The first week of school is finished, hurrah!! In honor of the fact that I survived (and didn’t slap any of the annoying people) I decided to pop over to my lys and pick up a few goodies that I have been desiring as of late. I scored some sock yarn for the giant, some yarn for a baby sweater, and my first set of chicagoo sock needles (I needed some more bamboo needles for socks, because lately the metal has been hurting my hands so hopefully this allows for an easier time, which of course means more sock knitting, double hurrah.) While there I came realize that there has been a big shift in my perspective.
It’s been almost four years (holy cow) since I picked up knitting (again.) In that four years I have gone from knitting scarves, to mastering knitting in the round to conquering and falling in love with dpns, to attempting lace and scratching at the surface of color work. As my skill has grown so has my taste in yarn. I can remember being a new (again) knitter and not understanding how someone could spend so much on just a skein of yarn. Granted the budget was tight (oh hey, college student life) and frankly I was still testing the waters. For the first year or so I avoided wool (for the most part) because, the few interactions I had with the stuff left me with a small rash, and a haze from popping benadryl.
Frankly I didn’t branch out beyond the acrylics found at big box stores. Partly because that is what I knew, partly because it was what I could afford. I can remember picking up yarn at the store and feeling rather smug about the fact that I was not wasting my money like some other knitters.I would see them buying skeins of yarn that were over $10 for a pair of socks and I just shook my head at the absurdity. My acrylics and I were going to be happy together, I was sure of it.
I managed to produce items that were decent looking, but after a while I realized that I seemed to be stuck. The work I was trying to do was not to the caliber I would see on the likes of Ravelry. I knew there was a problem, but I figured it was my lack of skills that were causing the issues. For example why the socks I made for my husband didn’t seem to have the ability to stay on his feet for very long (it never occurred to me that I probably should try to knit them out of straight acrylic.)
It took a first attempt at spinning and a fateful order to an online shop to open my world to a new perspective. I was playing with the wool and noticed that for the first time, I wasn’t breaking out. That first attempt didn’t amount too much in terms of spinning, but it did give me the confidence to try some yarn from the same online shop. I ordered a few skeins of something for a price that seemed a bit high, but still within reason.
What happened next was a dramatic shift in my production. I found myself producing better things, not only was my skill improving but I was using more appropriate yarn for my projects (a crazy thing called sock yarn.) As I knit and continued to grow in my craft I noticed that I wasn’t as appalled at paying $10 for a skein of yarn for socks, and then as time passed I wasn’t as opposed to paying more for a skein of yarn for a hat than I did for the cost of 4 skeins I attempted to make a blanket out of just a few years ago.
It culminated today when I realized without even hesitating I was picking up and looking at sock yarn that was over $25 without batting an eye (for the record I didn’t buy it, but that was due to color choices more than anything else.) Now I am not saying that I am willing to spend tons of money on yarn, frankly I have a budget and it is something I have to save for, but as I walked around the store I realized I was more interested in the yarn in terms of feel, color, acceptability for the project I had in mind, and a lot less so about the price.
I understand that not everyone can afford to spend much of anything on yarn, and there are others who have budgets I can only dream of. I don’t think there is anything wrong with any option as long as it works for you, I guess for me it was just about the realization that it only took four years for me to have this giant shift in perspective and that is pretty cool.