My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Questions! And Answers!

There were a lot of questions in the comments to yesterday’s post. so I will attempt to answer some of them today.

PICAdrienne asked, about the color of the yarn I am using:

On my monitor the color in some pictures is turquoise, and in others more of a teal. Which do you think is a better description of the color?

I’d say it is more of a turquoise. Getting good pictures is difficult these days because it is often dark when I get home (like it was yesterday due to rain and today due to clouds and gloom) so I sometimes have to take flash photos.

Penny asked:

I’m wondering what factors come into consideration in converting the pattern from circular to flat?

I’m thinking this sweater would be pretty easy to convert from circular into flat. You can just divide the total stitches by half for the bottom portion. Because you divide and knit separately once you get to the armholes, that part is a snap.

Re asked:

Is there a benefit to steam blocking as opposed to wet blocking?

Well, for one thing, it’s a lot faster and easier. Also, when you want to block just one part of the garment, steam blocking is very useful! I tend to do minimal blocking on my sweaters, so I usually just go over the pieces lightly with the steam iron.

Penny T commented:

Could you please identify those stitch holders and where they came from? They look much more elegant than the yarn scraps I use!

Those are double-ended stitch holders made by Clover, and very handy they are too!

annh asked:

What are your thoughts on Rowan Wool/Cotton? I used it once for a cursed sweater (another story for another time); liked knitting with it but it seemed to stretch.

I have knit with it once and liked it very much. There was stretching for me while I was knitting with it. I have yet to wear the sweater knit from it, so can’t comment on stretching there. I think I have another sweater’s worth in the stash. πŸ™‚

Daniele commented (on my thoughts about making another sweater based on this design):

Will you use a different lace pattern for that one?

Absolutely! While I like the lace pattern for this sweater very much, I would use something completely different for another sweater so it wouldn’t look too much like this one. I’ve got some ideas swimming around in my head . . .

Several of you asked me to expound on how I translated the “stair step” decreases on the shoulder into short rows. Here’s what I did:

What the pattern said (more or less):

(Over a total of 17 stitches) at the armhole edge, bind off 9 stitches once, then 8 stitches once.

What I did:

Starting at the armhole edge, knit across all 17 stitches. Turn your work. Purl 8 stitches, and wrap the next stitch. Turn, and slip the wrapped stitch unworked back to the right needle, knit across the remaining 8 stitches.

Purl one more row all the way across, picking up each wrap and purling it together with the stitch it wrapped. This step is even more important if you have a shoulder that has several “steps” — it creates the nice smooth slanted line you want before you do your bind-off.

Then I work the 3-needle bind-off.

There you go.

Here’s some food for thought:

Michele commented:

It’s not my intention to insult or criticize. Your sweater, like everything else you make, is a work of art….but….do you ever think β€œthis cotton sweater cost $X? So I better wear it every day for the rest of my life, and then get buried in it, to get my money’s worth?”

Okay, I found this to be a thought-provoking comment. I don’t think in those terms, because I think of knitting as an entertainment. Most of the time, I make a knitted garment for the joy of knitting, not for the resulting finished product. I don’t take expensive vacations or spend much money on other hobbies, so a good portion of my entertainment budget goes towards knitting.

What do you all think? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic.

And one last thing . . .

Renee sent me an email recently, explaining that she is an undergraduate student, conducting a Sociology survey. Her research is about life course events and the impact they have on the ways knitters feel about their knitting and leisure time.

She is looking for knitters to take her survey. Here’s the link.

The estimated completion time is 20 minutes, but I took it in less than that. If you have a few minutes, please help Renee out. Thank you!

Lucy sez:

“Not only has Momma not turned on the heat, but she has the windows open. For Pete’s sake!”


  1. I always look at the finished garment as a extra. I look at it as entertainment. Where else can you spend 30 dollars for an activity that will give you entertainment for 18 + hours, and leaves you with a pair of socks when done?

  2. When I was buying sock yarn once, I laughed and said to the shop owner, “I wouldn’t spend that much for socks!” She said, “You’re not buying socks; you’re buying the hobby.” Within reason, I think this is true. I don’t spend more than I can afford, but when I put the socks on, I’m thinking, “I made these!” not “These socks cost 20 bucks!”

    ccr in MAs last blog post..Looking at an Autumn Tree

  3. I would definitely spend $20 on good quality sock yarn because I know that in the end, it’s worth it! And the added thrill is that I get to say that I made them myself.

    Jen Ms last blog post..Skunk Woman Spotted in Home Depot, News at 5:00.

  4. I too think of yarn as my entertainment budget. I also feel that if you value your time, you should work with high quality materials that will wear well and last, and look beautiful. (good sock yarn lasts for ages- my husband has socks made by me that have lasted well over 5 years- you certainly can’t say that for store bought socks!) You certainly don’t ‘save’ money on finished products by knitting! I knit for pleasure, and to give part of myself to family and friends.

  5. It’s much easier for me to find patterns I want to knit in yarn I want to knit with than it is for me to find ready-made items. I almost never find anything I want or that looks good on me in the clothing department. The opposite is true in the possibilities of a yarn store.

    Nancys last blog post..Preparing for the seasonal changes

  6. I made a Lizard Ridge afghan last year and one day I was in the store showing some of the squares to the shop owner. A novice knitter that I’ve taught in some of my classes was there and asked how much the blanket cost to make. I told her I had no idea. She looked at me like I was nuts.

    I told her that when I go to the movies I’m in the building for about three hours to watch a movie that is frequently forgettable and eat popcorn that my waistline doesn’t need. It costs me about $20 and I leave with nothing, really. Two balls of Noro Kureyon cost about the same and will make two squares of my lizard ridge. I talk to my husband while I knit, the knitting takes about six gloriously relaxing hours and I have a BLANKET at the end of it all. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    I’ve seen that student of mine in the shop almost weekly since then and she can rack up quite the bill. Heh…corrupted another one.

    Seriously though, in terms of time and product, I think knitting is a value hobby compared to some others.

    Renees last blog post..Random Entertainment From the Lily Pad

  7. The cost of knitting and entertainment value is usually in the forefront of my mind when I buy yarn. Yes, I do enjoy the feel of lovely soft yarn running through my fingers, but my budget just doesn’t have room for a lot of high-quality brand-name yarn that I see a lot of people knit with. Even if a $20 skein of yarn will give me 20 hours of entertainment, it’s still $20 that I have to shell out for all at once, and just for 1 skein. I’m definitely a process knitter more than a progress knitter, and I completely understand the attitude, but knitting can still be an expensive hobby even if it’s cost-effective in terms of how much money you spend on the hours of entertainment you get.

    Which is mostly why I buy my yarn from thrift stores, either in mixed bags if I find something good in them, or in sweaters with good fibre content, so that I can frog them and reuse the yarn. I wouldn’t have been able to knit with cashmere without doing that, nor would I have access to nearly as much natural fibre as I do at the moment, with the possible exception of dishcloth cotton. I’ve found a way to balance cost and value so that it fits into my small budget and still pleases me, and I’m quite happy going it that way. πŸ™‚

    Also, as a process knitter, I can’t think of many other ways that I could get enough yarn to make 3-4 lace scarves by only paying $5. This, however, has led to a large amount of nice FOs that are just lying around the house and not being used, since I enjoyed knitting them but don’t have an immediate use for them. I ought to start gifting my FOs more often…

    Rias last blog post..Newness in a time of fading.

  8. Wendy.. on that last comment I agree 110% with you. It’s all about perspective. My parents go to Starbucks on avg 3 times a day 7 days a week… and both get venti specialty drinks. It comes out to more than $500 a month spent on java. I asked my dad recently is it worth it and he said the same thing. He said we don’t go out to eat… we don’t splurge on anything but our coffee time together which makes it worth it. A hobby becomes a burden when we think too much about it and forget the reason we came to love the idea of “doing” to begin with! Enjoy!!

  9. Since you are in question answering mode, I was wondering how you will knit and sew in the sleeves. Will there be short row shaping on the sleeve caps? Will you backstitch the sleeves into the armholes? I looked at the photo in the magazine and cannot determine what they did.
    And for Lucy, “When will you turn on the heat, Mom?”

    Roseanns last blog post..Colin’s Sweater Completed

  10. Of course nice yarn is part of the entertainment budget. An afternoon movie with snacks is close to $20.00. Some movies are just not that good and forgotten in a day or so. For $30.00 worth of lace-weight yarn I can get several weeks of evening entertainment (I’m slow) and a beautiful shawl to enjoy for years. Last year my family enjoyed new scarves made with expensive yarn. I enjoyed planning the color, pattern and fiber for each person, and they all loved their new scarves.

  11. Ditto. I see yarn not in terms of how much per ounce or how much per yard, but in terms of how much entertainment I will get from it. I would probably never spend $36 for a pair of socks, but some luxury sock yarn? Hell yeah! I estimate it takes me 6-9 hours per sock, so it is costing me $2 or $3 per hour to entertain myself. Quite a bargain compared to the movies, or a pro sports game (hockey, baseball etc) which is done in 3 hours or less. I don’t take lavish vacations or have any expensive vices so as long as I have the money in the bank to buy the yarn, I’m fine with it.

    karen ws last blog post..Random Friday

  12. I so totally agree with the entertainment factor about yarn. I love nice yarn. Like you I do not take expensive vacations and never go to the movies. (Most are forgetable)Beautiful yarn gives me great pleasure and I would not knit with anything less, if I am going to put all the time into it.

  13. I live around the corner from an amazing yarn store and spend much too much time online, both of which have contributed to my probably having more yarn in my stash than I will ever knit.

    As to factoring the cost of something — I do more for large projects than for small ones. $20 or $30 for sock yarn might buy me 4 pairs of socks that I really like, but those 4 pairs of socks won’t make my commute go by more quickly and give me a way to sort of meditate and tune out the loud and obnoxious conversations I sometimes hear. The one pair of socks I get out of my skein of sock yarn will.

    Large projects are a different story. As much as I’d like to knit sweaters, they take ages upon ages and I’m not a terribly patient person… so I’m much more likely to say “Can I really justify spending $80-$100 on a project that may end up in hibernation for a long time and will, at best, take me 2-3 months to complete”? The reality is that I’m likely to buy $80-$100 worth of sweaters in the time it takes to make one which makes it a lot harder to justify the yarn cost.

    Lizs last blog post..In which I realize that newborns have astonishingly tiny heads

  14. For me the purchase of yarn is also entertainment. When I decide to make something (knitting, crochet, cross stitch, needlepoint, whatever) I’m buying the yarn, kit, etc because the concept of the finished project brings me joy – and the fact that I made it, well, that’s gravy !!

    Lucy, maybe you’d like to spend some time w/me here in SoCal. It’s kissing 90 degrees and I’m sure my kitties are positioned under the ceiling fans!! And, just so you know, I rarely turn the heat on in my house. Usually I use my cats as “extra” leg warmers! πŸ™‚ Sooooo, wanna visit? Lemme know! luv.m.

  15. I also figure my knitting and spinning as entertainment – the fact that it also brings in a small amount of money, gives me useful garments and provides presents for special people is kind of an added bonus.

  16. I agree! Camping/hiking/backpacking and knitting are the bulk of my entertainment budget. I do have to watch the wallet, and have become pickier about projects and yarn purchases and have fewer regrets. Plus I think I spend less on knitting stuff of all types than one can spend on other hobbies/entertainment- tying flies, fishing, trap shooting, bicycling, cable tv. I can knit while camping and while watching movies or listening to books on tape and get something out of it for me or someone else.

    Only a few more days till it’s my “turn on the heat day” (Nov. 1). The weather has been cooperative. Hang in there Lucy!

  17. Yup – count me in as another who views the expense as “entertainment.” Someone questioned the cost of yarn for a pair of socks and then I started to break it down….$20 for yarn for socks. Say you go to the movies on a Saturday: $7-10. Add popcorn and a drink $5-10. Total cost: $12-$20. Total time entertained: about 2 hours. Cost per hour: $10 For me? It takes about 2 weeks to leisurely knit a pair of patterned socks in my spare time evenings and during a weekend. At a total of about 12-20 hours (I am admittedly not the speediest knitter) cost per hour: $1.00-$1.66. Sounds like a bargain to me! πŸ™‚

  18. This post made me think (duh!) I can’t say my yarn purchases are entertainment but they are necessary to my well-being. I rarely go to the movies and seldom do the weekend dinners and drinks thing so yarn (and dog toys/treats – sorry Lucy!) is what my discretionary income gets spent on. I enjoy the process of knitting: picking out the yarn, pattern and watching the pieces come together. Right now I’m an obsessed sock knitter and I can truthfully say that the cost of so much enjoyment isn’t something I dwell on when I hand a friend a pair of socks “just because”.

  19. It took me a few years of knitting (on this go-round) to really wrap my brain around the prices. It’s not just that it’s entertainment (though it certainly is). My hand-knit items last a lot longer than their purchased counterparts. In 5 years of knitting socks, I’ve had one pair wear through, so it had to be discarded (repurposed for dusting, actually), whereas purchased crew socks never lasted as long. The only store-bought sweater I have that’s really stood up is a 25-year old Benetton sweater (that should date it!) that was probably fairly expensive in its time (it was a gift).

    Of course, I’ve just caught the spinning bug, and I find myself looking at batts and braids and thinking that, gosh, I could buy the yarn for less money. It’s only a matter of time…and increased proficiency.

    aliceqs last blog post..I hope it gets better

  20. The value of a hand made item is not in the cost of supplies, the value is in my heart and soul.

    Lenoras last blog post..Homework Time

  21. I always think of the money I spend on any of the crafts I do as entertainment money. I’d rather be in my house doing crafts than going just about anyplace after working all week, so for me the amount of money I spent on a particular project has nothing to do with the end result – it’s all about having fun.

  22. If I thought about the cost of yarn for a project, it would only be for a flash. I enjoy knitting. I know that I could go out and buy a pair of socks or a sweater for less than it cost me to make, but I enjoy the knitting process and the relaxation so much that I don’t even think twice about what it costs—unless it is really astronomical! πŸ˜‰
    I broke down this morning and turned the heat on in one end of the house as I looked out on the deck and it was covered with snow. See, I don’t mind spending $$ on yarn but it makes me so angry when the oil truck comes to my house and leaves a $3,000 bill for one fill-up. πŸ™

    Elizabeths last blog post..It Fits……..

  23. Honestly? I think how you spend you hard earned money is nobody else’s business (except perhaps your spouse), just as how they spend their hard earned money isn’t any of your business.

    knitographys last blog post..Birds!

  24. hmmmm…. food for thought. I would say this. Even thought I knit with cotton, I don’t put it in the same category as say a T-shirt, but in the “I can actually wear this” category. Right now, like yourself, wool would be a waste of money, and wool is just as expensive if not more so than cotton. So the question is not how much I spend buying supplies, but whether in the end I will actually wear it. Also, almost as important to me,if not more so, is the entertainment factor of the project. I’ve bought cheap-o acrylic and LOVED working with it, and loved the finished project, and by the same token I’ve bought expensive yarn and hated what I ended up with. (of course that is a discussion for another time). right now I’m finally in a place in my life where I have time AND disposable income, so when it comes to my spinning and knitting I pretty much indulge myself (as long as the bills are paid, which they are, and I still have a job,which I do). Besides, like you, knitting and spinning is my entertainment.

  25. Ack! The cost question!

    Let’s face it – if I can’t spend $100 on a sweater at the Gap, what makes me think I should be able to spend that much on one to knit? That being said, there is nothing that says I can’t save up enough to purchase the yarn over a period of time. Unlike the sweater at the Gap, yarn isn’t going away next season, and neither is the pattern! I also think that there are smart ways to substitute yarn so that the end result is not as costly, and you can also find a lot of bargains out there on the internet! Some times patience is a good thing – it’s always better when you have to wait to have something!

    Putting money into your hobby is like putting money into your own happiness!

    Megan S.s last blog post..Can You Follow The Fiber Buying Rules?

  26. I would put knitting into both the entertainment category, as well as the ‘wellness’ category. If I’ve not had as much knitting time as usual, I can feel all my muscles getting kinked up from tension and start getting that feel, you know, that non-specific dread. Such times call for intensive treatment, commonly a few hours at the spinning wheel. Ahhh, that’s the ticket.

    Now, if only I could get that covered under my health plan. πŸ˜‰

    Kristis last blog post..Spooky Socks!

  27. The question reminds me of that question we all get when we’re knitting socks in public…….”Did you know you can just buy those for about 4 bucks?”………umm. Not really the point, right?

  28. The cost of yarn is under entertainment for me. And if I end up giving away what I knit, then someone got a nice gift instead of a store-bought one. Knitting is about the process for me, not the finished object (which so far has always been socks).

    Marions last blog post..Frog pond

  29. I don’t think in terms of cost either because I factor in entertainment value. A friend who’s an alcoholic once laughed about how many socks I knitted and why did I need so many…he could buy them for 50 cents a pair at the dollar store. I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking how much he spent on beer a week. I do try to pick easy care yarns so that I can enjoy wearing without concern for cleaning.

  30. Any time anyone asks me why I am buying more yarn, I tell them “I’ts my hobby, I don’t smoke, drink, buy a ton of clothes, etc.” I do have quite a large stash and tend to use some of it and then add to it. Sometimes, you just need to add to it. I did this weekend, I had 3 buttons I purchased at a LYS, finally found 2 patterns to use them on and then went out and bought yarn to match them. I will now eventually (after finishing some gift knitting) start 2 sweaters for myself and since I love the buttons, they will get finished.

    Suzannes last blog post..Ene’s Shawl

  31. I do definitely have lines I draw at how much I will spend on different yarn/projects–and in that respect, websites like Knitpicks have really been such a break for me. The money I will spend on sock yarn has definitely expanded over time, but it is nice to be able to make a pair of socks for under $10! I am just not in a place in my life where I can ignore the cost factor, but I have definitely made peace with the fact that knitting is NOT about saving money, and anyone who thinks it might be hasn’t done their research.
    This connects to why I won’t let people pay me for knitting things, or sell things I have knit. I just feel like–my knitting is to keep me sane, and to give me something I enjoy doing just for the sake of doing, and I don’t want to mix that up with thinking about saving or making money. I have no problem with other people doing this–I love indie yarn and crafts and living off of your creativity and what makes you happy. But for me, I just don’t want to think of knitting as a business or a money saver, because I think I would begin to see it as an obligation, and it would stop keeping me sane and become something else I have to do.

  32. I have been doing some type of needlework my entire life…whether it was cross stitch, quilting, heirloom sewing, smocking or knitting. Those skills help to make me who I am and I have never made anything (except the occasional Halloween outfit or a prom dress for a daughter) that I needed. It is all for the joy of it. I purchased the best materials I could afford at the time. I hope I can continue to do just that!

  33. “I can make that sweater for three times the price!” is one of my usual quips. No savings there. But I like to knit, and I can make my sweaters fit me, which is so much better than spending money on clothes that are all too long for this shortie. And, as most others here said, it’s entertainment!

    pdxknitteratis last blog post..I can stop at any time…

  34. For AnnH, about the Rowan Wool Cotton. At a yarn shop I used to work at, we had a few sample sweaters made from this yarn. They would spend most of the year either on hangers or on a dress form. They all looked wonderful, and not saggy baggy. If you’re worried about garments getting stretched out and saggy, avoid synthetic (maybe all man-made) fibers. The wool and microfiber blends feel so soft, yes, but they grow and grow.

    As far as the cost of knitting? I do spend a little more on it than I ought, perhaps. But I am making garments that could conceivably last my lifetime! You CAN buy garments like that in the store, but those garments cost more to buy than the raw materials for a handknit sweater. (Note: I’m not talking about the cheap sweaters you find at Old Navy or Gap. I’m talking about the handknit sweaters that are often considered couture.)

    Meh. I spend a lot of money on video games, books, and movies, too. I’m worth it. πŸ™‚

  35. i do think about the total cost of a sweater before i begin a project, but that doesn’t mean i always want to go cheap in order to save money. i do enjoy expensive vacations from time to time, so yarn is not always a priority for me (i know. GASP!), but i won’t scrimp if it means i won’t be happy with the finished product. i certainly won’t spend a lot of money if i don’t feel the yarn is worth the cost, but in general, i try to stay under $100, regardless of the project at hand. socks, obviously, are different. i’d like these to stay under $25.

  36. As most people are going to say (I think), I look on the cost of the project as the cost of entertaining myself. I don’t go to the movies, buy books (I use the library), or eat out much (I like to cook), so knitting is really my entertainment. Also, I buy/make clothes to last. I like quality, not quantity. I know a lot of people would be shocked by what I spend on clothes, but I figure that I’m going to get a lot of wear out of them because they’re well-made, and I try to buy classic items so they never go out of style. My grandmother, who was the epitome of good taste, taught me this, and I have to say I think she was absolutely right.

    Beckis last blog post..distraction

  37. I love that Lucy says FPS. πŸ™‚

    Sheri at The Loopys last blog post..Romi in The Loopy Limelight

  38. Knitting as entertainment, in lieu of travel, movies, etc., also describes my situation. Sometimes it’s therapy (retail therapy?) too.

  39. If yout think about it, $20 spent on sock yarn covers a whole evening out–meal, movie, gas, and coffe (for one). If I spend that on yarn, I get way more hours of entertainment value that I can combine with other enjoyable things thus getting even more bang for my buck. After I get my money back in entertainment hours, I still have the finished product to both enjoy for its beauty, the fact that I made it, and the practicality of it. I am a process knitting who would find it hard to live without the feel of wool and needles in my hands. Yarn money is money well spent! What people have to consider is that sweater is not just the yarn money, but the time making and wearing it.

  40. I can remember a fleeting thought about the cost of yarn to knit a pair of socks compared to the cost of a store bought pair, and I quickly decided that it was no contest, that the cost was so totally worth it. Knitting is one of the 3 activities in my life that I can’t imagine being without, the other 2 being gardening and sometmes cooking. All three make me feel connected to the generations that came before me, they make me feel grounded, productive, and they give me a sense of satisfaction that I find I really need on some deep rooted level.

  41. I like to knit. I enjoy the process of knitting. For me, it’s the process and not the end result. So I don’t often think about how much I’m spending on the yarn to get what I want. Like I knit that Noro striped scarf. My coworkers commented that it would make a lovely gift for our exchange, which has a $10 limit. I had to think about it but then realized that, no, the two skeins I used cost significantly more than $10. but I had fun making it!!! Now I just have to find someone to wear it. (I’m thinking in this case it might go to the Orphan Red Scarf Project.

    The same goes for cross-stitching. I have a TON of charts. a TON. Way more than I’ll ever be able to stitch (I’ve reached SABLE at age 31!) but I enjoy having them. I like to look at them, imagine how I’d stitch them, and so on. Clearly, this is money that could be “better” spent, but it makes me happy to have them. Like the process of knitting makes me happy. Thus, it’s worth the money, even though you can buy the hat at H&M for $5 when I knit a similar model out of a $9 skein of yarn!

  42. i mostly knit gifts so every dollar i spend on knitting is divided up over the areas of “entertainment”, “gift/sentiment”, and “final object”. i also value the relationships knitting has enabled me to have with a pretty great group of people. i think it is a good value from that perspective.

    kittythings last blog grandmother can have peace

  43. I am definitely with you Wendy. I knit for the joy of it. Look at the price of clothing and knitted items are a much better bargain anyway. Besides how many things bring you happiness in the process as well as the finished item. I give a lot away to have room for my next “knitting holiday and entertainment” right here at home.

  44. I do look at the total cost of a garment when purchasing the yarn but not necessarily with relation to a store bought garment. It’s pretty hard to compete with rock bottom prices and garment manufacturing.

    I try to keep sweater purchases in the $50 – $6o range. I figure if I were to have something tailored for me it would cost that much if not more with labour. I think I just have trouble spending over $100 on anything so as long as I can keep it so that it doesn’t *seem* so expensive I will be doing alright.

    LittleWits last blog post..Chowdah!

  45. Money spent for yarn, fiber, needles and related equipment is money spent to ensure relaxation , entertainment and comfort. A well filled and stored stash is like money in the sanity bank!

  46. I’m seriously torn answering this question. I spend a lot (ok, almost all) of my monthly discretionary money on knitting and/or needlework related purchases. I love working with lovely materials, and I love knowing that if I want to make a haat (scarf/pair of mittens/sweater/etc) at 6am because I can’t sleep there is sufficient appropriate yarn in my stash.

    At the same time, I am very conscious of the fact that I share a very small inner city apartment with my husband, his hobbies and all of our books and other stuff. There simply isn’t room for us to keep clothing we don’t wear, books we don’t read or dishes we never use. So if I’m going to invest space into a large volume of stash, say a sweater’s-worth, I need to be certain that I’ll knit the sweater AND that I’ll wear it once it’s done. Spending months of my life storing a huge bag of yarn, then months knitting it only to have it spend its entire life taking up shelf space? Not happening. I could buy that much sock yarn, knit it up and wear the socks until they fall apart instead. Much more sensible.

    Gennys last blog post..I step away for 5 minutes to live my life…

  47. Wow, that question does give pause. Fiber is fun! Yet, there is a degree of thought and work that goes into it, so if I am going to knit something I have no problem dropping some coin for quality. Since I never knit something just to knit, I will wear the piece. And if it is a gift, I knit it for them, for their tastes and use and I hope they will enjoy it.

    I am a very quiet person, so I would rather stay at home, have a good meal, a nice wine and knit something lovely. Quality + unique + pride = priceless. So I really don’t give a flip if the yarn cost $200 (or $20) for a sweater, that may be worn or not, it is the entire package, so to speak, that is priceless. I will not live my life asking how much something costs, when it gives such pleasure to me and to others. Seems like a miserable way to live.

  48. Liz in IN says:

    Years ago, I figured out that much of the price of famous-name-brand yarn was just that: the NAME. Soon after, I got over the so-NOT-empowering mindset that “I must do exactly as I’m told or it ‘won’t work'”. Imagine my surprise (okay, not really) to discover that very nice sweaters can be created, offering hours of relaxing knitting pleasure, for far less than $100!

    I basically NEVER use the yarn “recommended” in the pattern. Armed with the understanding that there’s as much quid pro quo in the knitting industry as anywhere else, and that money has been changing hands all along the food chain to become the final pattern in my hands, I check the “recommended” yarn’s qualities, then do a bit of research.

    Plenty of perfectly lovely (I don’t mean use crap) and yet reasonably-priced yarn out there.

    Oh, and these “forever” sweaters? Yeah. See me again after they’ve been worn for about six months and are pilling like mad. Just sayin’. They’ll only last forever if we never wear them!

  49. If I didn’t think of yarn as entertainment, I wouldn’t be knitting. I buy nearly all my clothes at thrift stores, so spending $20 for a pair of socks just doesn’t compute. But spending money on yarn so that I have all that fun knitting it up and have something beautiful at the end is totally worth it. I don’t go to movies or have other expensive hobbies either, so this is where I spend money.

  50. Lucy, come to my house. The heat is on! Andrew & Beau would love to have you join them to play.

    miss sandras last blog post..Fourth Weekend in October

  51. I’m SUCH a process knitter – and have limited shame about my huge number of WIPs/UFOs – that by the time I’ve finished something, I usually can’t remember what I paid for the yarn. Although… it always seems like a MasterCard commercial to me when I think about cost v. actual finished product.
    Circular knitting needles: $13 at local yarn shop.
    Cashmere yarn: $80 at local yarn shop.
    Knitting the perfect hat for someone you love: priceless.

    CraftyGryphons last blog post..When the Wintergreen Wasn’t.

  52. Regarding the price of yarn, at my LYS, I priced the cost of the Rowan yarn to make the Daily Sweater. To make my size it came to $100.00 + dollars, talk about sticker shock. I’m looking for a subsitute yarn that won’t break the bank for me. Any suggestions?

  53. My income is so limited (@$500/month) that using wool yarns for a sweater is beyond my capabilities. Even enough acrylic for a 3X is an investment I sometimes just don’t have. So, cost does factor in. I knit for therapy as well as content and process. But again, cost makes all the difference in the world.

    LizzieK8s last blog post..More Waffles!

  54. I agree with you – knitting is not just my hobby, it’s my entertainment. When you factor out the cost, it’s very reasonable. I think before I buy in terms of cost, but if I really want something, I’m going to enjoy it while I knit and when I wear. How many people can say this about their hobbies?

  55. I definitely consider my knitting as an entertainment budget. For me this started with cross-stitch. My average cross-stitch project cost me about $160 including framing, but took well more than a 100 hours to complete. I figured as long as it was cheaper than watching movies in the theater (like a lot of my friends do) that I was coming out ahead. The same holds true for my knitting, except I also get to wear the piece when I’m done!

    Seanna Leas last blog, two, three

  56. Knitting is definitely the bulk of my “entertainment” budget. In fact, I always feel a little bit guilty giving people handknit gifts, since I usually decided to make the item for my own enjoyment first, then decide to give it away!

    jannas last blog post..Back Home

  57. Your mama must be like me. Not only am I still opening the windows (in 40 degree weather) I’m wearing shorts in the house.

    I only feel guilty about yarn if I let it marinate too long……

    Cindy in Happy Valleys last blog post..Blog blah…..

  58. Like Wendy, knitting is my relaxation and my entertainment. I would rather stay home and knit than go out. I don’t go on vacations either. All my entertainment and travel budget is spent on knitting. And this way I seem to get more to spend since it is spread over the year.

  59. I don’t spend more than I can afford. I have no debt. No credit card debt. No loans of any kind. We don’t even have a mortgage on our house, as we were able to pay cash for this house after selling our old place.

    Knitting and quilting are my hobbies. Do I have thousands of dollars of raw materials for both of those hobbies in my house? You bet. Do I regret any of the purchases I’ve made or think about the cost of the yarn I’ve bought for XX sweater or XX socks once I cast on? Absolutely not. These are the hobbies that keep me sane to deal with the rest of my life — you know, the things that I do to pay those bills πŸ™‚

    DPUTigers last blog post..WiP Wednesday: ::Yawn!:: edition

  60. I also look at knitting as entertainment. More importantly for me, I also see knitting as continuing education. There is always some new technique to learn, a style that has yet to be conquered. It’s a great way to keep your brain active!

  61. I have been in a fit of obsession about this sweater ever since seeing your version of it, and I knew right away that I had to knit it, went to 5 stores to find the Holiday issue! The yarn used in the magazine does not suit me, too fancy, so I checked out the All Seasons Cotton–of course, any color that was on sale was ugly, and the colors I like are going to run me approx $120. I give a bit of thought to cost, but overall find that it’s well worth it to spend the money for fabulous yarn–the resulting garments are much more likely to be worn and enjoyed. I’m a slow knitter so I get many, many hours of entertainment out of one project. I also quilt and spare no expense on fabric, either–my time is worth it.

  62. First, thanks for explaining the short row shoulder conversion. Very helpful!

    Second, sock yarn is much less expensive when you consider that my first pair wore out after seven year’s wear. That puts socks into the depreciation of equipment schedule! VBG!

    Barbara-Kays last blog post..Voter turnout

  63. Knitting is my passion! It is also 99.9% of my entertainment / gift budgets. I enjoy the process and don’t want to diminish it by using inferior fibers; and I certainly want to be proud of any gift I make. Knitted items are the ONLY gifts I give, because, in the long run, factoring in the entertainment / sanity value, they are what I can afford. And I am giving a part of *me*. I am on a limited, fixed income, but will compromise in other areas in order to use the materials that best suit the project. I could go on and on, but for your purposes: just put me in the “entertainment” column. And I love Lucy.

  64. I did the survey, and it was kind of neat. Thanks for directing me to that Wendy.

    And – thanks for answering my question about the lace pattern. Now I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the lavender version!

    As for the cost of knitting and all that comes with it, I feel that I purposely will spend less or go without certain things so I have more money to spend on my hobby. I would think that we all pretty much have an amount of money that we can comfortably spend on all of our needs and that we try not to go over that amount.

    The funny thing about me (and maybe a lot of other people) is I would probably pay $175 for fiber to make a beautiful colorwork sweater, but I would gasp in horror at paying that much for one already made in the store! What’s the fun in that? πŸ™‚ It’s the fiber we are buying, not clothing…..

    Hi Lucy! πŸ™‚

    Danieles last blog post..Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag…….

  65. Although I like a bargain as much as the next person, when it comes to selecting yarn I generally get the best I can afford (so far qivuit is beyond my budget). It is such a joy to work with beautiful yarn, and often such a chore to made do with a cheaper substitute. I still find relatively inexpensive yarns, such as Lambs’ Pride, very nice for some projects–so it isn’t often a matter of $ but matching the “perfect” yarn to the project.

    marjories last blog post..As Time Went By

  66. I don’t smoke, drink, gamble or play golf. If I did any of those things I would spend a heck of a lot more thatn I do on yarn nd I would have nothing to show for it. While I do look at and consider the price on yarn, I do not have any buffalo or musk oxen yarn, an do occasionally not make a purchace based on price, I still think that the money spent is well spent. I look at it like my husband used to tell our kids when they objected to cutting wood, it heats you 3 times, once when you cut it, once when you stack it and gain when you burn it. My yarn gives me pleasure when I shop for it, again when I make it into something lovely and then again when the recipient is pleasd with the project and uses it AND, asks for more. Gotta love the whole thing. I guess, to be much more specific, I think the dollars I spend on yarn are well spent, and I do not regret them in any way. At least I have something to show for it, unlike gas or groceries. N

  67. The money isn’t the issue for me — like many here, I’ve done the math and figured out that knitting costs me just pennies per hour. (It maybe helps that I keep knitting sweaters on size 4s and doing all my own math).

    I do feel guilty sometimes when I think of all the time that went into making myself a sweater. Some of that time would have been spoken for anyway, but not all of it, and I’m aware that it could go toward much more productive pursuits. I’d be a better programmer now if I spent that time studying and hacking. πŸ™ I knit anyway.

    Rachels last blog post..Touched by a Harlot!

  68. I totally agree with Jenny. (comment #31) I sew and knit gifts because I like and want to and when someone asks if I will make something for them and they will “pay” me, I just can’t do it. I don’t want my creativity to become an obligation – then it’s no longer fun.

  69. I have thought about the cost of my hobbie occationally and it really makes me feel embarrased. One time I did an inventory of my stash and put it in a spreadsheet to get the cost of the whole thing. It was almost $3,000 retail price. It is my top secret! so please don’t tell anyone… specially my husband who will probably divorce me if he finds out… LOL

    Marlenes last blog post..My 3 kids! / Mis 3 hijos

  70. I understand the relationship between hobby/entertainment and dollars, and the argument that I’m not paying $22 for a pair of socks but for XX hours of the pleasure of the knitting. Recently, an online yarn store has a KAL for a sweater in DIC yarn. My cost would have been well over $120. True, a lot of entertaining time in the making of that project, BUT for many folks, a choice has to be made before that purchase – where’s the money gonna come from? Grocery money? While some may not batt their eyelash yarn over that amount, for others, that’s a deal-breaker. I did not participate in that KAL.

    Petunias last blog post..Need to correct mis-information

  71. Ditto on enjoyment and cost per hour, with the added satisfaction of knowing that my production of socks does not entail someone else being paid far less than they deserve, the producer keeping costs down by dumping waste in the earth’s air and water, and the support of a huge store style which is wiping away small communities. I love extras like that!

  72. There is a difference between a well-made, well-finished handmade sweater and one made by machine in some third world sweatshop and sold cheaply in North America. For a start, I’m doing the labour myself instead of exploiting someone else’s. Also, the product is just a whole lot better. The sweater is actually made either seamlessly or piece by piece, not cut from a big sheet of knitted fabric with ribbing sewn on afterwards. It can be made to fit the wearer perfectly. It may be unique. It may be made entirely of natural fibres. It might have exactly your favourite colours in it. It’s just a better product!

    I would spend more on a handknit sweater for the same reason I’d spend more on ingredients for a really good turkey dinner that I cook at home, than on a cheeseburger from MacDonald’s – it is worth it!

    Yes, it also is a form of entertainment, evidently. That is why they can get away with charging so much for yarn! But for me, that is just a bonus.

  73. PICAdrienne says:

    Do I think about the cost of the knitting? Well, it depends, I don’t think twice about a classically styled alpaca sweater for me. I will not spend the money for silk for my 16 year old, I will find a washable substitute, and due to cost, linen is not a good option. For a gift, I do not generally think of the cost, unless, it is for one of my kids friends, then I make sure the yarn does not go over the gift budget amount, but my time, since it is entertainment for me until gifted, is not included in the cost of the knitting. If I were knitting for profit, then I would value my time. Cost for gift knitting can also be really inexpensive, I have no problem giving my DINK (dual income no kids) nieces and nephew kitchen collections for Christmas. Christmas collections are going to be warshrags, knit string bags, pot holders, all color coordinated, for their kitchens. I am going to use good ol’ Peaches and Cream, not a lot for gifts, but they will be nice and work with their homes. I don’t shrink from giving an inexpensive gift, just because I can buy a ball of the yarn for $1.47, rather than $14.70, or $40.71.