Last week you may have noticed there was a devastating gap in your inbox, a fabric-shaped hole in your social media activity, a lack of pictures of all the best prints to inspire your creative mind and get your sewing hands itching – and that is because Clair and I had sneakily skipped off to Germany once more on our much anticipated fabric buying trip.
You may recall the absolute giddiness with which we approached the trip to Nordhorn, which is located just over the border from Holland, last year. It was very much like an exciting school trip, which unfortunately involved getting up at 4am, where we would be able to spend all our time talking to like minded fabric addicts and run amock along the rows of beautiful bolts at the factory, fantasising about what we would be able to make with everything on the shelves. And much as we were determined to be a teensy weensy little bit more grown up about the whole thing year, we pretty much failed, and were just as giddy and just as school-childish, getting over excited by the new collections and constantly gibbering about which ones might make the best pyjamas.
The only significant differences this year were that we knew we wanted to come home with more than just new jersey, so instead of going to the hotel for a chat and a cup of hot chocolate when we arrived, we headed straight to the factory to get started. Being up since four in the morning and not eating a great deal during the day doesn’t really prepare your mind terribly well for making sensible decisions and being able to focus precisely on what would go down well in the shop. So knowing that we needed to do a full run of the entire factory and see precisely everything that was available, we started on the mammoth task of recceying all three floors and running up and down all the aisles, cooing and oohing at everything until we basically made ourselves completely fabric blind.
Since last year Swafing have finished building a brand new processing plant which means that they now carry a much wider range of fabric styles, so this year we faced the prospect of looking at and potentially buying: jersey, cotton prints, fleece, faux fur, corduroy, linen, flannel, toweling, velour, wool, upholstery fabric, oilcloth, vegan leather, lace, lycra, satin, and a whole load of other less exciting stuff like bondaweb and interfacing. Once again the big rolls of fleece looked all too inviting as we succumbed to terrible choice paralysis and simply wanted to lie down under a table or hide inside the goods lift on our trolley. (Fun fact about the Swafing goods lift – if you are rather tired and not concentrating on how it actually works, you can stand outside it with your massive trolley full of fabrics getting in the way of all the people who work there, repeatedly pressing the button and not getting very far, until a kind German man appears and tells you to press and hold, and then steers your wayward trolley into the lift for you, before walking off whilst clearly thinking to himself that those ladies look a little bit crazed behind the eyes.)
There is such a thing as too much choice sometimes, and when you are low on energy getting carried away is all too easy and making acute decisions is not; this then lead us to making the most sensible decision of the day – to have a bit of a sit down and a nice cup of tea, in typically British style. After a restorative brew we were able to start thinking a bit more productively and actually put a few bolts on the trolley in a more organised fashion. But soon it was time for the minibus to take us back to the hotel for a night of pizza, wine, and endless discussion about fabric shops with all the other buyers.
Tune in next week, lovely readers, to hear more about what we actually bought and how we wowed the crowds of Amsterdam with our matching bobble hats.