Thursday, December 3, 2009

Onward, Christmas Sweatshop

Crochet may be healthier for me than some of my other vices, but I don't think it's any cheaper.

There's a lot of free patterns out there, so unless it's something I really like (the amigurumi patterns I've bought), something on some ridiculous sale (90% hilarious dog stuff), or something I absolutely can't find a free equivalent for (the cat bed I'm going to actually make one of these days), the instructions don't cost me a thing.

The problem is that some of the patterns take some exorbitant amount of yarn.  I thought doing a felted yoga mat tote for either myself or a present, and the stupid thing takes 7 balls of yarn.  $5.99/ball if you get the stuff listed in the pattern, $3.49/ball if you get Wool-Ease.

This reminds me that I don't know if Wool-Ease actually felts.  As an idiot, I would assume that everything made of wool will felt if you just stick it in the dryer enough times, but the internet is starting to make me wonder about this.  So maybe Wool-Ease is out.  You could probably shop around, use some coupons, and wait for a sale, but this is still a $30-$40 yoga mat tote before you've even made the stupid thing.

I know it's probably supposed to be about lovingly making something with my own two hands, but what's the point of spending $30 and several hours to loving make a sweater that's probably not going to fit well?  If you time it right, you can get two nice looking sweaters for that price and you don't have to worry about hurting some poor exploited sweatshop worker's feelings.

Now, I'll admit that three balls of cotton yarn for a reusable shopping bag is potentially ridiculous.  You can buy reusable bags will filled in sides and everything at the grocery store for a dollar, and I can see how it would defeat the purpose to buy new stuff to make your eco-bags (instead of reusing all the crappy old Woolworth's yarn one finds in the attic, for example.).

But Lily is way off about this "three balls" nonsense, even when you make the base a little bit bigger, go up a few hook sizes, and completely ignore their handle instructions.  And it's a bag, so you can use it for other stuff to, and you can make it in colors someone would actually like (as opposed to Kroger Blue and Ukrop's Green).

Felted pot holders, on the other hand, seem to be approaching a sweet scam.  Not that I actually know how much pot holders cost, but one $6 skein of wool has made two felted pot holders and part of a scarf.  I'm cautiously optimistic that I have enough yarn left to make the entire scarf--if my One Skein Scarf pattern uses a 50g skein and I'm using a 100g - 2 pot holders, that should be enough for a scarf, right?

Potholderfest continues tomorrow.  I've got a full day of substituting and since it's just "sc across until it looks about the right size", it's easy to put down and pick up again if I need to deal with students.  (My substitute teaching philosophy is very simple: arts and crafts.)

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