Describe Your First Trip to a Fabric Store
In my novels, my characters are always wandering into fabric stores, yarn stores, paint stores, art supply stores, and being around all that color, texture -- and possibility -- shakes something loose in them. I find this to be true about myself, too. Whenever I'm stuck with a story, the best thing to do is get up from my desk, get out of my house, and go somewhere where I can be surrounded by the raw materials of creativity. I like the energy of these places, and the people who are there solving problems -- aesthetic problems, or structural problems, or technical problems. There's something about these places that feels both very grounded and very ephemeral. You feel planted in reality, but the possibility of magic is close at hand.
In The Threadbare Heart, my character pays several visits to a fabric store in Santa Barbara, which is the town in California where I grew up. The particular store I describe isn't actually there, anymore, but I can picture it perfectly -- the bolts of fabric like trees in the forest, and me (small me) wandering through the pathways, soaking it all in. Last year, while researching my novel, I visited Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor New Hampshire, which looks exactly the way a fabric store should look. It's right on the lake, with a wide, white front porch, and room after room of fabric. I had the thought that I could just live in that store, the way that girl and her brother lived in the museum in the book The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Now there's an idea for a book!
For this week's "Story of My Stash" question, I'd like to hear stories about your first memorable trip to a fabric store.