In 2008 as part of frugalista project my mum and I began collecting old silk ties from op shops. We set a challenging price limit and were very careful not to let any polyesters into the mix. I would take one end, she would take the other. Then two other friends joined the fun and we all had a great time swapping them and building up our stash of silks, having a quarter of a tie each. We quickly became expert at remembering whether we had a particular tie already; you would be surprised how many duplicates we would have had if we weren’t so vigilant! Most ties were rather sombre plains, paisleys, spots and stripes. Some were novelty ties (teddy bears, santas and cartoon characters being very popular). It was hard to find enough brightly coloured ties to enliven the mix and we became obsessed with ties, fighting the urge to chop the ends off particularly vivid and attractive ties worn by strangers. We would scrutinise and pass judgement on the ties worn by weather reporters and news readers. Tragic really. To make the quest even more difficult Mr Shoestring developed an unhealthy interest in the ties (particularly the precious colourful ones, such as rare Versace exclusives) and would try to snaffle some of them when he thought he could get away with it.
Then the fun started. We didn’t know exactly what anybody else was doing with their ties and to give us more incentive to complete our projects a date was set for an exhibition! Oh no! As the time loomed ever closer I began to wonder what I had been thinking of to agree to this madness but it was a great reason to press on and work on my projects every day. In the end one quilt was not completed in time for the exhibition but the other one (a crazy quilt) became an obsession and once it was completed (just in the nick of time) I missed working on it and immediately started another. On the new crazy quilt there will be an ambitious “rainbow effect” plan, just to make it more interesting.
You can see from the photos that we all created very different objects from our ties and one thing which was great fun was to seek out the same tie fabric in projects made by different people. Some ties were great favourites and used by all of us, others were only seen once.
The exhibition turned out to be a great way to encourage us to finish our projects and to all get together and see what wonderful things the others had created, it was creative fun and well worthwhile. Crowds of interested people attended and enjoyed seeing our collective efforts. (I was alarmed to hear one kind elderly gentleman offer his entire tie collection but fortunately his generous offer was gently declined. I don’t think we could have coped with any more silk ties, I still have a huge stash of assorted leftovers from the first lot.) Imagine my alarm though when the next challenge was announced – luckily a two year interval before the next exhibition and surely enough time to make something extra special with the theme of “Second Hand Rose”?