Way back in the Compuserve days, when several of us were chatting via the Bernina forum, I "met" Sue Yannone of Sue's Sewing Palace, Helena MT. Actually I really did get to meet her at a Knitting and Stitching Show when she very kindly brought me a whole heap of resources for my 1630 machine which were unavailable in the UK. Since then, I have regarded Sue as my Bernina Guru and though, of late, I haven't been using my machine much, the occasional email has kept her in my thoughts.
So, when we found ourselves in Helena today, of course, we had to drop in. Sadly Sue wasn't there, but Carol telephoned her and we enjoyed a chat, which was great. I even offered her a transfer to Gloucestershire, but for some reason, she prefers Montana ;-)
Her store is indeed a palace with a huge stock of machines, notions and fabric. Not only that, but there's a service depot and the most amazing classroom. Sue, perhaps it's as well you're not a little nearer, for I fear I'd spend so long there, you'd never get rid of me!
We spent most of the morning at the Montana Capitol building, where once again, we were surprised at the unrestricted access we had, never mind the fact that no-one asked to look inside our bags or ask any other security questions. We found a grand interior with an interesting collection of paintings and stained glass, though sadly, the guide's commentary did not take into account our lack of Montana local history! Never mind - we enjoyed the tour and the subsequent tour of Helena itself.
Upon our return to Bozeman, however, I needed to get a pair of shoes repaired and whilst they were being done we browsed the main street where we'd been yesterday. Sure enough, the Yarn and Fiber company were open and able to supply a skein of Mountain Colours yarn for the next pair of socks. But also, next door, we found Reproduction Fabrics where Margo Krager, the owner, was on hand to share her enthusiasm for vintage fabrics. Not only that, but she told us of her longing to visit Manchester to visit mills and other remnants of the cotton industry. My own meagre knowledge was put to shame by her comprehensive textile history and I promised to share some details I have at home upon our return.
She also recommended "The Secret Life of Textiles" of which I had no previous knowledge, but clearly I should investigate further.
Her collection of vintage reproduction fabrics, shelved in chronological order was fascinating. We especially liked her range of indigo prints, formerly UK sourced but now made in South Africa. Due to weight restrictions I had to limit myself to a couple of small bags of samples, but there were many very tempting goodies on those shelves, I can tell you.
So, on to pick up my newly heeled sandals from the cobbler - but no ordinary cobbler this, for we are in cowboy country and the boots for sale in here were rather out of the ordinary. My little white Italian sandals looked a bit forlorn amongst the Western cowboy boots and leather chaps and saddles! But my, did they do a great job!