The Medieval Historian was working on his big book yesterday and this left me at a bit of a loose end. I had the afternoon and the car to myself, and so I decided to go to Downend to have a look at Fabric Plus. Downend is not exactly the ritziest shopping area in Bristol, but this fabric shop has opened and I thought I should give it a visit. Plus the idea of having all the time I wanted to look round without sighing and. ‘I’ll just go for a bit of a walk’, echoing in my ear was too good to miss.
Fabric Plus is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a fabric shop which also sells knitting wool and haberdashery. It had the big rolls of sparkly stuff for making into dance costumes for little girls, but it also had a pretty decent range of patchwork cotton, and some nice printed cotton on the roll. I bought some cotton printed with strawberries in a blue colourway. One of my side projects is making a series of quilts with St Andrews Quilters where we all have our own quilt at the end. Mine is predominantly blue, but has strawberry prints which I have collected over the years, so finding a blue-ish strawberry print for five pounds a metre for the back was great.
The fabric I fell in love with, though, was this one, a gorgeous peacock print:
I think it’s by Rowan. I couldn’t resist it. I checked to make sure that I could cut round a complete peacock with a view to using it in an applique, and I think I might make another peacock panel. The one I made for the Threads of Identity series which has been in the Bath Textile Artists Show in which I have taken part, has been a big success – people seem to love peacocks. So I wonder if another peacock panel might be fun to make. I am aware of the irony, that for me, the peacock symbolises grown-up mature, wonderful women, when the bird itself is male. I link it with Hera, queen of the gods, but maybe strong, powerful, grown-up mature women need a bit of masculine energy in the mix too.
I also bought a bag of remnants, which for the most part are a bit uninspiring:
but I would have paid the £1.50 requested just for the furry bit:
I have no idea what I am going to do with it, but it was far too lovely to pass by.
The other thing I really liked about the shop was that there was a wide range of people in there, some buying fabric for their granddaughter’s majorette dress, some buying knitting wool and putting stuff by, which something I remember from my childhood, and some like me, treating ourselves to beautiful fabric because we just wanted it. And, there was precious little card-making and rubber-stamping stuff. I know that these hobbies have kept craft shops open, which is great, but it was a relief not to see yet another fabric shop drown under a wave of card blanks and ink pads. The shop felt like a community resource, and I hope it prospers.