We go to this sale every year and we’ve learned a few things:
- Don’t bring a purse. It’s just something for people to bump into. Bring only what you can carry in your pocket.
- No matter how far away you have to park and no matter how bad the weather, don’t wear a big coat or bring an umbrella.
- Have a set meeting spot in case we get separated by those crazed bargain hunters.
- If you’re interested in something, pick it up while you’re thinking about it or it might disappear right from under your nose.
- People tend to lose all sense of perspective and etiquette in these situations. Expect to be stepped on, bumped into, walked in front of, and pushed out of the way.
We did find some treasures, though: lots of old sewing and knitting patterns, a few books and fancy needlework magazines, a paper-making set, hand-appliqued linens, nice glass bottles and jars, some knickknacks for the garden, a ribbon embroidery kit, a big bag of seed beads, some wool sweaters for felting, and a couple of grab bags of notions and trims. Using an idea from Cloth, Paper, Scissors Studio, I wrapped the partially used trims around old-fashioned clothespins which were left over when I put together doll-making kits for Child Two and her friends years ago. They crack me up—they look like little lace- and rickrack-wrapped mummies:
I also found a hardanger needlebook for a nickel (a nickel!).
This was serendipity, as I’ve been wanting to make some needlebooks lately.
And there were these odd boxes, containing samples of thick yarn and little fabric swatches. The only thing we can think they might be is some kind of sales display. I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but they were too odd to leave behind.
As we passed the table of small appliances, we saw this case:
We opened it up
and found this:
An old manual typewriter. A blue old manual typewriter! A blue old manual typewriter for $2! We were so thrilled about it that I didn’t even mind schlepping it four blocks to the car, two of them uphill.
My mom worked at the sale, and after Child Two and I went home for lunch, I decided to go back in case she was tired and/or frazzled and needed a ride home. My good deed was rewarded. Getting there five minutes before they closed, I went for a last look at the craft tables and discovered some last-minute deals. The ladies sold me a bag for $1 and told me to stuff it with as much fabric as I could. They were so excited to be almost done that they helped me, and I wasn’t sure just what fabric was in there until I got home.
And remember the bags of tapestry yarn? Well, they gave them both to me for $5. When I got home I found a rainbow in those bags—some of it cut into working lengths, many partially used skeins, several untouched skeins, and all of it wool. As I sorted it out, it was clear that both bags had belonged to the same person, and I wondered about her. Maybe she was a woman like my oma or my great-aunt. Maybe, like Oma, she got Alzheimer’s and could no longer do her crafts. Or maybe, like Tante Bep, she passed away, leaving behind this treasure in wool. In any case, it’s gone to a good home.