Beth was asking me about knitting and how could I make myself things, isn't it cheaper just to buy them, how do I have time, wouldn't my time be better spent studying, etc. I may be in law school but its still hard to argue with someone who's feeling the effects of multiple champagne cocktails. This discussion bothered me. Yes I may spend more money on yarn for a sweater than I would on a sweater that I buy at the mall, but I still consider the yarn to be a better investment. There are a couple of reasons for this, and I just want to lay them out for all those naysayers out there.
1. Better Quality
Comparing a hand knit item to something you buy at Marshalls is like comparing apples and oranges. They're both knits but they are in entirely different categories. The clothing that I buy is no where as nice as what I make. That sweater from Ann Taylor Loft may have cost only $30 but its not 100% wool. At best its a wool synthetic blend and it was probably made in a sweatshop in Thailand.
The proper comparison to make would be items from upscale brands that are made of natural fibers. A sweater from Banana Republic can easily cost $100, but I can make a very similar sweater out of wool or another natural fiber for half that. To me this is frugal because it can save money to have nice clothes that will last a long time rather than having to replace them every year. And I know that my sweater wasn't made by exploiting people as an added bonus.
2. Better Gifts
We all know someone that is really hard to shop for. One such person would be my brother. He has everything, and what he wants I generally cannot afford. So to spare my wallet and still give my brother something nice I like to knit gifts for him. Knitting gifts is time consuming and its best to make sure you're giving to someone who will appreciate your work. But with proper planning you can give that hard to shop for person a special gift for under $25. For my brother I tend to go with socks, a nice skein of superwash yarn costs me $20 and my brother has warm feet for the winter. It's win-win.
3. Income Potential
Most people don't use their knitting skills to make income, but it is possible. There are many knitter who design and sell patterns and other who sell their work on sites like etsy. I realize that doing these things will not make me or most other knitters rich, but it could help offset the cost of yarn and needles. And it's good to remind those "Beths" out there that knitting is a skill that has money making potential.
This is the most important one as far as I'm concerned. I'll concede that it is significantly less time consuming to buy a sweater than to make one, and maybe I would have done better in my Business Organizations class if I didn't knit during it. But the time commitment is really not an issue for me because I enjoy knitting. Its relaxing and gives me something to do with my hands when I'm feeling fidgety. I honestly do not think that I would work or study more if I gave up knitting. No one can study all the time but at least when I'm knitting I'm being productive. I'm making something useful rather than bumming around the Internet watching videos on youtube. And being productive even in this small way and the enjoyment knitting brings makes it a worthwhile use of time and money.