October 06, 2009
I have to admit to being a bit of a follower: a card carrying member of the me-too-me-too brigade. So when exciting stories of felting and refashioning thrifted woolies began emerging on favourite blogs, I knew it wasn't a case of if but when.
I have been taken with the idea of felting wool; the thrill of some chopping and rearranging. I too wanted to make a one-of-a-kind funky woollen piece from an unassuming garment found at the op shop.
The trouble is I lack one fundamental skill - that is, the ability to find second-hand treasures.
Sadly I was born without the op shop gene. I walk into a thrift shop and see racks of size 22 bloomers and boxes of National Geographic. You, on the other hand, would probably spot the brand-new-in-box waffle iron, vintage beauty case and 50's polka-dot swing dress.
So when I walked through the doors of my local charity shop yesterday, I should have had the sense to remember the odds were stacked against me. Finding a suitable garment was going to be a stretch - especially with Argy and Bargy in tow and the need for employing my smash-and-grab shopping technique.
I decided on a strategy of rifling through clothes focusing purely on fabric care labels. A practical approach I thought. I stopped at the first garment that said 100% wool, cold hand wash only and whipped it out. Blue. Wool. Good. Yes. Lovely, I'll take it. Bye, bye. I was out of that op shop before the old ducks at the counter could say Thank you, dear.
Outside I peered into the bag. Now what exactly was it that I had bought? A pale blue and navy ladies cardigan with some stripey detail. Sized large. Yep, it would suffice for my felting and refashioning experiment.
When I got my purchase home, I took a closer look. Apart from one tiny hole, the garment was in good condition. The pale blue was a passable shade and I looked forward to seeing how the little stripe would look once felted.
Then I noticed the label.
Ironed at the collar was a matte label ... bearing the previous owner's name. Shirley. I said it out aloud. Then I looked again. The cuffs were rolled back once. I unfurled them and some tiny crumbs dislodged. Then I noticed the faintest tea-coloured splash stain on the front.
I hesitated as I tossed the cardy into the washing machine. Then I felt regret. Craftsaster had struck. Shirley, who liked tea and bikkies, would never have thrown this cardigan into a super hot wash with lots of agitation. A wave of guilt. At the end of the cycle, instead of triumphantly lifting out my beautifully felted garment, all I could see was Shirley's shrunken matted cardy.
Craft, I have discovered, is so much more than the end product. Its also about how you feel about what you are making. Despite my high hopes, I am not sure whether this particular project will recover.
But I'd Shirley like to think so. I don't fancy my chances at the op shop again.
Filed under: Craftsaster