Monday, November 24, 2008

Where to Start?

What do you get when you take friends, both old and new, add a hefty dose of fabric shopping, lots of conversation and a few good meals? One heck of a weekend, that's what!

It all started on Friday: first Elizabeth appeared, followed shortly by Connie, all the way from snow Canada (and she brought us some snow) and then, after we trooped across the street for coffee, we were joined by Trena and Renee.

No time to waste - we all crammed into Renee's car and were off to Jomar. Jomar is my favorite fabric store - even more favorite than Metro Textiles (sorry, Kashi!) - and it was as much fun watching everyone else's reactions as it was to hunt and gather for myself. I scored at Jomar - fusible interfacing and linings which I desperately needed, at $1 and $1.50 per yard, a 3 yard remnant of gray doubleknit, some beefy blue-gray jersey - probably going to be some form of workout wear, and much, much more. Once the pre-washing is finished, I'll take pictures.

Once we staggered out of Jomar and stuffed our big yellow bags into the trunk, we were off to Fourth Street. It used to be called Fabric Row, and it's a real shadow of its former self these days, but there are still treasures to be found. But first, we stopped at Jim's Steaks for lunch. Can't have people visit Philly and not introduce them to our cholesterol-and-fat-laden claim to culinary fame. Adequately refueled, we hit Kincus (pretty, pretty and pricy) and Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet (good buttons and interfacing). Finally we stopped at two stores run by the Baldwins, one where Renee fell in love with a plaid, and the second, where Connie bought leather like a drunken sailor and Renee charmed Mr. Baldwin into giving her a deal on said plaid.

We headed back toward my house, but stopped on South Street at two cute little stores called Spool and Loop, dedicated to quilting fabrics (mostly Amy Butler) and knitting. I don't quilt or knit, but it's always interesting to browse, and I'm happy to see any sewing-related stores opening instead of closing.

A brief stop at the house to rest and catch our breath, and then we went for dinner at my favorite Italian BYOB restaurant, La Locanda del Ghiottone, which roughly translates to The Place of the Gluttons. I love this restaurant, I've been going for over 10 years and taken loads of people with me. Most of them love it, though some find the abrasively personal attentions of the staff a little overwhelming. But then the food usually wins them over. Lee was able to join us for dinner, so she got a head start on Saturday.

By the time we got back to West Philly, everyone was falling-down tired and I took Trena and Renee over to a friend's house - she was kind enough to offer an allergen-free bed for the night to the cat allergic member of our group.

Saturday, Connie and I were up early. Lee arrived soon after, and Kisha picked us up and drove to NYC like the wind. And speaking of wind, it was COLD in NY. Cold as in if there weren't fabric on the menu, I wouldnl't have gotten out of the car.

When I started planning this weekend, I called Kashi at Metro Textiles and asked him if he could open for a few hours for us. He called me back to say that he was going to be out of town visiting his parents, but he would have his son open for us from 10-12. I promised we would make it worth his while, and I'm pretty sure we did. I could barely lift my big blue bag, and one lucky lady actually had two bags.

After that, we met up with LindsayT for lunch and more shopping - Pacific Trims, Paron's and Mood. She introduced me to the wonderful (and affordable) interfacings at Mood, and I was thrilled to find a rayon/cotton jersey that I had received in a remnant bundle from Emmaonesock and bought a yard to replace the top I had worn to shreds. LindsayT had to head home before we were finished, but it was great to meet her and to see in person her absolutely fabulous coat. If it looks good online, it looks even better in person, trust me!

Photo by LindsayT.

A few last stops: M&J Trim, because Connie needed wedding gown trim for one of her five blondes, and I managed to find a few goodies myself. Kisha deprived herself of M&J and stopped in a discount jewelry store, and I have to admit that I joined her there for a few minutes and picked up a few necklaces to go with some of the new tops I've made.

Sunday was spent going through issues of Patrones and BWOF, and many thanks to Connie for helping me to determine which jacket to make for my next leather jacket. And even bigger thanks for her hostess gift of an issue of La Mia Boutique - which looks like fun.

Connie left at 4:00 p.m. for the airport, and about 5 minutes later, my friend Jennifer showed up with her boyfriend, Kyle, and about 6 hangers-on to do a photo shoot in my bedroom. She's in a production of Angels in America next January, and they wanted a Victorian bedroom for the shoot. I was sort of volunteered, and somehow or other I didn't stop this from happening . . . though I nearly fell asleep in the middle. And even though I didn't really feel up for this happening at the end of my weekend, I have to admit it's a pretty cool pic. And you can't see the dust and the cat hair, so that's a plus.

Photo by Kyle Cassidy

Today I had off to recover from my fun weekend. So what did I do? I block fused 4 yards of wool, pre-washed 2 loads of fabric, and for a change of pace, helped Mario demolish the downstairs bathroom at his house. All in a day's work.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. In other words, a day of rest.


Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I'll say it again...y'all are true fabricaholics cause it was COLD on Saturday!!! Glad you had a good time and added more beauties to your fabric collection...AGAIN can we please plan the next JoMars trip on a Saturday so that I can join in on the fun!!!

Lori said...

All of that sounds so fun. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Elaray said...

Wow! I thought I was tired until I read everything that you did! Karen, you did a great job planning and organizing the weekend. I had a great time!

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Thanks for all your work organizing! Jomar is indeed insane. It's a good thing I didn't have the energy to go to NYC because I could barely haul my loot home as it was.

Meg said...

Aw, thanks for the compliments, Karen! I had such a good time and I was so thrilled to finally meet you all. I'm eager to see what you do with your haul.

Connie B said...

I had such a good time Karen!! I lost my internet for a couple of loonngg days here, but I am back now!
Everyone- Karen is a great hostess and a genius at organizing shopping trips!!

Kat said...

What a weekend! I'm so happy for you, Connie and the rest of the bunch. Sounds like a perfectly great time shopping for fabric with good friends and food.