Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Left My Heart . . . in a San Francisco Fabric Shop

by Kath Rutledge of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries

Is there a vacation destination you dream about? After this past winter, doesn’t an island in the South Seas or a glistening, white sand Caribbean beach sound good? (Only if that glistening white sand doesn’t remind us too much of snow, though. Even in northeast Tennessee we’ve had too much of that stuff.) So how does a trip to Tahiti or Bali sound?

But I just returned from a different kind of dream vacation. You’ve heard the term busman’s holiday, haven’t you? That’s when a bus driver takes a vacation and chooses to go on, of all things, a bus trip. I did just that, escaping the latest polar vortex by taking a busman’s whirlwind trip to the world’s most fantastic fabric shop in San Francisco. As far as I’m concerned, Britex Fabrics is THE fabric shop. Walk in the front door off Geary Street, and the first thing you see is bolts of cotton, in every shade of every color imaginable, on shelves from the floor to a ceiling so high you need a library ladder to reach them.

more cottons
And after you’ve stopped staring at the cottons in slack-jawed awe, a staff member takes you by the hand to move you out of the doorway, because you’re blocking traffic, and tells you that there are four entire floors of fabulous fabrics and notions. There are cottons, silks, wools, synthetics, buttons, ribbons, trims, lace, zippers, threads and more – all in every color you can imagine. EVERY color. Sensory overload? No. Sensory awesomeness.


I promise I did get out and see more than the fabric shop while I was in California. I took a trip down Highway 1, and I was swept away by great seascapes and landscapes (and harbor seals and sea lions, and otters, and blooming ice plant.) But if you know me, then you know that textiles are the fabric of my life and visiting Britex Fabrics was visiting a corner of heaven.

How about you? What’s your dream vacation – busman’s or otherwise?

Kath Rutledge’s latest adventure is the national bestselling SPINNING IN HER GRAVE, third book in the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, which are available in mass market, e-book, and audio wherever books are sold.
Visit Molly MacRae on Facebook and Pinterest, or find her the first Monday of each month at Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts


  1. Replies
    1. Oh, Janet, it is so incredible. If you want to see more pictures, I'll be putting them up on my Pinterest page when I'm home again (catching the flight back to Blue Plum today and hoping spring arrived before I do!)

  2. I am slack-jawed just looking at the pictures you posted! I don't know if I could be pried out of there!
    I have trouble leaving places like Williams-Sonoma,and gourmet, foreign and exotic food shops, (I had boon a chef, baker and restaurateur.)
    Bookstores and great libraries are where I always hoped to be locked-in for the weekend back when things were closed on Sundays!
    I better stay away from San Francisco, though.

    1. The place is just so cool, Tonette. The building is tall and narrow and you can go in either the front door off Geary Street or the back door off of Maiden Lane. And it was full of people shopping. It was wonderful!

  3. I'd be like a kid in a candy store. WOW!!