Two things happened this weekend that made me think of this:
On Facebook, Gaye Glasspie aka GGmadeit, has a weekly knitting Q&A and she asked who was going to Vogue Knitting Live. Well, I’m not, and it’s because I can’t afford to go to a knitting event unless I’m working the show. People often make assumptions about me. Sometimes it’s flattering, like when they ask me where I got my degree. (I quit high school.) And sometimes it’s annoying, like when they assume I am well-off financially.
On Instagram, I saw a comment from a knitter (sorry, I don’t remember who) who mentioned that she didn’t feel comfortable or welcome at yarn shops or in the mostly-white knitting community where she lived because she can’t afford to spend $30 per skein. She didn’t feel like she fit in with those who knit with nothing but expensive yarns. I’ve knit with yarn that was $30 per skein from time to time, and I’ve also knit with yarn that was $2 or $3 a skein. And the results from both have been wonderful. In fact, looking forward at what I want to knit next, I’m planning to use lower-price, basic yarns that are machine washable.
My grandparents were on a fixed income, and my grandmother did not have much money to buy yarn. She bought 100% acrylic at the local discount store. For cardigans, she often spent more on buttons than she did on yarn. And sometimes, as in the jacket above, she chose designs that didn’t even require buttons. The most important part of making a beautiful garment was her meticulous stitchery.
If you can afford to knit with luxury and hand-dyed yarns, and you prefer them to anything else, that’s OK. If you have the time to hand-wash all of your hand-knits, more power to you.
But please be aware that not all knitters can afford these luxuries. Please be welcoming to those who knit with Lion Brand, Plymouth, Valley Yarns, and other basic, affordable yarns, even if they shop at Michaels. And if you are a shop owner, make sure you carry a good line of affordable yarns in addition to the sparkly, trendy, uppity luxury and hand-dyed yarns.