5,869 yards of yarn

Recently an acquaintance made a comment about my making a good deal of the children’s clothing.  She said that obviously I had a lot more free time than most people.  It was the kind of comment that I would usually just let slide.  But, without missing a beat or so much as even looking up from what he was doing, Galen (age 9) firmly replied, “No, she has less time, she just uses it more wisely”.

Up until now, the only yarn that I had purchased this year was the yarn for Elijah’s Santa hat.  When we started taking a closer look at our finances and trying to figure out where exactly our money was going, I was very curious to see what I spend a year in craft supplies.  When we worked it all out I actually thought it was quite reasonable, considering the sheer quantity of clothing, gifts, toys and other practical items that I produce for our household each year.  Even so, I challenged myself to drastically cut my spending this year, mainly because it’s one of the few expenses that I, and I alone, am in complete control of.  And so I’ve not bought any yarn.  Or any fabric for that matter.  I do a lot of “shopping at home”, trying to get creative with what I have.  I was considerably helped along by a friend who decided that knitting was not for her and passed her small stash on to me, for which I am very grateful (and probably a good deal less twitchy).

Knitpicks just had their big summer sale and I decided it was time to break my yarn fast and purchase yarn for next years’ birthday sweaters.

I knit and create because it’s who I am and I honestly believe I would go stark raving mad without it.  I justify it by being fastidious about my projects to insure that the items I make cost less then they would have to buy.  I also like to think that my clothing is more ethical.  It’s true that the supplies have to come from somewhere and I confess, I often don’t know exactly where, but at least one level of potential sweatshop work is eliminated.  This is getting more complicated as children grow.  It takes a great many skeins of yarn to cover Iain these days and my creations no longer seem like such a bargain.

I asked the children if they wanted any kind of say in this year’s sweaters.  Two said they wanted to be surprised.  One is too young to express an opinion- don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she has an opinion, this one is full of opinions!  She’s just not yet capable of fully articulating it.  One gave some color ideas.  And one selected an intricate, six color, fair-isle in fingering weight yarn.  uh-huh.  I would get all indignant, but I think we all know I had that one coming.

I thought I would chose a really feminine color for Mairi this year, since last year’s sweater was olive green and the year before a grey-blue.  Besides, I was in that kind of mood.  Of course when I looked at the catalog with her, I learned that all of her favorite yarns just now are blue, green or brown.  So much for that!  I went with a pretty cornflower blue instead because it seemed a little out of the ordinary.  I went with pink for Seraphina out of sheer rebellion.  Of course it’s not in the least the shade I was looking for.  Even with all of the yarn options out there, I can’t tell you how often I go looking for a very particular color and can’t find it.  I want to be the person who decides on yarn colors.  I think that might just be my dream job.


4 thoughts on “5,869 yards of yarn

  1. mamaashgrove

    I am much the same, with my need to create. Having 5 children now myself I find it nearly impossible to find enough time! It’s making me feel rather out of sorts, actually. I cannot imagine anyone truly believing for one second that a home school mama to 5 has any extra time at all! And where we need extra time, we take it away from our mama allotment (crafting etc.).
    I do think you use your precious time wisely. I have yet to find that place, since Birdie’s birth!
    Such a lovely package of yarn. Yarn boxes are always my absolute favorite sorts of mail to get. I’m nearly at the end of two projects for Birdie, and have a plan to order some yarn soon! And I will admit that I think about it kind of a lot.

  2. Carie

    Oh well said Galen!!! It’s the response that you can’t give when you’re an adult but really wish you could! I’ve been trying to knit more from stash while I’ve been on maternity leave this year and just to generally use the lovely things I have and not forget about them, which is all well for Pip and Elma but my four year old Kitty is the size of an 8 year old and it takes quite a lot of yarn to cover her these days. So unless she wants everything in stripes, I think I shall have to break my fast for her birthday jumper!

  3. Anne Wilson

    What a beautiful box of yarn. I bet lots of wonderful projects will come from that. I just started my yarn fast last week because my spending of craft supplies was not so reasonable…..I will be shopping from home from now on. Happy knitting!

  4. Rhonda Hoffman

    No, it has nothing to do with having more free time than most people. My mother worked full time in an accounting office; did accounts pay/received and payroll for my uncles tool and die company; sewed MOST of my clothes; knitted ALL of my sweaters (even skirts and boiled wool jackets and I mean cables, popcorn, lace etc…details); took an upholstery class and re-upholstered our sofa and recliner; kept a 1/8 acre garden; canned and froze all our food; and the list goes on…it’s how you choose to use ALL of your time and you choose well…

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