I took a trip to Ikea today to find some decorative stuff for my apartment – after spending so much time at home this past week, I realized that I’m still lacking in things that make my place “cozy.” So of course, I stocked up on more picture frames for my living room and sewing area (DIY sewing decor, what what!), a pillow form for my couch, and a big picture ledge to go over my TV and hold aforementioned picture frames.


tote

Of course, the great thing about Ikea is that you can find the most random stuff you’d never expect, like the above tote bag that was on clearance for $2.99.  How could I not get it, it has dress forms on it for crying out loud!  It’s quite roomy and has the option of carrying it with the handles or slinging it over your shoulder with the a long strap that’s tucked inside.  I can see this bag coming in handy for fabric shopping trips in the future.

I think the snow is also starting to get to me…another storm is on it’s way tomorrow, making this the third weekend in a row that Boston is getting dumped with snow.  Which is probably why I also picked up these babies:


plants

I really wish I could grow a little garden outside this spring, but since I don’t have a porch or balcony, this is the closest I could come to flexing my green thumb.  I was so excited to get home and build the plant stand they’re resting on since they’re cheery and brighten up my living room; I smile just looking at them.


plants diagram

The succulent, cactus, and African violet are from Ikea and the spearmint, lavender, hyacinth, and narcissus are from Trader Joe’s.  I’m not sure how well the Ikea plants will do but in my experience, plants from Trader Joe’s do really well.  I’m a little nervous about caring for them and fertilizing them, so I think I’m going to make a chart that will help me stay on schedule with their needs.  Plus, I need to transplant all of them out of their little plastic pots into the real ones that I bought, using potting soil, without making a mess.  Eeek!

So when it’s snowing this weekend, at least I’ll have a little bit of happiness inside my apartment to make me smile.

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fabricplace

Image from Boston Deals

How is it that I’ve been living in Massachusetts for (almost) five years and I’ve never been to this store until now?  Granted, Fabric Place Basement has only been open for two years and the original Fabric Place closed shortly after I moved here in 2008, but still.  This gem has been hiding under my nose.

I popped in after work to pick up some buttons for my Beignet skirt and a seam ripper since I snapped mine in half while trying to open up buttonholes on said skirt, and the minute I walked downstairs into the retail space I was stunned.  It was huge!  There was a section for fashion fabric!  Home dec!  Quilting cotton!  Even yarn!  I was skeptical though – the name “basement” implied in my mind that I would find cheap, low-quality fabric of the cheesiness variety.

Hell to the no: it’s really nice stuff!  After I found what I came in for, I started making my way up and down the aisles and that’s when the drooling began.  I found gorgeous poly prints that would make great blouses, fancy fabrics (without glitter – glitter does not transform fabric into evening-appropriate, JoAnn’s), rolls of pure silk, and leather hides.  The home dec, not that I’m into it, was impressive (you can buy fabric from the Shabby Chic line!), and the quilting cotton consisted of really nice stuff from Windham Fabrics and Rowan, just to name a few.

If you’ve been reading my site for awhile, you know my obsession with knit fabrics – I love them and can’t quite seem to get enough.  Well now, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem since I’ve found Fabric Place Basement.  There was a rainbow of knit jersey, ribbed knits, sweater knits, ITYs, and even 100% lambswool knit fabric.  Um, yummy and drool worthy!

But looky what I found:


missonifabric

Sarah’s fabulous Missoni dress popped into my head the moment my eyes landed on this funky zig-zag sweater knit.  I pulled the bolt out to see what the price was and noticed that it was labeled “Designer Knit Fabric.”  Now, at $6.99 a yard, I don’t think that it actually is a Missoni, but nonetheless, it inspired me to make a fun dress that would be great for transitioning from winter to spring – some kind of simple scoop neck dress like Sarah’s dress.  And you know what?  I’m still going to call it my “Missoni Dress” when I’m done!

This fabric will be a test as to the quality of what it sold at the store, but I’m crossing my fingers that all goes well since I see Fabric Place Basement as a good substitute for running to JoAnn’s for notions and the selection is much more diverse.  It’s nothing compared to fabric shopping in NYC but it’s pretty great for the suburbs, especially when it’s so difficult to find a place that sells dressmaking fabric.  If you’re in the Boston Metro area, I highly recommend checking them out.

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I was lucky enough to go fabric shopping for my birthday a few weeks back in NYC!  Let me show you what my favorite stores are and the haul I picked up (some of which you’ve already seen on the blog).

First stop: Mood Fabrics

mood

(I really could have taken a better picture but I felt like such a dork taking one in the store.  This was taken from the entrance where no one could see me snap a quick pic.)

What is there to say about Mood that hasn’t been said already?  They were crowded when we got there around noon and even a tour group was making their way in when we were leaving.  I always try to hit up Mood first before any of the other stores in the garment district since they have everything you’d need for a project in one place.  Plus, if you can’t find it at Mood, it probably doesn’t exist!  I love perusing their cottons and wools as well as the designer fabric.

mood fabric

I found two fabrics: a navy blue and white twill fabric that I just unfortunately used for this dress and a multi-colored striped cotton that I’m planning on using for a McCall’s 6554 sundress.

Since it’s right down the street from Mood, we then went to Metro Textile.

metro textile

So it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but let me tell you: this store is fantastic.  It’s a hidden gem, way up on the 9th floor on 37th street, and I never walk out with empty hands (more like empty pockets!). Kashi, the owner, is incredibly helpful and doesn’t leave your side when you’re looking through fabrics.  It helps to know ahead of time what exactly it is that you’re looking for since he can dig and pull out from the shelves exactly the kind of fabric you need.  I went in with the idea that I was looking for knits (his selection is awesome, I go their specifically for that) and I walked out with a ton of knit fabric as well as a cotton.  His prices are incredibly reasonable for the quality of the fabric he sells, too – I was amazed at what I got for what I spent.  Plus, he can even ship your fabric to you if you don’t want to carry it around.  I can’t recommend this place highly enough

metro textile fabric

Look at all of that!!  They’re all beautiful knit fabrics, except for the blue and green floral at the top which is a  woven cotton.  I’ve got plans for maxi dresses, wrap dresses, summer skirts, and knit tops out of that lot.  It should keep me busy for a good chunk of the summer I should think!
(Psst: a lot of this fabric is sold on Gorgeous Fabrics)

The last place we went to was a place my mom wanted to go to: The City Quilter

city quilter 1

I’ve never been, but after this trip, this store is on my “must-go” list.  It’s such a comprehensive and beautiful quilt shop and has a quilt gallery located next door.  Their website says that they stock around 4,000 bolts of fabric, and I definitely believe that.

city quilter 2

This is just one section of the store, btw.

I wish I had a project in mind when we were there because the selection and assortment of fabrics was amazing.  You name it, they carry it.  I loved their section of Japanese fabrics from Echino, Kokka, and Yuwa – most of those fabrics I’ve only seen online, and it was neat to see and feel them in person.

city quilter goodies

Since they’re also a Bernina dealer, I took a look at the feet they had and picked up a rolled hem foot for my 1005.  I haven’t tried it out yet, but it’s one of those feet that I’ve been meaning to get.  They also had a great selection of books, many of which made me really want to start quilting, but I decided to get Sue Kim’s Bags book.

So those are some of my favorite places to shop in the Garment District in NYC!  It looks like I need to go to New Jersey for work in two weeks, so it would give me a good excuse to swing by and get some more fabric…

225 W. 37th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10018
212-730-5003
265 W. 37th Street, Suite 908
New York, NY 10018
133 W. 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-807-0390
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webs1

I’ve written about trips out to Webs in Northampton, MA before but never wrote a comprehensive review of the store I refer to as “yarn heaven” or “the yarn store of all yarn stores.”  A couple of the gals in my knitting group and I took a trip out there this past Saturday and I was so excited to share with them the experience that is Webs.  I mean, come on…look at the size of the place!

If you’ve shopped online before at yarn.com, you’re familiar with the magnitude of the assortment that they offer.  So be warned: if you’re planning a trip to Webs, come prepared with some ideas and list of what you’re looking for.  I usually do and this time I didn’t, and was plenty overwhelmed (in a good way!) with the selection.

webs2

It’s always best if you’ve never visited before to ask one of the staff how the store is laid out since it can be a lot to take in at once.  The newest yarn, needles, and notions are in the front; the remainder of yarn is organized from front to back by weight, fingering to super bulky.  Above is a photo of the selection of cone yarn for weaving and knitting. We lusted over all of the beautiful colors and fiber blends!

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Books, patterns, and magazines are found mostly towards the back of the store and are organized by category: stitch libraries, fair isle and color-work, toys, etc.  They also have huge filing cabinets with PDF printouts and single page patterns from independent to large knitting companies and designers.  This is sometimes a good spot to start at first if you’re not sure what to make or what you’re looking for.  I love drooling over the glossy photos in their huge Rowan magazine section.

webs4

Throughout the store you’ll also find their private yarn label Valley Yarns.  They’re great alternatives to more expensive name brands and from the ones that I’ve worked with, the quality is just as good.  This is the rainbow wall of their Berkshire yarn right across from Cascade 220.  I think I liked Valley Yarns’ colors much more!

You think I’m done with going over their selection? Not even close!  They have a warehouse, you know…

webs5

This picture doesn’t even come close to capturing how large their warehouse section is in the back.  You’ll find lots of closeouts at great prices in the back, and some of the girls I went with found some gems back here for their projects.  Rowan, Debbie Bliss, you’ll find all sorts of discounted yarns in the back.

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I ended up with some more Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo for a Spring Garden Tee and Rowan Cocoon and Addi Turbos for an Owls Sweater.  Not too bad after going back and forth for about four hours!

Pros:

  • The most amazing yarn selection you’ll ever find.  It’s rare that they don’t have exactly what I’m looking for.
  • Super helpful and friendly staff: we asked them lots of questions and they were full of info to guide us to what we were looking for.  Plus, they held our yarn for us while we went to refuel at a brunch place they recommended.  Thank you!
  • Most of their yarn is discountable, just like online: 20% on $60 or more, 25% on $120 or more.  That definitely helps out when trying to make a decision on what to buy!

Cons:

  • The drive: it took us two hours to get there, but it was completely worth it.  We just need to be closer!

PS: Be sure to check out the bead store right down the street, Northampton Beadery

webs7

75 Service Center Road 
Northampton, MA 01060
1-800-FOR-WEBS
(closed Sundays)
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This past Thursday, since I had the day off from work, I took the opportunity to drive to Webs in Northampton, MA to see their retail store in person. If you have ordered online from their website, you know that they have a ton of yarn to choose from. But it’s nothing like what they have in their store. When I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed at not just the size of the store but the amount of yarn covering the walls and stacked throughout the aisles. There was so much that I had to ask for help because really, I had no idea where to begin. Plus, their warehouse is open to the public, so there was even more yarn in the back I had yet to see! I spent a good two hours in yarn heaven, and walked out a happy knitter with a large bag of yarn in hand for many projects.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca

Berroco Ultra Alpaca for a cabled beret from the new Debbie Bliss knitting magazine

Berroco Pure Merino DK

Berroco Pure Merino DK for a bobbled tam from Vogue Knitting Holiday 08

Jo sharp Silk Road Aran

Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran for a cabled scarf (ssh xmas gift!)

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for some Fetching gloves (maybe some gifts as well?)

All in all, a very good day! I urge anyone is in the area to get out to this fabulous LYS!

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