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.