Monday, April 18, 2011

Warning: Super Long Post Ahead!

I had the opportunity to attend the "World's Largest Textile Garage Sale" over the weekend in St. Paul. I met some awesome women, saw some awesome fiber arts, and came away with some awesome finds. Did i mention this was an intensely awesome sale? To learn more about the sale, go here, and to see more photos of the event, check them out on facebook.

Update 4/20/2011: I just found this wonderfully written blog entry from another woman who attended the sale. Neat to see a different perspective. Since i can't yet figure out how to do links, here is the address,

So much stuff! "A Room Full of Dreams"

Another view of the fabrics! This is just a third of the room. You can't see the tables of yarn, notions, patterns, or odds and ends. There was also a room dedicated to books, knitting patterns etc. and the silent auction room with all the sewing machines, sergers, paper maker, looms, spinning wheel, etc, etc.

My pile of fabric from the first night...i could've gotten more though I was trying to not acquire too much, and not to mention the piles were overwhelming and i had a limited amount of time to see everything the first night.

Except for the top fabric which was labeled JoAnn's, I think the rest in this pile are vintage fabrics. The bottom bluish fabric in the pile and the background for most of these photos, is the thickest softest flannel. I wonder how old it is? It was labeled as a quilt backing material, and is sewn together down the middle in a funny way on one of the two pieces that i got.

This is such a unique and funky fabric, vintage i am sure...this one probably would have been snatched up right away at the sale, however it was folded inside out and hard to tell what the design was. my eye caught the detail, and i am happy to be the new owner of this fabric.

More lovely wool sweaters....the green lovat is my favorite. it is wool, with 5 percent cashmere...and has shoulder pads of the same fabric sewn in. The arms of that sweater will most likely become toddler pants.

The orange sweater looks like peach sherbert in this photo, but it is really orange. One lady who was shopping was eyeing the brown sweater in my cart, she was also a redhead. If i would have thought sooner, i could have cut the sweater and given her half, since i mostly wanted the brown for a smaller project.

I got all of these wool sweater scraps plus more not pictured for $1.00! There are some large remnants here, and sleeves! The diamond scraps are gorgeous tweeds. The cabled sweaters almost look like cotton, instead of wool, and are really soft...i have not come across wool of this texture and now am curious about it.

Buttons....oh buttons...what can i say...i certainly didn't need any more vintage buttons, however their scuptural appeal and detail was just too irresistable. This was my biggest purchase at the textile sale.

The biggest celluloid buttons are huge if you cannot tell by the photo. The stars will probably end up on a dress for Cora...the unusual septagon shaped donut will be turned into a unique necklace for me...

Beads, more buttons, and a pretty mother of pearl buckle.

Between the two days there, these are the tools i found...I had been wanting the rug braiding crimps for a while but couldn't bring myself to buy new, so that was an unexpected surprise to find those. There are measuring sticks and tapes, various needles including felting, leather, and doll needles. I also found a selection of various size bias tape makers which i had already bought a couple smaller ones at JoAnn's, but didn't have the really big sizes yet. Vintage hoops that have early patent dates on them, and directional quilting pins that I will use for regular sewing, not necessarily quilting. I have come to really appreciate using flat head pins for sewing, so i was happy to find these, especially since they are expensive to buy new.

Practical notions...The cuffs are vintage, and a wool/cotton blend. Snaps, a zipper, various size elastics, and snap tape. You just never know what you'll find that you didn't know you needed at one of these sales.

The beads from the previous photo all layed out. These are all glass.

Fun stuff for Cora...fabric scraps, yarn, googly eyes, a crochet hook, some pretty shells, a belt weaving loom, and fabric pastels. I remember using fabric pastels when i was in elementary school, and i still have the shirt that i made in Kindergarten.

Loved finding this knit fabric, since i am really into making comfy waist bands for my girls pants. I did a burn test on little bits of each of these to see if they were synthetic or natural. i was hoping for cotton, which the top two seem to be...but my big hope was that the bottom raspberry fabric would be a knit wool, however according to the burn test. it is not...will have to figure out if it is at least part wool.

Chambray...I have a love for simple chambray fabrics. they have an old timey appeal... This piece will probably become a dress for Juniper. I already know the pattern i want to use.

These unique scraps of fabric I found between two days of shopping. The ice cream cone piece is a little bit loud for my tastes, but could make a funky kids apron.

A vintage UFO. I learned something new. There was a whole table of UFO's at the textile sale. UFO stands for Unfinished Object, or outfit, i think. This was one of two that i picked up. It is a pair of vintage pajamas. These are cute, but i am looking forward to upcycling the fabric into something else.
Posted by PicasaYummy yarns, all wools. Below Photo: 100% mending wool.
At 3:00, the bag sale had to get a timed ticket to reenter, and i didn't know this so i ended up being in the last group of people, which meant much of the tables were swiped clean...i still found some goodies, some natural cotton, vintage iron on letters, a vintage child's pajama pattern, and some more odds and ends of fabric, all for $1.

i love this little piece of fabric that i found loose on a table during the bag sale...i will use it as a patch, but i would love a larger piece to make some kids pants or a funky hat for one of the girls...
the quality of this fabric is only seen up close in is a heather gray sturdy, and quality 100% cotton knit. It was the other UFO that i found, and came with a pattern, but i left the pattern behind for someone else to play with.
After a long day of meeting lots of new people who had great big smiles of adoration for me and talked to me lots, and getting toted around by mama while she shopped, and gave me odd things from the tables to play with, I am pooped. Now that i have just had a really good nursing from "mama bao bao" I will just pass out here so mama can enjoy one last hurrah at the bag sale...

one last thing i wanted to mention was something i overheard in a conversation between two woman as i shopped the bag sale. Referring to all of the piles of projects, tools, and mounds of fabric in the room, she said, "...This is a room full of dreams....someone had ideas and plans for all of this stuff..." I can't remember her words exactly, but it was something like that. I love thinking of all of that "stuff" as "dreams"....and now those dreams can become anothers dreams or their dreams come true...


  1. That looks like such an awesome event! I love to shop regular yard sales looking for craft stuff, but this would just be overwhelming. You found a ton of great stuff.

  2. Hi Steph! That post was from last year, I decided not to go this year. Looking at your haul, I'm sorry I didn't go! It is fun, isn't it? I'm in the Blooming Prairie area, heck, we're almost neighbors!

  3. Oh, I am almost sorry I read this post, as I know I would really, really have enjoyed an event like that. You did a fantastic job of choosing from such an overwhelming selection.