Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I Love the Smell of Fabric in the Morning...
Some of you may remember the days when the copies handed out at school were "Dittos." They were some strange combination of blue and white and they had this wonderful chemical smell, (they were usually warm too!). We were warned not to sniff them because the chemicals could fry our brains, (turns out that was correct), but I still can't forget the overall smell in the room when they were delivered by the school secretary.
The same goes for the smell of fabric. I love getting a package in the mail, or even opening up a box that's been stored for a while. Of course, I know that most of the smell comes from the sizing, (which is why cheap fabric smells stronger, like gasoline....another good way to tell!). But there's still a wonderful scent, even after fabrics have been washed again and again.
I love fabric straight out of the dryer. It's soft and warm and smells delicious. I also love the scent that ironing gives off, that slightly burnt starchy smell. Fabulous!
I really hate it when I go into a quilt store and they've put out some kind of potpourri or scented candles. It ruins the whole vibe. I want my fabric scent straight up with no mixers. Just give me a stack of freshly cut fat quarters, oh, and a fat eighth for the road.
Isnt' it funny how scents can bring up all kinds of memories? Whenever I smell fabric I get excited about all of the things I've made and all of the work still to do. But there are other unusual scents that bring up wonderful memories.
My father ran truck dealerships, (we're talking big trucks!), and we kids often got to accompany him when he had to go over to get some parts for someone. Because we lived in an agricultural area, his life, (and ours), revolved around what was being harvested. If it was tomato season we might rarely see him as he would be working long hours making sure drivers had the parts and service they needed. They couldn't wait when they had a perishable load to get cross country.
So, we'd climb into the back of the pickup, (there were no seatbelt restrictions then), and off we'd go to "the shop." It was an adventure because we'd come in through the Parts Department and we'd have to climb over a low part of the counter to get to the back. Behind the counter were doors leading to a warren of shelves and cubbies, filled with all kinds of interesting things. I got used to the smell of rubber belts and tires, of parts covered in dust and grease, of oil and diesel, and the distinctive smell of a working shop.
Now, whenever I have to get my car repaired I enjoy going into our local mechanic's and breathing it all in. Once again I'm a little girl climbing over the parts counter, avoiding the office with the girlie calendars, and hoping that my Dad would treat us all to an ice cold Coca Cola, (the small bottles that cost a dime). Those were the days!
I often wonder what scents my son will remember from his childhood and how many of them will be the same ones I remember. I'm sure the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies will be one of them, as well as that movie theater popcorn scent. Wouldn't it be weird if one day years after I'm gone my son goes into a fabric store and realizes that there's another scent he remembers, one from that studio his Mom was always hanging out in?
I can only hope...
Happy Stitching, (and sniffing!),