I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I would be writing a separate post on Knack, the amazing creative re-use center I visited recently while I was up in Massachusetts. I confess, it’s mostly because I wanted to share a ton of photos of the shop, but this first post also inaugurates a new feature on the blog: creative or culinary spaces in other cities that are worth visiting while on the road. In other words, commerce-tourism. I’m definitely trying not to buy more than I need these days; on the other hand, one of my favorite parts of getting out of DC is temporarily gaining access to creative supplies I can’t get (or can’t get cheaply) at home.
Knack is a great first space to write about; to put it simply, the shop is just fantastic. I had never heard of creative re-use centers before stopping by Knack, and if I had, I’m not totally sure I’d have been into the idea. I confess I’m not much of a thrift-shop girl. As much as I love the idea of thrifting and rehoming materials that would otherwise go to waste, I’ve had some bad experiences (including rotting wool) that have scared me off the notion of getting my supplies secondhand. Knack has completely turned that around for me; the shop was so clean and well-organized, and its stock so esoteric and well-priced, that I couldn’t help but fall instantly in love.
Polly, Jill and I more or less scattered throughout the store as we discovered stashes of supplies to dig through. I was blown away by the stock of beads and bead storage – they had received a large donation of high-quality beads sometime before our visit and were selling them for a great bulk price – $4 for a small scoop’s worth of beads and $6 for a large scoop. Turns out you can get a lot of the small beads I use for talisman necklaces into one of those scoops. Seriously, utter heaven.
I was also really into the scrap leather bin; I bought several pieces for 25 cents each, which I’m using for the neck clasps on my talismans. Ordering leather strips new wouldn’t have been expensive, per se, but I was still pretty psyched to be paying 25 cents per piece in person versus the $6ish plus shipping I was seeing for strips of leather through Etsy.
Knack also had a fun bin of wool fabric scraps, perfect for making needle books; I’m working on an original needlebook tutorial and round-up for y’all and hope to have it ready in a few weeks, so watch this space for more details! I’ve since visited a couple of other creative re-use centers; while not as spectacular as Knack, leather and wool scraps do seem to show up pretty regularly, so it’s worth checking out whether you have a center locally if you’re in the market for either.
In addition to standard supplies like fabric, buttons, beads, thread and yarn, Knack also sells handmade goods by local artists and more outside-the-box supplies, like wine corks and Scrabble tiles, also pretty common finds at creative re-use centers generally. I loved the burgundy Scrabble tiles at Knack; Jill and I both bought some to take home to our families, though I went boring and traditional with my message. Nobody hurl, but even after eight years together I still love saying I love you to my husband. Never gets old. Especially in Scrabble tiles.
Some final notes:
-Because living in cities makes me paranoid about parking, I’ll take some time to let y’all know that Knack has a great location, in a fascinating building with ample parking available.
-There are creative re-use centers throughout the US, so if you’re not in Massachusetts, by all means, check out what’s locally available to you. I found one local to me via a quick google search.