Monday, July 12, 2010

Hey, if you're not going to use that, would you mind...

When I was in my 20's I was given 5 huge boxes of fabric. It was the most thoughtful gift. The person who gave me the fabric spent months going to thrift stores and fabric stores when there were sales and buying chunks of fabric. She kept them until my birthday and gave it all to me at once. Needless to say, that's when I took up quilting.

I didn't have much money then. I had chosen to stay home with my babies and not work. When I sewed baby clothes or made quilts, I pulled from this huge collection of fabric. I combined colors and fabrics from my large, yet limited supply.

My high school art teacher once explained that creativity comes when resources are limited. If you could buy any material/art supplies at any time and had no restrictions on resources, you could of course make beautiful (or "profound", if beauty isn't your thing) art. However, if you are restricted to what you have now you will be challenged creatively in a more complex way--thus creating something more profound. I'm not sure if I believe this because it's true or if I believe this to make my self feel better about my finances.

A few years back I was in a thrift store and saw a big bag of roving for $2. I didn't know it was roving at the time; I thought it was "that stuff people use to spin yarn." Even with my little knowledge of spinning, my thrift store instinct told me $2 was a good deal.

I actually got into spinning to save money! What a joke. Who knew I'd become obsessed and spend so much money on equipment, wool, dyes, etc.? Sometimes I hold up a hank of yarn that I have spun and proclaim to my husband, "This would cost me fifty dollars in a store!" He'll compliment it and humor me by saying nothing about the real cost of making yarn.

After my serious thrift store score (see Just Like Winning the Lottery), I went to a different store to check for yarn. Instead of yarn I found issues of Handwoven Magazine spanning three decades. I bought 24 issues. Spin-off has been one of my best learning tools for spinning, so I figured that Handwoven would be the same for Weaving.

I have wondered if I actually won the lottery, would I be one of those people who still shopped at thrift stores? I'm not sure, and I'll never know because I don't really play the lottery. For now I'm content using other people's unwanted looms and yarns and magazines.

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