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Stitch in time: Sewing key in woman#039;s life

SOUTH POINT - The shop is a flurry of activity. Sewing machines pound away on fabric that will someday be a quilt, as another seamstress a few feet away works on her own garment.

In the middle of all the commotion sits Helen Ingram, owner of Ingram Fabrics in South Point.

To call it a fabric store is a little bit of an understatement. Of course, there are fabrics, in countless colors, plaids and paisleys and scores of different material.

But beyond the cloth, thorough visitors will find sewing supplies, patterns for dolls, romance novels, and even a cloth tube of cherry pits used to soothe aching muscles.

Once a customer meets Helen Ingram however, it all makes perfect sense. Ingram Fabrics is a store not as much dedicated to cloth as it is to the entire sewing lifestyle.

"Oh golly, I don't know, I love it," Ingram said. "I just like being able to sit down and sew when I want to. I like being my own boss. But really, I just like to sew Š and talk to people."

The current incarnation of the store has been at 472 County Road 1 for about 5 years, though it had a life in Ashland, Ky., before that, and even existed at flea markets for a few years. All told, Ingram has been in the fabric business since 1991.

But sewing is much more than just a business to Ingram, it's her hobby, her passion, and her way to unwind.

"It's relaxing, and it's supposed to be the best stress reliever there is," Ingram said.

That lone seamstress apart from the table is Ingram's daughter, Shelia England. She has taken up her mother's lifelong hobby, going from having her clothes made for her by Ingram to creating textile masterpieces of her own at the shop.

England's not the only one. On Saturday afternoon, the shop is the base camp for an army of novice quilt-makers. The class is the first of many, Ingram hopes, which will help take the class from fabric store to sewing center.

Virginia Platt is the instructor of this particular class. A lifelong quilting aficionado, she said that Ingram Fabric sets itself apart with its prices and its people.

"I like it here, they're prices are reasonable, and the people here are very friendly," Platt said. "I go to all the quilt shops but they're really friendly here."

Ingram Fabrics is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information on the shop, or any future classes, call (740) 377-0977.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.