Monday, December 3
Craft Supplies on a Budget
Thrifted and donated wool sweaters
This week I began to plan out my next kids class on Feltwork. When I prepare for a class I start with a class plan that maps out my objectives and how to achieve them. Part of this process includes figuring out the supplies we'll need for the class.
My classes are enrichment classes and there is a fee, but to help keep class costs down I try to find a discount whenever I can. Obviously, this thought process can extend beyond stocking for classes to stocking your craft area or even creating a craft kit for some lucky kid(s) on your holiday list.
One of my favorite bulk discount sites is Create for Less, where you can get multiples of any product, like crochet hooks, yarn needles, embroidery hoops, and even dyed roving for a bulk discount.
For yarn, a favorite is Knitpicks.com, where I buy skeins of undyed bulky or worsted weight yarn then break them up into 1 ounce hanks (handy for dying).
1.99 for 20 spools
Sometimes I hit the thrift store. Recent thrifty finds have included knitting needles and crochet hooks, embroidery hoops, fabric, lots of sewing thread, sweaters for felting (best to buy in the off season), and trims, rick rack, bias tape, and lace. You know those little needlepoint kits people buy but never get around to stitching? They donate them to the thrift store and you can get them for half the retail price, take out the floss and aida cloth and use them in your next embroidery class, project, or kit. In the knit and crochet class, I like to keep little balls of cheap yarn and additional hooks and needles in the middle of the table so kids can make poms, tassels, and try new stitches. So, I stock up at the thrift store.
.69/pair for needles or hooks
Another place to find class materials is your family and friends. Non-crafty types may not be aware of the value in the 100% pure wool fairisle sweater that accidentally shrunk in the washer. Maybe your boss planned on learning to sew, knit, embroider, or crochet but just never got the hang of it. Or maybe your friends great aunt Helen left her a collection of fabrics and they would love to pass it on in the name of teaching children. One of the projects in my felting class uses recycled sweaters, so I sent out an email to my local parent circle asking for old wool sweaters that they no longer needed or were planning to donate to the thrift store. Only one mom responded. She passed my email onto her mother in law who gave me 6 wool sweater vests that her husband no longer wore. She was so excited to hear that the kids were going to make stuffed monster toys with her donation.
1.99 for a bag of misc craft supplies; fabric 1.99 for 2 yards
Craigslist and Freecyle are two email group lists that are handy for finding recycled and cheap craft supplies. Freecyle is all free and you can post a Want ad for yarn or craft supplies. Today a Freecycler in my area is offering a box of large and small fabric remnants. Craigslist is like a great big yard sale with an RSS feed to update you when something you want becomes available. I have local Craigslist feeds for the terms "yarn", "knitting", "embroidery", and "loom" go directly to my blog reader. Just look up the term you want, filter the area you're willing to pick up in, and click the RSS button at the bottom of the list.
Thrifting crafting supplies is something you can do year round, just keep your eyes open.