I am a fabric aficionado. I love to run my hands over textiles and indulge in the weft of stitching. The sacred spot where a silk lining meets a nubby tweed gives me a thrill A satin nightgown sliding down my bare hip on a summer night is for me, the definition of sensual sensation. I think my intrigue with the tactile began as an emotion. When I was six my mother took me on a shopping trip to a huge department store to buy me a new coat. Finally, I was getting out of my brother’s hand me downs. We wandered through the racks with my mother’s keen eye appraising each coat on its sturdy hanger till she landed on a red plaid with blue piping. To my budding fashionista eyes, it looked absolutely grand. My mom helped me slip my little arms through as she knelt in front of me, gently closing each half dollar size shiny button with a smile on her face. When she got to the collar, she turned it up towards my cheek and I swooned. Velvet. Navy velvet brushed my chin and nuzzled my ear. It felt like my favorite stuffed animal. “This is the one for you and don’t you look snazzy in it!” My mom was beaming at me. I didn’t know what snazzy meant but I loved the look on my mom’s face. This was to be the first of many years of happy mother/daughter shopping trips together launched by that blue velvet collar.
It was from that day on, that I found myself lingering to rub my fingers along a brocade tablecloth or down a satin stitched pillow. My closet houses secondhand store gleaming Chinese robes in cerulean blue and vermillion green with silk knots that act as buttons. They are found treasure for me. I feel a special comfort when I am surrounded by fabrics. For my bedroom, I framed a white linen Victorian blouse I rescued from a flea market bin. The buttons are tiny seed pearls and have mellowed to soft yellow with age. An elaborate blush rose kimono hangs outstretched on the opposite wall. The blouse is frail and delicate. The kimono looks powerful and regal. Full of history and story embedded in the fine silk pattern. There is romance and adventure woven into fabrics. Just wander through a museum of medieval tapestries and see history and myth come alive through these elaborate masterpieces.
Several years ago, my mother-in-law gifted me a small portion of her coveted cashmere sweater collection from Scotland. I treat them like living entities and greet them every autumn when they emerge from their well-sealed box. I hug them to my face and I swear- they hug me back. Itchy wool sweaters are an abomination and will not be tolerated. Slipping a puppy soft sweater over my head on a chilly morning, is not something I take for granted. “Snug” is not just an adjective for me- it’s a genuine state of mind.
I’ve added paper to my “must feel” list and whether it’s a creamy magazine page or a tattered tissue thin antique book, I marvel at the touch against my fingers. On my travels, I hunt for antique paper, handmade fabric journals and keep my eye out for discarded beauties- silk scarves, lush remnants and ribbons of lace or cloth. I love using these found pieces of fabric and texture as gift wrap
I’ve allowed myself a few splurges and never regretted any of them. A midnight velvet evening coat came at a cost but it has been a staple of every New Year’s Eve- even to just come down the stairs to my own dinner table. A gold brocade embroidered scarf dotted with tiny jewels is the coat’s faithful companion. Though silk, satin, cashmere, cotton, taffeta, tule, damask, jersey, wool, gingham, tweed or organza are all welcome in my love for texture world, sweet velvet with its memory of my mother, will always remain my ultimate crush.