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.