I’ve had crafty friends who dabbled with a sewing machine, but not on the same level as me. So if I ever needed to ask a question, or wanted to show off a project to fellow sewists, I had to do it on an online sewing forum called Craftster.
But since moving to Alabama, I’ve finally met some fellow sewists in person, and have communicated with even more online, via letters, on the phone and through this column.
And while the advice and fellowship of knowing other sewists is great, one of the best things about being part of a sewing community is the free exchange of swag.
It seems contradictory, but crafters are just as notorious for being generous with their notions and supplies as they are for hoarding them. Every time I do a purge and re-organization of my sewing room, I find a load of stuff to give away to fellow crafters. I’ve mailed fabric to people I’ve only met in online sewing groups. I’ve given a box full of lace to Debbie Reaves, a fellow sewist and occasional Make This! guest columnist. I recently sent a huge amount of knitting and crochet needles and books to my friend and former Star co-worker Rebecca. Most of those needles had been passed down to me from my great aunt via my grandmother. I kept a few, but gave Rebecca at least 40 needles and hooks — way too many for me, because I hardly ever knit or crochet anymore.
But my generosity only stems from the generosity of others. I’ve gotten many gifts from crafters over the years, but I’ve been especially lucky lately. A couple of months ago my step-mother-in-law gave me a box of notions and supplies she wasn’t using anymore. Debbie recently brought me a new magazine because it turns out she had accidentally bought two, and as much as she liked it, she didn’t really need a spare. And I’ve written in detail about only some of the massive amount of things given to me by my mother and grandmother.
But last week was one of the best. I had gotten a call from a reader who said she had a box of sewing stuff that she’d like to give me (she also said we’d met before, several years ago when she was an usher at a CAST performance — small towns, right?). So she and her husband stopped by last Saturday and, sure enough, with them was a big box of … stuff. I say stuff because it contained such an array of items — tons of vintage buttons, handmade doilies, a mini rotary cutter, a belt hole punch, and a hundred other things, including, my favorite, a 1-inch tall decorative gold hammer head. I have no idea what I’ll do with it — it’s just a cute piece of whimsy. It goes well with the 1-inch tall decorative golden spigot (swag from a plumbing company) I found in some of my grandmother’s things.
So before you send off those extra supplies to the thrift store, or — please, no — the trash, give me a call. And if you’re looking for a collection of several hundred glass beads (left over from my hemp-necklace making college days), just give me a call.
Features Editor Deirdre Long: 256-294-4152. On Twitter @star_features.