Last month, I wrote about how my fabric stash came to be in Taiwan. Along with the story about the fabric I brought from the US and a picture of my grandson with the quilt I made him, I also told about the fabric district in Taiwan and my two visits there. I’ve been trying to get back there, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that it actually happened. After several previous cancellations and false starts, my husband and I took a train to Taipei and met up with our friend Jean to visit the fabric district at Yongle (Chinese for “forever (yong) happy (le)”). The street that leads to our target location is lined with all kinds of shops, including many with rows and rows of fabric bolts, but I was holding out for the big corner store that is full of fabric stalls. Here is the stairway to the second floor.
If your only fabric shopping experiences have been at chain stores like Joanne’s or Hobby Lobby, or the labor of love fabric and quilt stores that can be found in almost every city in the US, you may not believe what you are about to see. The closest thing I’ve experienced is shopping in south Philadelphia in what is known as Fabric Row. You can go from store to store, and encounter a seemingly endless array of fabrics for every conceivable purpose. With patience and perseverance, you can find almost anything you can imagine. The second floor of this corner building at Yongle is very similar, except the floor is mapped out with stall after stall of fabrics and other textile delights. You can actually get lost. OK, maybe not you specifically, but we did.
I felt disoriented as we entered the building, like the orientation was wrong, the entrance didn’t look right, and so many things since the last time we had been there, which–in truth–hadn’t been THAT long. Then I couldn’t find my two favorite fabric stalls. There are enough stalls that I knew I could find something, but it just felt a little “off.” .Luckily, while I was wandering with Jean finding new fabric haunts, my husband (Dave) was doing some wandering of his own. He discovered that we had actually come in the back of the building this time; there are TWO main doors to this place! He found a map on the wall. The entrances are indicated by the corners of the building that have circular entrances..
A map for a giant room of fabric stalls! Do you see how many of these things there are? Every one of the stalls represents a container absolutely overwhelmed in fabric.Do you also notice that if you are near one entrance (looking at the map on the wall) and you want to get to the opposite entrance, that there is no direct diagonal path? It took us two tries to actually find the other entrance. But when we did, I was able to go straight to my favorite stalls and dream.
Just remember that for every picture you see, there are rows and rows and aisles and aisles of these stalls. Sensory overload if you’re not prepared. But it’s truly a lot of fun if you are into this kind of thing. I have to admit, I can’t think of a better maze to be lost in.
Dave wandered around taking photos, while Jean helped me communicate with the vendors. I’ll share the details of those encounters in a later post. For now, I’m just smiling at the memories and thinking about next time.