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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strategies of a Fabric Sale Shopper

Ujamaa Grandmas is a non-profit society that raises money to help grandmothers in Africa who are raising their orphaned grandchildren.  Their big fundraiser of the year is their fabric and yarn sale in April.  I discovered it 4 years ago.  It seems to be getting more popular every year.

People donate their un-used fabric, yarn, notions, books, patterns, etc to the Grandmas.  They also get donations from fabric and upholstery stores in town.

The first year I went, I arrive at around 11:00.  The sale is held in the basement of a church.  I walked down the stairs and WOW! - I could not believe all the fabric that was there.  Tables stacked with piles and piles of one and two yard cuts of fashion and decorator fabric in the main room - and several side rooms with specialized items.  One room was full of quilting fabric, in various sizes.  Another was full of notions and tools.  A third had bolts of decorator fabric.  I was in heaven!  I stocked up, for just a few dollars.

The next year, I arrived right as it opened, at 9:30.  It was crazy busy!  It was hard to even get to the quilting fabric, but I managed to stock up again, and joined the huge lineup to pay.  I decided I wouldn't go right at opening time the next time.

Last year, I went at 1:00.  Bad idea.  The fabrics were very picked over and I went away empty handed.  :-(

Yesterday, my strategy was to arrive at about 10:00.  That way, I would miss the opening rush, but would still have a good selection.  I got there, and parked a couple blocks away, as there were cars all over the place.  That was not a good sign, but I assumed it was all the early birds, who were now in the process of leaving.  I turned the corner and arrived at the church to find a lineup well outside the door!  It turns out that people were lined up an hour before the doors opened!  This event is getting to be very popular!!

Well, what's a girl to do?  I joined the lineup, and shivered with all of the other women (and a couple men - or "sherpas" as one fellow described himself).  It took about a half hour just to get into the sale. And another 20 minutes in line to pay.   But, it was well worth it.  The selection of quilting fabric was the best yet.  I came away with a healthy haul.  I'm just washing it up right now, so I'll post pictures later.

My tips, for anyone who wants to go next year are:

  • Come early and line up.  
  • Wear warm clothing, but dress in layers.  It will be chilly outside, but it is quite warm in the church, especially once it fills up.
  • Don't bring your children, unless they are old enough to be sherpas.  Especially don't bring strollers.
  • Bring your own bags.  (Note I said bags, not bag.)
  • Plan to pay cash.  They do take credit and debit, but I find it's quicker to pay cash.
  • I saw one pair of women - one stood in the checkout line, while the other went around and collected fabric to purchase.  If you were in a hurry, that would be the way to do it.  But who wants to be in a hurry at a fabric sale?

More information about the event is here.


Peg said...

Sounds like a fabulous way to increase stash, and help out somebody else at the same time! Wish I could be there!

sew.darn.quilt said...

I'll have to check out Saskatoon's! Thank you for this!

Julierose said...

Colleen--Can anyone donate fabric? I would love to have their address and would like to send a box of fabric to them. Thanks, Julierose