Friday, June 01, 2007

Obi-Wan Kimono or 100 pounds of fabric

*Gulp* I just hauled two 50 pound suitcases filled to the brim with fabric all the way from Minnesota to Massachusetts! I almost killed someone in the airport when the precariously stacked suitcases tipped over exiting the airport and I blocked the exit a bit and everyone just walked around me and didn't bother stopping to help me pick it up (kind folk these days hunh). Finally after being totally and completely unable to lift the suitcase I yelled at a man standing at the curb "Could you please help me!?!??!" After he helped me it occurred to me that I had been a bit rude and compensated for this by thanking him excessively, from the bottom of my travel weary heart.

Why on earth was I schlepping two 50 pound suitcases half way across the USA anyway? Simple: I went treasure hunting and discovered a fantastic source for vintage OBIS! (What are obis!?!??! I know you are asking. They are the beautiful embroidered silk or brocade belts the Japanese use with their Kimonos, in the singular, Obi). Stay tuned to for exquisite handbags and accessories made from re-purposed Japanese Obis. Also, I expect the Obis to sneak up as table linens and home decor items as well, so make sure you tune in to in the coming weeks as well.

Next question: what on earth was I doing in Minnesota? First of all, Minnesota is one of my favorite places ever, and I have lived in several states and traveled to several countries. The myths about the unsupportable winters and summers filled with mosquitoes are...true...but I love the winters and I love the summers...drenched in bug repellent. Minneapolis is such a growing arts city; I dare you to check it out!

Anyway, I digress. Why did I go to Minnesota for vacation? Well I grew up there and have lots of family there (my grandparents were very productive, I have eight aunts and uncles on my father's side and they are all married and have 2.5 kids and a dog!) and I have many friends there that know how cool Minneapolis and St. Paul are and are sticking around because it rocks! My friends are very fun, some of them, Ms. Karen Wallin and Ms. Andrea Nelson, have joined a bowling league and invited Ms. Megan Pratola and myself to bowl with them and I found it quite entertaining...maybe I am a closet bowler and never knew it! I have to brag that I bowled my best game ever in the history of Virginia and bowling, 106!

I bowled and dined with a few friends who enjoyed robust steak and other savory dishes and tropical cocktails. Can I please state for the record that Leinenkugel's beer is brewed in Chippewa Falls WI, it is not an import. Anyway, I digress again. Ms. Andrea Nelson is a journalist and has interviewed me on YazBerry. I'll share the interview with you when it is published, don't you worry.

Now, let me explain to you the remaining 75 pounds of fabric. They say that the quilter that dies with the most fabric wins. My grandmother is an excellent quilter, a master of applique and French snots (her rendition of French knots). Grandma always, always, always has had shelves full of fabric. She has fabric in every color imaginable and neatly sorts it and stores it folded in color order (I think I inherited the color order trait; see my sock drawer and crayon box for reference). I thought the day would never come when Grandma allowed me free rein to thumb through her fabric collection.

Not only was I able to thumb through five floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with fabric, but I was requested to take home as much of this fabric as I could! I think my Grandparents wanted me to take home all of it...but even the garbage bag full I did take was nearly over my allowed weight limit for my flight home. I remind you to check back often as some fantastic vintage fabric dating as far back to the 1940's will be appearing in numerous configurations in YazBerry creations. Don't worry, when I write up the fiber content I will be sure to list it as vintage fabric from Grandma's collection, so you are aware of the legacy you are about to buy into!

While I am typically quite light hearted, bordering on humorous on this blog, I do want to take a moment to be serious. My Grandma is nearing her mid 80's, she is still mostly healthy, but the years are sneaking up on her. What does it mean when a quilter, who's goal is to die with the most fabric, begins giving away her treasured collection? I like to think she has no intention of moving on, so by downsizing she is telling the years that "I have no intention of winning the quilters competition, I will be here forever." I love my Grandma so much!

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