Don’t get excited. I’m not selling my hoard of yarn. No, it was the Fashion & Textiles Vintage Fair at Hammersmith Town Hall. Essentially, it’s the same as when you decide to get rid of a load of yarn you’re not that keen on any more, and it’s someone else’s treasure. I found things that were fabulous to me.
I think the stallholder thought I was nuts when I wanted her old knitting needles. There’s no chance I’d get those two pairs of vintage aluminium needles for a quid at next weekend’s yarn show where the customer base is different. Likewise, I doubt I’ll find vintage patterns for a pound and an entire 1920s (1920s, not a typo) little handicraft magazine for £2.50. I have some work to do turning the photo of a beautiful table cloth into a shawl pattern….there is no pattern!
Some haggling was required over a first edition copy of Modern Knitting (well, it was modern back in 1948) since the stall holder knew what it was worth to a keen knitter – a bit like having a bit of a discussion over some yarn that your mate isn’t going to knit “but it is cashmere after all”.
My eye was caught by a small green glass brooch. It’s always satisfying to feel justified that it caught my eye; it was Czech glass, c 1910-1920. “Czech glass?” my friend & I said. “They still have an amazing reputation for glass beads!” I’ve only made novice forays into beads so far, but now my appetite is whetted by this small but dazzling green beauty. I think I can see what I’ve been missing, a bit like finding a first skein of baby camel/silk in someone else’s stash and wondering why you haven’t knit it before.
I did buy a couple of actual garments, but for me to wear rather than as design inspiration. I’ve been hankering after a 1950s beaded cardigan for, ooooh, about 20 years. They’re always too small, usually too short somewhere; I’m tall. Oh, and they’re usually cream or another pastel colour that washes me out. I found treasure in black, with geometric beading. I’m not 100% convinced of its authenticity since the binding looks too new, but maybe that’s a repair. The lining looks genuine (yes, it’s lined!) and whether it is or not, I don’t care because it’s gorgeous. Beads all down fronts, round hem, cuffs and neckline. All in great condition. And all black. £40. Sold. Can’t get that on the high street.
My last purchase was an unstructured purple velvet bolero, which probably sounds like someone’s novelty yarn that they’re trying to palm off on an unsuspecting victim, but I love it and I wanted to take it home. And that’s the point of a destash – everyone’s happy.