Calgarians line up for hours to be among first in fabric sale

·2 min read
A shopper at Ujamaa Grandmas fabric and yarn sale in Calgary on Friday. (Axel Tardieu/CBC - image credit)
A shopper at Ujamaa Grandmas fabric and yarn sale in Calgary on Friday. (Axel Tardieu/CBC - image credit)

It's the hottest event in Calgary's knitting, quilting and sewing communities — with lineups forming hours before the doors open.

The Ujamaa Grandmas fabric and yarn sale attracts hundreds of people who come out to comb through metres upon metres of material.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

The money raised goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It distributes the funds to organizations throughout Africa to help grandmothers who in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic were left to raise orphaned children.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

Leslie Buckle, a Ujamaa Grandmas volunteer, says the main draw for shoppers is the price, though many are also happy to keep fabric out of the landfill — and create something beautiful in the process.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

"There's the thrifters and then there's the people who really need to watch their budgets," said Buckle, a board member since the organization started in 2005. "And so they come because they can do marvellous things."

She says there are 200 to 300 volunteers over the six days of setting it up and running the event.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

"Hundreds of people, thousands of hours, go into this," Buckle said.

Monika Ruediger belongs to a quilting guild and tries to come to the sale every year.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

"I'm here to get some great deals on fabrics for quilting and some great quilting books," she said.

Anna Coe, who is new to sewing and brought to the event by a friend, says she's drawn to the tradition and heritage of sewing but enjoys the community aspect, too.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

"One of the things that really appeals to me about sewing is how inclusive and friendly the community is. I don't find that intimidating in any way. Everyone here seems really … everyone's willing to help and include. So it's lovely."

The sale continues this weekend at 1-4416 Fifth St. N.E.

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