Beauty + thrift = knitting win

3 Feb

As a teacher of 11 – 18 year olds I spend a lot of time trying to teach young people to be less trusting of the media and to question ‘who is telling [you] this and why?’ And ‘what’s in it for them?’. But in reality, as a self taught crafter, I throw myself on the mercy of the internet and, really, do you ever genuinely know the provenance of the information? Just because a blog has a million followers doesn’t mean it is credible; collective stupidity is still stupidity. This is a noble idea, if only I were able to carry it out. I still end up thinking I need every type of sewing related merchandise vaguely mentioned on the internet. It’s part of the self-inflicted emotional blackmail so many of us endure, as blogged about by Sarai at Colleterie and Tasia at Sewaholic. If I buy all this stuff will it really make me happy? Or my creations so much better? I often long for a Common Sense Crafting Guru to turn to so they could say “nobody buys xxx, you use [insert cheap household item here]” to cut through all this rubbish.

I began knitting in August just as my husband had placed a spending embargo on crafting so I wasn’t allowed to buy any accessories, he had a point, fabric tourism was out of control. I confidently reassured him that knitting was a refreshingly simple craft and I wouldn’t need hundreds of notions and expensive machines. I resisted everything bar basic needles and wool but an awful lot of the online knitting tutorials referred to ‘stitch markers’. I googled this and found lots of these utilitarian little plastic things:


Now my inner cynic spotted this straight away – did women in Medieval England sit around knitting with plastic stitch markers? No.

For visual learners:


A little research told me you could make stitch markers out of little tied circles of different coloured yarn. Ha – thrift – love it! So I was happy with my little yarn circles, perhaps a little smug, until I found an online video where the teacher used something like THIS:


I mean how beautiful are these things!? It is like jewellery for knitting! How did I miss these gorgeous babies!? Clearly ‘he had a point’ was history as I secretly sidled to my nearest knitting shop (on my way home from work so Mr Frog didn’t catch me). I searched the shop but couldn’t find anything resembling even the plastic things. I enquired of the elderly Knitmeister Extraordinaire serving behind the counter. She looked at me rather sternly and said ‘no, they’re a waste of money. I don’t sell them. Just tie wool in little circles’. Hmm, well, it turns out I didn’t want a Common Sense Crafting Guru giving me advice after all. I actually want to fritter my money away on beautiful, yet pointless, pretty things instead. My search of the internet was fruitful yet unsatisfying; products were either more expensive to post than buy or were the price of actual jewellery. I made peace with the realisation I was not destined to have my knitting adorned with beauty. *sniff*

Then, quite unexpectedly, I was reading my sewing blogs – knitting ones scare me (apart from Roobeedoo who does a bit of both) and this tutorial came up:

I mean, surely this is fate!? I even have a few jewellery making bits lying around from when I got married so could make these from what I already have – beauty and thrift: take a bow!


They are far from perfect – my wire work needs some, well, work – but they are considerably prettier than their predecessors. They were also really fun to make as they were satisfying and quick. The tutorial looked a bit basic but it did exactly what it said on the tin and resulted in passable charms. Another bonus is this technique allows me to liberate some of the beautiful beads I’ve had lying around for years. Utter win! Thank you Portia!

Tell me what you think:
Are you often seduced in to buying from blogs and websites you visit only for information?
Have you ever resisted buying and then found a better solution either cheap or free?
Or do you consider capitulating to creative whimsies on the internet as much fun as making the finished item?

Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you


4 Responses to “Beauty + thrift = knitting win”

  1. sandy 04/02/2013 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m a knitter and I love your little stitch markers.. shame tho,
    I just bought the store kind.. but will keep this in mind.
    thanks for sharing

  2. V 06/02/2013 at 1:39 am #

    While I will happily fritter money away on fabric, I tend to be more frugal in my other supplies. Pattern weights is a prime example. I loved the idea of not having pins scattered about while I was cutting fabric. My small ones are still small enough that I just didn’t need that stress. Not to mention the unmentionable phrases uttered by the hubs if he happens to trod about a missed pin. At $15 for a package of 4 ugly weights, I knew there had to be a better way. I found it after researching a variety of options and a trip to the hardware store. That same $15 bought me not four weights, but 40 and used up a portion of stashed ribbon that happened to be taking up valuable crafting space. I may not get my needs addressed immediately, but the time and effort pay off eventually.

    • hannybobbins 06/02/2013 at 7:07 pm #

      Brilliant! I also get such a kick out of knowing I’ve not bought the mass produced product but have something unique and special, I guess that is why we all create. There are somethings, fabric I wuod agree with you, that it is worth splashing out the extra for. Sounds like you got a real bargain there! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog.


  1. Sew loving London | Hanny Bobbins - 09/08/2013

    […] gauge, some cable needles, point protectors and removable stitch markers.  I know, I know… I made my own stitch markers but having removable ones would be useful so I succumbed to these little […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: