Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Fabric Gene

You know you’ve got it without running a test or taking a quiz of some kind. Color, texture, design, and quality of workmanship in cloth—a 10”-square or a thousand bolts in one room—produce a delight you may or may not be able to explain. Perhaps you recognized it long ago and have no difficulty explaining the happiness you feel in a textile-focused environment. I’ve had a love affair with fabric for as long as I can remember. My mom (from whom I got the fabric gene) asked me recently, “What would you say is your earliest memory [about anything]?” My immediate answer was “In the delivery room, I remember thinking, ‘Why are these people dressed so drably?’” No. . .really. . .my answer was that I remember wearing a white and red polka dot—seems like they were GIANT polka dots—dress. I know this to be an early memory because one day when I was in my teens, while helping clean out the family storeroom, I ran across the dress and it looked like a Size 2. At the time, thinking about that dress gave me an unexplained delight—and it still does.  Hence, the collection of polka-dot fabrics that have a place of honor beside my beloved batiks and hand-painted pieces. What little stack of fabric in your stash brings that sort of delight? Describe it, if you will, and let the rest of us with the fabric gene enjoy it with you!


  1. Well, naturally I have much of that same DNA. I remember going through a fabric store with Mama and I would watch her touch the fabric between her fingers and either nod approvingly, or drop it with disdain. I copied her just to copy her but I realize now I do the same thing and love it when you find that piece that is not only beautiful in color and design but "FEELS" so wonderful that you instantly get a vision of 15 things you could make with it.

  2. Coming in late here... but your story made me remember a couple summers ago when my grandma decided to make a quilt from leftover fabrics - really leftover. My sister and I had the most wonderful time looking at all the newly-sewn pieces and remembering when our own mother was making those fabrics into dresses, tops, and shorts for us! We recognized and had fond memories of each swatch!

  3. I hope I never lose sight of the beauty found in quilts that may be lacking in technical proficiency but are full to overflowing with nostalgia and the love flowing from the quiltmaker. And many quilts have both!