college--I'm not kidding. I hadn't a clue when I first started as to what I wanted as a major, but I admired Beth Frey, a home ec teacher at Messiah College  I also loved the woman who headed up the department, Dr. Dorothy Gish.  Both of them suggested home ec as a major for me, and I figured, "why not?" 
Thankfully, I only had to make a few things because whatever the project was mine screamed homemade, as Beth was accustomed to saying, when she checked my progress.  Sewing made me as uptight as a snarled up bobbin.  We had one knitting project (thank the good Lord) called "The Nothing". (That was quite an appropriate name because I flunked my "Knitting Nothing"--as in a grade of 0, nada, a big fat goose egg.)  You had to make different stitches and if you did it right it came out in some kind of consistent pattern.  When I got done with mine, it looked more like a strand off a DNA helix than the flat-patterned-Nothing everyone else was making.
Sewing has absolutely nothing to do with my fascination with fabric stores.  But it has everything to do with the fact that I am a fabric-a-holic. For me, a trip to a fabric store is the equivalent of a drunk going to the bar. The very thought makes me dizzy, giddy, high and downright inebriated with the warp, the woof, the smell, the textures, the caleidescope of colors and the swirls of unending patterns.  If there were such a thing as Fabric-A-Holics Annonymous, I would have to check in at every city I came to. 
"Hello, My name is Becky Hostetter and I am a Fabric-A-Holic.  Yesterday I went to the fabric store and I came home with three bolts of designer roles of persimmon colored Chenille...even though I don't know which end of a needle to hold, can't sew and don't have a project in mind.  But you know, that shade of persimmon and the absolutely luxurious feel of the chenille..."  
Charlotte, being the natural born mother and teacher she is, quickly produced just the perfect pattern for me to accomplish.  "It's called a SUPER-SIZED Nine Patch," she said, waving the instructions in my face.
"Hmmm, SUPER SIZE ME..I kinda like the sound of that." I'm thinking bigger is better here. 
My mother didn't raise no stupe, so looking at the instructions my eye quickly caught the words:   "two cuts".  ("Okay,maybe I could manage this.") I read on:   "there's no need to prewash your fabrics for this project"--YES! I'm definitely liking this.  The final clincher was:  "Using three fabrics and swapping the cut pieces yields 3 baby quilts in NO TIME at all."  Now, I'm practically screaming like Bob in What About Bob, where he conquers his fear by tying himself to the sail boat mast yelling:   "I sail, I sail." Only, of course, I substituted it for:   "I sew, I sew."
With quilting directions in hand and money burning a hole in my pocket, I left Rahn to visit with the new Lodge owners. 

Rahn opted for coffe over going to a fabric store
Meanwhile, Charlotte and I set off for those nice folks at the Pendleton Quilt Works There, the perky owner, Rachelle, greeted us. Instantly, I knew she could be a kindred spirit.  She has a great scope for imagination.  As we ambled around the shop and looked at her sock monkeys she spun a creative yarn all about the sock monkey "couple" in her display window. (She makes and collects sock monkeys). It was completely hilarious.  (Though a complicated story line, briefly, the story went something like:   Mr. Sock Monkey got Ms. Sock Monkey with child after Rachelle dressed Ms. Sock Monkey in a somewhat--well--shall we say a risque outfit--in keeping with the Pendleton Round Up, which was now over.)

the three sock monkeys!
That settled it.  With Mr. and Mrs. Sock Monkey in tow (they were now married, Rachelle told me)  I immediately veered toward her large selection of sock monkey prints.  It was a tough choice, but I finally settled on three vibrant patterns and colors sure to make any baby smile. 
The fabrics have been piled up in the corner ever since, but now that I've dared tell this tale to the world, I suppose I'll actually have to follow through and make those darn quilts.  I'm sure that episode will not be without drama, sooo--stay tuned for the-- "Further Confessions of a Fabric-A-Holic! The End!


  1. Becky.....this is called confessions from your cousin in Maryland/Florida!!!! I also hate to the mere sight of a sewing machine ugly words come out of my mouth but the difference between you and me is that I don't like to accumulate fabric either.......and the word quilt makes me nauseous.....even the thought of making little baby ones. Instead I buy Little Giraffe Chenille. Shari

  2. LOL! Somehow, I'm not surprised! I'm so glad you are the same and I only wish I had conferred with you before I purchased the three kinds of fabric. Little Giraffe Chenille, who knew!! But then again, I AM a fabric-a-holic. I get design inspiration from fabric.

  3. Great post! AND all true...


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