This weekend, there was a huge craft convention in Stuttgart. It had stalls for nearly every craft you could imagine -from jewelry-making to scrapbooking. There was even a stall selling tiny handmade sock earrings.
And I even got to make a thing!
I walked past a stand for the weaving museum, Haus der Handweberei Sindelfingen. They had a table of looms set where you could weave your own bracelet for 4 euros (for reference, a euro is relatively equal to a US dollar). I couldn’t pass it up, especially because, fascinatingly, there were cut up playing cards were woven through the yarn. Why??
The playing cards had yarn threaded through each corner. On most of the cards each corner had a different color of yarn. By rotating the cards a quarter turn, a different color would come to the top. Turning the cards toward me or away from me would produce a different pattern. The flower pattern comes from the way the cards are threaded. I just had to alternate turning forwards four times, then backwards four times to produce it.
Weaving this was easier than it first looked, and it has the same repetitive, relaxing quality as hand-sewing. This would be a perfect activity while watching tv. And look how much I got done in just half an hour!
After the weaving stall, we went over to a stall selling fake fur scraps. These were in a “1 euro and up” bin, which really means “any price”, doesn’t it?! I know anyways that I wouldn’t get anything for less than a euro! It was the end of the day and I only had ten euros left. So I picked out four fur pieces and asked the vendor how much. “14 euros.” Darn, I didn’t have enough. I put back the largest piece and asked if I could have the other three for 10 euros. He took my bill, then selected a small piece of fake fur, and handed it to me, saying, “That was a big piece you put back, take this one to make up for it!”
My jaw almost hit the floor because this is not the kind of generosity I expect when buying sewing supplies here in Germany. I’m used to every tiny thing being expensive – a yard of cotton print usually runs 15-20 euros, for instance. But then something came over the salesman and he just started stuffing fur in my bag. He put the big piece I’d taken out back in, then four more pieces of fur, and then handed my friend and I leather key rings as well. At this point I’d have needed a car jack to get my jaw back in place below my cranium. I babbled thanks, then ran off before he could come to his senses!
Now, even though summer is coming, I’m dreaming of adding fake fur collars and cuffs to winter coats, or maybe even animal ears and a tail for a costume.
Finally, here’s one non-sewing purchase I made on a whim. Remember the plastic shrink wrap for Easter eggs? You put a thin plastic sleeve around the egg, dip it in boiling water and the plastic shrinks to size. I loved those things! It’s so gratifying to watch them shrink up.
Well one stall was selling large versions of the shrink wrap, so I bought a set. I shrunk them around clean jars I as soon as I got home to make candle holders. And just like when I was a kid, one turned out wonky (the one on the left). Oh well, I’m not going to let that mess up my flight of nostalgia. Maybe I could add ribbons and lace at the top to dress these up.
What a fun day! I got to learn something new and be inspiraed by all the things people are making. The next craft convention is in November – I can’t wait to go again!