Monday, July 14, 2014

A Surprise Package

Last Friday I got a surprise package in the mail. It wasn't something I'd ordered from Amazon. It wasn't something I'd ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop. It wasn't my even my birthday! I opened it up and in it were two fat quarter bundles of funky, adorable, animal prints from a fabric shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The style of the one on the left looked vaguely familiar and I read the business card tag. The fabric was titled Ed Emberly's Happy Drawing Too Fat Pac. Aha...that's why it was familiar! When my kids were little they loved Ed Emberly's drawing books. They had this one and used to sit at the kitchen table drawing animals from thumbprints. Here it is with its 1994 cover.

And here is another book, specifically of animals. I can hardly wait to unfurl the fat quarters and see if I can pick out matching animals. Right now the bundle looks too pretty for me to disassembly just yet.

The animals on the other bundle were also too cute for words. Upon reading the selvage and poking around a bit online I learned that the other bundle was by Amy Schimler-Stafford, an illustrator of children's books who is unfamiliar to me. I certainly plan to investigate her further. I love fabric by artists and book illustrators since they seem to have a distinct air about them. I learned this about myself with my cloth books by Joy Allen (June 11, 2014 and December 27, 2012 posts) and my search for a seaside print by Faye Whittaker

But the mystery of who this package came from was still unsolved. Then I found a single type-written page, scrunched in the bottom of the package. It began with the phrase, "Hello Lady Di". I smiled and knew immediately who had sent it. My husband's close friend from his college days always called me that. Richard and his wife Linda had sent it. Linda is a quilter and knitter but Richard proudly pointed out that he had "picked out the fabrics" himself. Richard has been an educator for special needs kids for years. As a teacher did he know these authors prior to their venturing into fabric design or was it merely coincidence? Or was it just the happy exuberance of the animals on the fabric that steered his selections?  Either way his choices were serendipitous for me. Here I am with Richard and Linda when we visiting them in New Hampshire in August 2013.

Richard's note went on to say how happy they were for us with the birth of our second granddaughter. We now have a 3-month-old granddaughter and a 21-month-old granddaughter. He explained that the package contained the two different sets of fabric so I could "make something different for each of my girlies". What a super neat gift and surprise it was to send fabric to a quilty grandmother for her grandbabies! Having someone else pick out fabric for me has the added bonus that I am not constrained by my unacknowledged biases nor sketchy-edged comfort zones. This is stuff is wild and I am going to thoroughly enjoy working with it. 

The package also contained some yardage of monkey fabric to make a pillowcase for my special needs son who loves monkeys. You can see the monkey quilt I made for him in my post for May 26, 2014. It was thoughtful of them to remember Alex as well.

I never knew about the Portsmouth Fabric Company with its over 7000 bolts of fabric. I moved from New England to California in 1976 and it was established in 1979. I guess I know what I need to check out next time I visit Richard and Linda. Many, many thanks to them for a thoughtful, unexpected gift I will thoroughly enjoy and put to good use.

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