Monday, July 26, 2021

The Sheety Weekend

Am I becoming more discriminating in my old age? Or maybe it's a side effect of mostly garaging alone these days – I'm not distracted by the fun of hanging out with friends? Or I'm picking the wrong sales off of Craigslist? Whatever it is, it just seems like there are far too many I Don’t Know Why They Bothered sales this summer. But then again, if you just keep showing up, something is bound to appear.

Like sheets.

When I moved my queen size bed into the guest room and put the new-to-me double bed in my bedroom, I assured myself I'd soon find sheets to fit it.

I've had to redefine soon to include sooner or later.

So I've been making do with queen size sheets for several weeks now. Ironically, my queen size sheets were resized from king size, and the twin size sets for beds I no longer own were cut down from doubles, since at the time I couldn’t find any twins. 

I started to wonder if I bought all the doubles a few years ago (“Woman Singlehandedly Corners Market on Used Double Sheets” is the headline I'm seeing). But on Friday morning I wandered into the back bedroom in an old house and discovered who had really cornered the market.

This sale was advertised as a hoarder’s estate sale, and it certainly was packed. But to me a real hoarder is indiscriminating in what they acquire, and often store things quite haphazardly. This lady had sets of things – blue glassware, cranberry glassware, music books and many more. The row of half a dozen vintage accordians appeared to be well loved. In fact, I heard that the lady who had collected everything had taught piano in that house for many years, and in her younger days played in bands, including Lawrence Welk’s. Hence the accordions. The lady running the sale told me they found many items wrapped in tissue paper, as though they had been purchased as gifts and were waiting for the right occasion.

The back bedroom was chock full of textiles. Several vintage chenille bedspreads, wool blankets, maybe a dozen bed pillows…and a whole bunch of sheets. Which I quickly discovered were all the size I've been looking for. And the price for most was a dollar, though some sets were a little higher. There was just one catch – I could see by looking that some were cotton/polyester blend, and others seemed to be all cotton.

I love natural fibers, and I really cannot sleep on (or wear) polyester. Just can't. So I started looking at the sheets for all cotton.

Didn’t take too long to find a set, white with purple polka dots. That’s the serendipity of secondhand – you end up loving things you might never have looked at. Like purple polka dotted sheets. I checked a few more sheets, but you have never seen sheets more perfectly folded, and every single one wrapped around with masking tape. Unwrapping, unfolding, searching for tags, refolding…it was late in the morning, I was hungry. I gave up the search.

The next morning I was out running errands, and started to wonder if that estate sale was having half-price day. Which I'm happy to report they were, so now sheets were fifty cents apiece. I headed for the back bedroom and began to dig. Since the sheets were all folded so beautifully I did my best to return them to that state after I searched for fiber tags. The sale lady stopped by and said they were all doubles, so I explained I was looking for all cotton. She was a kindred spirit, we had quite a conversation about natural fibers and she didn’t seem to mind a bit that I was rumpling the sheets. I also complimented her on the incredible folding, and it turned out she herself had folded them all.

I soon realized there was another issue. A lot of sheets predated the era of fabric content tags. Which probably meant they were all cotton, but not a guarantee. However, I did a burn test when I got home on little snips from the unmarked ones and indeed all was well.

So now I am well stocked with double sheets. Besides the polka dots, I have two whites, a purple, a lavender, and a pink striped. My bed will be dressed in varying combinations, and neither it nor I will care when sheets don't match each other.

I left the sale with my $2.50 stack of sheets as music floated out behind me. Someone was playing a sweet version of Roll Out the Barrel on one of the vintage accordions. All those sheets and live music too. You gotta love thrifting.

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