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Monthly Archives: January 2009

In Defense of Knitting: Why Knitting Really is a Habit for the Frugal

This past New Years Eve I spent with my boyfriend at his father’s house.  It was a nice relaxed evening, complete with a fire while it snowed.  We made a big dinner, hung out with his family and then went for atv ride in the freezing cold.  In the boy’s family it is well known that I knit, and at one point during an overall pleasant evening I got into a rather heated debate with his father’s girlfriend.  

Beth was asking me about knitting and how could I make myself things, isn’t it cheaper just to buy them, how do I have time, wouldn’t my time be better spent studying, etc.  I may be in law school but its still hard to argue with someone who’s feeling the effects of multiple champagne cocktails.  This discussion bothered me.  Yes I may spend more money on yarn for a sweater than I would on a sweater that I buy at the mall, but I still consider the yarn to be a better investment.  There are a couple of reasons for this, and I just want to lay them out for all those naysayers out there.
1. Better Quality
Comparing a hand knit item to something you buy at Marshalls is like comparing apples and oranges.  They’re both knits but they are in entirely different categories.  The clothing that I buy is no where as nice as what I make.  That sweater from Ann Taylor Loft may have cost only $30 but its not 100% wool.  At best its a wool synthetic blend and it was probably made in a sweatshop in Thailand.  
The proper comparison to make would be items from upscale brands that are made of natural fibers.  A sweater from Banana Republic can easily cost $100, but I can make a very similar sweater out of wool or another natural fiber for half that. To me this is frugal because it can save money to have nice clothes that will last a long time rather than having to replace them every year.  And I know that my sweater wasn’t made by exploiting people as an added bonus. 
2.  Better Gifts
We all know someone that is really hard to shop for.  One such person would be my brother.  He has everything, and what he wants I generally cannot afford.  So to spare my wallet and still give my brother something nice I like to knit gifts for him.  Knitting gifts is time consuming and its best to make sure you’re giving to someone who will appreciate your work.  But with proper planning you can give that hard to shop for person a special gift for under $25.  For my brother I tend to go with socks, a nice skein of superwash yarn costs me $20 and my brother has warm feet for the winter.  It’s win-win. 
3. Income Potential
Most people don’t use their knitting skills to make income, but it is possible.  There are many knitter who design and sell patterns and other who sell their work on sites like etsy.  I realize that doing these things will not make me or most other knitters rich, but it could help offset the cost of yarn and needles.  And it’s good to remind those “Beths” out there that knitting is a skill that has money making potential.
4. Enjoyment
This is the most important one as far as I’m concerned.  I’ll concede that it is significantly less time consuming to buy a sweater than to make one, and maybe I would have done better in my Business Organizations class if I didn’t knit during it.  But the time commitment is really not an issue for me because I enjoy knitting.  Its relaxing and gives me something to do with my hands when I’m feeling fidgety.  I honestly do not think that I would work or study more if I gave up knitting.  No one can study all the time but at least when I’m knitting I’m being productive.  I’m making something useful rather than bumming around the Internet watching videos on youtube.  And being productive even in this small way and the enjoyment knitting brings makes it a worthwhile use of time and money.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Sock Knitting

I have a conflicted relationship with sock knitting.  Much like fellow knitting law student Emilee, I’m not really a huge fan of knitting socks.  I find them to be fiddely.  Sure its easy enough to make the cuff and then flap but then you need to remember the proper way to turn a heel and pick up stitches and then decrease those extra stitiched you just picked up.  Now I’m not saying that knitting a sweater is straight forward either but at least the needles aren’t so darn tiny and fragile.  I know I’ve bent several sets of DPNs out of shape.

But then you know wool socks and are just so nice.  They’re cozy and warm.  I have one pair of socks I made that actually fits, the others suffer from gauge issues and picking up too many stitches, and I wear those socks all the time.  I’d wear them everyday if it was socially acceptable to do such a thing.  I sincerely believe that the key to happiness in a New England winter is wool socks and a good pair of boots. 
So how do I deal with my dislike of sock knitting but love of the end product?  I knit them anyway and hope that I’ll learn to love the process.  I do think its growing on me.
But more importantly, does one sock count as an FO? 

Varied Interests

If you looked at my Google Reader you’d see that I have a wide variety of interests.  I have the usual assortment of news and cute baby animals.  It all started with knitting blogs of course.  That’s where my true love lied.  When I started law school I decided I should start following some legal news too. But then I started to add some baking and cooking blogs.  And most recently I’ve started adding some personal fianance blogs.

Finanance was never really my thing.  I was raised to live frugally thanks to my mom.  But I was a history major and minored in women’s students and was fortunate enough to have parents who paid for university.  I made sure to pay off my credit card each month because that’s what my parents always told me too, and that was the extent of my financial know how. So I didn’t really give much thought to money until recently.  The prospect of graduating law school with about $80,000 in debt made me start to think about money a bit more.  But then my boyfriend suggested that we look into buying a condo together.  And as excited as I am about this prospect it also made me realize that I needed to get my fianances together and get an idea as to what the hell is going on if we were really going to do that.  Thanks to some help from aforementioned blogs (Get Rich Slowly mostly) Im getting myself together.  I’m working towards simplifying my life by getting rid of things that I don’t need and saving up for when the boy and I are ready to get a place of our own.
So in the interest of furthering these goals I’m now going to focus on finishing up projects in progress and working on things that I already have yarn for.  I don’t have a huge statsh but I have enough to keep me busy for a while.  First project to tackle, that darn red and gray hat I was going to give to the boy’s brother for Christmas.

Belated Postings, they’re just my style

You know you can get a lot of knitting done when you knit class. I managed a project a week during November thanks to this technique and a wanning interest in federal income tax.  But thanks to my camera batteries never being charged and my own forgetfulness I have only two pictures to share and they are both of the same pattern.  The blue one was for my sister and the striped one was for the boy’s brother’s girlfriend.  But I haven’t seen her in ages and thus have been able to give it to her and it now languishes in my bedroom waiting for a better home or use.

I have to have any FOs for the new year, but I’m working on it.  I have a pair of socks in Dream in Color Smooshy Midnight Derby that will probably be the winner of that honor.  Unless I get my act together and finish the Central Park Hoodie (which I have been working on!) but that seems doubtful.