Vintage Knit and Sew
“People come up to my stall and it’s a bit like a sweetie shop for adults.“
Vintage Knit and Sew started I went to a car boot sale. One of the stallholders there had loads and loads of knitting needles, all in a pickle. They were in such a mess! I was standing there sorting through them, and in the end I just said how much do you want for the whole lot? So I ended up with this huge bundle of needles. And I spent the rest of that Sunday afternoon happily sorting and pairing needles.
That’s how it started, with those knitting needles. I’ve always fancied the idea of a stall, and I love meeting people. I get a lot of pleasure out of selling something to somebody and people loving it. It’s very much about the engagement with people and hearing their stories. And you learn a lot about people. So it is, in a way, a passion project for me.
I sell sewing threads, needles, poppers, hooks and eyes, thimbles and knitting needles and accessories. I also have a lot of buttons. I love buttons. My aunt has got a most amazing collection of antique sewing tools. She got me into collecting buttons when I was a child, and I’ve never looked back. You can just contact me if you would like to buy any haberdashery items. You don’t need to wait for me to have a stall.
So when I see somebody’s button or sewing box at a car boot sale, things that I know have been really precious to somebody, it makes me feel quite sad. I want to rescue it, you know, give it a good home and bring it back into use again.
There are so many people who have told me how they used to love to sort the buttons in their mother’s or their grandmother’s or their aunt’s button box. People come up to my stall and say it’s like a sweetie shop for adults. They always put their hands in my button tins and they talk … Buttons bring out all kinds of stories. You can get into some very interesting conversations with people about buttons!
A sewing box is always a treasure trove. You often find little souvenirs and mementos, or broken jewellery in a sewing box… you never know what you’re going to find. There’s always a bit of treasure hunting about it. There’s just something very nice about these old things and their connection with the past.
There’s a bit of nostalgia as well, from my childhood, because some of the things I remember from that time, like the old cotton reels and the knitting needles. One of my oldest possessions is a pair of short knitting needles that my mother gave me. I remember being on the playground at my primary school with my needles and a ball of wool in my pocket making my dad a scarf. It turned out very wonky shape and short but he was kind enough to wear it all the same!
My latest venture is in doing visible clothing repairs, particularly on woollen socks and jumpers. I love making a repair something to be shown off rather than hidden away. I am very keen to do more of this type of repair, so please do contact me if you’ve got a favourite piece of clothing that you’d like me to bring back to life. I can send you photos of repairs I have already done if you’d like some inspiration.
In future I’d like to run workshops on doing visible repairs and alterations and generally giving existing clothes a new lease of life. If you’d be interested in attending a workshop like this let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Things keep evolving in terms of my ideas for Vintage Knit and Sew. My head is just buzzing with ideas!