Once upon a time, most people who knitted (and crocheted and sewed) did so because it was cheaper to make things yourself than to buy them. In times of austerity – such as during the two World Wars – knitting was an essential part of the make-do-and-mend culture. Hand knits were darned when they wore out or were unravelled and re-knitted into new garments. But in more recent decades, the increase in availability of mass-produced machine-knitted garments and other items has meant that it’s no longer a necessity for folk to knit things themselves. Knitting (along with crochet and sewing) has become a hobby.
And, as with any hobby, knitting can end up being costly – especially if you buy the most expensive yarns and use only top-of-the-range equipment. You don’t, however, have to break the bank, particularly when you’re new to knitting. When it comes to your raw material, there are plenty of good-value yarns available – look at the range of crea yarns for some very good examples! If you shop online, you can take advantage of sales of end-of-line yarns. The same applies to your needles and other equipment – shop in the sales or try budget brands. You can also find bargains in charity and second-hand shops. Just remember that older needles will not be labelled in millimetre sizes – you will need to use a needle-size gauge to ‘convert’ them to modern sizes.
We asked some of our Knit & Stitch Creative contributors if they had any money-saving tips.
Lynne, editor of Knit & Stitch Creative:
“When I first started knitting, to keep the cost down, I would use leftover yarn to make striped or colour block garments and accessories. I funded my knitting craze by working in a clothes shop on a Saturday. I would put yarn aside at my local yarn shop and buy a couple of balls each week.”
Melanie, the designer and maker of our throw:
“Charity shops are great places to look for yarn. I’ve found some half balls of cashmere which I used to made myself some gloves and a hat.”
Caroline, editor of the Knit & Stitch Creative special editions:
“I do a lot of lace knitting and this means using stitch markers – they’re essential for keeping a track of the lace pattern and for helping you count the stitches between your repeats. Because they need to be soft (so as not to snag the knitting) I either make my own – by knotting sock yarn into small loops – or I use those tiny elastic bands that come in loom-band kits.
Knitting a lace project is also a great opportunity to use a really special yarn without completely blowing your craft budget. A single skein of a beautiful hand-dyed lace-weight yarn might seem expensive but one skein might have up to 1000m of yarn in it and you can make two scarves or one large gorgeous lace wrap.”
Caro, managing designer at creaCrafts:
“I am a perpetual hoarder of yarn, fabric, buttons and threads. I keep them all in bags and gaze at them longingly – wishing for time to be able to create something new from all my fragments. Using up all your “left-overs” is a great way to cut down on costs… but there is something special about getting your hands on brand new balls of crea yarn: still in the yarn bands. It is so tempting to keep buying more!”
Do you have any useful tips for knitting on a budget? Let us know in the comments, or tag us @CreaCrafts on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.