Voyage of discovery

I love thrift stores, almost as much as I love estate sales. It brings out the hunter/gatherer instinct in me. You never know what you are going to find. Sometimes you come home empty handed, but sometimes you score big. Yesterday was one of the latter expeditions.

I had to go into the fedex store to do some boring errands. It just so happens that it is next door to one of my favorite thrift stores. You can almost always find something cool there ($5 black suede jacket, anyone?). I had been feeling antsy about wanting something new for our place, to change things up a little, but I really didn’t want to spend any money with Christmas (and a trip home) so close. And that is the other reason I love the thrift store: big bang for almost no bucks. Yesterday I spent a grand total of $19.50. And came home with 2 throws, a hand embroidered cushion, and 7 yards of yellow upholstery fabric. Love it!

Hand embroidered cushion $3

The color combinations on this cushion are so lovely, and obviously done by hand. The cushion is so well finished: piped around the edge, with an inset zip. Clearly worth way more than the $3 I paid for it. Best yet, this is something I do not need to change, I can just throw it on the sofa, and it looks great.

Next up a red knitted throw. Now these are not expensive to buy in the first place, but I have been looking for a red throw to go in the living room to warm it up for winter.  Believe me, when it is 0C/32F outside, these things start to matter. Plus I have been wanting something I can have my Saturday afternoon post-farmers market nap under, now the weather is chillier. All this needs is a wash …

Red knitted throw $3

Thinking about finding something to nap under, I have been scanning Etsy for crocheted throws for a couple of weeks now. I have nearly bought a couple, but refrained because of the cost. Well worth it, but hard to justify budget wise at the moment. There is something about crocheted rugs that speaks of home and comfort, the warmth and cocooning  of the domestic private world.

It is precisely this sense of cocooning that makes the yarn bombing projects of Magda Sayeg (aka Knitta Please) so powerful. By inserting ‘guerilla knitting’ and crochet into the hard surfaces of the urban environment, she softens them.

Magda Sayeg 'Parking Meters' installation using knitting

Her parking meter installation for example, warmly wraps the poles of parking meters in cheerful knitted socks. Sayeg works collaboratively with local people to create the knitted elements required to complete her installations. There is an element of a sewing bee or quilting party to the preparation for her work. The  streetscape is altered, softened.

This softening is perhaps, what has driven my search for a crocheted throw: practical reasons yes, of course, but also this desire for home, for softening and comfort. I think this is particularly strong for me here in the beige palace, a home environment that feels so alien, in an unfamiliar country.

So I was delighted to find this large crocheted blanket while thrift shopping yesterday.

large crocheted throw $10

large crocheted throw $10

Yes, the colors are loud, and that almost made me leave it where it was. Much as I love bright colors, and have felt starved of them in our beige universe, this is a little too much, even for me. As my friend Andy put it ‘in hair terms, you need to put a toner on it’. But dye can hide a multitude of sins, and $10 makes the sweat investment worth it. Watch this space on this one …

My final score from yesterday was 7 yards of bright yellow nubbly cord-like upholstery fabric.

7 yards yellow uphosltery fabric $3.50

And here it is close up:

Upholstery fabric detail

Yellow happens to be Elysia’s favorite color, so this will be perfect for something in her room. She has been badgering me for an upholstered headboard for some time, so this might end up there, or covering a bench, or … watch this space on this one, too.

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One response to “Voyage of discovery

  1. Pingback: The ugly duckling | Quirk Street

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