Tag Archives: ReStore

Yarn bowling

Yes, I suppose one could make a sport of slinging balls of yarn at something…

But this is about the receptacle.

I don’t use yarn bowls – the often pretty hand-thrown vessels with a curlicue cutout through which the yarn is dispensed, or fun and vintage and beehive-shaped things – my yarn balls usually nestle in my lap or at my side, and if caked, don’t usually roll away.

But I do use bowls for storing works-in-progress or the yarn waiting to be added to a project.

I’ve got a vintage wooden salad bowl that is a nice size for this purpose.

beetle-balls

As well as an array of old ceramic and glass dishes – lidded casseroles are definitely the best since they offer beast protection.

yarn bowl casserole

(I’ve yet to start this project.)

But these wooden bowls on stands have been catching my eye off and on the last few years and I finally came across one at ReStore a bit ago.

yarn bowl

Perhaps we can have the lovely Vanna White demonstrate it:

But the funny thing is no one seems to know what exactly these particular ones were made for, yet they aren’t so old as to be out of memory. Various discussions on ravelry have been humorous but disappointing, and my other attempts at identification have been futile due to being wildly unpopular in this online world.

What I know:

Mine (maybe not Vanna’s, but many others I’ve seen) isn’t that old – likely mid-centuryish up to the ’70s – and it’s not a piece of fine craftspersonship.

It’s not a standing salad bowl (too short), or dough bowl, or meant to hold food stuffs.

Nor is it a spitoon as some have suggested, though something involving sacrificial fluids isn’t ruled out…

What I’m thinking:

It could just be a colonial-revival, Americana, early American bit of semi-useless home decor – most would have stuck a plant in it or turned it into a lamp.

(It seems likely to have been an actual thing in ye olden times, probably often a married piece of an old bowl attached to a stand to hold needlework or spinning fiber or yarn but I can’t find an historic reference about them, though I haven’t looked that hard…)

Or it would work well as a fiber holder when spinning since the wheel is free-standing and often in a corner or such and you don’t want to put your fiber on the floor (I use a magazine rack) and could have actually been sold for such purpose.

What the dog thinks of it all:

yarn bowl-say ah!

What I want to know:

Was this actually made and marketed to spinners by wheel (or other spinning gear) manufacturers?

Was this made and marketed to needleworkers as a project holder?

Or was this just purposely made for early American decor?

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Filed under collecting, home, home decor, knitting, spinning, thrifting

The sewing station south

Hot, humid weekend days sent us to ReStore again over the last month and some. Wintertime usually means thrifting time, but when it’s too hot to hike or work in the yard, it is the second best option to staying cooped up in the house.

I don’t like spending much time in our basement during the day, but I was drawn to it regularly this summer – seeing bright daylight day after day became inexplicably depressing to some degree for me – I yearned for a rainy grey day (then we got a bunch and they nearly killed the garden). But I finally took N’s advice and set up a work area down there despite my earlier protests that I hated being down there in the day and needed bigger windows to work.

On our first summertime run, we encountered a motherlode of old school furniture – desks, tables, horrid attached chair-table hybrids that brought back lunchroom nightmares, and some awesome lime green lockers that almost came home with us, but didn’t because we’d have to rent a larger vehicle.

But this little desk did.

I thought it would be perfect for my not-used-enough serger.

And it is – the serger was previously on a nightstand or side table of sorts and I had to sit at it uncomfortably side-saddle. Moving it out of my tiny upstairs workroom freed up some much needed space too and hopefully by wintertime I’ll actually be able to go up there and work rather than spend most of my time organizing and re-organizing it or shifting the piles that covered one rare surface or another… And then pop down to the basement to use the serger when need be. (I’ll also be able to iron fabric more comfortably in the space, and I have my other machines that need work down there, so perhaps it will be the main work area and upstairs will be more for spinning, stash, and whatever else “art” I might get up to).

There was another table that I wanted very badly – a not too wide, but wide enough for quilting cotton, and gloriously long – 8 feet or so, mid century table with a coral formica top – possibly from a lunchroom too, or perhaps an art classroom… It was cheap (I don’t remember how cheap, but at or under $50) but again, we’d need a truck of sorts to get it home (not to mention we didn’t really have room for it – yes, it could go in the basement, but then the basement would have a giant table in it and we already have one largeish library table down there anyway).

So I forgot about it.

But then it was still there about a month later and only $10!!!!

But I still didn’t get it, but took a picture instead. Someone will be lucky and happy with that thing.

(I’m still having connectivity issues – apparently my phone line is hooked into a buried line at a cookie-cutter condo complex down the road – I like the aesthetics of buried lines, but when I’ve lived with them, they’ve had way too many problems…)

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Restoring ReStore yarn

I often look for yarn at thrift stores, but rarely find anything other than acrylic.

(And not the better acrylics that I would consider using for charity knitting and whatnot – the nasty stuff that is most often bright obnoxious red or an inexplicable white.)

During the last few months of winter and early spring, despite periods of beautiful weather, the weekends were often nasty, so we fell into a near weekly ReStore habit. We brought home a few more books, a few tchotchkes I’ll probably end up selling online, weights that had regular use for only a few weeks, and some vinyl records – but never the little piece of furniture or two we were actually seeking. But on the last trip, I spied some good yarn – some luxury stuff, and a decent amount of lovely rustic tweed for 50 cents each.

The tweed was a sad victim of carpet beetles – some of the balls had the telltale broken ends without any mothly webbing – I carefully examined each, left three behind and snatched up two that seemed to be in the clear, along with a ball and skein of the soft stuff.

Since I knew the bastard beetles had been near the yarn, I didn’t take any chances – wrapped the yarn tight before leaving the store, stuck it in a zip lock bag outside, threw the shopping bag into the recycling outside, then tossed it in the freezer for a week. Then let it warm up for another, then froze it again, then warmed it again – all the time shaking vigorously to see if anything fell out.

restore yarn - freeze

But all seemed well, so I re-skeined it all to wash. No breakages either, so I felt better knowing that these were spared from direct attack.

restore yarn - lux

The yarn on the right was wound into a ball too tightly – might be hard to see, but it was thinner and flattened a bit, but it was still nearly the full skein.

restore yarn - donegal det

And the tweed is a lovely teal. My camera can’t shoot teal, but this is close, and the raspberry bit of tweed is accurate and shows its era…

restore yarn label

Yep, here we are back in the ’80s (maybe early ’90s, sometimes knitting style lagged) but I love teal, so I’ll put up with the raspberry. I won’t, however, put up with back buttoning garments – I can still feel the buttons jabbing in between my spine knuckles on a hard-backed chair…

restore yarn - wash

They both had a nice long soak, followed by another vinegary one, then spun out and dried.

restore yarn washed and dry

And they’re back to a pleasant fluffy, beetle-free state.

Technically, this failed my yarn buying ban, but it was only $2 total – the two skeins of Road to China alone would have been over $30, and though the color is lovely, but a little too fleshy by itself, I’ll probably combine it with a few other complimentary things in the stash – it might become part of a luxe scrappy stole. And I’ve got a small collection of tweed that needed a bit more to become something, and these two new skeins should complete it – if not, it would pair well with handspun, or make for some nice mittens.

On the one hand, I don’t believe a knitter should pass along infested yarn or risk infesting a thrift, but on the other, I’m glad this wasn’t just thrown away…

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Dirty old things

We’ve got a decent ReStore nearby – luckily not too close or I’d go too often, but not too far that you have to plan to go. We had an entirely awesome architectural salvage store in our old city that I dearly miss, but still visit when passing through, and though this doesn’t replace it, in some ways it’s more practical because it carries a wider variety of smaller-scaled items (and I’m no longer in the market for a victorian mantle anyway). We found a good mid-century dresser there, a near-mint wool kilim rug, and the typical bits we usually bring home from thrift stores like records and books and fabric scraps.

On my last visit, I scored an old sewing machine box.

old-before

I’ve got a partially boxless machine that has been topless for nearly 20 years. Once in awhile I’d dick around on ebay debating about buying one, but usually balked at the shipping price, so this was a classic example of finally finding something for which I’d given up looking. And oddly enough, it was already in half of an old Morse box.

old-during

But the best part is that it was saved – yes, it’s dirty and stained and a bit smelly, but it still serves a good purpose in a way that nothing new can. Granted, that’s a given because I’m using something old on something old and the whole thing is a no shit sherlock kind of thing… But many/most people would have probably thrown the thing out? Or the thrift store might have dumpstered it? In fact, the half-naked machine had a complete case, but the thrift store threw out the top because the handle was broken off, or something along those lines, and unfortunately just before I bought it too… or so said the clerk who might have just been itching to see a long face…

So the machine has some new vintage digs albeit much younger than the machine itself. I had also been intending to un-electrify this machine and put it back in a nice treadle cabinet like it originally came in, but until that lucky happenstance comes along, I can at least store and use it a bit more securely.

old-case after

And then I’ll see if anyone needs the bottom part of an old Morse box – I need to check the rest of mine first though – I know I have one that the little post things that hold the machine are broken, but don’t know if the lid will fit the bottom – unfortunately even though these are all a universal size, the clasps that hold the two parts together can differ – these two Morses from approximately the same time period didn’t – one had clasps 1/4″ longer than the other…

During our most recent vacation, we stopped in a Goodwill in Maine. I love seeing the local flavor coming through in used shit and stop at thrifts whenever I can when I’m on the road. I was hoping to find some good old hard-wearing woolens, but silly me, in the land of frugality, of course they wouldn’t just be chucked in the charity bin but used until they were entirely shredded and then stuffed in the walls for insulation or given to the dog.

So I poked around the household items even though I’ve banned myself from buying any more plates ever.

oldthings-dirty plates

And I fell hard for these dirty old things.

At $4 for the whole lot, can you blame me? And they’ve got a bit of green and yellow and orange, my favorite colors? And they’re from the time period that I’m most drawn to in terms of household things?

old things-plates

But what I like best was that they were clearly salvaged from an old garage, barn, abandoned house, unrepaired attic, root cellar, or someplace long neglected and not suitable for proper china storage…

…but someone made the effort to chuck them in a box and haul them in for someone else.

The set isn’t really one – mostly dessert* dishes and a couple smaller and one larger. They aren’t in the best shape and are delicate-ish, therefore not entirely practical, but the worst ones are still useful for holding drippy or dry things (soap or sewing bits) and the good ones will be perfect for the occasional dessert

dirty old thing-polenta cake

(This is just one quarter of a very tasty polenta bar.)

*They’re probably actually luncheon plates instead of dessert plates, and though I think today’s plates are obscenely large and use “lunch” plates for my “dinner” plates on a daily basis, these would only hold the daintier finger sammies… And they’re made by W. H. Grindley & Co., England, but I can’t find the name of the pattern – according to a random website, the mark dates c. 1914-1925 – anyone recognize it?

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