It's hard to justify a new hobby when I can buy handknit sweaters like this soft darling. Just Elise's size for winter and the prettiest pale blue you've ever seen. The owl pattern continues along the back.
I exchanged an item my mom bought at Goodwill for the 99-cent cardigan.
As a knitter I can honestly say I'm glad that beautiful little owl sweater found a good home. I've knit that very same sweater several times.
ahhh, but some hobbies are about the "doing" not the result. I find it relaxing and somewhat meditative.
Although it is lovely to wind up with a useful item, knitting is a way for me to keep my hands busy-I'm not very good at "just being" as Yankee Bill says. I like to knit while watching TV, or at Dr. appts etc so that I can feel that I've accomplished something userul.
Wow! I never have that kind of "luck" at Goodwill!
Not to disparage the knitters here!
I just don't have time to start a new hobby, but I feel vaguely guilty whenever I see other moms knitting away.
At least, until I have a find like this one : )
That sweater is too cute!! Such a deal!!
You have the best luck with Goodwill in your area. I search 4 local Goodwill stores about once a week, and another Goodwill Store in Brownwood (we go see my sister in law) and I never find anything as nice. I look for little boy's clothing and shoes...I do find some things at consignment stores. I do find some nice house items. Recently I got a braided rug that I put on the floor of your bedroom. I love it.
I do not knit. I sew and I quilt. I almost always have something going that I can take with me in a car.
Thanks for sharing your life in the blog. I know your sweet little girl will look beautiful in that sweater. Roxie
Cute sweater! I have good luck finding things at our local Goodwill. It's always so satisfying to find something the kids really need for only $1.99 versus' paying full price. I've been a lurker for a few weeks now and thought I'd add a comment today. I really enjoy reading your site!
That is very cute.
I've become a knitter. I think my Grandmother had an inkling that I might like it because she 'willed' me her knitting needles. Naturally I lost and broke many before I was 'mature' enough to appreciate the gift... now I feel a bit sad at my waste.
I hear you about the hobby thing. I was quite into scrapbooking, and I still really like it. However, I've found it is just too much for me with the kids and such. I love knitting because it is so portable and minimal and it helps me dress my family in amazing clothes at a fraction of the cost because I really stay on top of my yarn costs.
I know it isn't the most frugal way, but then it becomes about the process for me. I love just sitting there concentrating on a really complicated or very mundane pattern and just thinking about everything.
Although... if my husband didn't work nights for over 11 years now I'm not sure if I would have ever have turned to this hobby!
Meredith, I love your blog. I am also a mother of two who loves frugality. I'm going to keep visiting your blog and taking notes!
My friend just recently bought the pattern for that sweater at a local yarn shop. It cost $8 for just the pattern! I think patterns are grossly overpriced.
I am a knitter, and I knit for the enjoyment of it. Not because it saves money, which it doesn't, usually. It is so nice to have something to keep my hands busy during the evening while watching tv with my husband.
I make a lot of gifts for my family members. Something which may have cost me $10 to make becomes something that is treasured by my sisters/Mom because of the hours it took me to make it.
See, I'd argue that knitting doesn't save you money.
If you are careful with your yarn purchases, there are lots of places that you can buy yarn for under $1 a skein. Or $2 ish Canadian.
I knit free, or thrift store patterns.
90% of the time my sweaters from my knitting are under $20 not including my labour. I've just about finished one that will have cost me $4 in yarn. I bought the skeins at $0.22 a skein.
Most of my needles I have bought for under $2. And we are talking the high quality needles.
So I get the soothing meditation of knitting and I do it inexpensively.
It is my goal to try and make the clothes for under $20. Occasionally I'll go over.
The main reason I knit verses saving even more at the thrift store is because of the sizes of the people in my family. We are all very tall (my 5 year old is 4' 8") and the kids and hubby are ultra skinny.
argue that knitting does save money! Sorry!
Especially if you compare to brand new knits... that's what got me started... a sweater that I loved, very simple at a store... cost $100 and there was no way I'd pay that for the plain sweater!
Luckily, knitting is getting so popular now that yarn prices are going down, and thanks to the internet, you practically never have to buy another pattern again! I also check out knitting books from the library so I can use the patterns for free, and save my money to buy yummy yarns. I try to make everything heirloom quality so my children can pass things on to their children.
Knitting saving money?
Well, at first, I thought it would. I priced the nice wool socks that my kids' friends were wearing -- $15/pair.
I found out that I could buy inexpensive wool sock yarn, to make one pair of socks, for about $6. My first sock needles probably cost $3. So, I *could* make inexpensive, but high-quality socks for about $6/pair.
I spent quite a bit of time learning to knit socks.
However, sock knitting is seductive.
I now have a stash of sock yarn. The really good, addictive stuff. And my last sock-yarn splurge -- a skein of Mountain Colors Barefoot for ... gulp ... $24. Yes, $24 to make ONE pair of socks.
Actually, I have no regrets. But, Meredith, be careful if you ever think of taking up knitting.
* I would have bought that sweater at the thrift store too. I learn a lot from examining other knitters' products.
* Those buttons alone would run a chunk of change if bought new. So, after Elise wears holes in it, save the buttons.
* I'd love to hear your thoughts on buying a perfectly-good garment at a thrift store and then stripping out the expensive pieces (buttons, leather scraps, etc.) for craft projects. There's something in me that resists doing that, although I have, twice, for some particularly attractive buttons.
So cute! My friend's mom knit a sweater for my son in the same owl pattern--it's navy and will fit him this winter.
I tried knitting and didn't seem to have the knack (or patience) for it.
To Jora, I too have brought things at Goodwill or the Salvation Army store just to take the item apart and use the materials for other things. I have made a nice wool suit for myself from a MANs wool suit. I took it apart, pressed it and had plenty of fabric to make a skirt and blazer for myself. It does not fit me anymore, I have lost weight (thank goodness) but it will be re'fitted soon....To buy the wool fabric for the suit would have cost me over $100.00 I paid less than $10.00 for that suit. I love too. Roxie
I tried to knit, but I've just realized it is not for me. I am not very good at it and I would much rather sew or do other projects. I think it was more a phase for me.
Goodwill has held some amazing finds, but there are many times when I will find nothing or very little. But isn't it about the hunt anyway?
Who else thinks that Roxie needs to start her own blog? : )
She always has a helpful insight into whatever we're discussing!
Seriously, I do appreciate all the frugal knitting tips.
Is it possible to unwind a sweater for its yarn? I see so many GORGEOUS sweaters that people don't buy for whatever reason.
I think I'll try felting a few for my super-secret Christmas project for Elise. More on that later!
It is possible to unwind a sweater for the yarn, but ...
Some sweaters are knit in the round; some are sewn at the seams. If you're unwinding, you want one that's not cut at the seams.
Some fibers unravel better than others. I've read that mohair is a real pain to unravel.
There are internet sites about felting and about unraveling. But felting can gum up the works of a washing machine, so there are precautionary steps. (for example, put the sweater into a zippered pillowcase before felting).
My husband's Grand mother unravels sweaters from the second hand store all the time.
Sorry, sad memory... she's ageing and we've had to only provide her with fleece sweaters now because she's taken to unravelling her sweaters now...
Synthetic fabrics are the easiest to unravel.
Well, here is my 2 cents! I unravel wonderful wool sweaters all the time thanks to the great tutorial at neauveau,com. "GAP" sweaters are the best -I but the largest size I can find. My husband likes to unravel them -he finds it relaxing. Be warned: it can be addicting! I never would be able to use such beautiful yarns buying them new. Blessings, Dee
Does anyone know of a good website (or sites) to look at and learn how to make things from recycled materials? I don't knit or crochet, but I sew a little bit, want to improve my skills, love recycling and would love to make myself or my family members items from cast-off garments/fabrics. And where have you sewers gone to improve your skills? Classes (where?) or just keep practicing on your own? Thanks!
Knitting is one of those hobbies may have been cost-effective back in our grandmothers' day, but it has moved into the hobby realm with all the boutique yarns and expensive patterns. That's why I look at knitting as more of a 2-for-1. Instead of investing money in a hobby AND investing money in sweaters, I have one investment that takes care of both areas.
I know what you mean. And I recognize the pattern for that sweater. Someone hand knit it. But I do hand knit them for my grand-daughter, and she likes them a lot, and that pleases me. But if I look hard at Goodwill I sure can find some great deals, like a baby Ralph Lauren dress for $5.
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