My first full day in San Francisco was left clear for Recovering From Jet Lag. I recovered by waking at 3am, going for a run at 7am and visiting three separate sewing and/or knitting shops of wildly different moods and venues. The day included the most intense sewing shopping experience of my life.
As a quick aside, may I just say: If you are going to hand wash your running gear in a hotel room basin, please remember to remove the dollar bills from your shorts pocket before plunging into water.
Dollar bills drying.
But back to the important matters: shopping.
Beth, my new sewing teacher, had told me that Britex Fabrics were having a remnant sale for one day only. I’d half registered this, knowing that I would want to go and check out SF’s premiere fabric shop, but I wasn’t really thinking about much at all. I showered, changed, had breakfast, worked out my day’s agenda and finally ambled up the road. It was all very lacking in focus.
When I turned the corner, I nearly dropped my camera in shock. People were queueing up. I have NEVER seen people queueing outside a fabric shop. As I approached, the doors opened and chaos ensued, with myself caught up on the tidal wave of feverish excitement. Some of us took the elevator to the sale on the fourth floor, but I noticed that the professional shoppers were already running up three flights of stairs. This is serious, I thought. I had no idea how serious.
I’ll be honest, in the first five minutes I nearly turned and fled. The atmosphere was … ruthless. One woman absolutely terrified me. Her lips were set in a thin line, her brow creased and her incessant pushing and grabbing just breathtaking. ‘I’ve tried to be polite,’ another woman commented, ‘but it’s just not working.’
People were going for anything, filling huge plastic bags handed out by the charming staff.
I didn’t get it. I mean, yeah, money was being knocked off, but it wasn’t so big a price cut. I tucked a piece of Batik-style cotton beneath my arm, but wasn’t even sure I was going to buy it. I couldn’t understand why everyone else was so frenetic. Then I asked a member of staff and realised that the reduced price I thought my cotton was going for would receive an extra 50% discount at the till. Okay… So this beauty was reduced from an original price of $37/£23 to a laughable $12.50/£8 for 2.5 yards? Now I understood the frenzy.
Which meant that I frogmarched myself back to the silk section. I’ve had a growing urge to make something with really great silk. Nothing too ambitious; I just want to learn some of the techniques involved with this oh-so-special fabric. I ended up buying 1 & 3/8 yards of a beautiful solid teal. It would have originally gone for $48/£30 and I purchased it for $16/£10.
Silk left, cotton right
I’m vaguely thinking of making Lazy Stitching’s tap pants, though I’m not sure I can bear for this silk to only be seen by me when I go to bed. Any other suggestions for this scrap of silk, let me know!
I think that’s enough for one blog post; more to come on my other shopping adventures. I will just say this. As a dog lover, I’m thrilled to see that San Francisco is a very dog-friendly city. They even allowed Alex into a fabric store, and who wouldn’t? Just look at that darling face…