So, I was thinking today about why I make things (even though, it seems, I rarely finish up with what I intended- or rarely finish in some cases!) and I know that Benn often looks at me when I'm having a knitting/sewing/crochet/baking related tantrum and looks like he's wondering the same thing.
The event that kicked off the musing was the fact that last night, I ordered four balls of Freedom wool in light grey and two pairs of new knitting needles (metal- thanks, credit crunch!) Now, this might not seem like a major event, but I have very rarely bought yarn this year, making do with what I have, or swapping for new and interesting things. Heck, I've rarely bought anything for my crafting. But last night, I realised that I only had my grandma's Christmas shawl to do and then I would be left with nothing else. Nothing in my stash excited me and most of it was single balls. I've been coveting grey knitwear for a while and, though I don't have the patience or the time for a larger item, I decided to finally make the Unshaped Shrug I've been planning for a year. I like shrugs, I like grey and I like knitwear. So, the perfect combination. I had a bit of a headache with gauge, but I think I'll work it out. I usually do.
So, £22 lighter, I am excited. I actually don't think I've ordered so much yarn in a year. And then I started thinking. Why make a shrug for £22 when I could pick one up in Primark for £6? Sure, I wouldn't have the tantrums or the expense, but would Primark have a decent quality, grey shrug that I liked? (Answer: no. I checked.) This way, I know who made the shrug and I get some enjoyment out of the emerging pattern too.
Similarly, I am making bags and purses with my sewing machine as gifts. I'm also planning on making some tree decorations myself out of felt and stuffing. My sewing may not be perfect, but I'm thinking about what my friends like- for one, a black cord handbag with Batman lining will be perfect. For another, a black cord purse with tasteful fabric lining (I have a lot of black cord knocking about right now) My crafting, although by no means the most talented, means that I can have an idea-usually a simple one!- and turn it into something I want but can't buy. The Christmas decorations come from that fact that this year we're getting a bigger tree, so we need more baubles.
If I can't make what I want, or I don't know how to, I look for people who do; either for instruction or to buy. Etsy has been great- a lady in Belgium made me some Christmas stuff and a girl in Vermont is making me something else... A lady in Arizona is making me a ring based on my favourite Emily Bronte poem.
I like this freedom from schlepping round shops on a Saturday. I like getting what I want and, I hope, the recipients of this new found freedom enjoy what they receive. It's better than a voucher.