Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Craft of Thrift

knit lot 1

One of the best things about thrift stores can be the forgotten corners full of too much stuff that no one on staff feels like straightening out, or hasn't had time to look into. You know these parts of the store, and they probably give you a little electric jump when you approach them!

I often find that the craft and sewing sections tend to be full of treasures that aren't marked with prices, or are displayed in huge lots. This can be a golden ticket for the crafty thrifter who is looking to strike a deal. Oftentimes you can scoop up a bargain by buying in bulk. For instance, if they are selling something by yardage, but you'd like to take the entire reel, you can often get a break in price.

Whenever my local thrift shop has their seasonal "bag sale" event (everything you can fit in a plain brown shopping bag for $6), I head straight to the craft section, and take advantage of all the unwanted knitting needles, lace trim, and fabric I can get my hands on. I don't think that I would be able to continue crafting if I were paying full prices for all of my materials and equipment, and I encourage you to seek out a thrift shop for the same reasons if you want to try something new, but can't afford new materials. The best part is that if and when you abandon a project for good, you've only lost a dollar or two in the process.

Here are some of my favorite finds in the craft section of the thrift store:

Knitting needles in all shapes and sizes.
knit lot 5
knit lot 4

Jewelry and Findings.

Craft Encyclopedias and How-To Magazines.
entire set of do-it-yourself encyclopedias

Vintage Fabric.
gorgeous curtains

Vintage housewares to try and emulate.
sweet sunflower 2

Other things I can think of to look for include:
  • Sewing Notions.

  • Handbags that have clasps or zippers you can repurpose.

  • Clothing that you can rip apart and use for other projects.

  • Organization bins, or shelving.

  • Old cameras, frames, and photo equipment like tripods or camera bags.

  • Board games with interesting pieces.

  • Fabric jewelry boxes that you can customize.

  • Zippers, snaps, and buttons either on display or taken from clothing out on the racks.

My ultimate find would be to get a working, adjustable dress form very cheaply someday. I am always on the lookout for one! What are some of your favorite crafty things to look for when you thrift?


Meagan said...

Love, love, love that fabric!

emily august said...

Thank you! They are my dream curtains, owned by a friend.

leslie said...

beautiful photos! i always seek out the crafty section too and collect knitting needles, fabric, trim, buttons, all the good stuff. i love it when there are bags of craft/sewing goodies packaged up - ripping them open in the car and revealing what treasures you've scored is always a thrill.

Heidi said...

Great post and gorgeous photo of the knitting needles. I had been one of those suckers paying too much for craft supplies (even with 40% off coupons to Michaels and Joann's) who hs now discovered the thrift store as a great alternative. Also, rummage sales: I just got seven skeins of gorgeous wool yarn for $3.50 last weekend. We benefit when other crafters downsize.

emily august said...

Yes, yes! And I think that the freedom to buy a lot of materials and not feel pressured to watch how much you waste is really a very freeing thing for a creative mind!

emily august said...

PS: I am glad you like the photos!

cityfarmer said...

My entire home is filled in every nook and cranny with thriftin' treasures...I can tell every story and remember every sale.