Knitting: The Expensive Hobby

I was reading a discussion board recently where someone was complaining how expensive knitting was as a hobby, and quoted a price of $75 in materials for a sweater, saying that was really an expensive sweater.

Retail? Not really. At least, not for the good, well-constructed stuff of good materials. Hell, a Dale of Norway authentic Norwegian sweater costs over $300, and I have never spent anywhere close to that in materials for a garment I’ve made.

That being said, I’ve also never walked into a department store and dropped $75 on a sweater in my life!

So, is knitting an expensive hobby?

Certainly it can be. If you’re buying the Martian spidersilk yarn dyed with crushed rubies, yeah, it’s going to be expensive. Me? Wool of the Andes for many of my projects. Or even Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s wool for bulky projects. You’re still looking at way under $50 for most sweaters. Since I expect at least ten years of wear out of a sweater, I don’t feel like that’s really a poor investment.

And the perception that acrylics or acrylic blends are automatically cheaper is quite inaccurate. Wool-ease, a common alternative to 100% wool yarn , is actually a bit more expensive than my usual Wool of the Andes. In doing the math, Wool of the Andes is actually cheaper. $2.26/100 yards for Wool of the Andes v. $2.29/100 yards for the Wool Ease acrylic blend. That’s a no-brainer for me, who actually prefers to knit in 100% wool. A sweater for me runs around 1350 yards, so you’re looking at a little over $30 for a sweater.

Me? Since it takes me a bit over 40 hours to make a sweater, you’re looking at less than a dollar an hour for entertainment, and I get a garment that I can expect to last me into my mid-fifties that fits me better, is unique, and costs me less than I am likely to find in a department store.

For me, it’s worth it and then some. I assure you I drop many times the amount I spend on knitting materials for books, audiobooks and my Netflix account! You who have cable TV with its millions of channels? I bet your spend even more than I do on other forms of entertainment that do not give you anything tangible at the end.    


* I could count Internet with some legitimacy, but I don’t. It’s a necessary business expense.

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