Thursday, July 31, 2008

More About The Trip - Fabric/Food

I continue on:
Crayola, from where in the world did that name come? Well, we've been friends now for at least 45 years. In and out of each others lives, depending on husbands, boyfriends, children, divorces, jobs, life-style changes, and life in general, but always - friends. We have always enjoyed each others company and have always laughed, hysterically, usually at each other and the things we say, our past and all that covers and all the events we have shared. Since we share the same first name, who knew who was being addressed, and so one day, I don't remember which one, The Redhead became Crayola. She's always been Crayola, I can't recall a day when she wasn't. I used to tell folks, upon introduction that it was because she "is so colorful". She still is.
We see each other 3 or 4 times a year, her parents are still living in the Memphis area and Little Rock is on her way from South Texas to their home. She stops here for a few days going or coming and I go to Houston, usually at the end of October. The International Quilt Festival starts then and it's a great excuse to go. Also, our son Chad lived in The Woodlands, TX., just north of Houston, for a couple of years and Granny had to go often.
So, we find ways to see each other and then there's always the phone. Usually, our conversations last up to 5 hours and always at least 2. And, if you listened in, it's a lot of laughter.
We had lost touch, in the 80's and when Crayola found me again, I had become a Quilter. Well, being a good friend, she became a Quilter, too. She jumped into the deep end, buying fabric with wild abandon. Her stash well equals any life-long Quilter's,She has learned "Stack N Whack", "The Blooming Nine Patch", "The Nine Patch", "Pagoda Blocks" and "One Block Wonder". Her first Quilt, "Frog's in a Blender" was a Stack 'N Whack. It was bright and bold, just like her name.
She and my husband spent days on the floor in my great room laying out her 9-patch. They didn't want my input, they just wanted me to keep making more blocks. Finally on the third sleepless day, they figured out the design. It's a nice piece, as 9-patches go.
During one marathon, we made Pagoda Blocks, something we had seen on Alex Anderson's show, during the Quilt Festival.
On this trip we made the "One Block Wonder", and that's where the shopping comes in. The fabric I chose from her Stash was a beautiful floral Hibiscus/Antherium bouquet on a black background. Crayola cut and I sewed. Each block, 4-Patches, went up on the design wall, and after two days, we decided on a pattern. Naturally, it needed boarders. Thus, the shopping.
We heard about "It's a Stitch" from a friend, we looked in the phone book, found the nearest location - FM1960 West - printed it out on MapQuest, and struck out.
Nothing is nearby, in Houston. It was about a thirty minute drive. We found it and went in. Boy, were we disappointed. No Fabric! Just machines and thread. The lady there was very nice and explained that the other location, in Humble, TX., was where the fabric was located. Look on a map, Humble is at the East end of FM1960, but, we were promised we would not be disappointed.
So, off we go again.
In the meantime, we both decided we were starving. Neither of us appreciate 'fast-food' (except Chic-Fillet) and Crayola's eyes landed on a Peruvian Cuisine sign on the left side of this six-lane street. She managed a Texas U'ie into the strip mall parking lot. I said we were hungry. Neither of us knew what to expect. But, it was a lovely experience. We were seated and given menu. The owner, and nice looking, friendly, middle-aged fellow, came to our table with a warm loaf of bread and two brightly colored dips. One, my favorite color of lime green, the other, a sort of orange. Both were wonderful. And so was the bread. We asked the Owner what he suggested for lunch - The menu was in Portuguese - and he suggested a dish. Stew is what I am reminded of, but whatever, it was good and filling. We had Peruvian Cola to drink - reminded me of Creme Soda - and for dessert, wonderful shortbread cookies with a caramelized creme filling. WOW! I bought a half dozen for us to share with coffee the next day. They were really good.
Back on FM1960. Urban sprawl. It just went on and on. Finally, Humble. In a new strip mall on the right, "It's a Stitch"! And this time we could see the fabric from the parking lot. I can't explain my excitement when there is a prospect of fabric, and lots of it!
WOW! WOW! I loved it! "It's a Stitch" in Humble, TX. is worth a side trip. Actually, it's right off Hwy 59 and we could have driven right to it, had we not taken the tour of FM1960. We do live and learn.
Back to the Fabric! "It's A Stitch" has lots of Fabric, employee's, threads, notions and Fabric! Their Batik selection was great and that's where I headed. They had so much that I had not seen, even tho I had been to Paducah, KY., only the month before. Of course, I had to start my stack of bolts. The nice ladies there showed me a spot on the corner of a cutting table where I could stack my finds. It was wonderful.
Crayola, on the other hand, was having a hard time finding the right red to go with our "Piece". Just when we were about to give up, we found a collection of new Fabric, in a low, knee-high case by the front door. We had completely overlooked it. And there, waiting to be discovered, was the perfect red! The green we wanted was easy, it was in the huge Batik display. We also needed a black & white piece for the "Racing Stripe" that we wanted to include in the boarder. That, too, was an easy find.
I wish I had gotten the lady's name that cut my fabric for me. She was very sweet, and folded my fabric so that I could see every different piece. It was lovely. I hate to have my fabric bagged. I want to hold it on the way home and be able to see all my beautiful choices. Even after I get it home, I don't include it into my stash right away. I like to keep it out, on my couch, to look at, fold, unfurl, refold and touch. I really do love my fabrics.
I know, I do run on. There's more to tell, but the dawn is breaking and you know, it's breakfast time.
We'll talk again,
Carol Ann, Quilter

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