I love op shopping. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an 'op shop' is an Opportunity Shop. In other parts of the world they are referred to as Thrift Stores, Goodwill or Charity Shops. I have three local stores that I like to visit, and I try to get to each of them once a week if I can. I know that some op shops are smelly, musty, disorganised flea pits... but my local ones are so well maintained. Tidy and clean... and best of all, they do not smell bad!
Op Shops are my new craft stores. They are my inspiration for new projects. I don't even really need to visit them any more, because I have accumulated such a fabulous supply of donated goodies from family and friends already. But I can't help myself. I still have to look. You never quite know what you might find...
So what do I look for?
First I like to sort through the knitted garments. As you know, my frog pond at home is huge at the moment, so I only allow myself to purchase more if there is something too good to pass up... or maybe colours that I do not already have. I have to look though.
Then I take a look through the crafting section. There's always an abundance of knitting needles in tall glass jars, though not always pairs! So I fossick through to see what I can find. At the moment I am searching for a set of fine double pointed needles for sock knitting. I'm also adding any crochet hooks I can find. There's usually a basket or two of yarn... sometimes a half knit garment... always worth looking through. Sometimes I come across those more unusual materials such as jutes and twines.
Off to the book corner now... leafing through the crafting section for patterns and inspiration.
On to the trinkets, to see what jumps out at me there. Like these small clogs. I bought them months ago, because they insisted on coming home with me... but I haven't quite found a use for them yet. Never mind, I will... one day!
I like to browse through the bedding... but I'm not allowed to buy any more. Doona or quilt covers are wonderful stripped into yarn for rag knitting/crochet, and if you follow this tutorial it's all too easy. But my rag supply is colossal... and even I know it's time to slow down.
Must always check out the handbags. The bags themselves might be a mess, but the handles and closures might be useful in another project. Also take a look through the belts, which can be used as straps on bags, or large interesting buckles can be used as embellishments.
And jewellery too. Old beads can come in very handy, like this wooden bead necklace did when I made my cheerful rag bag
You know what? I think I look at everything... just in case... because you never know what you might find lurking in there. I find it fun, challenging and inspiring. On top of all that, it's inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Plus you are able to create unique, one-of-a-kind projects... with character and history... I think that's what appeals to me the most.
Just thought I'd share my 'finds' for this week...
I haven't used a knitting loom at all before. When I was a child, my father made me a 'knitting nancy'. It was a empty wooden cotton reel, with four nails hammered in to the top, and a fifth nail was used as the 'hook'. I wish I still had that piece... not so much to use, but as a keepsake.
So I'm looking forward to experimenting with the looms... using jute, rags, plastic and wire... maybe I'll even try YARN!
My other find was a bag of nylon balls. The nylon is quite strong, and the strips are about half an inch wide. I'm thinking that they will probably take on a new life as a bath mat, but we'll have to wait and see...