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Kathy Bogart cuts fabric while Georgi Schneider waits her turn.FABRIC AND FRIENDS FIRST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

I heard about it for months.

"Have you seen the new quilt shop in Roanoke?"

"It has a man-cave."

"The fabric selection is huge."

Even my non-quilting friends were raving about the place.

It's not that Roanoke is so far from where I live, but with juggling several restoration projects and my other work I just hadn't gotten around to making the trip.

A couple of weeks ago I called the Fabric and Friends Quilt Shop to inquire of their hours and location. I couldn't have called at a better time, for the F & FQS was preparing to celebrate their first birthday that very weekend, and it wasn't going to be some small affair!

Over the phone I get the details. What? BOGO fabric sale, free chicken fajita bar, cupcakes and ice cream, located in an old Victorian mansion. What more could a quilt lover ask for? Thursday could not come soon enough. After work a friend and I venture out. The drive isn't long and soon we see the long trail of cars parked up and down in front of the mansion. We go past all of them turn around and land a spot almost directly in front.

Inside you just stand and gape. The place is floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall fabric. The shop hums with activity. Helpers everywhere assisting: cutting fabric, directing, orchestrated to the convenience of the customer. The selection of vintage fabrics from various time periods is excellent. Alas, my search for a particular color of solid purple/red fabric goes unrewarded, but hope springs eternal.

My favorite quilt store haunt-the clearance room yielded two nice vintage selections. Already on sale and BOGO, it doesn't get any better than that! While checking out the fabric, I strike up a conversation with Jayne Oliver who lives on a farm near Columbia City. She finds a discounted fabric that would make a great throw for her yarn room. We chat and bond over fabric as quilters are prone to do.

After checking out the fabric selecting this one, discarding that, it is time to have the fabric cut and measured. Suddenly a woman is at my side asking me how much fabric I need of each bolt. She sweetly directs us to enjoy the hospitality while she cuts the fabric. Have I heard correctly? No take a number? No stand in line forever? The fabric is unloaded into her outstretched arms and we head for the refreshment area, passing the man-cave along the way. TV on but not blaring, no men here now, just a few women resting their tired feet.

The aroma! Hot tortilla soup, chicken fajitas, taco fixings... Having rushed to Roanoke directly from work and with the exhilaration of snagging some great fabric at a great price, waning, it was so nice to be able to sit, relax and eat a warm nourishing meal. My companion loves the tortilla soup so much a mix of Frontier Soup is purchased for future savoring.

The catering is provided by The Orchid an event and planning establishment out of New Haven. We learn from the staff they prepare a different soup and tea every month at the F & FQS the first Friday and Saturday of each month in conjunction with the latest sale! We can't wait!

Reflecting on this first birthday, owner Deb Roehm says the shop has exceeded all expectations. With such quality merchandise, friendly staff, it isn't too hard to imagine why.

Fabric and Friends Quilt Shop is located at 126 W. 2nd St, Roanoke, IN. Hours are M-F 10-5 p.m. Sat 10-3 p.m. Call 676-2149 to sign up for their monthly newsletter.

Lois Eubank, www.bornagainquilts.com


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