Every year in my area is Sewing Room Faire . . . a not-to-miss event if you love anything and everything fiber-related. This event was held yesterday and is sponsored by the Kitsap County Clothing and Textile Advisors (CTA), a Washington State University Extension program. Sewing Room Faire is a fund-raiser to the CTA organization, a group that provides educational workshops and programs for sewers of all ages and provide scholarships for sewing-related activities and cash award for prize-winning entries for the youth and adult exhibits at the Kitsap County Fair.
I’ve attended Sewing Room Faire in the past and its only through attending that one can appreciate what an extraordinary event this is . . . Fabric is $1/lb . . . regardless of whether it’s the finest silk or cashmere or 30+ year-old polyester in “mod” colors. Yarn is $0.25 for a skein or cone. Sewing patterns are a $1/bag . . . Yes, you read that correctly . . . $1 per bag . . . and you can imagine how many patterns a bag holds. Books are $0.50/ea . . . so forth and so on (or should it read sew forth and sew on?). It goes without saying . . . there are some incredible bargains. In the past, I’ve often looked for fabric I could use as linings in garments and there’s always been plenty to choose from . . . Notions galore . . . and I’ve even acquired unusual yarn in the past . . . for example, two years I purchased three large spools (over 1lb/ea) of very fine brass ribbon that I plan to weave with. Each spool cost $0.25. Even though the event is really aimed at sewers, there are always items that would appeal to weavers. The quantity and quality of the items is astounding and this year was no different!
One thing was different for me this year . . . I got to participate in “The Sort”. The Sort was two days before the sale where all of the items that have been donated over the past year are sorted through, organized, boxed up, and loaded into trucks. To describe The Sort is difficult . . . but, try to imagine 38 fiber fanatics in a large house where nearly every room is full of sewing-related items and fabric. I started my day in one of the fabric sort rooms where a dozen of us opened up box after box of fabric and placed them into categories like Fashion Fabric, Interior Decorating Fabric, Holiday theme, etc. I later ended up in the dining room area where box after box of notions were being sorted and small collections were put into Ziploc baggies that would be sold for $0.25/ea. One room was dedicated to “vintage” items. Some of the vintage items were just beautiful to look . . . intricately lettered labels that haven’t been used in decades are especially appealing. There were frame looms, dress forms, and other items that were quite remarkable. I carried boxes down stairs, I carried boxes out to the trucks, I did anything and everything that needed to be done.
You might be asking yourself why anyone would do this . . . First, it was a lot of fun. With 38 people working The Sort, the job is accomplished in a few hours. You become friends with people very quickly as you repeatedly bump in to each other, ask others if a fabric would be considered a fashion fabric or decorating fabric, and simply share a laugh over fabric, notions, patterns, etc. as we go down memory lane . . . Second, if you work The Sort you get first pick of the items. That itself is reason to help with The Sort! Everyone is very kind and generous when choosing items, often making sure no one else wants it more. When the sort is done, we all have lunch together . . . Everyone is asked to bring an ingredient for a salad. 38 people contributing different ingredients creates an amazing salad banquet table!
I came away with a few items . . . a couple of dupioni silk yardage lengths (I like dupioni silk for lining some garments). One item I bought was a large weaving bobbin with half-a-dozen wooden pirns wrapped around it. The pirns had been wound with different colors of fine wool. It’s totally impractical since it’s really nothing more than a decorative item, but I love it! I even followed up The Sort with a visit to Sewing Room Faire yesterday . . . and came away with more treasures I hadn’t seen two days earlier. What fun! I can’t wait until next year!