Posted in Knitting
November 30, 2008

Set irritation phaser to: “stun”

I don’t know quite what it was about this article that irritated me and compelled me to respond, but I think it boils down to the devaluation of materials used for what is still, more or less, considered a hobby for women. No one writes articles about the high costs of golf clubs or sports cars or 100-year-old scotch or cigars, you know? On one hand, I’m happy to see Lorna’s get the publicity while on the other it rankles to have the cost of knitting equipment pointed out. Let’s put it this way — if the finished item (a sweater, a coat, etc) was in Nordstrom’s and cost $400, no one would blink an eye.

That said, my $30 (Beaverslide yarn bought on sale) NaKniSweMo sweater is done and drying on the dressform — photo to come later!

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  • Mary

    LOL…Well, it’s certainly cheaper than therapy, and cheaper than being on antidepressants!!! A really good spinning wheel is still cheaper than a TOL embroidery/sewing machine combo. Given all it’s therapeutic benefits…$40 for a skein of yarn is a bargain!!!

    Reply to Mary
  • SRW

    I caught that sneaky declaration of NaKniSweMo victory! *Rousing cheer for Shannon!*

  • SewIknit2

    I agree! and WHOSE business is it anyway if SOME folk CHOOSE to buy high end yarns?
    its not like it HAS to cost this much to knit an item, just that it CAN cost this much if SOME people make this CHOICE!
    And why not? A knitty-pal of mine has splashed out on some seriously expensive cashmere yarn and is knitting a classic cable garment for herself as a once in a lifetime “treat” for a bit of luxury, she’s come in for some comments about the cost of this too!
    Having a tennis-playing dh, I know how much a sports interest can cost with equipment, gear and club fees, not to mention the socialising aspect, would I comment to him about such cost? I don’t think so!
    Hurrah for you commenting on the source too!!
    ps LOVING Yarn Forward, have just purchased my 2nd issue and thinking of subscribing!

    Reply to SewIknit2
  • lyndsey-jane

    totally agree with you about other hobbies being more expensive and less productive. Games consoles and games are hardly cheap and with no real end product.
    I also think that assuming these luxury yarns are going to be used to knit nothing but sweaters is narrow minded, some of them could be used to make beautiful shawls using less yarn.
    It’s obvious the writer had not clue about knitters, and I hate when people call knitting ‘trendy’ – the only person I know who uses that word is my mum.

    Reply to lyndsey-jane
  • Dana

    I agree completely. My husband golfs, plays softball, and in the winter enters dozens of football pools. He spends a *ton* more on those hobbies than I ever do on my projects.

    I also have to say that it seems like they purposely went through stores combing for the most outrageously priced yarn. Just because there is yarn there that is available for an extravagant price doesn’t mean that every project is made of it. To balance the story out, they should have also featured more affordable fibers.

    Reply to Dana
  • Pandorasslave

    Noone seems to have stopped to think that you can still get yarn for $2/ball at JoAnn’s. I am more than a little annoyed at the title of the article. Besides, anyone who has done spinning knows that the equipment alone costs a lot, but is a worthy investment, so to make any profit on the yarn spun by hand, you must have relatively high prices.

    Honestly, we don’t knit because it is cheap. We knit because it is valuable and useful, as well as an entertaining thing to do. Certainly that isn’t something to sniff at!

    Reply to Pandorasslave
  • beverly

    To my way of thinking, spending what I can afford in order to work with the nicest yarn possible is truly cost effective. I have the fun of choosing the yarn, the hours of pleasure spent working with it to create something that I can either give as a beautiful gift or wear myself for years and years. Working with fibers is one of the few hobbies I can think of that lets my money go as far.

    Reply to beverly
  • Tikabelle

    The yarns that were listed in the article are outside the price range for most of your average knitters anyway! It’s like asking art collectors about the extravagant price they paid for their one Cezanne sketch and ignoring all the less expensive pieces in their collections. Where is the mention of my Felted Tweed sweater, custom-fitted and color-matched for $90? I’d hazard to guess that more knitters have used Cascade 220 or Felted Tweed for a <$200 sweater than have knitted $800 sweaters. Jeez.

    Reply to Tikabelle
  • Kathy

    Well I’m irritated too. It makes knitting sound frivolous and honestly, an unattainable hobby for the average person, which is so wrong.

    Reply to Kathy
  • Jocelyn

    I thought you response/comments written after the article were very well written, Shannon and very professional. Good points made!

    Reply to Jocelyn
  • Beth

    Lets see… $10 / 2 hr movie in the theater… x 12 movies = 24 hours of entertainment for $120 or $5/ hour… start comparing to cost of other hobbies, or other forms of entertainment and the cost for 24 hours participation is even higher.

    $20 in yarn, $5 sock pattern, $10 needles = 24+ hours of entertainment for $35, or $1.45/ hour.

    end results from 12 movies? I’m out $120 plus food/drink.

    end results from knitting, a pair of socks that if I were to charge minimum wage ($6.55/hr) for the time invested (24 + working hours) + cost of materials ($35 stated above, 15 of which is reusable and likely already on hand) to turn around and sell them, I would be charging just under $200 for a pair of socks… Since no one in their right mind would pay that for a pair of socks, I consider them to be priceless.

    So, a cheap form of entertainment that produces priceless items sounds like it’s too good to be true. 🙂

    Reply to Beth
  • Daniella

    First of all, most people wouldn’t make a sweater out of some of the yarn they mentioned, scarves for sure, hats or even mittens but not a sweater out of lace weight sea silk. At least none of the knitters I know.

    Second of all, they failed completely to mention the other end of the spectrum; the economy yarns. Setting aside cheap acrylic there’s yarn like Cascade 220 where you get quite a lot of yardage for less than $8. And it’s entirely decent yarn. How about Karabella Aurora? Less than $10 a ball, while it’s small yardage still would cost less than $125 for a decent sweater pattern. And a very very nice yarn. (I’m knitting a cabled pullover out of it right now, it’s lovely.)

    Once again, a completely narrow field of focus that fails to recognize the larger picture. I say forget ‘stun’ and set that phaser to ‘incinerate.’

    Reply to Daniella
  • Anne

    And what about Knitpicks Wool of the Andes? Very nice yarn for a very reasonable price! JoAnn sells Patons Classic Merino (223 yards/ball) and other nice wool yarns and if you get them on sale, you can get a sweater’s worth for not too much money. I spent some $$ on two skeins of Lorna’s Laces “Amy Friendly” yarn and that’s going to be a special scarf that I know I’ll wear and enjoy for a good long time.

    Reply to Anne
  • Kristy

    I spent quite a long time on the phone with the writer of the article (who had called Loopy during a friday night knit night) and said quite a lot more than what was quoted. What she left out included how it is important to me to support locally owned and women owned and operated business and how these are materials for a hobby that I put quite a lot of time into. I had also made the movie theater comparison to the author when we spoke – I don’t go to too many movies in the theater because I think they’re a waste of my money, but I’m definitely willing to invest in a good skein of yarn made from good materials that will provide me with a lot of entertainment and then a hand made item that I (or a lucky recipient) can wear for a long time. When asked what the most money I spent for a skein of yarn, I mentioned the scarf – Admittedly, the amy friendly yarn was a bit of a splurge for me, but it did make a *lovely* (although not too lacy) scarf . I do tend to spend a little more for indie dyed yarns too, mostly sock, but I feel that it’s totally worthwhile.
    I mean, damn, I work at a non-profit so I don’t make a whole lot of money, but if you do the numbers, that scarf was cheaper than going to the movies and certainly much cheaper than golf and has much more staying power than either.

    Reply to Kristy

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