CraftStylish Roundtable: Crafting in the Current Economy--Part Three

comments (0) November 7th, 2008     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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How are you using your cash to craft wisely?  An origami, dollar shirt  by Vaguely Artistic on Flickr.

How are you using your cash to craft wisely?  An origami, dollar shirt  by Vaguely Artistic on Flickr.

Photo: Courtesy Vaguely Artistic on Flickr

Our first CraftStylish Roundtable discussion wraps up for the week as more bloggers weigh in with their crafty views, hope, and experience. Join our online discussion and leave a comment or a question below.  This week's question is:

Do you see crafting as a way/means towards coping with current economic conditions?

Jennifer Worick:

I have the unique and fortunate position to be a writer whose interests have led me to crafting. I have made jewelry and knitted for quite a while but with each new book, I need to pick up a new skill or two. If I was coming to the craft community through a particular product or craft, I don’t know if I could swing it financially. I agree with Jeffrey Rudell: I love making things out of inexpensive stuff. In fact, I love finding ways to incorporate everyday items as materials or tools. Instead of buying a brayer for printing, I bought a mini-rolling pin to use instead. I think as a crafty person, I am able to look at situations and problem-solve in ways others don’t immediately think of. Sadly, that doesn’t always work with my checking account.

Creating does give me peace amidst troubled times. I always fall asleep easier if I quit working and have a bit of time to knit or make something before turning in (yeah, I work late into the night). And during a crisis, I keep my hands busy so my mind can rest. On 9/11, I walked home the 20 blocks from my office and knit a sweater over the next two days. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my hands and my skills. It’s such an integral part of my life and it definitely keeps me off blood pressure and anti-anxiety meds.

Tina Hilton:

One of the major reasons why many people love to knit is that there is a tangible outcome from one’s free time. Instead of reading a book or idly watching TV with nothing to show for it except for bloodshot eyes, there a lovely product to have and hold for yourself or a loved one. Knitting is a very inexpensive hobby considering that you may spend around $150 for the yarn to construct a garment that takes maybe 40 hours to create. That works out to only $3.75 per hour for an activity that is engaging, comforting and results in a usable piece of fiber art. Compare that to going to a movie for two hours. An average movie admission is around ten bucks and if you add snacks that could add another $10. So if you compared 40 hours of knitting at $150 to 40 hours of movies at $400, I know where I want to spend my money! 

When money is tight, there are many activities that help save money by repurposing existing knitted items you already own. A sweater that is no longer in style can be updated with knitted embellishments, needle felting, duplicate stitch designs, and/or embroidery. If you still love the yarn, consider unraveling it to make something else.

Turn to your stash instead of yarn shopping for your next project. I bet you will be amazed that yarn tucked away for years combined with another yarn will create a fresh new look. If you are holding on to stash yarn you hate, why not organize a yarn swap? One knitter’s trash is another knitter’s treasure! However, if you do go yarn shopping, support your local yarn store versus online shopping. Your LYS is your Cheers and your pipeline to other knitters. Nothing beats a brick and mortar store!

Why buy it when you can make it for less money and it will look better on you? All knitters can incorporate tricks to make a knitted garment a custom fit dream. Knitting offers you methods to tailor an item to fit every body type.

Knit for those less fortunate. No matter how bad you have it, there is always someone worse off than you. Take a few minutes out of your knitting time budget and knit for your favorite cause. Pay it forward. 
 
 
Jennifer Stern

I think new crafters can be born by necessity. When times are tough, people start thinking about things they could do themselves vs. paying for someone else to do it. A perfect example is the person who buys a basic sewing machine to alter their own clothes. As they start fixing their clothes, they realize they enjoy using the sewing machine…and they start using the machine for more “crafty” purposes. Maybe they decide to take clothes apart and remake them into new garments.   Once someone is successful at saving money fixing their own clothes, they might be inspired to try to make new curtains or other projects around their home themselves.  Before they realize it, crafting becomes more than just a means to save money.

To read more responses to this question click here.

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