Knitting Creatively On A Budget

Times are tough. No denying that. But we knit for joy, and anything done for joy is worth finding a way to do, no matter what the challenges. The more joy, the more solace, the more calm we can bring to this crazy world, the better.

So what are some ways to find that creative joy on a budget?

I've been using the Just One Skein strategy lately. When I feel a yarn jones coming on, I go on a treasure hunt at my LYS and purchase Just One Special Skein–after all, a single skein at the local yarn shop often costs less than ordering out for pizza. (It's about priorities: Pizza? or yarn? No contest there.)

This strategy works better than trying to deny myself "yarn fixes" completely (as any dieter knows all too well), and it also helps support my local yarn shop so they can stay afloat. I stay within my budget; I get some pretty new yarn; and my local knitting shop that gives me so much joy throughout the year benefits too! It's all good, both for me and for my community.

But how do you make the most of these small yarnly pleasures?


What do you make with a single skein of yarn? Here are some ideas:

Knitted cuffs: Plain ribbed ones keep your wrists warm and flexible; add a bit of lace to the edges that will peek out from under your coat, and you have just given your wardrobe an inexpensive upgrade!

Colorful hat: Right now I'm knitting a bright pink/purple hat out of a single skein of bulky yarn. 60 sts around on size 11 needles, 30-40 rounds, and presto! A quick bit of warm and color to brighten up my snow apparel.

iPod case: Knit several out of a single skein, and you have gifts for your friends. Personalize with buttons from your button box, or special beads in your stash.

Neckwarmer: Sometimes scarves aren't exactly what you want–neckwarmers, a simple knitted tube that acts like the neck of a turtleneck sweater, are fast, simple, and make great gifts.

And, of course: Baby clothes! The little bolero you see in the photos here is one I made for a friend's baby last year out of one skein of really nice organic cotton.



One Skein
A great book of quick patterns using a single skein of pretty yarn

There are books on my shelf that I keep going back to over and over–and this book, One Skein by Leigh Radford, is one of them. I've knit baby gifts, housewarming gifts, and birthday gifts from the patterns in its pages. Need a neckwarmer pattern that a guy would wear? It's in here. Want that cute Baby Bolero pictured above? Take a look at page 60. And if nothing else will do but a couple of knitted cupcakes, they're in here too!  And when I need inspiration for those special single skeins of yarn, this book has ideas aplenty.

Look for One Skein by Leigh Radford at your local yarn shop, or purchase it online from us.




Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I started and finished the a one-skein hat mentioned above this weekend. Nothing better than a quick project out of a great yarn to make me feel ready to go back and tackle a few of my other, longer-term projects with fresh energy.


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