Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art Squirrel Goes Back to School Shopping . . .

Something about the shift in the weather makes me want to shop. I tell myself it's because of lovely memories of back-to-school shopping as a wee one, but I suspect it's really because I'm part squirrel and am feeling the need to store things up for the winter . . . you know, Just In Case.

Of course, squirrels aren't generally tucking mustard yellow corduroy pants or really cute layering tees or beautiful collage papers next to the acorns in their hoards. Squirrels stick to the basics - food. Me? I tend to stockpile clothes. And art supplies. You know, Just In Case. I might get invited to a gala art opening or need to cast plaster at 2 a.m. You Never Know.

Thank heavens, Portland is an amazing place for out-of-the-big-box art and craft supplies. There's Collage, in both Southeast and Northeast Portland, the only art store in town that really gets mixed media artists and what they need. Of course, there's also Muse over on Hawthorne, which has been going all out to beef up their encaustic art supplies - amazing selection and prices as good as what you can get online! Art Media and Columbia Art Supply carry the basics, I've Been Framed covers the discounted bits and the odd ends. SCRAP is home to all kinds of discarded crafty goodness just looking to be creatively re-purposed.

Last, but not least, there is Knittn' Kitten. Portland has more cool indie yarn, bead and fabric stores than I can throw a walnut at (you notice I didn't even try to list them here), and random fabrics and yarns do find their way to the bins at SCRAP . . . but no place in Portland has the beautifully curated and cleaned selection of super-cheap second-hand craft supplies that the Kitten has. Imagine if someone hit every good yard sale and got all the really good crafty stuff and then cleaned it up and packaged it and put it all for sale in one place. Yup. WOW.

Witness my most recent haul. Bamboo crochet hooks (I really do want to learn how to crochet), beautiful yarn (ditto), polyester eyelet perfect for creating patterns in encaustic, cotton faux batik fabric, and doilies! I also picked up some gorgeous Czech glass seed beads . . . other past finds have included vintage buttons, dress patterns, zippers, and more . . . Treasure! Happy Art Squirrel!

Of course, like a lot of the local indie shops I mentioned, Knittn' Kitten has been struggling. So, some local crafters are getting together to show the love - and give away free crafty patterns in the process! Just in time for serious holiday gift making. Yes - I did say "free." My pattern won't come out until November - but - Big Hint - it involves doilies.

Heather of Croqzine and DollarStoreCrafts fame developed the first pattern for this awesome Anthropologie-inspired necklace! Learn more about it here.

How do you get the pattern? Just go to Knittn' Kitten and ask at the front desk! Be sure to share your version of the project, as well as any spoils from your own Knittn’ Kitten trip at the Knittn’ Kitten Flickr Group!

Stay tuned for more free projects, every Tuesday through November 10 from the following designers:

September 29 – Teresa Sullivan

October 6 – Diane Gilleland

October 13 – Joey Groendes

October 20 – Christine Blystone

October 27 – Susan Beal

November 3 – Lee Meredith

November 10 – Bridget Benton


Dawn said...

Guess what. I've nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award on one of my blogs. Pop over there and have a look when you get a chance if you'd like.


Dayna Collins said...

I love the Knittin Kitten, but haven't been there in quite some time. Your post has motivated me to make a pit stop there the next time I'm in Portland.