I’ve been wanting to attempt knitting a sweater as my next project, I found a pattern I liked and began what is arguably the most fun or most stressful part of any project…deciding on the materials. Now usually I knit blankets which are easily the most forgiving items to knit in terms of size and amount of yarn needed – if the pattern says the blanket will be 40 inches wide when it’s completed but mine ends up being 38 or 42 inches it really doesn’t matter much except that I'll end up using a little more or a little less yarn than the pattern calls for.
Therefore rather than relying on the pattern to choose my yarn I allow my wallet to choose for me. My choice of yarn is usually carried out in the aisle of JoAnns or Micheals where I try to buy yarn that’s either on sale or that I have a 40% off coupon for. This is my usual method for picking all of my craft supplies - fabric, notions, paint canvases....everything.
This method got so much trickier though when I thought about buying yarn for the sweater. Unlike blankets. clothes have to actually fit to be useful and the last thing I want to do is knit an entire sweater only for it not to fit. Actually getting the sweater to fit means being more careful with the yarn I choose and the best place to start is with the pattern right! So I started looking at the yarns suggested by the pattern and my eyes nearly popped out of my head!
The yarn was almost $17 for 100g – I normally pay $3 for 400g! Granted this yarn is of a higher quality, it’s wool and alpaca rather than the 100% acrylic yarn I normally buy so I’m guessing it would be crazy soft and create a beautiful sweater but the pattern calls for 400g of yarn which is a whopping $68. At first I thought "no way that’s far too expensive" considering I would only get one sweater out of it but as the weeks have gone past I’ve started wondering……is it actually that crazy?
Crafting, in many forms including knitting, sewing and painting are my main hobbies at the moment. Some of the projects I work on takes weeks like sewing a quilt or knitting a blanket and others are really quick like painting mini canvases. Even though I love making all these things and I love that this is the way I choose to fill my free time, I still can't help but thinking that the money I spent on craft supplies is a very frivolous type of expenditure. Trust me I don’t need another knitted blanket so it’s not like I can justify the cost that way.
Justify the cost. That’s the key statement there. Why is it that I feel the need to justify the cost of my hobbies to myself? I tried to think about the costs associated with other hobbies – almost every single one I could think of had some pretty substantial costs associated with it; playing music has the cost of the instrument and the cost of lessons, playing sports has the equipment cost and the cost of races/lessons/games/gym fees…..I could go on. It’s very easy to accept that these hobbies incur expenses in order to pursue them and I highly doubt any runner thinks of the cost of their running shoes as “frivolous”. So maybe it’s time I stop thinking that way about my own hobbies. It doesn't seem that unreasonable to suggest that most people spent in the region of $50 a month on their hobbies....if I went to a dance class that was $15 a week it would cost me $60. Is there any reason at all that I shouldn't feel free to spent the same amount on supplies for my creative hobbies?
So I’m basically letting myself off the hook, I’m going to encourage myself to step outside of my comfort zone and to really embrace my hobbies. Commit to them and encourage myself to spend more money on the things I really enjoy doing rather than constantly questioning if I think it’s worth it. Of course it’s worth it.
I can't help but wonder though if I'm just a cheapskate? Am I the only person that balks at the idea of spending nearly $70 on yarn? What about that second quilt....that will run to the hundreds of dollars...crazy or not?