Sunday, May 19, 2013

Knit three

 ONE!
 TWO!
 THREE!

I had a crisis of knitting confidence a few days ago.

It's happened to me before. In fact I've probably even blogged about it here, but still...

I was sitting in a cafe in Daylesford near a woman wearing the most gorgeous wrap around shawl thing I had ever seen. It was chunky, big stitched, emerald green, it looked super soft and squishy warm and the pattern was just beautiful.

The whole time I was drinking my coffee, I was mentally going through the wool I have at home searching for the perfect yarn for project shawl. And trying to work out if I have big enough needles to get that chunky loose look. And of course I was also counting stitches. Or trying not to be too obvious while I was counting how many stitches in the width of the shawl.

As we got up to leave I couldn't help myself and asked her if she could take off her shawl so I could have a look at the shape and the the dimensions. I told her how much I adored it.

She held it up and it was a big chunky loop. About a meter and a half in length and half a meter in width, with a gorgeous cable detail running around it. When she put it back on she wound it around her neck twice and then sort of pulled it down her shoulders. She looked gorgeous.

And then I asked her if she'd made it, secretly hoping for some details and maybe even a pattern link. But she hadn't. She had in fact bought it in a shop in town.

So we walked down the hill to visit that shop. I don't know why, but we did.

And we found that very same shawl in a rainbow of colour options. They were acrylic and they were made in China and they cost twenty dollars each.

As we walked back to the car I felt really sad. Why would I bother knitting that shawl, if I could buy it so cheap? That much good quality, organic wool would probably cost me between sixty and eighty dollars and the time it would take me to knit it would be at least a few weeks.

I have that same discussion in my head about lots of the things we do on our farm and in our home. Why do we spend so much time and energy growing things from seed when we can buy them so cheap at the fruit shop? Why do we spend so much time preserving produce when it is available at a fraction of the cost, all year round, in tins and jars from the super market? Why do we bake our own bread, make our own clothes, gather our own honey, chop and split our own wood, repair things when they break, if there is an option to buy for a fraction of the price?

All these things take up so much time and sometimes don't save any money at all.

But the satisfaction that comes from doing them is priceless.

And although I probably wont end up knitting myself that particular shawl, it might feel a bit like trying to replicate a Big Mac from homegrown, organic ingredients, I know why I knit. I adore to knit. And I know that this winter I'll be sending my girls out into the icy cold world in beanies made especially for them with all my love. You can't buy that in a chain store.

Ravelry details here, here, and here

Thanks for the pattern link Christy xx
OK, three winter beanies done, it's time to wind some wool for my farmer boy. He thinks stripes for a change. Maybe.

So how about you?
Do you choose the slow even though the fast is cheaper?
Does the fast tempt you or discourage you? Or neither?
Are you knitting beanies too?

Big love and a happy and wonderful week for you my friends.

47 comments:

  1. Kte, I love those beanies. I am hunting for baby beanies for the George at the minute on Etsy, so I am beanie-aware. So lovely! As for your dilemma,I know the immense satisfaction I get from any thing I have made, each time I look at it, use it or wear it. It is so fulfilling, and I am a crafty imbecile, compared to you. So I can't imagine how useful and fulfilled you must feel when you have surrounded yourself with so much that you have grown, made and nurtured with your own hands. It's priceless, that feeling.Can't buy it. Have a lovely week xxx

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    1. I agree Rach...I went out this morning to find that possums had eaten half of my veggie patch...I was upset ...before applying my organic, home made poss off solution...thinking about how much time and energy n money went into growing them...but in truth...I've had a great time growing them regardless...and there is still plenty of seeds to be sown...and half a grop left to save and harvest. I also added up the cost of the life blanket im crocheting the other day...a three year project in the making...it will likely be an $800 blanket by the time I have finished...but the journey has been sooo sweet....and i love it so much!Making anything slowly, with our own hands, with love...so worth it! Thanks for this post Kate! tc, x

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  2. Knitting makes no sense at all! It's expensive, time-consuming, and you often don't know if it will look good till you've spent weeks/months/years working on it. Ridiculous proposition! BUT I JUST CAN'T STOP!

    Your beanies are gorgeous. I knit nothing but hats these days. (Knitting hats to sell is an even more ridiculous proposition but let's not go there... ;) ) Have a lovely week x

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  3. Love the beanies. There is nothing better than your children or someone you love wearing and loving something you've knitted from them. It's the best. I know that's why I do it.

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  4. I had the same thoughts on sewing the other day looking through a catalogue at winter wool coats , detailed , lined and $ 150 each- mass produced somewhere with cheap labour - I thought about how long it would take me to make one and the effort - then I put the catalogue in the recycling and made a mental note to try ( again! ) to get off their mailing list. I make things for love not money. Beautiful beanies on your girls, look forward to see what stripped garment you make with the lovely grey wools.

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  5. Hola! Estan muy guapas tus niñas con los preciosos gorros. Es verdad que en la sociedad que vivimos hay de todo y muchas veces lo que viene de la otra parte del mundo es más barato.Pero si nos ponemos a pensar es muchisimo más caro a muchos niveles, contaminamos nuestro planeta con el transporte, hay explotación en la mano de obra y muchas veces explotación infantil, se utilizan productos artificiales llenos de quimica... La verdad no tienen amor ni alma estos productos...Detras de algo hecho por uno mismo puede haber mucho amor , conciencia de cara a nuestra Madre Tierra,ilusión,...Este mundo poco a poco va cambiando y me alegro tanto de leer tu blog , adelante!!! es muy ,muy valioso lo que haceis en el día a día . Un cariñoso saludo desde España.

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    1. Hello! They are very beautiful your beautiful girls with hats. It is true that in the society we live there is everything and sometimes what comes from the other side of the world is more barato.Pero if we think it is a lot more expensive on many levels, we pollute our planet with transportation, no exploitation in labor and child exploitation often are used filled artificial chemical products ... The truth does not have love no soul Behind these products ... something made by yourself can be a lot of love, awareness of our Mother Earth face, illusion, ... This world is slowly changing and I'm so glad to read your blog, go ahead! is very, very valuable what you do from day to day. Warm greetings from Spain.

      (I google translated you Karmen - thanks for your thoughtful and kind comment.

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  6. Can't even compare something you made with love for someone you love to anything else on earth. It's hard to stay true to handmade homegrown do it yourself, when so much of the world is telling you not too. But worth it. X

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  7. Thankyou! I wonder the same all the time. (Especially since I don't have a lot of free time at the moment!) I may have *cough* purchased a knitted jumper yesterday... commercially... cheaply.. yes, I'm feeling the weight of guilt (materials, cheap labour, etc).
    I think it must be about the journey. It the enjoyment (and frustration!) of making something yourself, with your hands.
    While those beanies are gorgeous, those models are even more so! I really need to start a beanie for my growing boy, REALLY need to learn to knit in the round, maybe in the mid-semester break. Please keep knitting!! I need your inspiration!! :)
    Lauren
    :)
    X

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  8. What beautiful hats! After this comment I am going to Ravelry to search chunky shawl patterns you really have me wanting one and it is spring here. I think homemade everything is better though when I am tired or rushed I am totally tempted to buy something whether it is a present or a pie to take to a party. Sometimes I give in to temptation and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But I am usually glad when I do take the time to make it myself. I am going to a baby shower at the end of the end of the month and was considering buying something but you just convinced me to make it. Since it is spring here I am not knitting hats but have a summer sweater for my daughter on my needles.

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  9. Hi Kate - beautiful girls and beautiful beanies!!! Am not sure if this pattern would be helpful to you for the shawl/wrap thing but I made one last year and it's scrummy! Nothing like homemade rather than shop bought I always say! Have a look and see what you think.... http://www.allaboutyou.com/knitting-patterns/knits-for-women/knit-a-cabled-loop-wrap-free-pattern-56465
    xxx

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  10. I struggle with this often too but in the end, the good quality handmade items last and I love the love that they represent!
    Jana @ 333 Days of Hand Lettering

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  11. Ah, the endless question. I wobble and waver and do a bit of both. Lots of handmade but a sometimes a bit of bought too. And, you're right - the sweet satisfaction of doing it yourself is wonderful. Plus, less is more and all that.

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  12. Wow, how pretty the model and the beeanies:-) Have a great week ahead, Inge

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  13. Hi, It's a difficult one isn't it. But I like to think that the satisfaction of seeing your loved ones wearing something you have made yourself outweighs the amount of time aqnd money spent making things ? The beanies look great I will be having a look at those patterns. I am almost finished the Granny's favourite cardigan that you made for your daughter, just the sleeves to go, seems to have taken me ages, but it looks fab and can't wait to see it worn. Keep going with all your thinhs handmade, they are gorgeous. Maria

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  14. I fill my life with exactly the same pursuits as you but my girls just love that I make them things, cook them different dinners, ask them to try chutney any other child would not even look at and also have the same sense of satisfaction that you have when someone askes me 'Where the hell did you get a green cardigan for a girl?' I knit it myself I say smugly! Love your blog and am a new subscriber with a trailer tent to revamp. Jo x

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/

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  15. Thank you for this post. I have those same feelings all the time - why am I even doing this when it's so much cheaper to just buy it? But I come to the same conclusion that you do - I love it. That's why I do it. And because I think there's something important about being connected to your own consumption - about knowing where the things come from that you eat and wear.

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  16. I haven't knit in ages for that reason, but it really is so much more special than store bought acrylic stuff those things as you rightly pointed out don't contain love.

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  17. I knit, sew, bake, garden and make do for precisely the reason you said - the feeling is priceless. I hate the thought of spending money on cheaply produced, transported products. I would much rather know that, even though I may have spent hours planting, weeding, knitting etc it was all my own work and by my efforts my family are warm and fed. Keep doing what you are doing.

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  18. Beautiful post Kate! I appreciate 'slow' for being mindful & fulfilling, while the cheap or easy options are often mindless and far less appreciated. :)

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  20. I recently had my first baby and I have unearthed many of the things my Mum made when I was born, including a beautiful patchwork blanket that my son loves. I feel such a connection to Mum every time I see the blanket. When I was pregnant I commuted to Melbourne for work, and I spent a lot of the train ride knitting - it was like having a conversation with my son before he was born. My knitting is pretty wonky and most of it looks a bit weird but it has a quality that cannot be bought. I'm sure your family treasures your hand made pieces more than anything you could buy in a store.

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  21. It's very disheartening to see those cheaper imported versions in stores, but I'm certain the quality is not there and I completely agree with you, you can't buy the love Kate. I had my cowls and neck warmers in a local store a while ago, but of course they didn't sell when they were double (at minimum) the price than the imported ones. So now I make them for the love of it, for the people I love and for those who I know appreciate the time and the thought that goes into them. Your girls and their beanies are gorgeous, by the way..x

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  22. Nothing beats handmaded, and the satisfaction of making is priceless!
    I think the time is coming too when we count the cost of cheap third world labour, I've just signed this petition recently which asks local chains to sign on to an agreement about working conditions in Bangladesh:
    https://www.change.org/petitions/woolworths-and-big-w-sign-on-to-the-bangladesh-fire-and-building-safety-agreement?alert_id=eJeantPmnT_tIfEAmvNEv&utm_campaign=24516&utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

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  23. love the colours of the beanies! i cast on the very same one (with ear flaps of course!) last week for my little ones birthday next week. its slow going, but i love that she will have a mama-made gift just for her. i too have felt that way though, especially since we moved out to a farm a few months ago, but then i remind myself that knowing we made/grew/preserved/loved it, is priceless.

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  24. Kate please make for yourself a shawl with big cable knit. You need to.
    It will be beautiful, it will keep you warm, and the several weeks it will take you to make it, will be more than worth it. Then in turn, you'll sit in a cafe with it on, someone will admire it on you from behind and ask whether you made it. With a huge proud smile you can say YES...I made it.

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  25. The beanies look awesome Kate. Why buy one when you can knit it yourself and get the satisfaction of knowing you made something so fantastic all by yourself, and for others to admire too and wear with pride. I love that we can knit things for our family and keep them warm and wrapped with love. I cant wait to see what the stripes will be.

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  26. I have frequent crisis thoughts actually, both with knitting and with sewing. I enjoy doing it, but I know that I could buy some of the tops I make much cheaper at Target. However wearing the scarf that I knitted during practices and games over my son's entire junior cricket season (something you'll probably avoid since you have girls) out of this lovely cotton/soy yarn make me feel really rather happy :-)

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  27. It is a bit sad isn't it? The joy of having a mum who knits beanies with love is lit up on all your girls' faces though...that makes it worthwhile! (by the way..I'll be Granma to baby Kai and the mr. will be Grumpy...sorry, that will be Gramps..hehe)

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  28. Beautiful knitting, children and autumn colour as always Kate. We try to choose the slow option, mostly. It is hard work at times but always more rewarding.

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  29. You could "save time" and buy the crappy one but what will you do with all the time you "save"? Go shopping for more crap? Watch TV all day? Knit a beautiful scarf?! Keep knitting, you rock at it!

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  30. Clever clogs you! Lovely! About to sit and begin a beanie (crochet) with some beautiful alpaca yarn for an old school friend, rediscovered via FB (I know priceless only on FB) he is still at heart the silly funny boy who sat on the other side of the aisle in English all those years ago. For all those laughs then and now, he deserves a bit of homemade handmade

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  31. Sometimes it is disheartening that slow and more challenging ='s more expensive; but the love and heart put into making something of quality, with love is sooo worth it xx

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  32. I think it's the act of creation that is most satisfying of all...

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  33. I have to confess to becoming a yarn snob. I spin my own wool and the joy I get from wearing garments I have spun and knitted myself is worth the labour of love. You just can't get the same smoosh factor from shop-bought yarn. Not only that...knitting is cheaper than therapy. Knit on and be happy!

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  34. Thanks for this post Kate. I have been thinking about this lately as my husband and I make decisions about where we want to live, and HOW we want to live. This post has made me think a lot, and I've written a big list of things that are important to me (eating slow food, etc. are the types of things on this list), and now we just need to make compromises on what each other thinks/wants!

    You're very blessed that your husband and you are both on the same page! Are you equally as passionate? Did you both discover this style of living at the same time, or were you both like this when you met? Or did it just evolve over time?

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  35. Oh Kate...you had me worried there for a moment...I thought you bought that shawl...so glad to see that lovely pile of yarn...ready for a project! Oh how I wish we were neighbours! I'm sure we'd talk each other out of such nonsense of buying cheaper, inferior and huge carbon mile products. We make because handmade is so much better......but like you, I do it because I love it, and cherish what I have made. I make things for special friends and their appreciation that I took time and thought about what they would like is the real reward. Sometimes it's not cost effective, but it sure is mind effective. Such an inspiring written post...thanks xx

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  38. You have to remember that you knit as a hobby, and not for the end product. I make a lot of blankets, and there's not really any point since you can buy a nice one for £20, but then I remember I do it because I like crochet and I like sewing. The blanket is really irrelevant in this process!

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  39. Beautiful knits! For me is is always about the process of knitting. Most everything we knit/crochet can be purchased cheaper, but it's not the same.

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  40. You've inspired me to knit, I have plenty of time when I'm on night shift (just waiting for something to go wrong) So yesterday I purchased Paton's learn to knit, 4 balls of yarn & some needles. I've just finished casting on 20 stitches. Big Smiles

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  41. You've inspired me to knit, I have plenty of time when I'm on night shift (just waiting for something to go wrong) So yesterday I purchased Paton's learn to knit, 4 balls of yarn & some needles. I've just finished casting on 20 stitches. Big Smiles

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  42. My first knitted sweater was a replica of a Prada runway sweater. It was gorgeous, baby-blue, with cables all over. I had to have it! It cost about 600 euros, and although I had never knitted a sweater before, I decided to make it myself. The wool and needles were about 70 euros in total, and after one and a half years, I finally finished it :) I was so happy! Why am I telling you this? Because you feel much better copying something from a famous designer, rather than from a chain store. Think about the price that designers charge for their items, and that your own finished sweater/hat/scarf will be worth so much more :)
    curious about my sweater? Take a look ^^ http://creacarmen.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/finally/

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  43. I knit...for me... sew quilts..for special people...Hubby suggests selling custom quilts... many people are totally happy with a cheap quilt of cheap fabric and cheap labor. They are happy with tasteless food and cheaply knit items. Happy with bread that never gets moldy. I think perhaps I'm picky. I want food with flavor...I want flannel PJ's that are long enough for my long legs. I want food cooked with the ingredients that I like. I want knits that I made. I love answering the 'where did you get it?' questions with "I made it" or "I grew it". It's just better. And sewing and knitting is therapy. It is calming and productive...and it's good for your health...I'm more relaxed and eat less when I'm crafting. Keep on. You know good stuff. So do other people. They might not tell you, but most people wish they could do the stuff we can do...

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  45. I love their beanies :) My kids have so many handknits hats it's ridiculous. But, comes with the territory of what I do I suppose.
    Anyway... I knit for the pleasure of it, for knowing that I'm doing something useful, something generations before me have done, for the feel of the yarn in my hands, to slow down, to connect.. and so on and so on. I say go ahead and try to recreate that cheap acrylic shawl from some gorgeous yarn - it will be all the most lovely for quality "ingredients" and for being made with your own hands.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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