Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I started on a baby afghan after we got back from Puerto Rico in March.  I was a little over half way done when I realized that I'd been adding extra stitches somehow.  There was a huge shift on the one edge and it caused the baubles to be irregular instead of in straight rows.  I saw no way to fix it but to start over again.  I might have been able to pull it out but I would have had to pull out about 2/3's of what I'd completed so I decided it would be easier to just restart it.  Depressing to say the least.  This is the first time I've done Tunisian crochet so my beginning rows were not the prettiest making the decision to totally start over easier.  Tunisian crochet is similar to regular crochet except the hook is the size of a large knitting needle and you pick up stitches from an entire row to work similar to knitting.  I'm a perfectionist so I couldn't leave it even though there's a possibility nobody would have noticed - I knew about it.  Here's a picture of what it looked like. I've been working on it for just over a week and have made considerable progress and I'm really glad I did restart it because it looks so much better.

It's hard to justify working on craft projects like this when one is broke but there are several ways to handle it financially and there are health reasons to so.  I'll start with health - knitting and crocheting product the same relaxing effect to the brain that yoga does. What that means is that 30 minutes of knitting/crocheting provides the same relaxing benefits to the brain as 30 minutes of yoga would.  (You should still do your yoga too for the physical benefits.) This is very important for someone that is stressed for any reason.  For those who already have high blood pressure or other issues it can help by relaxing the person to prevent higher spikes in blood pressure. I'm also the type of person that does best when I have something in my hands to work on - it just relaxes me more then sitting doing nothing. 

Yes knitting and crocheting, or other crafts, can be expensive.   One should probably not be buying $50/skein yarn if one is unemployed or having problems financially unless you know you can absolutely sell it.  If you want to make a gift use cheaper yarn then you ordinarily would.  When I'm strapped for cash I buy crafting items at Walmart's or with coupons at Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics.  Sometimes Dollar Tree and similar types of stores have cheap crafting items.  I've also seen yarn at Salvation Army, Goodwill, Craigslist's free section and yard sales. 

Recent finds were an unopened cross stitch kit at a yard sale last weekend for 25c and it came with a pre-cut matching framing mat!  I was also able to pick up 8 spools of thread for crocheting that I use for tatting for $2.  Typically a spool would run about $3 or more.  Today I picked up several yards of netting to use to make pot scrubbers with some cotton yarn that I already have on hand - cost was $1.25 which is about what I would have paid for just one yard.  You could buy various yarns over a period of time at yard sales and thrift stores and then plan a project around what you were able to accumulate.  Granny squares or scrap projects are great for a variety of yarns and colors.  

I started the afghan before I lost my job otherwise I might not have started it.  I do have yarn that I could have used for some type of scrap yarn project instead to keep myself busy.  I wasn't sure how much yarn this afghan project would take so I bought 3 skeins of yarn that were less than $4/skein and then bought another 3 skeins a couple weeks later when I knew I'd need more.  This works because I bought yarn that was from a name brand and they have standard dye lots so if you have to buy more later there won't be a noticeable difference in the color - don't wait years though because dyes are deleted, yarns fade, and dyes are reformulated so it won't be as easy to find a match.  If need be buy a skein a paycheck or per month until the project is finished.  Another option is to put money away on a regular basis until you have enough to buy all the crafting items needed at one time. For states that have bottle deposits/returns you could use any money you get back that way or use the money saved with coupons to save for supplies.

Be extremely careful about buying crafting items with the idea you'll sell them to make money.  I've seen way to many people do this and never sell anything then ending up in more financial problems because of the money they'd spent.  If you want to venture into selling crafts of any type start small and as money starts to come in then increase.  Also consider the size of the project and the pattern.  This particular afghan is made with baubles (repeated stitches made in the same stitch) so it uses a lot more yarn then a basic pattern.  This might have only been a 4 skein yarn project if I'd used a more basic pattern. 

Personally if I were desperate for an influx of cash I would attempt to sell some of my soaps and possibly make more if I could afford to order supplies.  Another option is my stash of beeswax that I could use to make candles with or simply resell the wax.  Candles would bring more profit obviously.  I haven't had much luck selling dish clothes.  Although people like them they don't want to pay for them.  Scarves in the winter would be a good option - unfortunately we're heading for the summer season so they wouldn't sell well right now.  Mittens are a good option.  I know several people that re-purpose sweaters and fleece items into mittens.  People love homemade socks but for me they aren't cost effective due to taking so much time to make them and the cost of the yarn.  In the summer consider selling herbs and vegetables surplus.

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