Monday, July 30, 2012

Small Town Gems


Are you one of those people who will drive far and wide in search of a new (to you) quilt shop or fabric boutique?  I am. It's always an adventure. Sometimes it doesn't work out and that dang online map sends me to somebody's front porch instead of a real live store, but every so often my explorations lead me to a little gem that reminds me how much I LOVE this thing called sewing.  Today was one of those adventurous days and I discovered one porch (don't worry, I didn't stop) and one gem.

Of course, you know me, I had to swing by here to tell you about the gem!

It was a yarn and fabric place on a small town main street.  I chimed through the door and was greeted by a spunky older lady with a dated knit dress and beauty parlor hair.  "Do you do needlework?" she asked, and I felt kind of bad as I told her I *only sew* because clearly it was more of a yarn shop than a fabric store.  "Well that's alright" she said.  "I've been sewing since I was knee-high to a...." and off she went, telling me about her life as a seamstress and about raising her four girls (born within six years) while her husband served in the Airforce.  She told how every week, on Thursday, she and her daughters made dresses for their dolls -- unless they interrupted her while she was sewing for customers.  If they interrupted her, they didn't get to make doll clothes that week.  "It didn't take them long to learn...."  She told of doing her sewing out of a room of her house.  "We always rented because we were in the service.  I used one of the rooms for my sewing and I shared my bedroom with a crib for years and years."  She told about moving into this little town and then having her husband sent off to Vietnam.  "I didn't think that was very nice at all!"  Finally, she told of opening up her shop and alterations business downtown.  "We live right up North Main now." she said.  "It only takes me seven minutes to walk here."

Her fabrics were all on sale because she is no longer going to carry fabric.  I couldn't leave without buying something and chose a deliciously soft knit fleece to make sweats for the baby this fall.  When she finished cashing me out, I didn't want to go.  I wanted to stay and talk with her all afternoon.  I wanted to set up my machine right next to her's and learn about sewing and shopkeeping and just...life.

What a beautiful lady.


She was the gem.

That's the thing about pursuing a hobby you love...when you find someone with the same love, it's like finding a kindred spirit.  What a gift.

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