Is knitting an expensive hobby? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Arts & Crafts > Is knitting an expensive hobby?
anjanetteopal's Avatar anjanetteopal 10:55 AM 07-20-2007
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
There are ways to be frugal. Waiting for sales, buying from other peoples stash reductions, unraveling ugly sweaters from thriftshops and redying it, ordering millends and mis-dyes online.


When I started knitting I bought a box of about 30 skeins of yarn (mostly acrylic) on ebay for $15 (including shipping). It was great to learn on! I don't usually like to wear acrylic except for scarves, but there are lots of other uses and when you are just learning it stinks to feel like you "ruined" an expensive batch of yarn. I've also gotten yarn on locally from people who inherit or buy a ton of yarn and never use it - sometimes people just give it away! I got all of my needles from a friend's mother who has MS and can no longer knit (sad day!). Garage sales are good places to look, too. I pretty much still just lust after the yarns I *really* want, but someday... I also tend to stick to smaller projects (socks, booties, wash cloths, scarves, hats, stuffed animals) so the yarn goes further.

shantimama's Avatar shantimama 12:53 PM 07-20-2007
It's only expensive if you become obsessed or addicted..... both very high risks with knitting

I always suggest that people start out with items that they are comfortable making mistakes with. Knitting is not difficult, but it does take a bit of time to get the hang of it and learn the various techniques. Try picking up some inexpensive cotton yarn and knitting a few dishcloths or buy a funky, inexpensive acrylic and make a scarf or too first.

From there I would suggest making something small - I used to make doll sweaters for my friends' kids with good wool while I was mastering sweater techniques - I used gorgeous wool yarn but it didn't take very much and so it didn't cost much.

I would hesitate to pay more to make something than I would spend on buying it for a little one who is going to quickly outgrow the item and is very likely to stain it. These days I knit socks, mittens and hats for my kids but no sweaters, ponchos or the like. When they have finished growing I will happily knit thise items for them again, but I can't justify it right now. They are happy with the little things I make so I feel good about it. If I am going to put the time and money into a large item, I like to know it will be of use for many, many years!
flapjack's Avatar flapjack 01:05 PM 07-20-2007
Well, yarn over there is half what we Brits pay for it. Seriously, the internet is your friend in shopping around. I wouldn't use merino for a poncho that won't be next to the skin- instead I'd look at something like Peace Fleece or HPY, something cheap and durable. There is also, of course, the miracle of yarn coops
Also, instead of assuming that wool = merino, look for traditional and rare breeds. Every sheep has a different use, and there are some that are far more suitable for an outer garment (Personally, I'd use BFL. YMMV.)
PikkuMyy's Avatar PikkuMyy 04:03 PM 07-20-2007
There are tons of online yarn stores that sell yarn for quite a bit cheaper than LYSs. I support my LYS as much as I can but do buy online when I need to.
MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 04:14 PM 07-20-2007
It doesn't have to be expensive. Check thrift shops for needles, or ebay. Other people have good suggestions about yarn. Also be aware that patterns are expensive - instruction books with patterns are generally cheaper per pattern than a bunch of individual patterns, and you can design your own.

I love natural fibers too, but I am very cautious about the materials I use to knit for DS - nothing that isn't soft, and nothing that isn't completely machine washable.
utopia760's Avatar utopia760 05:28 PM 07-20-2007
well lets say if your not like me it wont be expensive- i insist i have evry color of cotton i see however knitting does not have to be expensive at all.
mommy_e's Avatar mommy_e 06:17 PM 07-20-2007
I'm a cheap yarn junkie :

I buy Lion Brand stuff at JoAnn/Michaels/Hobby Lobby for probably 75% of my knitting. Homespun and Bernat Boa makes very nice toddler ponchos for <$10 each. A skein of Fisherman's Wool is like $4 with a coupon and can make 2-3 soakers. We have fun with kool-aid afterward. I even bought some Red Heart something at Walmart to make a bunny suit - it was only going to be worn a few times so I wanted cheap.

I do love more expensive yarns, but even at the LYS I have found some bargains. Plymouth Encore (a blend, but nice) makes nice, washable blankets. Cascade 220 works well for soakers and can be had for $5-7 a skein or less and makes a small soaker from one or medium to large pants from two.

Now that I'm more experienced I will invest in some nicer and more expensive stuff occasionally, but for me it is the process that I love - figuring patterns and designs, tweaking patterns and mindless knitting in front of the TV. I also don't want to be crying when the wool shorties I made with $40 worth of yarn get pooed on.
shantimama's Avatar shantimama 07:00 PM 07-20-2007
I try to support my LYS and independent spinners and dyers whenever I can. Yes, it is more expensive, but the only other option around here is Walmart - that and it sure is nice to have some small locally owned shops and I would like to help them make a go of it. I like it that when I am driving my kids into town, we can drive by a farm where we also buy wool and say - hey! Those are the sheep that made the wool in your mittens!

In a rural area like where I live, having any kind of shop that isn't hardware or grocery related is an exciting thing I owuld rather knit gorgeous items a little less frequently and support local business than buy more and have every thing shipped from elsewhere - I already have to do that with enough things.

Everyone's situation is different, though - just offering another perspective.
honeybunmom's Avatar honeybunmom 03:48 AM 07-21-2007
I second the co-op sugguestion. There is one going on right now here for organic cotton. I've been wanting to try some - and I will be buying with a project in mind (I learned my lesson about that with my scrapbooking hobby). This is my first full year in knitting although I learned over 20 years ago. I just learned that summer seems to be the sale season for yarn stores. With a 40% sale that then went to 70% off, admittedly, I just grabbed yummy fibers that were still there at 70% off (9 balls of a cashmere/silk blend for about $3.90 each).

You can also join yarn groups on yahoo that run a variety of co-ops. is also a good site, as are and for closeouts and pretty good sales.

I'm the daughter of a discount retailer, so, I try to NEVER pay full price for anything!

And's coffeehouse forum has a sale spotter forum. That's how I found out about my LYS's sale.
mommyddeville's Avatar mommyddeville 04:40 AM 07-21-2007
I second the idea of buying fewer skeins of yarn, but buying quality. When I learned to knit, it was with Red Heart. There's something squeaky about that yarn that just makes my eyeballs itch and my ears want to pop out of my head, so I don't use it anymore. I'd rather pay $6 for a ball of yarn for a soaker than $2 for twice as much acrylic yarn. I feel like I should be making things with quality materials if i put hours and hours of love into them.

That said, I use acrylic for baby blankets. I want something that can take some washing in the washing machine.
meco's Avatar meco 04:43 AM 07-21-2007
Originally Posted by blazfglori View Post
Knitting is expensive as you allow it to be.

If you want the high-end designer stuff or organic, yes you're going to have to put more out for it.

There are many alternatives to the pricey yarn that works just as well, though.

I also like Knit Picks for yarn, needles, and books on the cheap.
Yeah that.

Stay out of local NYC yarn stores! I love Downtown Yarns on Ave A for needles and emergency buys, but otherwise I buy online, secondhand, in co-ops, any other way. I find it is much more cost effective.

Also, only buy what you need. This helps keep spending under control.
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