Sunday Stash #220 – A&E Fabrics

Okay, A&E Fabrics. Discuss. What an explosion of colour, texture, style, design, and everything between the sheets. You know I almost didn’t make it to this place. When googling fabric shops in Pensacola, Florida it came up as attached to a pharmacy. Then I looked at the Google street view shot, and from the outside it’s not much of a looker, at least not in the typical local quilt shop aesthetic that is. I asked Grandma Sparkles and she hesitantly said, “Yeah, I think so. Let’s go over and have a look.” Oh honey, I did much more than look!

So to confirm, A&E Fabrics is actually attached to a pharmacy on one side, and then a fabric-palooza on the other. I know, it’s weird, but it’s been in existence for decades, and who am I to argue with tradition. (Especially when half of it is tailored to my every need, want, and desire!) This picture above is about twenty percent of the store. Wha-wha? Yeah. Like, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I found the fat quarter bin, and then turned the corner to find all this jazz. Shut. Every. Front. Door.

When I saw shopping carts (trolleys) at the front entrance, I kind of chuckled. Oh naive Molli. By the end of the expedition (<–yes: expedition) I think I had filled up more than a few. Can you blame me?! I mean, look WHAT I FOUND! This is Moda’s Get a Clue with Nancy Drew range from 2013, and it is most definitely out of print. It was also most definitely on sale so I bought yardage of each of the prints. Did I have some in my stash at home that I’ve never used? Of course.

Don’t look at me like that! I know you have done exactly the same thing. Look at those magnifying glasses, and all those classic Nancy Drew faces. It makes me want to start reading Nancy Drew all over again. She was and always will be a personal hero and style icon. (Don’t even get me started on George and Bess … oh bless the Bess!) And just, while we’re in the moment, I liked Ned, but don’t you think she could have done a little bit better? Even though he inevitably would always show up when Nancy found herself in some crazy inescapable moment, he never truly appreciated her and her talents. Nancy Drew forever!

Okay, so other exciting finds: these Jay McCarroll pieces from Center City which was also on sale. (Like, sale-sale.)

Then a spot of Alison Glass, another tidbit of some Jay …

… who would I be without picking up some of Zen Chic’s latest, Lustre? I almost bought all the range, but then that dusty, Robin’s Egg blue she used just has me going NO. So I kept it classy with just the black and golds. I think I’m missing a few pieces though, so I’ll still be on the lookout!

Then I turned a corner and found they also had a few Art Gallery Pure Elements. So I bought a little bit of each one. And by a little bit I mean, um, … ssshhhh.

Okay, and then the craziest thing happened. I was chit-chatting with Grandma Sparkles about some fabric or another (who can remember in all the dizzying array of bolts that were throwing themselves at me!) That’s when Juliette (pictured below) interjected into our conversation that I should definitely buy them. Haha, like I need encouragement. But, but, but … it was the best interjection ever. Low and behold, I had been clocked as soon as I had walked into the store. (“Clocked” = to be found out.) Now, I say this with the utmost disregard to ego, but sometimes I get recognised as Molli Sparkles, but I never expect to be recognised. While shopping in a foreign city, where I’ve not announced I’m going to be, is one of those situations that I do not expect to be noticed. Wrong.

Ms. Juliette, who is the President of the Pensacola Modern Quilt Guild had noticed who I was, hence why she struck up a conversation. I’m so glad that she did! When travelling to new places, I love to speak to local quilters to get a feel of what the “scene” is like. Who’s doing what, and how they’re doing it, what’s popular, and all that. I never want to walk up to shop owners, or locals and be all like, “Don’t you know who I am?” (Rude.) However, I also want them to know what I am talking about with regards to quilting and fabric. Which, when you’re a guy in a fabric shop, can be a bit challenging. Juliette was my lifesaver so to speak. We had a good gasbag about quilting (of course), working on a project together, and speaking at the PMQG on my next visit. She even called her sister who is also a quilter to come meet us at the shop. #flattered

Meanwhile, Grandma Sparkles was standing there slack jawed that complete strangers knew who I was and had spotted me in the wild. While I have experienced this sort of notoriety before, it was the first time Grandma Sparkles had been present for it. I must say it was pretty spectacular seeing her reaction!

Juliette soon introduced me to the owner Rhonda who told me she has so much fabric she can’t even fit it all on the floor (gasp!) …

… then some of the team working to facilitate my habit. Hello! Martini fabric with instructions on how to make your favourite drinks. Yes, yes, and more yes. I’ll have another!

Now, as if I need any other reason to extol the virtues of A&E Fabrics, but I’ve got another one to share with you. Every month they have a fabric sale that caters to some sort of theme. In this instance, since it was February, any print fabric that had red in it was on sale. I really had to clarify that with the counter ladies. “Do you mean to tell me that even this fabric with one red dot on it is on sale?” Yes, Molli, yes. I think it was at that point I grabbed another trolley! Meanwhile, Juliette had concocted this plan to travel ahead to another local fabric and notions shop called Martelli’s. She insisted I come over and meet the owners after I had finished up all my shopping at A&E Fabrics. That is another epic story, for next Sunday!

So I quickly began throwing things in my cart that I had seen and had to double back and get. Alexander Henry, check. Mirror Ball Dot, check. Hoffman Fabrics, check. By the way, how fabulous is that prismatic digital print? Hot pants are most certainly in order.

I’ve long had a lipstick block designed in my sketch book that I’m hoping to utilise this fabric for. And another Hoffman digital print! Seriously, this fabric house is going from strength to strength. This picture doesn’t tell the full story of this fabric called Supernova in Emerald, but it has this amazing fractured ombre radiating out from the centre. Divine, I tell you, divine! At this stage, I was literally running around the shop just grabbing things that I thought I couldn’t live without. Looking back, maybe a bit embarrassing, but I’m writing it up as dedication to the craft!

So A&E Fabrics! Do you dig it? Are you ready to take a holiday to Pensacola, Florida just to visit this shop? I’m already planning a trip back sometime in September – October, so meet me there?! Maybe I need to host a shop hopping fabric bus tour!? How fun would that be! Okay, your turn, what’s happening in your stash this week?

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24 Responses

  1. Merrilee says:

    Oh this post cracked me up! Thank you for sharing your awesome experience!!!

  2. Barbie says:

    This shop is now on my list of places to visit! How on earth did you get all that fabric home though with airline baggage fees being what they are? You ditched all your clothes except what you were wearing, right? 🤣

  3. Amy in VA says:

    Nancy Drew! A&E doesn’t have a shop online? I’ve got a seven year old who JUST discovered the fabulousness of Nancy Drew this month…
    (Who we almost named her George for these books so you can imagine my glee.) Those magnifying glasses! The books! Nancy! I found a panel on etsy but can’t find yardage

  4. Pat Oster says:

    A&E is great! And they seem to know where everything is! How amazing is that?

  5. Wow, any fabric with red on it for sale? Genius! You certainly have me convinced to stop by if I am ever in the area. 🙂

  6. Quilter 501 says:

    How can you not know that people know you….especially more adventurous quilters? You and your blog are a bright spot in my life! I enjoy your posts, rants, adventures, piecing….etc. and I love the influence of your grandma….very smile proving!

  7. Betty C says:

    Have you ever gone to Fabric Depot in Portland OR? A half acre of floor space for fabric and all kinds of sewing and quilting supplies. If you ever go there let us know so we can meet you.

  8. Kathleen says:

    So fun!!! I wanna go shopping with you!

  9. Ioleen says:

    Love this post. Such an adventure. Waiting for next Sunday. Happy Easter 🐣

  10. Kristin says:

    Shut.Every.Front.Door!!

    Oh Molli– All I can think is that you looked like you were in the final scene of that game show from the 90’s – Supermarket Sweep:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gggWmpiEEkY

    I’m totally jelly of your shopping spree. I’ve heard of that store and would love to make my way there someday, too.

    xoxo

  11. mary says:

    Oh wow there are no words! Enjoy…

  12. Trude Jackson says:

    What a wonderful Easter Sunday read…You’ve made my day…How fun was all that…I think everyone wants to go to Florida now!

  13. Wendy Welsh says:

    Wow Molli! You’re a legend. How did you get all that fabric back to Oz? Did Customs sting you for duty? My meagre 5 fat quarters is nothing compared to your haul. Well done.

  14. helen says:

    do shops like this actually exist? Sure it wasn’t a dream …

  15. Carmel Leahy says:

    Your post today is as fabulous as the fabrics you showcased! Very envious of your shopping trip.

  16. Nancy says:

    Well Molli, I have had shopping trips like that where I spent $500 – and really could not figure how it got so high so fast. But if I know I won’t return. For Lent I took a 6 week fabric and Face Book fast. For Easter I bought myself a $25 coupon to my favourite quilt fabric shop – to Nancy from Nancy.

  17. Marsha says:

    Oh, Molli,
    You KNOW I know A&E very well. Just like Fabrics by the Pound. I used to plan monthly trips there for my quilt guild when I President of the quild in Alabama. We had great times at Martelli’s too! So fun to hear you talk about it. Thanks for a fun reminisce!!!

  18. Hey, Molli – I’ll be in Perdido Key near Pensacola in Sept – Oct so let’s get in touch! I just discovered A&E last year and OMG, it’s pretty amazing, as you’ve well illustrated here in your post.

  19. Brenda says:

    Well, dang. I want to travel to Pensacola yesterday!!~! Shame on you for encouraging such “shameful” behavior! Why, for the price of an airline ticket, I could buy lots of stuff at home. But is my brain wired that way? Is any quilter’s brain? Not yours, it appears! <3

  20. Tina short says:

    I knew that you would love this store when i mentioned it to you. The only thing wrong with it in my opinion is that they dont have a hubby corner, somewhere with a coffee machine to park the partner cos it takes a looong time to get around the store.
    we plan to be back in Al in the fall so maybe our paths will cross, I’d love to meet you and Grandma Sparkles.

  21. Beth LaMotte says:

    A and E is simply the best eclectic fabric shop you will ever run across. I’m so glad you found it! Juliette and her sisters are simply wonderful and really encourage quilting in our area. Hopefully you have checked our their Three Stitchette YouTube videos. An FYI, (for the person looking for Nancy Drew material)while they do not have an official online business, people have called looking for certain fabric and the fabric was cut and sent to them. If you ever are in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin area, do check out our 5 quilting and fabric stores! We are so lucky to have them all!

  22. WENDY Paull says:

    Woohoo! Thanks for showing us the love! If I need fabric, I always call down to A and Everything to see if they have it. It’s so dangerous too just stop by and risk blowing the budget! You never leave there empty handed. It’s impossible!

  23. WENDY Paull says:

    A and E . (Also, I’m a member of the Pensacola Modem Quilt Guild too. )

    Way to go Juliette!

  1. April 16, 2017

    […] Tagging to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles! […]

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