franklin mills and the mini shop hop

Harley Chick, Aunt Pat and I have attended the Sew Expo in Worcester, Massachusetts every April for years.

Last year, while scarfing down taco salads in downtown Worcester and after proudly announcing what we frugally *didn’t* buy from the vendors at the Expo, we decided we needed to get together more than once a year.

Harley Chick would drive, Aunt Pat would plan the excursion and I would go along for the ride.

I’m very supportive that way.

I arrived at Harley Chick’s house at 7 AM.  I had my coffee mug and my envelope of fabric-buying cash and my list of fabric yardage requirements and photos on my phone of the colors needed for Bonnie Hunter’s new “Mystery Quilt”, which would begin online after Thanksgiving.

(I’ll write more about that in a different blog post, but just know that I actually had a *reason* to buy fabric, because I did not have a yard of gray fabric in my stash, nor did I have any neutrals, like ivory or cream, because I tend to buy colorful, modern prints with strange color combos.)

Aunt Pat had made each of us a gift:

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How cute is this bag????

First stop:  Franklin Mills.  This store in one of the many, many brick mill buildings in New England began in 1946 and sold remnants from the woolen mill.  Now it’s a huge fabric, yarn, trims and decorating fabrics store.

My mother sewed all of my clothes when I was a child.  My grandmother made wool braided rugs and knew every mill outlet store in a 100-mile radius from her home.  Going to mill outlets was part of my childhood, so now any time I get to walk into one of those old brick factory complexes I feel like a kid again.  They are usually down narrow streets, in the center of towns, near a river.  Some of the lucky ones still function long after the mill businesses moved down South and then overseas.

The Franklin Mills Store has been modernized, so it is light and bright and clean and filled with beautiful things.

Aunt Pat and Harley  Chick, just inside the front door of the mill.

Aunt Pat and Harley Chick, just inside the front door of the mill.

We took a selfie–yes, I admit it–but Harley Chick emailed it to me and now I can’t find it on my computer.

I will keep trying, but let me just say we looked very young for our age and especially beautiful that morning.

Radiant, even.  And slender.

I found some fabric for this guy:

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And some fabric for this kid:

Harley Chick selected fabrics for graduation gifts for two of her nieces and she let Aunt Pat and I help.  Fun, fun, fun!

I found a yard of gray fabric for the mystery quilt, too.

And then we defied construction zones and street repaving to end up here:

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Around the corner of this building was a deli where we ate lunch.  I had the best eggplant sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my entire life and I want to go back and eat another one.  Or two.  And take one home for the next day.

Aunt Pat told us about her Halloween experience, where she handed out over 1000 pieces of candy.  One thousand.  Her town had closed off her street, where neighbors had popcorn machines, cotton candy machines and movies shown on the side of the house next door.

It all sounds great if you’re six years old, but standing at the front door for five hours giving out candy?

We felt her pain.

A little inspiration from inside of Emma’s:

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And a peek at Sammy’s Christmas gift:
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Thanks, Harley Chick and Aunt Pat!!!  I had the best time and hope we can do it again.

Because I really need more fabric.

This entry was posted in friends, quilting, rhode island, shopping. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to franklin mills and the mini shop hop

  1. Pat Mahoney says:

    Are we famous now? Loved the part about being slender and eating delicious sandwiches and where did you find that strange little bag?

  2. Karen says:

    We were divas that day! What fun! Looking forward to our next adventure!

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