Is Yarn Spending One of Your Life Priorities?

Have you ever tallied up your yarn spending? Are you scared to? While doing some personal-finance housekeeping recently, I tried to estimate my hobby expenses for the past several months. I realized that I’d done all my yarn shopping in one big burst—at Yarn Fest—while my camping/hiking expenses have been steady since the snow started melting in the spring. (Knitting and outdoor stuff are my main hobbies).

This woman spends $1400 a year on knitting. How do you compare?

I was curious about the spending habits of other yarnies, so I reached out to a “regular knitter” from my network (regular meaning someone who isn’t employed in the yarn industry). Joan (name changed for privacy) from Southern California is a passionate knitter and she has a thing for yarn and knitting supplies. And fiber festivals. She estimates she spent about $1400 in 2016 on yarn, patterns, tool, and trips to events, and she shows no sign of slowing down!

In TNNA’s 2016 research on the spending habits of knitters, surveys showed that the average respondent spent $835 annually (in 2015) on yarn and fiber supplies. This figure does not capture spending on classes and events, which are a big part of the knit life for many folks—events such as Interweave Escapes. How do you compare to the $835 number? How about to Joan’s?

Coastal Walk Shawl

What is Joan knitting right now? The Coastal Walk Shawl by Joji Locatelli (available on Ravelry) in Oink Pigments DK in the “Doom, Pigs, and Tacos” colorway. OKAY I SEE WHY SHE HAD TO BUY IT.

What is “normal” yarn spending?

I would say that Joan’s yarn spending is pretty normal—about $300 a year—but I was fascinated when she told me she spends $450 a year on patterns. She said this is a regular expense for her; she spends about $40 a month on new knitting patterns. I spent about $200 on yarn and supplies at Yarn Fest back in March (read about my yarn splurge here), and otherwise have been working with stash so far this year. That’s pretty normal for me; I’m a sweater knitter and only work on one project at a time. So I buy one big batch of yarn and then nothing again for a while. And I have a lil stash to work down, as it is.

One of the interesting things about yarn shoppers is WHY they buy. Joan says 90% of her purchases are impulsive and inspired by color or design, and that she buys yarn without a pattern in mind as often as the other way around. Deb Gerish, one of our editors at Interweave and A PROLIFIC KNITTER only buys yarn with a project in mind. In fact, she keeps a very organized queue on Ravelry and steadily works through it, purchasing yarn and making the projects. She keeps the queue in mind and watches sales and when the right yarn is marked down, she buys it and moves the project from queue to WIP. She also spins her own yarn, which helps keep her needles moving!

Do impulse buys define your yarn habit?

How and when do you buy yarn? Is it impulsive—you see a gorgeous skein at a shop and have to have it? Do you fall in love with a pattern first, then find the yarn for it online? Do you shop regularly throughout the year, or in bursts like me? What’s the most you’ve ever spent on one project? My biggest spend yet was around $270 for a coat’s worth of U.S.-raised and spun Columbia wool. I’ve started TWO PROJECTS with that yarn and I keep abandoning them because…the yarn is so precious, nothing seems good enough for it. That makes me sad, now that I think about it. Joan said her most pricey project ran about $80; Deb says $200 for her.

If you’re a savvy yarn shopper and like a good deal, we do have a lot of yarn on sale right now; check out the options here. Including Madelinetosh. Hurry up before Deb orders it all.

madeline tosh

Who’s keeping track anyway?
—Lisa


Yarn to Crave

 

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