As many of you in the States know, Hancock Fabrics recently went under. I heard from my nearest store associates that it was not an issue of sales, but rather a mistake in purchasing at the executive level from which they just couldn’t recover. Whether that’s true or not, I do not know, but in any case, it’s sad to see another fabric store go. My nearest Hancock was about 30 miles away from here – in my hometown and the city lost a Jo-Ann’s just a couple years earlier. While it’s still a discount fabric chain, I preferred Hancock’s selection of apparel fabrics over the Jo-Ann’s that is still in the town I live in now.
But as with most things, you can’t have the bad without a little good. In this case it was tons of discounts on merchandise and a huge score for me – pattern cabinets! I missed out on them when the other Jo-Ann’s went out of business as they were already sold by the time I realized they were selling the fixtures. This time, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I nearly hounded the employees to make sure I got first dibs on my choice of the pattern cabinets when they went up for sale. Sure enough, I got to choose the two I wanted the day they were available. I had to pay for them and sadly leave them for 3 months until the store officially closed.
When I finally got to retrieve them, it was just me and my husband’s pick up truck, as it was a do-or-die time frame I was given to pick them up. The store manager – who was a woman about my size – and I managed to take the drawers out of the McCall’s cabinet – the lighter of the two and load it into the truck with much trouble. Unfortunately the drawers don’t come out of the Simplicity cabinet as it has some fancy locking mechanism that prevents more than one drawer from being open at one time. I have no clue how to disarm it.
Thankfully two strong gentlemen passing by saw us struggling with the first and came to the rescue, carrying the second, heavier cabinet to the truck for me. It was truly a saving grace or I wound’t have been taking that one home in the end. Once home with them, my husband who has a bad back and is awaiting a spinal fusion surgery, was only able to help me drop the cabinets out of the truck into the driveway where they sat for several weeks under tarps.
Eventually our good friend, Jack was visiting and was able to help me carry the McCall’s cabinet inside to the upstairs guest bedroom where it will live – as it’s too wide to fit through my sewing room door. Then we tried the Simplicity cabinet. We couldn’t even lift it off the ground. Mind you, Jack is only slightly taller than me but at least has man muscles. We decided to wait and borrow the forearm forklift straps that my husband’s company uses to move heavy awkward pieces.
The next day, armed with the straps, we strenuously lifted the Simplicity cabinet about 15 feet across the driveway to the bottom of our front steps. Then we struggled – and I mean STRUGGLED to lift it up the first step. I’ve always hated how long and unevenly spaced our front porch steps are, but this at least enabled us to set the thing down after we made it to the first step. At that point, the forearm forklift straps were digging into my skin and left huge abrasions and blood blisters – what can I say – I’m like a peach with my transparent thin skin.
I was waving my white flag with the tiniest bit of strength left in my body but I knew that we couldn’t leave this giant thing blocking our front steps because I would have day care families arriving in the morning. Jack suggested we “roll” the cabinet up the stairs, end over end, at least leaving the bulk of the weight resting on the ground. I really couldn’t care less about scratching the cabinet on the concrete, so this is what we did. End over end, we managed it up to the front porch and out of the way. So there it sits. Two weeks later – or maybe it’s been 3? – I have a Simplicity pattern cabinet and a shabby old tarp adorning my front porch while I look for some very strong friends to help move it through the front door and up a real flight of stairs.
In the mean time, I’ve moved many of the 1,000+ vintage patterns for my Etsy shop from their shoddy plastic drawers into the drawers of the McCall’s cabinet. If you’ve visited my shop recently, you’ll notice there are no where near that many listed, as I have listed only about 1/3 of them, checked about another 1/3, and haven’t even opened several lots that I acquired just before the baby was born. Now that things have settled down and the big kids are back to school today, preschool nap time is mine again (YESSSS!!!!!! [ETA: That’s why there’s no pic of the McCall’s cabinet because kids are sleeping in front of it as I type!) I will be hopefully listing more for sale soon. I also hope to get the remaining 400-ish patterns into their rightful places in the Simplicity cabinet without too much more delay. I do hope it doesn’t rust on the porch while I make new friends! Anyone chummy with the Olympic weightlifting team?