I am a Houston girl. Htown has me utterly and completely and wonderfully fascinated. The juxtaposition of car and cow, grass and pavement, culture and chaos; the frantic, kinetic, global, urban madness is apparently what I've been missing all my life. It is most likely going to be my forever home and I am very happy for it.
I say that, to say this.
Austin is kind of fun, too. It is the ultimate Southern college town. It is self indulgent. It is colorful, and it is trying hard. Houston is the older, edgy sibling to Austin's youthful idealism, and I'm glad that it is close. Whilst Houston gives me inspiration, Austin provides the materials and respite.
And how it provides.
So many wonderful fabrics in so many wonderful shops. Truly an abundance. This, my friends, is me showing restraint.
I found the map at the top in one of the shops. It was not current for this year, but it shows the prolific nature of this relatively small city's fabric scene:
My MQG friends and I visited four shops: Cloth Pocket, Bunny's Designs, Walker Hall Design and Stitch Lab, all were fantastic in their own special way, and all had unique collections and personalities. I've listed below each of the the shops and provided a link and brief review.
Our first stop was Cloth Pocket, and what a stop. What initially seems like a hole in the wall that couldn't hold much of anything is bursting with the best. The buyer for this shop knows exactly what she's doing. Much like a sprint at the beginning of the marathon, I found myself blowing my budget right away with their wonderful knits and extensive of the moment fabric collection. Also, there were mimosas. So, all around a win. (Seriously, though, the knits were perfection.)
Bunny's is an exercise in contradiction. A basement shop not easily spotted, with abbreviated open times, it seems like the sort of place that is only for those in the know, until you realize they are one of the most prolific Etsy fabric dealers. A treasure trove of Kawaii fabrics, bold and modern under old-fashioned florescent lights, it is a place on first look I would not fawn over, but thankfully I was made to take a second and third look, and found mixed in with those sweet cartoon characters were some wonderfully avant-gaurde fabrics, including one bolt of fabric of which is perhaps my favorite bought fabric ever and will be featured here at some point. Bunny's is worth the look, but make sure you make the time to give it your full attention. It deserves it.
After the madness of Bunny's, Walker Hall was a wonderful reprieve. Calm and peaceful, this easily overlooked shop is definitely worth the time. Located in a nondescript shopping strip, you are transported to a serene creative space high up in the trees upon entering. Interior design, though, is not Walker's only strength. Fabric selection and pricing are both en pointe. Quality quilt fabric is not a cheap obsession, and Walker's had the most reasonable prices of our trip. A large organic fabric selection plus a well curated, calm aesthetic were both welcomed characteristics, especially when compared to the loud pinks and teals of many a modern quilt shop . Walker's will definitely be on my return to list.
Our final stop, Stitch Lab, is a must. Do not let the website fool you, Stitch Lab is the happening place of the Austin fabric world. A workhorse of a local fabric store, it is the store every town would have if Walmart had never happened mixed with a huge heaping of personality. Every possible notion can be found here, with a multitude of kickass fabrics, a felt collection to die for and multiple buildings housing the aforementioned "Labs" of Stitch Lab where highly successful classes are taught by too cool sewing goddesses. Seriously. It is loud and it is fabulous, and I will be stealing that oh so perfectly curated tin collection that lines the shelves throughout the store. Mark my words. Also, if they're serving punch when you go, make sure you have some. You are welcome in advanced.