Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Yet Another Yard Sale Bonanza

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile,Books,Fiction,Papercraft,Thrifty Shopping — folkcat at 12:39 pm on Monday, July 10, 2006

Yard saling started out slow on Saturday, but turned out to be big in the final analysis when we got all our goodies home and had a chance to really see what we had. But there are so many pictures, I’m going to put the yard sale portion of this post after the break.

Meanwhile, just to keep some intrigue on the front page, here’s a look at what went on at last Thursday night’s Knitting Around at Panera:

Judy Spins at Panera
Judy Spinning on her Majacraft Wheel

Blogless Judy brought her spinning wheel along, and we all watched in fascination as she worked! Normally, Judy would bring some knitting to work on, but this time she was hindered from knitting by this:

Judy with a Cast
Judy and a Cast of One

Yes, Judy broke her hand back in June, and can’t knit for now. But she figured out she can still operate power tools, and more importantly, she can spin. So that’s what she brought to work on.

Folkcat’s New Projects

And here’s a peek at a couple of new things I’ve taken on. I’ll just give you teaser photos of these, because they’re not far enough along to really look like anything yet.

BIP - The Pear
Beads on a Wooden Pear

But what will it be?

PIP - Maneki Neko
Paper and Scissors

And very strangely shaped pieces cut out.

You’ll learn more about both of these projects in the days and weeks to come. For the meantime, it’s enough to know that I’m enjoying what I’m doing with them – right?

And now, a whole cavalcade of photos and descriptions of the yard sale finds from this past weekend. Lots of yarn, including some special skeins. Take a look after the break!

Okay, folks – we’ve got a lot to cover here, so let’s get going! I’ll begin by showing you what we found for Gryphon.

Kermit the Frog 25" Plush
Kermit the Frog

Frog is Gryphon’s oldest totem, and we’re always looking for special representations of him. This is the largest and best Kermit plush I’ve ever seen, large enough to almost believe you’re holding Kermie himself on your lap and talking with him. $2 from a very enterprising small boy who saw me walking up the driveway with Kermie to show him to Gryphon and called out, “Where’s the money?”

Gryphon's Goodies
Turntable, Snake Light, Beer Kit

These came from three different sales. The turntable was $1 – Gryphon hopes to use it to help transfer some of his LPs into the computer. The Snake Light is one of those Black & Decker things that uses the Versapack battery system, and it didn’t come with one. But Gryphon has a Versapack system with a spare battery. $1. The beer kit is old and unopened, and comes with everything to make a full batch of homebrew – about 2 cases worth of beer. Gryphon says the hops and yeast are in all likelihood too old to count anymore, but the malt inside was well worth the $3 price he paid. His memory of these kits is that they can easily go for $25 to $30 new.

Folkcat’s Loot

Unraveled Sleeve Book
A Needlework-themed Mystery Book

From our first yard sale of the day – well, the second, but the first where we found anything worthwhile. I’ve been aware of these craft-themed mystery books for some time, but have been reluctant to pay cover price on speculation. When I found this one at a sale for 25 cents, though, I knew I’d have my chance to test the waters.

Bead and Shell Necklaces
Shell Necklace, and Two Seed Bead Necklaces

Now, you know that I, as a beader, didn’t buy these for the necklaces that they are. Rather, they were purchased as raw materials to bead with. I’m always watching for interesting shell necklaces at yard sales, as you can acquire a large number of shells with holes for beading and stringing already present. And they’re easy to find – I don’t think there’s a family on the planet who hasn’t bought a shell necklace as a souvenir or a child’s trinket at some point in time. The seed bead necklaces are simple, multi-strand pieces, each made of a single type of seed beads. The top one is a nice, pale green pearly bead.

Seed Bead Necklace Detail
Matte AB with a Gold lining.

The bottom one was the real prize – matte AB finish, with a hint of a golden-colored lining in the hole. Of course, they don’t photograph worth a darn.

Total for the three – 75 cents

Unakite Beads in Original Packages
Unakite Beads in Original Packaging

Found these at a Merrimack yard sale where the homeowner was sitting furiously crocheting away. The goods on the tables included a fairly large number of crocheted hot pads, handbags, and more. But for me, the treasure was finding these natural unakite beads still in their packages, for a total price of only $1.

Wooden Wine Box
Mystery Box

Sometimes, you run across a yard sale where the adult children are selling off the contents of Mom’s home after she passed away. You can tell these because you see the tables covered with odd lots of needlework tools, materials, and unfinished projects, and the keepers of the sale often don’t know much about what the items are.

This next yard sale in Merrimack was typical of that situation. The box above lay open on the ground, with all this stuff in it:

What's Inside the Box?
Very Assorted Contents

Small embroidery hoops – other items at the sale showed that the woman did candlewicking embroidery. A package of vintage Boye circular knitting needles. An unfinished needlepoint pillowtop, only awaiting the finishing detail of white-on-white embroidery in the center panel. A few stitch holders.

Vintage Cable Knitting Needles
Vintage Circulars

These were all in that little envelope that was meant to hold only one circular. There are a couple of old nylon circulars here, too, but most of what you see are the needles that put the “cable” in “cable needles”. All-metal Boyes, with an actual braided metal cable as the flexible length between the needle tips.

Mystery Tools - Punch Needle Thread Holders?
Mystery Parts

The box also contained these oddities, which appear to be a small bobbin that can rotate, mounted on top of a hollow vinyl tube. The wire thing to the bottom right appears to be used to thread your fiber through the tube from the bobbin end to the other.

I suspect these are part of a specific punch-needle tool. Not something I have a use for, but if you recognize them and want them, just drop me an e-mail at the link at the top of the page, and they’re yours.

Total price for the contents of the box: $1. Oh, and Gryphon has plans for the box. He’s thinking wall-mounted tool box!

And Finally, the Actual Fiber Content!

We headed back towards Milford way, where we came across another yard sale that seemed to be offering Mom – or maybe Grandma’s – old crafting supplies. That’s where I found this knitting caddy filled with crochet threads, two doilies (one not quite finished), and an assortment of crochet hooks.

Crochet threads and knitting caddy
Crochet Threads and More

The hooks are sitting on an ancient page protector that contains some typed-out patterns for sweaters, and for some holiday decorations. Oh, yes – and that’s a Hero brand nylon circular needle, as well as a small knitting gauge ruler. And peeking out of the back, you can just make out a Coats & Clark Learn How to Knit booklet. Not like I need that personally, but it came with the lot and I can always pass it on to a friend who wants to learn. $2 took all.

Cat Counted Cross Stitch Kit
Cats in the Sewing Room – Counted Cross Stitch Kit

I’m skipping ahead to our last stop of the day here, all the way back home in Wilton. This counted cross stitch kit is completely unopened, and was only 25 cents.

And now, the best lot of the day

And this is why I skipped ahead – so I could close with a big grand finale. At a yard sale a bit off the beaten path in Amherst – way up in the part near Bedford, I found this box full of goodies.

The Big Lot
A Full Box Load

Most of the contents were displayed in this box as is, with a price set for the lot, but I added a few other items to it and negotiated a price for everything.

So what’s in the box? I didn’t entirely know until I got it home – this is one of those cases where I looked just long enough to know that it was worth the price marked, and saved the deep exploration for later.

First, the items I added

Let’s start with a couple of items I added to the box. This sweater, for instance.

Lambswool Sweater
Abercrombie & Fitch, no less

190 grams – 6 3/4 ounces. 80% lambswool, 20% nylon. Froggable seams, and we’re looking at a fingering weight yarn. The stripe at the top of the sleeves was knit in so that I can frog it properly, too.

I’ll probably lose a little of the weight to the raveling process, but I’ll bet I can get a small shawl or something out of this when it’s done.

"Mohair" Sweater Kit
“Mohair” Sweater Kit

I used quotes on that because the fiber content is actually 85% acrylic, 15% mohair. This must have been a very cheap kit. The original price sticker on it mentions Rich’s, a now-defunct chain of discount department stores. Think Kmart, only seedier and cheaper. That was Rich’s.

So this was never a very good kit to begin with. Still, we’re looking at a single skein of a basic white, slightly fluffy yarn. Should be good for some scarves or something.

Oh, and aren’t the models on the pattern booklet to die for? Must have been the late eighties, that’s the classic corporate/elegant look from that time period.

Wooden Beads
Faceted Wooden Beads

This is a fairly long necklace – maybe even a yard. Knotted between the beads, so when I decide to take it apart it will be a fussy matter of cutting between every single pair. But you seldom see wooden beads shaped like this, and the grain of the wood looked really interesting, too.

Pattern Books
Pattern Books

Two clearly different eras, but how does a knitting pattern ever go out of style? Looks like some fun things here.

And now, the original contents of the box

Odd Bits
Odd Bits

The box had a bunch of skeins of yarn in it, as well as some separate plastic bags. The picture above was the contents of one of those bags. It looks like bits of yarn from an embroidery or needlepoint kit, as well as a couple of small skeins. That one in the front is of special interest, but I didn’t know it until I emptied the second of the plastic bags, and found this:

Bunch of Lopi

We’ve weighed it – this is about 345 grams of a bulky Lopi yarn. Based on my Googling, this much Lopi alone would have cost us over $18 dollars. And when I compared it to that one odd green skein at the front of the picture before, I realized the green skein was a lighter weight version of the same.

Miscellaneous - very Miscellaneous
Very Assorted Skeins

Every time you find yarn at a yard sale, there is bound to be a bunch of odd skeins of unidentifiable fibers. This was the bulk of the box contents, and it’s exactly that – unidentifiable. My educated guess is that it’s mostly acrylic, some possibly with a little mohair content. The pink, green, and ecru stuff towards the left has a mohair-like fuzz to it. Only the red skein of Sayelle to the right had a ball band.

Icelandia Yarn
Icelandia Yarn – Two Intact Skeins!

Frankly, I don’t know a lot about the luxury yarns that existed in bygone times. I do know that it’s nearly impossible to find any references to Columbia-Minerva’s Icelandia yarn via Google, and that’s saying something, because my Google fu is pretty strong. Bottom line – I’ve got two completely intact skeins of the stuff here, in a color that’s more natural white than the yellowish that’s showing in the picture, complete with the tag as you see it on each skein. It’s a little flattened from long term storage in the bottom of a box, but I plan to dye this, so I imagine it will fluff up again when I soak it.

Not pictured – a pair of long straight needles, vintage Bates. Size 6, I think.

I know – we haven’t mentioned what I paid for this entire box load of goodies! Remember, this price includes everything from the Abercrombie & Fitch sweater, down to the Icelandia yarn.

Total price for this pile: $5.

And the Grand Total is?

At the end of the day, we had spent a total of $16.25 on all these goodies. Considering that a 100 gram skein of Lopi goes for around $6.50, and I got 3 1/2 skeins worth of that – plus the Icelandia – I would have done well even if I’d never found anything else!



Comment by Sara

July 11, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

I’m going with you yard saling! I never find all that kind of stuff!!! Good Job…

And, I used to knit with Columbia Minerava yarns about 30 years ago…and it was expensive yarn then…so, you got a really good deal.


Pingback by Crafting Jen » Reclaimed Yarn, Found Yarn, and Thrill Rides for Ratties

July 14, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

[…] Today, I prepare to dye. The two skeins of Icelandia yarn that I found at a yard sale on Saturday have been loosed from their tightly coiled skeins, tied in four places with pink acrylic yarn (for ease of finding the ties later), and are soaking in a bath of warm water with a little Palmolive added. […]


Pingback by Crafting Jen » Bring Me The Head of Maneki-Neko; and, Sweaters for the Frog Pond

July 24, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

[…] A little while ago, I posted a picture of a small pile of mysteriously-shaped pieces of cutout paper, with a promise that you’d learn more eventually. […]


Pingback by Crafting Jen » Be Afraid

August 14, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

[…] It seems I have a spinning enabler already. Blogless Judy, a lively semi-regular at our Thursday night gatherings, reads my blog, and saw that I had started spinning. And as we’ve seen here before, Judy is a talented spinner herself. […]

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