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In the heart of downtown Chicago there are endless products to buy, places to go, and things to eat, all within walking distance. Eataly (guess we can’t call it Mario Batalli’s Eataly anymore) is a half block away, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and an AMC “Dine-In” Movie Theatre are within one block, and there’s a Nordstrom, a Rolex, and a Burberry across the street. You can find Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean, vegan, raw food food without pausing to take a breath. There are enough dive bars and taverns selling burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and wings to support a pop-up Maalox kiosk.
I can find a $2000 pair of shoes, a $5700 watch, a $175 throw pillow, $100 Lucky jeans, $800 sheets, or a $350 Swarovski bauble without having to cross the street. What I can’t find is thread, push pins, or packing tape. The Jewel Osco, a block away, is crammed with groceries, health and beauty aids, rows of assorted Scotch and flavored vodka, a million artisan beers, two aisles of prepared food, and three aisles of frozen entrees but it got rid of the office supply section and never did carry thread or needles. I did find a two-spool travel pack and some scotch tape at Walgreens, a six-block walk away and the sales clerk did breezily suggest an Office Depot for packing tape only a short Uber away. What? So, no push pins or packing tape for me.
But I really need fabric and thread for my current quilt, so I asked Mr. Google what to do. His advice: walk to Michigan and Erie, take the #157 bus, get off 17 stops later at Jefferson, walk three blocks, turn on DesPlaines and there you are at Fishman’s Fabrics.
Desplaines & Taylor
Chicago Fire Academy Memorial
Ginny would love it. Fishman’s is a wonderful old Chicago institution with giraffe prints, animal hides, high-end upholstery material, three aisles of sparkly prom dress material, enough tulle to make a bride swoon, commercial-grade zippers, satins, laces, and bows—but no quilting fabric. I so wanted to buy fabric at such an authentic, old-school warehouse but no…where did I have to go? Down the block and across the street to my least favorite store: JoAnne’s, easily found at any strip mall across America. Oh well, the outside temperature was above 30°, I waited on the right side of the street for the bus, and came back fueled with fabric and plenty of thread—I’m still looking for pushpins and packing tape.