I spent a chunk of today with one of my favoritist people in the world picking through thrift store racks.
We were there on a treasure hunt - for wool.
My friend has discovered the amazing art of rug hooking. This is not the yarn and stamped mesh Latch Hook from our childhood days. This is something entirely different. You take some coarse linen fabric, stretch it out on a quilting hoop, and use a little tool (or a very small crochet hook) to pull small loops of prepared wool strips up through the fabric. It's not terribly difficult, but the results are truly impressive.
Needless to say, when she offered me some fabric and wool strips so I could try it myself, I was intrigued.
When I told her this morning that I had started working on a project with the materials she had given me, she was excited and decided we needed to find more interesting wool that wouldn't cost a fortune.
We headed for the thrift store, where blue label items were $1 today and white label items were 50% off. It was great fun, picking through the different rows of clothing, checking tags for "100% wool" and looking at the different colors and textures and weights.
We wound up with quite a few skirts and blazers, most of which were only $1. At home, we spread them out on the couch and floor and spent the next hour or so cutting them up, discarding the linings and such, until we had two big multicolored piles of wool, one for each of us.
Tomorrow, it gets washed and cut into thin shoelace-like strips. From just this one trip, we're going to have enough for a year's worth of projects. And if we do need more, the thrift store is two minutes away, with plenty to choose from.
As I was ripping and sorting, it occurred to me that we could easily put together kits containing a variety of recycled wool strips, a piece of fabric, and a hook - and sell them for $30 each. Wonder if there would be a market for that...
There are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon.