I have been thinking about sewing clothing a lot lately. The Ujamaa Grandmas spring yarn and fabric sale really gets me going. First I cull through my fabric and yarn stash looking for donations. Actually I did this around Christmas. Closer to the dropoff date, I go through the possible donations and confirm I’m truly ready to let go of the selected yarn and fabric. Destashing decades of accumulated fabric and yarn is an emotional undertaking. I’ve learned to let go in stages!
When I dropped off my stuff on Wednesday, I saw all the stuff others have donated. The volunteers as they’re sorting are holding up things and exclaiming “gosh, look at this — how wonderful!” I can’t wait! Note to self: one year, I have to volunteer to help set up! By Saturday I’m ready with cash and bags — all set for fun. I go later in the day when it’s quieter and the sale is only a couple of hours from finishing.
By the way, I’m not going to do currency conversions for everything. Know that today the Canadian dollar (my dollar), is worth $0.90 US, 0.65 Euros and 0.54 GB Pounds.
I had a lot of fun last year but restrained myself by only spending $20.00. So this year, I brought more cash and had a specific strategy. I decided to focus on wool. Last year I noticed there were a number of embroidery and tapestry kits — some unopened but most were unfinished. This year, I decided I would use those as a source of yarn and/or framing equipment. For around $12, I picked up 9 kits of varying sizes. The deconstructed result was 330 g (12 oz) of 3-ply Persian tapestry yarn, some embroidery floss and some needlepoint wool.
I chose selectively and in the same set of kits, picked up pieces for two 12″ x 14″ needlepoint stretcher frames and one 20 cm x 25 cm (8″ x 10″). In the stores, these sell for about $1.50 to $2 per side. There was also a rotating roller tapestry frame and a very sturdy 35 cm (14″) hoop.
As I deconstructed the kits, I amassed quite a few needles and some tapestry canvas (left in photo below). None of the fabric in the kits was worth saving. Actually I think that’s why people had barely started the kits and never finished them. From what I could see, the kit fabric wasn’t doing the sewer’s stitches any favours.
I also wanted to get some wool fabric in keeping with my interest in sewing and embroidering felted fabric. I was fortunate to find a medium weight light blue wool that appeared to have been slightly felted when the seamstress pre-washed it (centre, above photo). It’s perfect for me and, at $5.00 total for 4 meters (~4 yards), I grabbed it. I also picked up some drab never-washed white and brown wool yardarge ($5.00 for 5 meters) — right side of the above photo. Its weight is on the light side of medium and my plan is to felt and dye before using it.
Someone donated Cherrywood cotton — that luscious fabric with the rich colours and sueded look. They were selling this for $5/meter so I spent a little extra and bought 5 meters in total. That’s the light brown, rust and gold fabric on the right in the photo below. I also picked up some dark grey suit-weight wool and a little heavier black twill weave wool yardage — both under 2 meters and $4 in total — left in the photo below.
I picked up some short lengths of cotton and a lightweight woven microfiber fabric for $4. I still need to do a burn test to figure out exactly what the microfiber is made from.
I got a couple of grab-bags for $2 of knit fabric remnants and knit cuffs that I can use for trim on jersey knit T-shirts.
My big investment was in three knitting machines — each for $10. The Ujamaa Grandmas is a good cause and I figured if they were unusable then I had just made a donation! One machine was a Brother KH-910 with all kinds of manuals and mylar pattern sheets. However, after some research, I discovered it was missing so many parts (carriage, power cord, etc.) that I’m not going to keep it. I also grabbed a Brother KH-400 which seems to be in reasonable condition despite appearing to have been stored in a garage for some time –the dead bug collection in the box was my evidence for this conclusion! I hope I don’t end up with an infestation. Finally, there was a Bond Elite with a broken plastic bit where yarn feeds from the cone to the carriage. It had been repaired with duct tape. Nothing else seemed broken but it did seem to be made from a lot of plastic.
I don’t have time to play with these machines right now but I’m looking forward to making knit yardage that I can dye and felt. My mother had a hand-me-down knitting machine when I was younger and I remember how painful it was for her to use. I don’t need to try any fancy things and I’m certainly not going through the pain of trying to make a garment!
As for the volume of fabric, what I brought home was slightly less than what I donated. However, the wool yarn is considerably less than what I donated so I figure I’m ahead space-wise!