Monday, January 11, 2010

Topic jumble.

First off, Nicole asked me if spinning saves money. I'm afraid I have to give that really annoying answer, "It depends." and add on "Sorta."

Here, I give you Exhibit A.

About 350 yards/what, 360 meters? of triple-ply merino sock yarn. I dyed and spun it myself. Technically, it cost five bucks. However, I've got about fifty hours in it, and haven't cast on a stitch. So for savings, you're talking about doubling the time it takes to produce a project (very roughly). In terms of reimbursement for my time, I'd sell this for about $40, $45 USD. And we're back to it being more expensive than machine-made.

If you have a lot of time, or like me, spin for relaxation/fun/physical therapy, then the skill level and time aren't an issue, and it's all good. If you DON'T have a lot of time, overall, it will be cheaper to just buy your yarn.

This also has to do with skill set and yarn produced. The more complicated the yarn, the longer it takes to spin, and (usually) the more skill needed. For most smooth (I think of them as normal, heh) yarns, skill level is fairly low and time invested isn't too bad, unless you're talking about craziness like twelve-ply or super-bulky. For more complex yarns like beads, feathers, furs, supercoils, or boucle, you're talking about so much money spent on materials, and so much time spent on perfecting technique and then using it, commercially made yarns might be cheaper. (If commercially yarns are possible; some of those can only be made by hand spinners.)

I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a straight answer in the fiber arts. The more I do, the more I think that.


On the spinning front, meet the most ridiculous thing I've ever spun.

This is old-school, traditional brown Shetland wool spun with multi-colored Angelina fiber. (Angelina = glitter/tinsel. Can you see the sparkle?) This is from that spinning class I took back in October. It had been sitting on the bobbin all this time, and I finally did a navajo ply and wound it off, to free up the bobbin. The fancy/modern meets the utilitarian/traditional. I'm already plotting a purchase of more Angelina and Shetland wool. Maybe enough for a sweater for the Goob. I'm sick.


Roxie asked what the zippers are for, on the backs of yesterday's gloves. They're vents; they open up to an inch-wide swath of nylon (probably nylon) netting over the inner liner. For when my hands get too hot. Bwah. And yes, while I didn't buy the gloves for the squeegee, and I will never use it, I think it's totally cool.


Now that I'm not doing mittens, I have another nefarious purpose for the lavender yarn - fingerless mitts. Sorta. I need something to keep my hand and wrist warm in this weather, even inside. Everything I've tried commercially restricts my range of motion, which is super bad with my problem. So I'm gonna just knit myself something. I'm planning to modify a sock pattern, but if I wind up losing my mind and designing my own, I'll make the pattern available for everyone.


On the health issue, I fired my pain management specialist this morning, and am waiting for a callback from the office of a new guy I'm hoping to see soon. When they asked why I didn't want to see Dr. Chen again (yeah, I'm gonna name the wanker), I said that I felt no one in his office, including Dr. Chen, had any interest whatsoever in helping me. The person on the other end went "okay" and dropped it. Call me crazy, but I don't think this is the first time they've heard that sentiment.

At any rate, I've got a physical therapy appointment tomorrow night to learn how to use a TENS unit. I've got a bad feeling that it won't work (no Google search turns up any successful use of it for bone pain, and my nerve damage doesn't bother me enough to make using it for that worthwhile). If it DOES work, though, I can run around looking like a prototype for Iron Man.

Take THAT, Doctor Chen.


historicstitcher said...

Seeing as how I have a dozen high-quality Shetland fleeces in my basement, three different kinds/colors of angelina/glitz, a drumcarder, and a little boy who makes batts, we might be able to take care of that whole "spinning for the Goober thing." Let me know if you're interested in some Kiddo batts!

I'm around, just really, really busy lately. Rather annoying, actually...I have lots of fiber stuff to take care of and this whole "work" thing keeps getting in the way!

Sarah said...

I know that there are several, um, subcultures that like to experiment with using TENS units as, ah, "marital aids". So I guess that's an option if it doesn't help with pain management :)

Roxie said...

RD Jr. In his undershirt. Sigh!

Um, yes , there were other things in the post, weren't there? Ventings and that Joli girl and spinning stuff.

Don't you just love those mysterious dark eyes? Sigh.

Liz said...

I think the answer to most questions which include "name of a craft" and "save money" = NO. I can get a locally-raised Jacob sheep for £5; and if I'm of a mind to totally discount the amount of time I spend cleaning/washing/drying/spinning/knitting it, I could get a sweater for that...

Liz said...

And duh. I meant to say a locally-raised Jacob sheep's FLEECE...

Nicole said...

Thanks for the comments on the whole money thing. The five bucks for producing that much of a skein of yarn makes me happy. :D Time isn't really an issue for me, considering it's all a fun hobby.

And I've been thinking about wrist warmers myself.

Amy Lane said...

See-- that 'it depends' answer is the same one I give all the time! And good-- I'm glad you fired the wanker-- he was making ALL your nerves hurt, and not just your last ones...

Emily said...

Good for you for firing that doctor. How those guys stay in business is beyond me.

Seems to me anything mass-produced is way cheaper than handmade; money is not the point. I finally made myself some socks; my feet feel so incredibly loved in them. These socks have comforted me in times of desperate family stress. Can't buy that.

Donna Lee said...

If you're using spinning as a stress release (as I do) then there's no price tag to put on that. Those skeins are priceless and I only offer them as gifts to knitting/crocheting friends/family. Someone at work asked how much it would cost to make her a hood scarf (she was admiring my handspun alpaca at the time and said "this would be nice"). I told her I don't do knitting for money. I may make her one sometime but probably not out of handspun.

sonipitts said...

Emily: Seems to me anything mass-produced is way cheaper than handmade

Mass-produced stuff just has a price on it to show how much less than priceless it is. Priceless being, of course, the default setting for anything hand made. (Although I have heard of some wondrous folks who sell hand made items for mortal prices. Artists, I believe they're called.)