Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's the End of Yet Another Era

Well, apparently, it's the end of yet another era.  I really didn't think I was going to live long enough to see the end of this era. But apparently I have.  What era is that?  Let me start out with saying this:
Hancock Fabrics is closing.  Now that doesn't mean a lot to most people.  But, for someone like me, who has sewn since the age of 4; followed behind her Momma through every imaginable fabric store in every state we visited and every country we lived in and every one we traveled through; drug my children through countless numbers of fabric stores and either rode them in buggies or sat them at the catalogs while I looked through fabrics (or fought with them telling them they couldn't get all the fabrics that they wanted on that trip); drug my first husband begrudgingly through the stores; and have to figure out who's going to find the most fabric to bring home between my me and my second husband in the stores now; having one of the few fabric stores in our area close down is a very big deal. 

We used to have a Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft store as well.  But it closed down a long time ago.  The two stores were less than a mile away from each other.  And you know what?  No one cared!  Because people that were looking for fabric would go to both stores!  We bought from both stores!  People that buy fabric at Hancock's now, also buy at Hobby Lobby across the parking lot. 

But that isn't why they're going out of business.  They have been in bankruptcy court trying to reorganize and searching for a buyer who would keep them open. Has been a long time coming. Like you..., they've been our "go to" fabric store for years. We moved to the  MS Gulf Coast in '77 and I've been a customer ever since. Have friends who went there with their moms as children. Definitely the end of an era. Will keep you posted as I hear. Wish it were better news to share with my sewing friends.

Well I guess we'll be making more trips to Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft Stores in Mobile or Slidell or Metairie. or we'll be spending more at Coastal Sew and Vac and at the Fabric Dock and Block Therapy. I don't mind paying the bigger bucks on quality fabrics after all, Jo-Ann's isn't that much cheaper now days and we certainly have to drive farther, but we certainly don't get the sales we got with Hancock Fabrics!!,,, and so many other fabric stores online, I guess you'll be seeing more and more of me and other quilters! As for my costume sewing needs, well, I will continue to head to Jefferson Variety Store in New Orleans!

But you know, you can't FEEL fabric when you buy it online.  You can't PET fabric online.  You don't know the quality and the softness or if light shines through it or if your autistic grandson can touch it without his skin crawling when you buy it online!  Don't get me wrong, I buy LOTS of fabric online.  But you can't see TRUE colors online.  You have to take the word of the people that the colors really go together; or that your colors on your computer are true; or the colors in their pictures.  If you get all the fabrics from one fabric line, then YES you can be assured that fabrics will go together.  but if you shop like I do, well, not too many people shop like me I guess. I shop all over the place.  I grab one or two fabrics from here and there and everywhere and then grab 3 or 4 from across the room and then come back and go back and forth and grab a few more and yes they'll all be  cottons and yes they'll all go together in one way or the other--or will eventually.  But you can't really do that by looking at little swatches on a computer screen.  And you really can't do that looking at a 4 x 6 inch smart phone screen.

So yes, it is the end of an era of being able to go into the big box store of fabrics that are reasonably priced, decent quality fabrics.  Hancock Fabrics may not have always had the high end, top of the line quilting cottons, but I've never gone wrong with them.  They may not have had the highest end velvets, satins and other bridal and specialty fabrics, but I've made some very special prom dresses and bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses from there.  I couldn't begin to count the number of Halloween costumes I've made over the years for my children and grandchildren and other people's children; and that's not even including costumes for Mardi Gras skits I've made.  I've outfitted numerous church plays, musicals and dinner theaters and banners with fabrics from there.  And how could I even begin to calculate how much I've used to make charity quilts for our guild to give to the NICU and CASA?  How would I begin to calculate how much I've used to make clothing for my own children, my grandchildren, for myself, for others over the last 35-40 years?  

I've become so accustomed to sewing without having everything I need already purchased knowing that Hancock's is just around the corner.  I know I can always just run down and go get what I need. If they liquidate and leave, where will I go to get that thread or zipper pattern or button? I don't want to have to drive the 45-60 minutes to Mobile or Slidell or the 1 1/2 hours to Metairie, LA.  I've  gotten used to going in and just walking in and seeing the new fabrics, talking to the staff and feeling the fabric.  I won't be able to do that anymore.  So yes, it looks like we must say good-bye to yet another era.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wow, it seems like forever since I've been on my blog--wait it has been forever.  It's been so long since I've been on here, that they've changed it from blogspot to blogger!  I didn't even know how to log into my own blog!  I've had so much happen in the last few years.  More grandchildren born.  Children that have moved out of my house.  Children that have moved in. 

I still sew for our Mardi Gras krewe.  My husband and I  spent a year as king and queen of our krewe. What a great year that was!   My DH and I made almost all the court costumes.  There were only two of them that we didn't make.  We made the collars and trains and capes.  Needless to say, there was a year of planning and sewing and building and constructing in the making of all of this.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  Will we ever do it again?  Not together.  It took a toll on us emotionally, mentally, physically and definitely financially by doing this at the same time.  But we loved our year as King and Queen.

Since the last I've logged in here, I have joined a quilting guild in our area and have once again become and avid fan of quilting and even more, I have fallen in love with quilting and color again.  That doesn't mean I do it any better. But I've had lots more practice.  And for the lovely woman that once just cut me to the core and stopped me in my tracks for what I thought would be forever from quilting with her words of telling me that I was just a "wanna be" quilter.  I have realized (after almost 10 years) that she actually did me a favor! 
All of the capes and trains in these costumes were not done the traditional way of just gluing things on and then gluing sequins on.  Instead Every cape and all 15 feet of my train and 17 feet of DH's train were appliqued and then quilted before gluing sequins and rhinestones to them. 

In addition, I have since then made many crib size quilts and 2 queen size quilts that have been made to completion and quilted.  Now that doesn't include how many tops I've completed that I've never quilted, all  because  that line kept going through my mind--you're just a 'wanna be quilter."  But remember I said it  turned out to be a favor? 

Well, I figured out that EVERY quilter is a "wanna be" quilter.  Why do I say that?  Because every quilter wants to be a better quilter.  They want to learn more, they learn new techniques, they want to learn new ways to do old things, they want to learn the new Modern Quilting and Fiber Arts.  So YES every quilter is a Wanna Be Quilter.  So I'm now proud to say that I'm a Wanna Be Quilter!  Or I should say I'm Proud to Say I'm Proud to Want to Be a Quilter, I'm Proud to Be a Quilter!  I may not be perfect--only LOTS of practice will get me to where I will ever even get close to that.  I may not be great--all quilters consider themselves to be worse than they really are.  Have you ever heard a quilter tell you all the faults in their quilts?  We all do it!  We know where all the faults are, but no one else can see them.  Everyone else sees the beauty of the work, not the mistakes or your oops.  Besides the Navahos and the Amish believe that only God is perfect so no human can make anything perfect, so they cannot make any anything perfect.  So even if anything is considered perfect that they are making, they purposefully put in one mistake so that it won't be a perfect piece of work.
 Here are just a few of the ones I've made in the last 2 years.  This is by no means all that I've made.  I forget to photograph most of them.  Most of the ones I make are for charity quilts that go to infants in our local hospital NICU so that some infant will be wrapped in love or go to CASA children that will be able to have a quilt of their own that can never be taken from them.  It will always be theirs to be able to offer them a small means of love and comfort when they need it.  So yes, I am a wanna be a quilter to be able to make something that can provide love and comfort when there isn't a pair of loving arms that can offer it for them.

Dr. Who Quilt