Craft Swishing

So I should be in heading to bed but instead I’m blogging while I wait for my iphone update to finish downloading, which probably still won’t finish in time but hey gives me an excuse. Plus I really wanted to blog about this before I forgot.

Yesterday, my knittery group of friends & I had our second (annual) craft swish party. What the hell is a craft swish party you ask? Well, we’ll start with what a swish party is. In short, swishing is an event where everyone brings articles of clothing they not longer want/need/fit, everyone puts them on the table, there is a set amount of viewing time, and after that everyone can dig in to take things home. When I heard about swishing for the first time I thought it was an awesome idea, but a flawed one if you are, like me, not say friends with a whole bunch of people the same size as you. However, the concept I thought was an awesome kinda thing and I totally liked the idea of applying it to my crafting stashes that were getting it out of control, so hence the craft swish party was born.

Last year's swish yarn pile

last year's swish yarn pile

last year's swish fabric

last year's swish fabric pile

Last year about this time, I invited all my friends to come over to my house with all their yarn, fabric, and other craft assortments they were wanting to release to the wild of new homes. We had a massive pile of stuff and a helluva good time was had. There was tea, sandwiches and cake. Much laughter and gabbing. My collection of crazy old pattern books was dug out and mocked (the patterns, not the collection. we were a group of knitters after all and seriously, if you saw some of these patterns from the 70s, you would mock too). And everyone found something delightful in the pile of goodies. All the leftovers, I set loose further into the wild via freecycle. We all had so much fun and felt good about our stash spring cleaning, we decided to do it again this year.

The mound pre-swishing

the collection of swish items

Hazel offered to host this year’s round so we sorted out a date and everyone got to cleaning out there stashes. I cleaned out mine last weekend and it was a bit of a chore. Mostly cause I have to dig it all out from the 20 places it’s stored around my room and in the basement. Hey, I live in the UK, space is a luxery and we find storage where we find it. But I did go through it all, hemmed and hawed, and made some partings. I acquired a nice little bag of things to take with me and I made it my goal the bag was to return less full than it left.

Swish Preview Time

Swish preview time

So yesterday, we all made our way over to Hazel’s house. She had a delightful lunch and a bit of cake for sustinance. Nothing is worse than trying to resist yarn or fabric fumes on an empty stomach. Then we set to work on swishing. A lovely pile was set forth on the floor, mostly yarn but also a good deal of fabric. We all squished and sniffed (yes, we sniff yarn. what of it?) and ooo’d and aahh’d. We did a run through of the rules (I’ll list them below in case anyone wants to host their own) and then we set about picking. Last year, we decided that for it to be fair, everyone should get a go at picking one thing from the pile and then we’d have a free for all. That way everyone would have a shot at getting something nice and they liked. So we random drew names for the order, and everyone made their selections. I got a bit of a giggle cause I had spied what I wanted, a lovely blue/white/grey varigated alpaca DK, upon sitting down and jumped on it the minute it was my turn. I was a girl with a take-home limit and I knew what I wanted. It did mean I missed out on this lovely bird fabric, but that’s okay cause it went to a good home and I have enough fabric.

The aftermath

The aftermath

After everyone got their turn, we turned to free for all time. There was much digging about and contemplation. Some swirling around in fabrics. Much squishing of yarns. People’s piles were growing bigger. I was really excited that my pile so far contained only the blue yarn and a couple bits of fabric. Then someone found the mass of plum dress fabric and I was done. I sat indecisive on it for a while but finally was convinced it should go home with me. I’ve got a few steampunk costume plans for it so it will be okay.

Love flat packed yarn

Love flat packed yarn

The thing I love about our swishing, is we were all very chill about it and encouraging. There were no fights and instead often you heard instead “oh, were you interested in this? well if you really want it, then you take it.” Or something to that effect. There was much laughter and delight over the vaccuum packed yarn Anna brought along. She had a big moth incident last year so invested in a vaccuum sealer and has since vaccuum sealed all her yarn in plastic, so that is how she brought it to the swish. It was amusing to see all this really poofy yarn flattened down to pancake size. In the end, in new treasures were found and everyone was excited for what they were taking home.

And my bag was totally less full than when it arrived, even with the mound of plum fabric. See, I can have self-control of my craft stash. My acquirements from the day in photos:

fabric haul

Fabric Haul

yarn haul

Yarn Haul

swish project bag

Cath Kidston project bag

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