EVENTS: Today may be last chance for Niskayuna crafters’ tradition



stack of fabric

A stack of indoor/outdoor fabric awaits customers at the fabric sale. Photo by Rebecca Isenhart

NISKAYUNA–Glenda Atkins has been selling stacks of fabric remnants from her friend Kay Updike’s house in Niskayuna for nearly a decade. Every Memorial Day Weekend, the women set up shelves, racks, and tables under tents and in Updike’s garage, welcoming crafters and garage sale fanatics to peruse the aftermath of a year spent sewing and selling at craft fairs.

“There’s a big assortment, with something for everyone’s taste,” Atkins said. “You can get your whole project here.” Several women flipping through polka dots, stripes, stars, tassels, and trim seemed to agree, especially when Atkins told them how little their haul would cost.

Atkins said the annual sale draws serious crafters who pore over every scrap of inventory. “People were here this morning for three hours at a whack,” she said. “I think it’s a riot.”

Theresa Bashant of Ballston Lake heard about the sale from a co-worker who lives in Niskayuna. Bashant, a lifelong crafter who likes to reupholster and sell discarded furniture, called the sale a “fabric bonanza.”


A sewing enthusiast browses the selection at the annual Niskayuna fabric sale. Photo by Rebecca Isenhart

My kids always laugh and say there were no monsters under the bed when they were growing up because there were boxes of fabric,” Bashant said, examining a bamboo-print swatch.

Along with scads of fabric and trim, Atkins and Updike also sell pillows, table runners, and purses they made, but didn’t sell at fairs because of small defects.

“These are our prototypes, or mistakes, however you want to look at it,” she said.

Sadly for Niskayuna’s thrifty crafting community, Atkins said she won’t set up shop next Memorial Day Weekend. She recently bought a house in Virginia to move closer to her children and doesn’t know whether her friend will take it on alone next year.

Atkins said she’ll miss the tradition as much as her customers. “We made a lot of friends doing this,” she said. “We have a very good following. It’s been fun.”

Atkins’ fabric sale is located at 1442 Valencia Road and ends at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 25, 2014. 

About the Author

Rebecca Isenhart
Rebecca Isenhart is the reporter/writer for Your Niskayuna, presented by the Daily Gazette of Schenectady.