Saturday, 8 November 2008

Knitting - frugal or foolish?

Lots of people are taking up knitting and making their own clothes under the impression that it is a frugal thing to do.

However, I'm not so sure.

On a recent foray to the local knitting shop, I found all the yarns I wanted priced at £2 a ball or more. I would have needed to spend about £30 worth to knit the sweater I had a pattern for, plus spending my own time on the project (which I could employ better bidding for work as a journalist or writing an e-book).

So the return on this investment isn't that I'd get a cheap sweater. It's that I would have an interesting craft project.

On the other hand, I *could* buy some of the yarns I see in local charity shops. A big bag for a few quid.

They're all in different colours and textures, so I would probably need to put a little stash together before I could start. But if I was going to knit regularly, it would be worth it.

I'd need to have a pretty flexible attitude to what I was going to knit. Scarves and squares, yes - Kaffe Fassett style multicolour kimonos, possibly not.

Actually I have recently put together a rather nice kimono jacket - that's easy, because it's made out of knitted squares, so no increasing or decreasing to do - using grey mohair varied with colour wool stripes. The contrast between mohair and wool introduces a nice crinkle into the texture, as well as allowing me to use up different odds and ends of colour while maintaining a unified feel.

For using up smaller amounts of wool, hats and scarves are nice. But a dreadful warning; you might want to try matching gloves. Unless you're a very confident knitter, with immense reserves of patience, don't. They are wretched things to knit. I finally lost my temper, gave up, and unravelled the pair I was trying to make. They are now part of a nice long scarf.

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