Friday, March 30, 2012

End of an Era

I've talked previously about my inability to focus solely one "craft" and the way that I get so excited about new classes where I might try something out. I don't think it's necessarily a negative thing, but the downside of it is that I wind up with materials and supplies that aren't getting used.

For two decades before I called myself a quilter, I was a weaver and spinner. A few years ago I finally sold my loom, but mounds of yarn remained. It took my neighbor Pam, who wanted to check my weaving yarn stash, to help me get brave enough and organized enough to finally sell it and a couple weekends ago we had a killer yarn sale. We sorted wool from cotton from silk and priced things at less than half the going retail rate. Pam told her weaving guild about the sale, I mentioned it at our quilt guild meeting, and Paul posted signs around the neighborhood. The weather was unseasonably lovely for a March morning, and we sat out in the driveway surrounded by tables of yarn sorted by color.

Though we were quite amused by a few of the people who read the "yarn sale" signs as "yard sale," and stopped dead in their tracks when the saw the tables full of wool, mohair, cotton, and silk, the best part was how happy people were with their purchases. Any textile aficionado can relate to the thrill of getting a steal-of-a-deal on new materials, and I loved when people told me what they planned to make, or the way something would combine perfectly with their stash at home.

Despite having sold pounds and pounds of yarn, I was left with quite a bit at the end of the morning. I put an ad on Craigslist that night—$100 takes all. By the time I got home from dinner at 10 pm I had a taker, and she arrived the next day to pick it all up and take it home to her daughters, who were just learning to weave and knit. She sent me an email that evening, letting me know that one daughter was knitting, the other finger-knitting, and they were all dreaming of what they'd do with the rest. It was so hard to admit that it was time to let the yarn go and so it was especially lovely to know that what sat on my studio shelves for years was inspiring others to create.

How about you? Have you ever admitted it was the "end of an era" and divested yourself of supplies? Did you miss them? Or was it a good thing?


Brenda said...

good for you for clearing out your yarns. I used to sew garments, but when I was downsizing my sewing space, I threw out 25 years of sewing patterns. I still have some yardage, but really, I should get rid of that too. it feels good, but a little sad.

Nancy said...

You remind me of myself. Before quilting I too was a weaver, spinner and knitter.
My studio is still full of the supplies from these hobbies. Sometimes it's a little depressing just to look at all the stuff I have.
You are brave to tackle the job of getting rid of all your yarn.

captainhook said...

I'm impressed--I have a huge yarn and fiber stash which I am using for knitting, crocheting, spinning, and I do weed things out from time to time, but it's hard to let go of some things. I remember finally giving away and/or selling my bead stash, paper-making supplies, and years after I quit playing music, finally selling my two guitars. I still have two flutes, though! Slowly building a quilting fabric "library" and thinking, I don't have room to be a quilter! Guess I will find a way. Thanks for the destash inspiration, though.

LisaD said...

I can totally relate. Several months ago my Mom asked to use some of my scrapbook supplies for her "job" at her church. I said, "sure take whatever you need". At the time, I simply did not have the space to devote any time to scrapbooking. Once I started boxing up things I thought she could use, it hit me that I was storing this stuff for years and never using it. I became excited when I started thinking of the space that would be free if I just got rid of all of it. It helped to know where it was going and that it would be used for a good cause. Once I had it boxed up, it was a relief to let go and say I am no longer a scrapbooker. My Mom was like a kid at Christmas when she received all of the supplies. I may get back into to one day, but for now, I'm addicted to buying fabric and learning to quilt. Which is just using another medium to scrapbook in a way. Using old fabrics to make something new and tell a story. Great post. Thanks for sharing!