Fabric sale

Calgarians line up for hours to be among the first to sell fabrics

It’s the hottest event in Calgary’s knitting, quilting and sewing communities, with lineups forming hours before the doors open.

The sale of Ujamaa Grandmas fabrics and yarns attracts hundreds of people who come to comb through yards and yards of fabric.

Shoppers line up before the sale of Ujamaa Grandmas fabrics and yarns. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

The money raised is donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It distributes the funds to organizations across Africa to help grandmothers who, as a result of the AIDS epidemic, have had to raise orphaned children.

Leslie Buckle, left, is an Ujamaa Grandmas volunteer and board member. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

Leslie Buckle, a volunteer with Ujamaa Grandmas, says the main draw for shoppers is the price, although many are also happy to keep the fabric out of the landfill – and create something beautiful in the process.

Shoppers are looking for a bargain when selling fabrics and yarns. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

“There are the stewards and then there are the people who really need to watch their budget,” said Buckle, a board member since the organization was founded in 2005. “And they come because they can do wonderful things.”

She says there are 200 to 300 volunteers over the six days of setting up and running the event.

The fabric hangs at the Ujamaa Grandmas sale, held in a northeast warehouse. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

“Hundreds of people, thousands of hours, put into it,” Buckle said.

Monika Ruediger belongs to a quilting guild and tries to come for sale every year.

Balls of yarn at the Ujamaa Grandmas sale. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

“I’m here to get great deals on quilting fabrics and great quilting books,” she said.

Anna Coe, who is new to sewing and brought to the event by a friend, says she is drawn to the tradition and heritage of sewing, but also loves the community aspect.

Anna Coe, who is new to sewing, says Calgary’s sewing community is inclusive and friendly. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

“One of the things that really appeals to me about sewing is how inclusive and friendly the community is. I don’t find it intimidating in any way. Everyone here really seems…everyone is willing to help and include. So that’s lovely.”

The sale continues this weekend at 1-4416 Fifth St. NE