Recently, on a break between appointments in town, I found myself with two hours to spare, and without hesitating, went straight to the nearest chain fabric store to leaf through project books and pattern books and walk the aisles actually touching the rows and rows of beautiful material.
I was reminded how convenient and fantastic the Internet is for buying the latest jelly roll or charm pack of fun new fabric lines. I also spend lots of time clicking around several websites that offer free tutorials, free quilt patterns, blogs and advice about almost any kind of sewing project from the new 'green' baby accessories (water resistant diaper covers, changing pad patterns, bibs, etc.) to home dec lampshades. I am spoiled by instant access to learning, quick delivery of goods, and community through chat rooms, board rooms, and blog spots, social media and networking, and the great companionship the whole world of sewers and quilters extend. I have lots of friends online. But don't really know any of their faces beyond a profile snapshot or an icon of their pet that represents their online persona. I don't often return products, and love the predictable crispness of a box of quilters cotton I order from a manufacturer.
But I don't get to feel the fabric (till it arrives). I don't get to smell the dye and test the loft of the batting. I don't get to pick up and test the weight of the scissors.
Also, I don't get to chat with the cutting table lady, or hold the door open for the white haired lady who has too many bags to manage. Or thank the cashier for reminding me about my coupon or membership card discount.
Back at the fabric store...
As I checked my watch and prepared to pay for a couple of things I couldn't live without, I rounded a stack of flat folds and bumped into a Costume Designer friend of mine I haven't seen in months...one who lives as far away from that particular fabric store as I do. She too was between meetings, and gravitates to textiles like I do. She had a yard of fabric she had brought back from Paris ten years before and was matching colors to make it into a throw for her bedroom...
As we talked and touched the choices and compared ideas, a lady rounded on us with a full cart, and it was a Set Hair Dresser I know from a sitcom I worked on a couple of years ago. Introductions around, and we helped her find corduroy for a project she was working on, pillows for her home. We laughed and chatted for a few more minutes with suggestions for her about the fabric district downtown LA and where to find other great fabric finds.
I really had to get on to my next appointment, but I joked to them that we could meet here next week same time with our coffee and do it all again.
On the way home, I realized how much we creative spirits need real contact as well as virtual...really feeling things, touching, weighing, laughing, chatting, connecting.
My reminder for the day then is to use all of our fabulous Internet tools, but don't get isolated in a craft that is solitary in itself. Join a quilt group. Take a class. Go to your local quilt shop whenever possible and sign up for their free sewing Tuesday to share and learn from quilting friends. And stop by my Facebook page and post a picture of what you're working on...don't forget your friends online! Connection. It's what keeps us all moving forward, trying things, being inspired. Looking forward to hearing from you...