Up-cycled knitting.

I’m kind of piggy-backing on yesterday’s post about my kind-of-lucrative hobby, but I must share a recent knitting mini-project I did one night this week.

I had discovered a tutorial on how to make yarn out of unwanted tee shirts. I have drawers full of tee shirts from various races, volunteer events, and… of course… impulse purchases. A year or so ago, I started making some into a quilt (which is now sitting half-finished in a box somewhere) but I had many left over. The tutorial was so easy to follow that I was able to knit washcloths and other small square items with the “yarn”.

potholderI hadn’t thought to do this in a long while, until earlier this week my fiance handed me a XXL plain army-green tee shirt that he had gotten for free but didn’t want. The thing was so large I could’ve made it into a pillow, but I realized, “Hey, this could make a ton of tee shirt yarn!”

And so it begun: I made a thing. Not just any “thing” – a pot-holder!

BASIC POT-HOLDER

You Need…

  • US size 9 straight needles
  • Tee shirt yarn
  • Finishing needle, for weaving in ends

Knitting Skills Needed…

  • Cast on
  • Cast off
  • Knit
  • Purl
  • Moss/seed stitch

Steps…

  1. Cast on 15 st using your favorite method (I use long-tail)
  2. (k1 p1) rep to end
  3. (p1 k1) rep to end (this is two rows of seed stitch)
  4. k1, p1, k to last 2 stitches, p1, k1
  5. p1, k1, p to last 2 stitches, k1, p1
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until it reaches a square length, ending in step 5
  7. Repeat steps 2 and 3
  8. Bind off, but do not break or cut the yarn
  9. Using tail, make a loop if you want to be able to hang your pot holder on a hook or something. I made my loop thicker by pulling the yarn in on itself a few times, making a chain-like strand.
  10. Tie the end of the loop at the last bound-off stitch. Break yarn.
  11. Weave in ends.

It’s very thick so I’m totally comfortable using this for holding hot pots and as a trivet. It took less than 20 minutes to make! Wham! Bam!

As far as my budget goes, this week has been easy. Having just gotten back from the holiday break, I have so much going on in the office that by the time I get home, I just cook, eat, exercise, shower, and go to bed – no time for fluff! But, this will change.

On Thursday night I am going to a trivia thing at a bar with coworkers. I’ll probably just get a pint of Guinness draft (usually cheap, and very filling so I will only need one) and something like soup or an appetizer for my meal. Goal: spend less than $20.

On Friday night I’m hosting a ladies night at my house, watching movies and drinking and eating. Luckily most folks will be bringing snacks and drinks, but I have to provide dinner. I have to make a decision: use what’s in my apartment, or buy stuff to make something else with. I have some frozen tortellini which are really yummy, and plenty of pasta sauce. But, most of the previous hosts made stuff from scratch, so I will kind of feel like a schmuck. I really want to make a quiche, but I’m low on eggs and have no cheese, so I’ll have to spend money on that stuff.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Weekly Allowance: $60.00
Weekly Allowance Remaining: $60.00

J

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Make saving fun: get a hobby!

There are plenty of hobbies that are expensive: video games, sailing, RV-ing, building model planes, particle acceleration, etc. Not entirely budget-friendly, no matter how much fun they are. (And usually the things that are the most fun are the costliest, aren’t they? Le sigh…)

Well, I started a hobby just over six years ago that has proven to be a very cost-effective one.

Knitting is pretty freaking great, if I may say so myself! I haven’t knit a sweater or any other kind of large wearable item yet, but I haven’t had to purchase a pair of gloves, a hat, or a scarf in years! Case and point:

hmprod

Scarf from H&M = $17.95

Yarn = about $7, but you can get cheaper yarn than this specific brand for as little as $3.

Needles = free, if you already own the pair; $3 or less, depending on the brand, if you need to buy new (but then you have them for future projects!)

Savings = at least $7.95… and this is a reasonably-priced scarf! Imagine the savings if you compare to this $65 infinity scarf (same type as the yellow one in my photo above, which cost less than $5 to make) or this $40 beret (similar to the purple one in my photo above, where I also have the purple finglerless gloves on)!

I wasn’t one of those people who was surrounded by crafts all the time. I knew my late grandmother knit, but had never witnessed it myself. I was so bad at using a sewing machine that when I had to take Home Economics in the 7th grade, I had to stay after school because my teacher said the pillow I was sewing was so bad that I would fail the project if I didn’t start over. I was never destined to be in fashion, that’s for damn sure.

But, in college I impulsively purchased some knitting needles, a book, and some yarn. To this day, I still don’t remember why in the world I chose knitting. I simply did. I tried to knit a simple square… and failed. I don’t remember exactly why I was so frustrated, but I was so pissed off after the first week or so that I crazily threw all of my newly-purchased knitting supplies under my bed, never to be seen again…

…until a couple of years later.

My now-fiance constantly held this over my head. “Oh, so you want to try [random new activity/hobby/thing]? Are you going to give up on it like you did with that knitting stuff??” (Obviously he knew early on in our relationship that I needed help with my impulsive purchases!) To shut him up, I dusted off my knitting stuff and tried again. Lo and behold… I did it. I knit a square and turned it into a fingerless glove. I knit another and had a pair. (I gave them to my fiance because they were too big on me, and he still has them to this day.) I knit a scarf… then donated it because it sucked… but knit another, and another. I knit more gloves. I knit hats and gloves and little purses for family members and friends. It was great, and it still is.

I’m now part of a knitting group where we go to bars, drink, chit-chat, and knit (though we do have plenty of members who crochet, cross-stitch, and do needlepoint, too!). I’m technically the co-founder, to boot, which is still strange to me. A hobby that I failed and gave up at six years ago is now something I’m leading? Man, oh, man.

Tip: find a fun hobby that saves you money, too. Maybe it’s canning, pickling, and/or fermenting home-made jams, jellies, sauerkraut, veggies, and fruit. Maybe it’s quilting. Maybe it’s re-finishing furniture that you find on the curb in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s brewing beer. If it saves you money (or earns some extra cash on the side), it’s a win-win.

Weekly Allowance: $60.00
Weekly Allowance Remaining: $60.00

J