Minnesota Fabric Haul
I have had a very busy and exciting month or so since my last post! Our graduate organization put on an academic conference and a graduate writing retreat. I sprained my ankle and was a terrible patient. And, best of all, I passed my final comprehensive exams, advancing to candidacy in my Ph.D. program! Exam year has been a beast, and I am so happy to have it behind me.
Next up is the dissertation proposal, but before I jump into that I’m taking a break to catch up with some important housekeeping and quality of life stuff that’s lapsed over these months. I was so incredibly lucky to celebrate passing my oral exam by seeing a Decemberists concert with Steve that night and heading to Minnesota for a week with family and friends the next morning. This trip was exactly what I needed. It was full of lots of time with the people I love, and some of that time was spent acquiring so much fabric that it barely fit into my suitcase for the return trip.
It’s a good thing that I plan to purge and spring clean the entire apartment, because there definitely isn’t room for all of this in my overstuffed sewing area!
There wasn’t much I wanted to do in Minnesota, just people I wanted to spend time with, but a trip S.R. Harris was a necessity. I’ve been to the NY Garment District, but this Minnesota fabric warehouse is still my favorite place to shop. Their prices are just so low!
This time, my mom and I shopped with my aunt and my cousin, who were in town from Chicago and hadn’t been to this massive store before. My cousin is such a talented knitter and seamstress, and she picked up just about everything she needs to make a beautiful military style coat in time for 4-H judging next month (hopefully…get cracking, M!).
I find that I do my best shopping here if I go in with a flexible plan, so I brought along the yardages for a bunch of garments I’m thinking about making in the next few months. As it turned out, most of what I bought is to sew for my husband rather than myself. He needs a new red buffalo plaid shirt so I can pry his beyond-worn one out of his hands, and I’m hoping he’ll come around to this plaid even though it’s an acrylic. On the right is a wool to make him a vest. He loves wearing vests when he needs to be a little dressier, but the ones in stores aren’t long enough for him.
I did find a few things for myself, though. This fabric is a Nike lycra that will become a Watson bra after I make up the kit I have. All of these elastics were so incredibly cheap–we’re talking 40c/yd–that I grabbed a bunch of yardage of everything I liked. I am still in the planning and accumulation stages of my lingerie journey (need to get a few other projects out of the way first), but it’s small and I’ll find a way to use it eventually. Now that I’m back in Pittsburgh, I wish I had picked up some more lycra to make workout clothes because Steve and I are looking for more ways to be active together after a fairly lumpy year.
Not to worry though, I still brought home plenty of fabric for myself. My mom has a massive wool stash from her many years in Make It With Wool contest, which often gives out yardages of Pendleton to its participants and winners. I pulled these two mid-weight pieces out of the closet because I’d like to make some sheath dresses for an upcoming conference. I hear Montreal is a very European city, so hopefully black and gray won’t be too dark for a summer conference.
Finally, Mom had some mystery fabrics waiting for me. She had told me about the navy polka dot, and I was prepared to take it by force if necessary. She was smart to give it up peacefully. The stripe is an odd fabric that I’m not sure what to do with. It’s a knit, but it has very little stretch, and it’s fairly thin. I may end up using a pattern designed for wovens so I don’t have to count on the minimal stretch.
My stash is now thoroughly enhanced, just in time to catch up with sewing after those exams.