Monday, 25 August 2014

The Real Value of Knitting

The other week I happened to mention to an acquaintance that I was knitting a sock. This sock, in fact:

Excuse the poor quality phone picture. I took a quick snap last week to share on Facebook and I've not really made much more progress since then.

Anyway, said acquaintance told me I should consider knitting socks for the Highland Dancers. A quick Google search tells me they would be something like this. She proceeded to tell me that I could make a bit of money doing this, ooh, a whole £30 even!

I laughed. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the current pair of socks I'm working on, not even factoring in the amount I've spent on the yarn for them, would probably end up running in somewhere around £200 for my time alone (that's assuming I'm paid per hour for the time spent knitting them).

I'm a bit of a selfish knitter, in that I like to knit whatever makes me happy to knit. I quite often start (and eventually finish) projects with no set recipient in mind, just because something about the pattern or prospective FO (that's Finished Object for the non-knitters) has caught my eye. Just last week I finally found a home for my chicken family (who have brought me so much blog traffic since I completed them), until recently they've just been hanging out in my living room waiting for someone to adopt them.

Gladys, Gertrude and family have gone to a lovely new home where I know they're appreciated. And they live with a fellow crafter which is just an added bonus. ;-)

I think that a lot of non-knitters don't really appreciate the amount of time and effort that it takes to turn a pair of sticks and a ball of wool into a cute toy or fashion accessory, which is why I don't often knit things for other people. The number one way to guarantee that I never knit anything for you is to say those magic words "you have to make me..." I'll get stubborn and dig in my heels.

Knitting doesn't really look like an expensive hobby. But there are so many things to factor in. You've got your needles (and you want to have whatever sort of your own personal preference), then there's the yarn (which can start anywhere from pence for a cheap ball right the way up to silly money for something made from unicorn hair or whatever), plus there's the patterns (sure you can get free ones but sooner or later there'll be a book with something you just have to knit...).

And then there's the most important part of all. Your time! When I was making moustaches for my team I found that some knitted up quicker than others. The little classic moustaches, well they were twenty minutes per half; forty minutes for a finished 'tasche. The big Sven 'tasches, those things were fifty minutes per half, almost two hours for a completed one and that's not counting the time spent sewing them up and attaching elastic. If I'd sat down and knit continuously those babies would've eaten up over two full days without doing anything else!

But I don't mind 'wasting' my time on my stitches. It's an hour of watching TV, half an hour reading before bed, twenty minutes waiting for everyone else to get up, an hour while you're waiting for lunch, ten minutes in your break, an hour on the train. It all adds up.

And that's what I like about knitting.

My needles for my socks might have cost £10, the yarn £5, the book the pattern is in £8; I might be spending fifteen hours working on each sock, which if I was being paid £6.50 per hour for would work out at £97.50 per sock!

But when you slip your foot into that toasty warm finished sock, custom-fit to your own foot, and admire your handiwork.

That's priceless.


  1. I love the little chickens. I've never knitted anything but I did crochet a baby blanket and it too me forever to finish.

    1. I'm a complete knitaholic and I'm very pleased with how the chickens turned out. I just cannot get the hang of crochet though I keep on trying to teach myself.


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