December Travels – Chapter Three – Thrifting!

Gentle reader,

This will probably be the last of my December Travels posts before I get back down to business. But, it’s also probably the post I’m most excited to share with you!

I don’t know about you, but I love, love, LOVE a good poke about a thrift store. Back when I used to do costume design, I would hit the thrift stores hard – I once costumed a cast of 30+ on $200 with change to spare – but I didn’t come to love it until I quit theater and started thrifting for myself. Some things just aren’t fun when it’s work!

Well, while I was up in Queensland, I managed to do a bit of crafty thrifting and I think I did pretty well! First up, while I was in Brisbane, Panda and I dropped into this crazy antique store that we happened upon. It was quite big, and was more of a serious antique/collectors store, and some of the treasures in there were mind-blowing (with prices to match, in a good way!), but they also had some small little lovelies with more thrifty prices. Naturally, I managed to sniff out the craft accoutrements and patterns in no time, and I picked up these babies with change out of a tenner.

Lower left! Totes adorbz, yes?

After my few days in Brisbane, I caught the bus to my home town. After Christmas, my fantastic friends, Alf and Robert, drove up from Brisbane to visit me and we went thrifting! Now, my home town has some amazing thrifting. Because it’s a smaller town, and perhaps a little bit conservative, it’s not yet caught on that thrift stores are a bit “cool” these days. Or at least, that’s what it was like last time I shopped there…

But now, they’d finally caught on! And prices reflected that. Which isn’t a bad thing, mind. Most of them are charity stores, remember! So more money in their pockets are a good thing. But, I still felt a small niggle of nostalgia for the days of filling a bag for two dollars. Ahhh!

We popped into a few stores (in spite of my nearly getting us horribly lost a few times – it’s been a long time since I’ve had to get around town, everything had changed!), but nothing struck my fancy. Until we got to the big Lifeline store, and I managed to find a taste of the old days with some ridiculously cheap gems!

It seems that while it’s caught on that thrifting is “cool”, it’s yet to catch on that knitting and crochet is now a bit “cool” too! I found two pattern books and… A DROP SPINDLE!

I love the aran sweater on the front, but there are some tragic beauties inside!
"Raynie! Take me home! I've been waiting for you!"

Now, none of their patterns were priced, and I don’t think anyone knew what the spindle was. I took them to the counter, and I was served by the most gorgeous elderly lady named Vera. She looked them over, and not seeing any prices, she ummed to herself for a bit.

“How does fifty cents sound?” she asked with a lovely big smile.

I was floored! “Really!?” I exclaimed. I rummaged in my wallet and found a two dollar coin. “Let’s make it two dollars, shall we?”

“One dollar!” countered Vera, bless her!

“Vera! Why are you trying to talk me down? Take the two dollars!” I said with a laugh. She looked at me for a second and then giggled as she took the coin and bagged up my purchases. Too adorable!

I think vintage patterns are becoming a compulsion for me. I don’t even really intend to make most of them. Definitely some of the mens patterns. But, even if I don’t plan on using them, I just adore them! And I feel like, what will happen to them if sympathetic crafters don’t take them home? I can see this becoming a hoarders-like situation. Oy.

Things will be back to normal after this one, I think! Be prepared, I have a finished object parade busting to be blogged, and I have lots of exciting news (classes, anyone?). So, stay tuned!

What are your favorite thrift store purchases? Share, share, share!

– R


9 thoughts on “December Travels – Chapter Three – Thrifting!

  1. Go Vera!!!
    My fave find at a thrift shop was not found by me, but by another blogger who found heaps and heaps of abandoned Noro and from memory got about 10 Noro’s for a pound!!!
    I am still jealous every time I think of it!!
    My own favourite thing is an odd little purple stone jug I keep my crochet hooks on.

  2. Love that aran too…

    My favourite find was my knitting machine! I had to talk them up from $30 to $65 for it, I just felt too bad ; )

    Let’s catch up sometime! xx

  3. Vera was a doll! Surely you must know we’re all thrifty kindred spirits here?! It’s the love of the hunt, the op-shop jumble, that Eureka moment and that fabulous rush that comes from The Find. I bought a huge, deep cupboard for $25 and it fits perfectly under the stairs and holds all our boardgames (we have a very Large collection)…oh and I collect old orphan teacups and teasets and I’ve found (pounced on) some gorgeous ones for very little cash. Craft wise – how about 75 pairs of knitting needles for $15….oh yes! There were old circular needles in that stash that are connected by a brass wire – I hadn’t seen any like them before.

  4. Sounds like there are some lovely op shops in your home town. It’s hard now finding stuff in Melbourne and a lot of the op shops are run like proper businesses, there’s one in Frankston that has escalators for goodness sake! We have scored some great fabrics over the years, curtains, an almost complete 1960s dinner service (missing a cup) and I have quite the collection of vintage knitting patterns too!

  5. oh stop, I need these! I have had the most incredible compulsion to go thrifting lately… there’s a great store here in a little suburb that’s pretty much a retirement village. The things people give away! I once found a vintage typewriter, lugged it to the counter ready to lose the entire contents of my purse, and the lady asked for $5. I fainted, recovered, paid and did a happy dance x

  6. Excellent finds! Just found your blog and love it- always love finding thrifty crafty blogs written from a guy’s perspective 🙂 I’ll be back to read more.

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