When I took up knitting, my intent was not to make it a lavish hobby but rather a way to acquire some nice things at prices I could afford. I quickly discovered that yarn, implements, and classes were very expensive so I set out to find ways to keep the cost of materials and education down. On this page, I will share some of the best things I've discovered!
Learning From Patterns: Because of the cost of classes, I decided I would not take any beyond the beginning knitting class I took to learn how. Apart from working on Master Knitting, I have remained true to that resolve. There are other ways to learn this craft. One is by reading patterns thoughtfully, and thinking carefully through the construction of a garment as one works. You will quickly discover that many patterns contain clever tricks that make one garment superior to another. So you make a point to remember that trick and apply it when you come to a pattern that is written poorly. Penny Straker wrote some great patterns a few years back. I learned some of my best tricks from her! I guess her business can still be contacted at: P. Straker, Ltd., General Offices, 53 School Street, P.O. Box 211-P, South Dartmouth, MA 02748 1-508-996-4804. Topics
Best Knitting Reference Book: I own but two resource books on knitting (actually, one is on needlecrafts in general) and my favorite is Mary Thomas's Knitting Book (Dover Publications); I wouldn't be without it. Mary first published her book back in 1938 but it continues to be one of the finest works out there. The brilliant knitters who write for Cast On frequently refer to it. Any serious knitter should probably own it and it is NOT expensive! It is a paperback book that retails for around $7.00, yet is bound using one of the best methods around. It won't fall apart and even lays open when set down. Great book! Topics
Design Your Own Knits: Learning to design will save you lots of money that you would otherwise spend on patterns. Again, as you work from a pattern, consider how the garment is going together and remember these things. That's how I learned. Start slowly by choosing inexpensive patterns that aren't quite what you have in mind and then alter them as you work to make them into what you really want. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Topics
Good Needle Prices: Where can one find cheap implements? Well, I've found some nice stuff at great prices at The Knitters' Underground. Have personally purchased pewter clasps and buttons, Brittany DP 10" needles, INOX Express circulars (these are just as good as Addi Turbos for much less $$$). I purchased these things via mail order and found Molly to be a very honest person to do business with.
Regarding Brittany needles, if you break one, Brittany will replace it free of charge (nice to know)! Contact them at: Brittany Co., PO Box 130, Elk, CA 95432 1-888-488-9669. Topics
How to Use Double Point Needles: This brings up another matter. If you want to save money on needles, then make sure you train yourself on how to effectively use DP needles, as they are much more versatile than circulars. I purchase the longest sets I can find, so I can make BIG circular things, but they can always be used for small things as well. Then all I need is one very long circular needle (I buy 40" ones!). The trick to using DPs is to get rid of the "ladders," and that is easy enough. Just knit one or two stitches from next needle with old needle before switching to the empty needle. You'll have to use a round marker, but I think that's a reasonable trade-off! I like the wooden DPs because, although they knit slower, they don't slip out of the stitches so easily. Again, a reasonable trade-off. Topics
Inexpensive Excellent Yarn: I buy yarn almost exclusively from Bendigo Woolen Mills in Bendigo, Australia. Their yarn is gorgeous, and easy for an American to get one's hands on. Topics
Drop Spindle: I've discovered a wonderful and inexpensive way to spin!!! I've always wanted to learn to spin but am not in a position to drop $100s on a wheel; therefore, always passed. But on Sat., 20 May 2000, I bought a perfectly designed and very beautiful drop spindle from a lady at an animal fiber expo. This thing works great and only cost me $25 with tax. I bought the cherry spindle with laser-engraved lambs on it (pictured). The plain spindle is made of walnut and costs $17 plus tax. It's a delightful thing, perfectly balanced, and I'm spinning some lace weight wool yarn to knit a Shetland lace shawl with. I highly recommend!!! Unfortunately, the seller's webpage has disappeared.
I'll be adding more to this as I think of stuff. Be resourceful in your knitting: It pays off. Explore many sources of materials and also explore your own mind. You may be surprised at what's there.
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