But there are few of us who have not felt some loss of disposable income over the past few years. Yarn shops say that their incomes have dropped (which always happens in the summer anyway) and that their customers are spending less money on each purchase.
It’s okay to spend less money each time. We are all part of a new economy that must examine its relationship to consumerism. But how do we make the most of what we have?
- What yarn you do buy, buy from your local LYS. (We cannot afford to have them go out of business. But this is such an important topic that I’ll cover its many reasons in a following post.)
- When you do buy yarn, buy finer rather than heavier. (It’ll take more time to knit and probably be more flattering to your body.)
- Knit something really big from yarn that is really fine. (I’m working up a pattern for a huge shawl of fingering weight yarn—some new, some stash. I’d like it to take months to knit, and I know that I will wear it because it’ll be big enough and the right shape for me—all mistakes I’ve made with previous shawls.)
- Combine yarn + fabric: buy 5 balls of yarn for the shaped bits, buy 1 yard of fabric for the bulk of the ‘yardage.’ (I was in a fabric shop recently, introducing the owner to my friend Cat Bodhi, and the shop owner apologized for how expensive a piece of fabric was. We looked at each other . . . then at him . . . then spoke as a chorus. Do you know how much it would cost to knit that same surface area!?!? He was shocked that knitting was more expensive.) Here is a photo of my pattern that does this. I’m working on lots more—all to be available on Ravelry.
- Knit gifts. (I am spending much of my summer knitting a version of Pat Ashforth’s A New Angle—as an afghan/wedding present—and I’ll post a photo here when it’s done. The afghan my grandmother crocheted was and is a treasured piece: I hope to offer the same to this couple.)
- In the same vein, knit for Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)—decorations, presents, stockings, a Christmas tree skirt—and start now. (I have a favourite Christmas tree skirt and plan to make one for each of my children, but please don’t tell them. It’s in my book Warm Knits, Cool Gifts, it’s easy, and it’s gorgeous.)
- Find something in your closet you love to wear then do the work to measure it, draft the pattern, knit it (which should include lots of ripping as you do whatever it takes to get it right). This will all take time but do wonderful things for your brain and your knitting skills. (If you don’t yet feel confident to do this, my next book will guide you through the process. But don’t let fear of failure force you to wait. Go for it now!)
- If a trip to the yarn shop is not within your budget at the moment, do not stop knitting! Find something you have knit but are not wearing, for which the yarn is worth recovering, then rip it out and re-use the yarn. (Before doing so, figure out what’s wrong with the piece so you won’t repeat the mistake.) I have a pile of sweaters ready for this and am currently knitting my Cable-Edged Vest from Mother-Daughter Knits in a brown yarn I’ve ripped and recovered.
I’m sure there are other ways to make the most of your disposable income + knitting time. Anyone have further ideas?