My favourite shop is the Emmaus community depot nearby. It's set in a delightful rural spot surrounded by fields and ancient villages, has a little restaurant and it's like a department store for the thrifty. I can come home from a trip there with a big bag full of goodies and still have change from a fiver! I'm not going to dwell on the 'feel-good factor' for recycling, because that's not primarily why I go, but it's there for the taking if you want it!
Since I jumped-ship from the world of real work, my wardrobe expenses have taken a welcome nosedive. The people I see on a regular basis (the postman, the hens, my Dad and the volunteers at the village community shop ... ) are not remotely sniffy (metaphorically-speaking) about me wearing second-hand clothes. My lilac linen Kalico jacket even got some compliments at a birthday party. Now THAT'S £2 well-invested!
Mostly, the building I make a beeline for is the one housing the haberdashery. I rootle through the button tins, snaffling up all the tiny mother-of-pearl ones that have sunk to the bottom and are out of sight of the casual observer. There are always hand-embroidered tray-cloths and napkins, the careful work of years gone by. Zips! loads of zips. Offcuts of material, yardage donated by upholsterers, old net curtains (great for wet-felting), elderly and mostly unused dress patterns. The thing that always gives me a little twinge of sadness and exposes my sentimentality are the bucket-loads of superannuated knitting needles. On my last visit I chatted to an elderly lady who was sighing over them and regretting that she could no longer knit because of her arthritis. "But you probably handed on your skills to the next generation", I tried to console her. "Oh yes, all my 12 grandchildren know how to knit, including the boys!"
I nearly choked with excitement on one recent foraging trip when I found yards and yards of someone's screen-printing experiments. A bit blotchy in places, but lovely colours and brave patterns. The materials ranged from wool to tulle to cheescloth/muslin and a kind of chiffon. Just right for some experiments of my own....
So I had me some fun with the cheesecloth one, added some rusty and teal and blue coloured merino and did the old 'rub-a-dub-dub' thing and turned it into a little piece of nuno felt. And I like it! Big thank-you to the anonymous donor of the screen-printed textiles - I'm sorry you didn't want to keep them, but so glad you donated them to my favourite shop!