The Stuff You Can’t Afford – But Why Can’t You?

By A Guest Writer – 19 Comments

A Guest Post by Veronica Smith.

We’ve all done it………. Gone to the magic store that sells all the wools, yarns and threads and stood there drooling over the expensive yet impractical yarns. You know the ones. The ones that cost a week’s worth of milk and bread for one ball, the ones with ‘hand spun’ and ‘hand dyed’ printed on the gold plated label (well, maybe not gold plated but it should be). You have no idea what you’d do with this stuff but you want it so bad – just one cuddle won’t hurt will it? Then you’re off to the sale section and the budget yarns.

Then – it happens – you arrive one day and the gold plated hand crafted yarn is on sale. 50% off, you’re only human. This is where all your problems begin. Quickly the math starts and you are justifying not feeding the family for a week, after all you read about that detox programme about water for 3 days, and you are all a little overweight anyhow – right?

Heart pounding, problem 2 occurs. This is where you shove it all into your shopping cart in case a mob arrives and takes all your precious yarn – oh good grief – you think of it as yours. Now what will you make from this? The yarn is different than you have ever used, how much do you buy? Quickly search for patterns, there are none – oh well, buy them all.

Wow – there is now a house payments worth in your shopping cart, in your panic you didn’t realize there were so many, cannot buy that many. Depression sets in, time moves slowly and you are more confused than you have ever been. Maybe you could just purchase 2 or 3 and use them for a trim on something. Lets face it, the 48 balls that you are now guarding in the shops is too many – accept that fact. Finally you settle on a number and have justified your abstract thought pattern into reality… Oh good grief, what colour? If your really lucky there is only one choice, even if you don’t really like it you still need it right? If there are multiple choices then your head starts to hurt.

Finally at the counter – then the precious treasure is finally YOURS. Home you go. All fixed, stress over, all problems solved. NO. What do you do with the stuff, you never actually worked that out in the shop. It is far too ‘good’ to use. Make a bag, that’s it. No a bag will wear out, can’t have that now can you? Decorative cushion – NO – the cat, dog, hubby or kids will sit on that with no regard to the fact that it is now a family heirloom. Trim a jumper? This process will waste anywhere up to 2 weeks, it finishes not long after somebody threatens to throw it out because they are sick of you rambling on about it.

This is where you need to get a grip on reality. It’s all in your head. How much did you pay for that jumper last winter? Now – look at the yarn, you have enough for a jumper and it only cost you a third of what the store bought jumper did. I think some of us just don’t buy the “nice” yarns because of some abstract feeling of guilt because it is “only yarn”. We need to look at the big picture.

I now purchase just 1 ball of a fancy yarn that is in the ‘gold plated’ area of the shop and I use it as accents on things – because in reality it would look horrid in a full garment because it is way too fancy. Having a small accent I can appreciate the yarn and look like a million dollars.

……………..So – stop being afraid and buy the “ gold plated hand crafted yarn” and use it with joy. I am not suggesting for a moment that you do it every week, or in fact use it for the new dog coat or your 2 year old nephew’s play clothes. The cold hard fact is that in the long run these are all worth it – and if you get them on sale well it is a true bonus. Life is too short to feel guilty about things that there is no guilt attached to.

I paid $45 on sale for hand dyed pure wool, it is in lilac type colours. I made my mum a jumper out of it, it is stunning, she gets comments from strangers. Would she be getting the same comments from people if she had purchased a jumper for $45? Could she get a pure wool jumper for $45 – not where I live.

So next time you are out and you see something you really really love, buy just one and trim something – see how good it feels than work your way up from there.

Veronica is 44 years young. She has a hubby, 2 daughters, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, several fish – and 7.5 acres backing on to a state forest in semi-rural Queensland Australia to house them all! Feel free to learn more about Veronica by visiting her blog.

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  1. sarah says:

    I enjoyed your post Veronica. Great title.

  2. jamie says:

    great post. very witty 🙂 buying a little from time to time, just like eating ‘bad-but-delicious’ foods, will help stave off these binges … and concomitant guilt 😉

  3. LeAnna says:

    I LOVE this article! I laughed through the part about deciding in the shop. I have SO been there!!!

  4. Allison says:

    Great article! Now, if someone would remind me what a jumper is? 🙂

  5. Veronica Smith says:

    Thanks so very much everybody for your positive response to my story. Jumper – well, I didn’t think it was an Australian specific term but maybe it is. How about ‘pullover’? Mmmm – a cardigan without an opening at the front?

  6. Allison says:

    Thanks Veronica…i decided to be a nerd and Google it 🙂 Jumper is a common English/AU term for what in the US might be a sweater. I found a whole message board post about it, so I feel less silly for asking … just a little.

  7. Veronica Smith says:

    Don’t feel silly. I always try and use terms that are suitable for ‘all’ but it is tricky. For measurements i do use metric but i have my little converter thingy and put imperial in brackets! So if i submit further articles please feel free (and not stupid) to google it all >>grins<< Making mental note of 'sweater'

  8. Vims says:

    Oh what a lovely article!!! This is exactly how I felt when I went to Spotlight (Singapore) !! Well written and thanks for making me feel that I am not alone! And yes I did just buy one skein of fancy yarn to use in making scrunchies but one each in 5 colours!!!

  9. Milly says:

    Loved the article and it is sooo me.. I am going to TRY to remember all your thoughts the next time I have this problem.. with a major yarn purchase

  10. Bananas says:

    I’m so sorry to admit that I’m so spoiled that when I see wonderful yarn I do buy it. But no worries I always have “special” patterns that I’ve set aside for nice yarns, And I do have a hubby, 2kids and a guiena pig, house payment and bills.

  11. Cami says:

    I agree. Good point. Any yarn we don´t use- “bargain” or “gold-plated” is no savings. It´s a waste.

  12. odette says:

    I agree, but have put them to good use. We have a group of gals
    at church and we make hats for the poor = also starting to make
    throws for people in the nursing homes THAT DO NOT HAVE ANY
    FAMILY. Art teachers also use yarn for the students to make
    yarn pictures. I have seen them at our local school. Scrap yarns
    also make good throws = make them long and fold the bottom
    for a foot warmer.

    Just ideas

  13. Erin says:

    Good article, Veronica. I seldom buy “gold-plated” yarns because I’m not sure what to do with smaller amounts of yarn. What are some ways to use the 1-2 balls of “good” yarn?

  14. Hi Veronica,
    I enjoyed your article very much!!! I am 68 and have been crocheting for 50 years.
    Listen Ladies, I enjoy this web site so very much. Rachels patterns are so
    “usable” and clean….do you know what I mean?
    I work as an Ombudsman and volunteer my time in the Nursing Homes in
    this area. There are so many senior citizens who would love a lap quilt,
    which are made from scraps left over from projects. E-mail me…..I can help you. Would soo appreciate your donation.
    Keep up the beautiful work, Rachel… go Girl!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Tanya says:

    Great post!!

  16. Veronica Smith says:

    Erin wrote “What are some ways to use the 1-2 balls of “good” yarn? “ That depends on the type of yarn it is. If you purchase a very textured yarn that contains fur, nodules, or anything else that makes it ‘not smooth’ then how about first trying it in a scarf. Just chain to what ever width you require then do a few rows – just say 1 – 4 of sc. or dc. in a plain complimentary yarn then 1 – 4 of the fancy yarn. Very textured yarn is best used on a larger hook as trying to make it ‘firm’ detracts from the beauty of the yarn. If the feature of the yarn is in the dying process then how about a hat / cap / beanie? Trim a plain crocheted or purchase article of clothing with a few rows of the exceptional yarn. Make flowers (Rachel has some wonderful patterns) out of exquisite yarn and add as a feature to items of clothing, diaries, cushions. Look next time you are shopping and see how manufacturers add ‘bling’ to their products and get ideas from them.

  17. Debra Van Dorp says:

    you can always make a scarf out of two or three skeins.Those “Bactus” scarves can be made with only one or two balls.

  18. Sherry says:

    I love reading your articles Veronica just as I love Rachel’s Crochet Spot.

    There is a Yarn Shop in my area I love to go into but I’m afraid to go in to because of the cost. The yarns are so beautiful. Your article has given me the courage to by the “one or two skeins” I want!!

    With regards to a “Jumper” I think there is a significant difference depending on where you live. It sounds like you see it a what I see a Sweater is. To me a Jumper is a pull over but more of a dress for that you would where a shirt with.

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