Tag Archives: cataloging

Doin’ the but… tin…

I had to save my biggest and best tin for a post of its own.

But-tin closedI first saw this tin in a photographic negative I was cataloging in my old job.  The tin was on the counter in someone’s kitchen in the 1940s.  I read the writing through a tiny loupe and was aghast at the boasts of “scientifically processed” and claims of healthy hydrogenated vegetable shortening!  And what is that graphic?  A woman on a scale inferring that potato chips were diet food?  Hells yeah!  I love potato chips, though they’ve done nothing for my figure, unless of course I eat enough to cause severe anal leakage, but I’m a snob for the olive oil chips anyway.  I started seeing this tin in antique/junk stores but they were often rusty, or the lid didn’t easily come off, or were just too damn overpriced.  Generally, if I want something that isn’t really needed, I wait for serendipity to take over or to lose interest in it.  However, after a year of looking for this in the right condition for the right price, I broke down and found one on Ebay, so it all worked out.  Maybe serendipity is just an online market.

But in my quest for simplicity and curing former impulses and diseases of the hoarding of neat sh*t variety, I have a general rule for visiting antique/junk shops – buy nothing bigger than what would fit into my hand.*  In theory I like some kinds old jewelry so that could be allowable, but I’ve never actually bought any old jewelry and it is usually more than I want to spend.  I have more tchotzkies than years left in my statistical lifespan, so I generally resist the cute/weird but useless item.  And I have nearly a zero interest level in military, presidential, I-am-man-and-hear-me-roar (or just destroy your lives and countries) artifacts, so old bullets, campaign buttons, coins, pins for distinctions, etc. don’t get the slightest glance from me.

But what else is little and can be extremely practical, and thus 100% approved?

Let’s open that giant tin, shall we?

But-tin openOh yeah, hells yeah, buttons!

I buy buttons that I think will look good on knits I’ve never knitted (nor will).

I buy buttons that I think I can re-sell for decent money (though I haven’t yet).

I buy buttons to replace those already on my clothes (which I’ve done once).

I buy buttons to use in my “crafts” (I do this occasionally with singles, but would never break up a set).

I buy buttons to repurpose them as jewelry (though not to make country button necklace shittery).

I buy buttons to one day feed my burning desire to amass them in a giant heap and then catalog them one by one.

But-tin cardAnd I buy buttons because some are nearly art and quite frame-able or worthy of display on their own.

(I didn’t tear off that one button in the upper left, it came that way)

But-tin jarI’ve had to start a new jar nearly the same size as the tin for the buttons I remove and save from clothing I cut up and turn into other things.

(And yes, I do have another boxful of buttons that you don’t get to see).

*I’ve got some big paws, so my fingers can really wrap a decent-sized find, and I do break this rule constantly if I find things that are fiber-oriented and thus can be considered a business, art, or research expense (but really, I can only kid myself so far…)

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Filed under collecting, home decor, knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

Stash

stash-stitch

No, not that kind of ‘stash you silly hipster.

Stash

I’m referring to yarn.  Lots and lots of yarn.*

I’ve come across many instances lately of people talking about having stashes so large they exceed life expectancy (aka SELE).  I’m not quite there yet, but I think I’m awfully damn close (or you could live by the thought that you could always get hit by a bus at any given moment and then nearly ever knitter would leave a wooly estate).  I don’t know what my comfortable stash level is or should be.  It might be exactly where it is right now?  If so inclined, I could start a few sweaters, tights, a drawerful of socks, and a whole sh*tload of accessories at any given notice.  Yet it’s starting to make me a little uncomfortable… I feel almost as if I’m eating a giant delicious sandwich in front of a waif-child.  I try to live as simply as a typical American (who still needs an auto, has outdoors hobbies, has tools for a major house renovation and small farm, has a teensy nostalgia problem, etc.) can, yet my stash requires a whole closet or very small room nearly all to itself.**

Some of my recent test-knitting has been a half-assed attempt to slim the stash, yet most patterns call for yarn currently on the market and easily available, so that also leads me to the occasional justification for a purchase when I don’t already have something quite right.  My yarny souvenirs from travels are justified to some degree since they are only material thing I buy, but sometimes (but not so much these days) I’m a sucker for the $3 or less skein of 100% wool or bag sales of the stuff for a song (which is also how one can end up with loads of discontinued stuff).  Wool can always be used in/for something – it felts/fulls, can be mixed and matched, dyed, used for embroidery, and in my mind never needs to be destashed.

I’m horribly tempted to catalog it all and post it on my ravelry stash page, but I’m embarrassed to show I have this much and I don’t want to turn off any current or potential ravelry friends.  I have to admit when I see ginormous stashes full of primo yarn (though mine isn’t the fancy stuff for the most part) I think the person must be very rich, and if you are very rich you are probably evil (or you might be a designer with a sponsor or a LYS owner, so that’s ok).  And then the work of photographing and logging the data would take a few days to do and it’s something that my tedious-loving other evil Gemini twin*** would love to do, but really is a waste of time.  But on the other hand, I can choose to list things as available for sale or trade, so it could be a win-win  –  I may have something discontinued that someone needs to finish a project, or make a buck or two on the side.  That, and I could check my inventory without having to unstack, unbag, or generally make a mess of things.  But don’t I have other things that I should be working on…?

*There’s a good amount of spinning fiber and a couple of sewing machines in there too, so it’s a little deceiving, but then again none of my WIPs (or possible froggers) or sweaters waiting to be unraveled and harvested are in there…

**Really the bigger problem here is my fabric stash.  So much bigger.  So much more unwieldy.  So much heavier.  So much less organized and contained.  So much it’s actually a problem worthy of an episode of reality TV hoarding show.  So much that it really does need a room of its own.  So much that I will never share the extent of it with anyone other than N.  And my “fabric” is mostly carefully curated but old and wrecked clothing so it’s not like I can re-sell it or even give it away.  Maybe to a rag picker… Ah, the olden days…

***Both twins are evil – an uptight bossy bitch and an unmoored drifter.

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Filed under knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting