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Fancy Knitting

I am back in the cabling groove, but I still need a project for all the times I multi-task knit.  Drift’s Ridge , by Teresa Gregorio, is that project.  Since it’s knit top-down, I only had to think about increases and color work for the yoke, then it’s long stretches of stockinette.  Usually a fingering project feels like it drags on forever to me, but this is moving along quickly.

I know the beautiful Charlemont kettle dye yarn is spurring me forward.  I love working with it.  It’s merino and silk, with subtle color changes, that is so nice to work with.  I usually just go cheap and safe with Wool of the Andes or another less expensive yarn for my sweaters, because I’m budget minded.  Not that Charlemont is super expensive.  It’s a Valley Yarns line and can often be had on sale.  I think I payed $11 per hank for these.  To me, however, it feels like luxurious knitting.  I scan through madelinetosh and indie dyer yarns online, all the time, like the other knitters I know.  I imagine the things I could make with the beautiful tonal colors, but I rarely buy them.  Budget minded can = grouchy.

Actually, I don’t mind going cheap that much.  Everyday, inexpensive yarn makes sense for sweater quantities, but there’s also a freedom to knitting with whatever you can get.  I mean I have knit some things I get tons of compliments on in the cheapest of yarns.  Observe the Wool Ease Beatnik. That one was under $15.  Then there was the Wool of the Andes Road to Golden.  It was my first time to knit Fair Isle as well as my first time to use WotA.  After knitting that, I first noticed the “hearts” a project could collect on Ravelry from other knitters.  It’s still one of my most loved projects, second only to Ravello, knit in… you guessed it… Knit Picks sale yarn.  Good grief, the Aidez I’m working on will look good even when I’m schlepping around in my pajamas and it’s knit in 100% acrylic, people!

Aside from the practicality, I feel a connection to other crafters in my family when I use budget yarn.  My grandmother crocheted afghans and booties from whatever acrylic they carried at the TG&Y.  She said my grandfather’s mother (her future mother-in-law) hand-sewed her sons’ clothing so expertly, with inexpensive fabrics, that she’d assumed they were wealthy enough to have a tailor. Only after they began dating did she discover their secret.  My father remembers his mother making his and his brother’s shirts out of old flour sacks.  I don’t think yarn snobbery is a genetic possibility for me.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, and flickr)

Even so, I will enjoy knitting with my silk blend, sipping an iced beverage and lounging about this Friday afternoon.  That means I’ve poured this morning’s leftover coffee over ice and am knitting on the couch in yoga pants, with frizzy hair, to the sound of whatever’s on netf

But the yarn… the yarn is very, very fancy.

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  1. Buying yarn on a budget obviously doesn't mean the end result is any less pretty, as your knits illustrate so well. I also often find myself daydreaming away, looking at pictures and projects in yarns like madelinetosh or hand dyes. But when I add up how much it would cost me to make a sweater out of it often sets my daydreaming straight. I do allow myself some fancy yarn every now and then, but it's usually for smaller projects like socks.

  2. Bee-utiful colors. And I love the pattern. I know what you mean about a luxury knit. I splurged on Gloss DK for the test knit I'm working on right now, and even that was the more budget friendly option. Sigh. If I were rich, I'd blow it all on yarn. Your Friday sounds like the perfect day.

  3. I don't know what I'd do if I had an unlimited budget. I feel like my projects would be way less interesting if I didn't have a set of constraints to work within.

  4. I wish I could use madelinetosh for many projects but I'm also on a medium budget. With sewing it's the same, and even more, I find it a more expensive hobby. I have problems with scratchy wool but I just can't stand acrylic. I tried but I simply can't.

  5. Beautiful colors! And the pattern is adorable. It'll be a great sweater, I'm sure. I try to be budget minded with my knitting, too, but for special occasions I sometimes splurge on the nicer yarns like MadTosh.

  6. Oh, you should! I think this is the best job I've ever done on fair isle. Usually, it's all puckered and weird before blocking, but this came out so smooth! I also think the fit is classic enough that I'll wear it a lot.

  7. Yes! For me, it's hats or just the stripes in an otherwise bargain yarn sweater. I couldn't knit as many things if I went with higher prices. I think the act of knitting has been such a therapy for me that I wouldn't want to trade the quantity of my projects for higher yarn quality, but fewer projects.

  8. Oh, I love Gloss dk's color selection. I purchased just two skeins for some mitts and just wanted to hold them and stare at them for the longest time. 🙂 But it was only two skeins, even on sale, I find Gloss a bit pricy.

  9. That's an interesting thought, Sara. I might find that if I could use the exact yarn used in a pattern, that I would, not even varying the color. I'm sure I wouldn't sob too much over the lack of creativity as I wore Madelinetosh, but I probably wouldn't be stretching myself as a knitter, either. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from finding a way to knit a great sweater that I like as much as the original for less than half the price.

  10. I used to think sewing saves you money. I'm sure that can be true, but I now realize it can be much cheaper to just buy at Wal-Mart. Of course, who wants to do that? I would, and do, feel like a sewing machine is a ticking time bomb. They intimidate me because you press the pedal and they just lurch forward like a roller coaster, potentially ruining all of the lovely material in one fell swoop
    It must take time to master preventing and fixing mistakes.

  11. I can't fault you for that! I am supposed to attend some classes at the Madtosh store soon, and I know I'm going to be very tempted. I'm going to start setting money aside for just that.

  12. I was in a yarn store this weekend in my husband's home town and they had yarns of unusual fibers like baby llama, yak down, and mink as well as farm yarns. I think if I had an unlimited budget, I'd try all the fibers and then Clara Parkes it out with breed-specific yarns.

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