Friday, September 18, 2009

Vintage Craft Thrift Heaven

When I was planning one of my early trips to Portland a few years ago, I remember when Diane mentioned a place she'd like to take me. Her description of the store immediately caught my attention and got me giddy:

"It's a thrift craft supply store with lots of vintage goodies," she said.

"Well," I replied. " You just named three of my favorite things!"

The Knittn' Kitten did not disappoint. During my first visit, I scored oodles of vintage bias tape and ric rac. I brought home a vintage embroidered table cloth that I still use when I'm doing embroidery demos or special occasions. (I even found, but did not buy, an embroidered table cloth that was in progress ... complete with the hoop still attached!) And I discovered loads of vintage embroidery transfers, including one of my most treasured vintage embroidery transfers: the Girl Scout Sampler.

The Knittn' Kitten in Portland is completely unique. It's a thrift store of nothing but craft supplies, and most of it is vintage. It's a dream. The Kitten suffered a bit of a slow summer in this struggling economy, and several of Portland's crafty heavy hitters have come out in force to support The Knittn' Kitten and encourage others to do the same.

Lots of laughter and finds at The Kitten during the PDX Craftgasm weekend back in April! From L to R, Lee Meredith, Kim Werker and Theresa Sullivan. Photo from Diane.

Even though I'm in Texas, I can't express my love of The Knittn' Kitten enough. When I returned to The Kitten during the PDX Handmade nation weekend, I had a blissful visit. We arrived with a full entourage of folks, and the store was alive with laughter and gasps of "OHMYGOSHLOOKWHATIJUSTFOUND!"s. Everyone found some kind of treasure that day, and everyone had fun.

That's me and Betsy Greer browsing the amazing vintage craft books and magazines. Most of the pictures in this post are from the magazine I'm holding in this picture. Picture from Diane.

Most of the pictures in this post are from some of the things I brought home from my trip to The Kitten in April. You can see the things I discovered in my first trip to The Kitten back in my post from that trip.

One of the coolest things that the Portland craft community is doing is coming up with free patterns for projects that can be completed using things you can find at The Knittn' Kitten. Some of my best crafty Portland friends are sharing their ideas and projects. Here's the schedule of contributors so far:

September 22 – Heather Mann

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

Be sure to check out the projects, and check out the Knittn' Kitten Flickr pool where people are posting pictures of things they've found at The Kitten or made with things they purchased at The Kitten.

If you live in Portland, or have friends who do, please pass this information on. If you don't live in Portland, drop The Knittn' Kitten gals a line to show your support. And if you have the opportunity to travel to Portland, be sure that The Knittn' Kitten is at the top of your list for places to visit. You won't be disappointed


  1. Aw, dude - you rock so hard for posting about this. Thanks so much!

    ...But this post is making me seriously miss you. :-(

  2. I can't wait until you come back to see us, Rach... we totally have to start planning PDX Craftgasm 2010...

  3. Aww this makes me so happy! You really need another Portland trip. See how many of us love you here!

  4. I haven't been to Portland in a long time, but the next time I go, I want to see This store & Powell's.

  5. I hope they are doing better. I'm "stuck" here in Texas too but would just LOVE to visit them! I wish I had the $$ to just hop on a plane to go visit that amazing sounding store. It's nice to see that so many are working to help them out. Hopefully it will keep them going until we can make it up there (again for you). Thanks for sharing!


  6. Damn, I was just in Portland last month! I'll definitely go by next time.

  7. Rachel, what a lovely show of support for the Knittin Kitten! It truly is a magical place - and really - the only "craft shop" my husband encourages me to visit!


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