I enjoy working on a number of different craft projects, including knitting, crochet, cross stitch, tapestry and rug making. But I have to say that it can become quite an expensive pastime if you’re not careful. Ever the thrifty bargain-hunter, I endeavour to enjoy my hobbies on a budget.
In the past, it seemed that knitting garments was a cheap way to kit out the family. My mum knitted me many a cardigan when I was small, which I imagine she did quite cheaply as we operated on a tight budget. Many people used to unpick unwanted knitted garments and use the resulting wool to make new ones, which was a good way of recycling too.
Today wool can be very expensive. I recently spotted a pattern for a lovely jumper that I quite fancied knitting. However, I soon changed my mind when I realised that I needed 600g of the specified wool costing almost £7 per 100g. I could have bought several ready made jumpers at that price! OK, I wouldn’t have had the enjoyment of making them, but I need my hobbies to be cost-effective.
I often stock up on wool when I see a special offer or sale, and for some basic makes wool from Wilkinson or The Works is adequate, though not good enough for a supersoft jumper. I often make small items such as gloves and scarves from odd bits of wool that I have left over. But I really can’t get enthusiastic about some of the more twee knitting projects that I see – what would I do with a collection of knitted cupcakes anyway?
Knitting patterns too can prove a large expense, which is why I tend to buy the occasional knitting magazine. For around £5 I get a number of knitting patterns and often a knitting accessory or a couple of small balls of wool included in the price.
Many other crafts were traditionally used as a cheap way to make things for the home. Think rag rugs, hand embroidered table linen, colourful samplers and a host of sewing projects run up on the trusted ‘Singer’. Now many crafts have become big business, with shops such as Hobbycraft (too over-priced for my liking) cashing in on the trend.
I love cross stitch, but once again the kits can be very costly – even the price of separate aida fabric and threads can add up. I’ve discovered a good trick is to buy the cheap kits from the ‘bargain bins’ regardless of whether you like the design. I recently bought a few kits at just a couple of pounds each, some from a local craft shop and some from The Works, resulting in enough materials to make plenty of cross stitch cards over the coming year and maybe a small picture too. To get inspiration for the designs I buy Cross Stitch Magazines from time to time, so that I always have a suitable project to work on.
To my mind, although I largely work on craft projects for the enjoyment, I also need them to be value for money, so that I can gain pleasure from them without breaking the bank.
Follow me on Twitter @shoppersjoy