Friday, June 18, 2010

Great Moments in Fabric Literature, Vol XX -Moroccan edition

On the hottest day so far, I tell Rachid I would like to look at fabric. We visit workshops where men sit on rugs sewing djellabas and embroidering the necklines. In the street, they card the thread, extending it and pulling it on to rolls. I resist ordering one of these splendid garments because it would hand in my closet until doomsday. I would like to find silk for table draperies or curtains. But most everything is precut to three meters, enough to make the djellaba. I find one square of antique ivory silk embroidered with apricot flowers.Rachid steps back when bargaining begins. Nothing ever seems to have a price, and I'm pressed to offer one. I offer so little that the seller appears to be shocked. Rachid puts his hand to his mouth to hide a smile. "What will you pay, madame?" I offer slightly more, then the seller says he must have four hundred euros. This is so far from what I would pay that I thank him, compliment him on the silk and walk away. He's dumbfounded that the American has escaped, having bought only a silver hand of Fatima.

Frances Mayes, A Year in the World pages 189-190, 2006

Do you shop for fabric when you travel? I have never been able to. I have travelled all over the world, but it seems as if there is no fabric anywhere I go. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Hunting Creek has made it his business to avoid locations that have possible fabric buying opportunities. Once when we were in Thailand I had fifteen minutes of unsupervised shopping and was able to buy a handwoven wall hanging, but that's about it. If I venture to say that I might like to look at some fabric my daughter will say in a shocked tone, "Mom! You have enough fabric!" (I'd like to point out that I never say things like this when she looks at shoes, sandals, designer sunglasses and clothing.)

If you like to travel via reading before you actually, physically go somewhere, take a look at Frances Mayes' books about traveling. It's almost as good as going.


AuntieAllyn said...

Yes, I do try to shop for fabric when I travel, but it's usually to no avail. Fabric shops are usually situated way out in the suburban areas, and I'm usually in the middle of the city or tourist areas. I had a fabulous experience purchasing fabric in the middle of a local market area in Arusha, Tanzania a couple of years ago . . . I was the only white person in the entire market area, so it was pretty obvious that I was a tourist. I found that I was treated much nicer by the women who were selling fabric, as opposed to the pushy men.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I have been lucky to buy fabric many places in the world--Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, Malaysia, Paris, and now Montreal. It is such a fun souvenir!

yummy supper said...

I am a huge fan of Frances Mayes and haven't read that book. We are about to embark on a year of travel so it looks like a perfect book for me to pick up. Thanks for the tip.
Funny what you say about fabric and travel..... I have found that so many things you find abroad are actually made in China instead of the place one is visiting. Whenever I find something truly local, I try to buy it. Laos provided me with the best textile I have found - a gorgeous rug.
Your post brought back great travel memories for me:)

beangirl said...

psssst.... did you actually go on some sort of travels? just checking.