“Why is yarn so expensive?” I ask my mum rhetorically over the phone. “Oh I know” comes the response. Debbie Bliss yarn is mentioned. I needed DB Como for a crochet blanket I’m making -£10 a ball , my mum had bought DB Cashmerino, I’m guessing £5-£7 a ball, for a hooded jacket she knitted for my nephew when he was a toddler. Mum: “I don’t think they ever put him in the jacket. I wish I’d kept the yarn for myself”.
We’re both on tight budgets. Indeed, I write this now mainly because I’m putting off paying the council tax for another hour or so. I was paid yesterday and I want my hard-earned money to rest in my bank account for just a short while before I send it to be spent on councillors’ biscuit supply or to fill a pothole. As a fairly recent newcomer to crocheting and buying yarn, I took off my training wheels and decided on a project from a book, that being the blanket mentioned in the previous post. Excitedly I head to the website with the intention of buying all the yarn I need to make it. Add it all to the basket, and £200 is the total. A whole third of a month’s wages for me. I’ll have to do it in stages. How many squares can one person crochet in a month anyway? I reassuringly ask myself. Still, this is my first big project for my new-found hobby, I will bite the bullet and buy the suggested yarn because I want it to be just how it looks in the book. I buy 5 balls of Rooster Almerino DK per month for a few months and eventually I got there. I made it for my family, for my home, but ultimatelyl I made it for myself and not being one for expensive clothes or shoes and seeing as I don’t wear jewellery, I don’t own a car, drink or eat out, I do have my hobby and I wanted nice yarn to make a beautiful blanket that I hope will be in the hands of my grandchildren one day. If I were making for someone else, I don’t think I’d have been as finikity about it.
The thing is, when you’re new to the world of yarn buying, you haven’t the confidence to break rank, trust your knowledge of weight and colour in order to break rank and buy a cheaper option. You want it to look just like the pictures, to feel as soft as you imagine and last forever. All are qualities you’re not entirely sure cheaper, usually synthetic, varieties of yarn will supply. Then comes the day when your hand is forced. The Debbie Bliss Como mentioned above is discontinued the peril of owning pattern books. I research it and find it to be a superchunky, blissfully soft blend which also has a tendency to disintegrate over time. Whether that last part is true or not, I feel rewarded for not desperately searching for stash sales. I need 22 balls of the stuff! My knowledge is limited, but as with most things in life, when you’re limited, start with what you do know.
The DB Como is 50g a ball and superchunky. Online shopping, for all it’s great points, has its limitations. Pictures can’t tell me how it feels. So I search out local yarn shops and find one I never would have discovered otherwise. In it I find a yarn that I think will make a fine substitute. It’s not the same, and is what I would call ‘hairy’ yarn. I buy one ball for £3.15 as a tester, go home make the first bit of the pattern and while it doesn’t of course look exactly like the pictures, it looks close enough for my liking, and I even prefer it. It looks more rustic (translation; messy, far from perfect). In the book the DB Como blanket is draped over a huge pristine cushioned coffee table/giant footstool in equally immaculate neutral surrounding. If I were photographing my version for a book it would look more at home in a little room with mismatched, tea stained furniture, sagging misshapen cushions, scuffed coffee table and with cat fur on every possible surface. Which is just as well because that is exactly where this blanket is going to find itself.
I guess I’ll go pay the council tax now. I know I can’t get through the day without a chocolate digestive. Oh wait. Yes, I can.
I hate you local council.