Saturday, February 2, 2013

Absinthia Returns, Part 10

This is part of a continuing series of email letters exchanged with my Swedish friend, Absinthia. To see the whole series, start with  Living a Simple Life.

Second-Hand Crafting: Fabrics, Yarn

The practice of recyling and re-using is something my mother and the women in her family were very good at.  Since then, our culture has done a flip-flop on that, and I'm happy to see that Absinthia is leading the way back to this important way of life!

When I go shopping, I go to second-hand stores. Mostly I look for curtains and bed linens in natural materials like cotton, linen, hemp, and wool. I never care what color it is. I can dye it easily if I don´t like it, as long as it is in a natural material. I mostly look for solid colored items, but sometimes I find a nicely patterned cloth too.

When I get home I wash everything as hot as possible, depending upon what kind of material it is. When that is done, I dye it if necessary. And then I make it into whatever I want to make it into.

If I find something knitted or crocheted, I buy it if the yarn is a natural fiber and in good condition. At home I frog the yarn, wash it, and let it air dry hanging with a bit of weight to make it straight again. If needed, I dye it too.

Bed sheets can be made into curtains with very little sewing.  I make a small ordinary hem at the bottom.  Then at the top, I make a wide hem, wide enough to fit over the curtain rod. Then I either crochet a nice curtain tie-back, or if I have enough left over from the sheet, I sew a curtain tie-back. Very easy.
Table Napkins
Second-hand curtains and bed sheets can be made into napkins, as long as the fabric is cotton or linen.  Hemp is too scratchy. Just measure up what you think is the ideal size for a napkin with extra allowed for the hems. Fold the cloth into a bunch of this size, cut up, and then hem the edges. Voíla, you have a family pack of matching napkins, for almost no cost at all!  :-)

Dear Absinthia,

My good friend, Alice, owns a resale shop.  She told me that often when a customer is interested in an item but hesitating to buy, she says to them:

“I don't want you to buy this if you're not going to use it or display it.  Will it end up in a closet?  The garage?  There are other people waiting to find it and love it.”

Now that's the kind of shopkeeper who helps us stay on track!!

The conversation continues here:
Absinthia Returns, Part 11

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