With the countless stories of economic doom and gloom everywhere we turn, Jason and I have been talking a lot about our budget lately. We’re looking at things from basic monthly spending (which is actually quite low), to how much space we really need in an apartment. I’m not sure either of us sees the possible demise of our current consumerist culture as a bad thing, but we know it’s going to be rough. This is double scary since we’ll both be going on the job market in the midst of this mess, attempting to enter what is already a saturated field in the middle of countless university cutbacks.
It’s hard right now not to get completely bogged down with these thoughts. I think we’re taking it a bit more in stride because we’ve been budgeting tightly for a few years now, so making sacrifices comes as less of a shock. This shows up most specifically for me in my tendency to shop. I never bought a ton of clothes, but I would head to sales and buy things I didn’t need, convincing myself that it was a good bargain. It took me a while to realize that clothes aren’t bargains if they’re not worn, and I haven’t gone shopping for clothes in about a year. I’ll buy something I truly need occasionally, but that’s it.
I’ve practiced the same concept with my yarn and fiber buying. You hear the phrase “yarn diet” tossed around a lot in knit-blogland, and even more recently. My first year knitting, I bought yarn all the time. I was also working full time, so I had a bit more to spend. While things definitely got a little out of hand, it ended up serving me in the long run. Now I’m going on my second year of no yarn buying, and I’m not feeling the pinch at all. I’ve got enough yarn stashed for at least 5 sweaters, and about the same for socks, not to mention odd skeins here and there. I’ve only bought yarn out of pocket once this past year I think, and it was for wedding knits. Everything else I buy with gift certificates I’m lucky enough to receive for birthdays and holidays.
I’m trying to do the same thing with spinning. My big purchase last year was a wheel, and I allowed myself to save some money to invest in fiber at the MI fiber festival. Most of that fiber has been sitting untouched as I’ve been knitting, so I don’t really need more. A few weeks ago I did a bit more dyeing, and last weekend I turned that fiber into this yarn.
I’ve got about 200 yards of worsted weight there, with a little bit of slubbiness happening. I’ve been plugging away at knitting and wedding prep lately, and so it felt so decadent to spend a little time with my wheel one weekend. I think I’ll spin a lot more once May is over, which I am really looking forward to. While I think I’m very much a product knitter, I’m definitely a process spinner. I don’t think about what weight I’m going for, or have a specific project in mind. I just sort of zone out, allowing myself to be hypnotized by the rhythm of fiber going through my fingers.
With that in mind, I decided to reward myself last week. Cosy, one of my earliest blog acquaintances and one talented lady, is in the process of listing dyed fiber in her shop. She’s been posting some of her goods on Flickr and, when I saw this roving, I couldn’t wait for it to get to Etsy. I sent her a message, and within a few days it was on my doorstep.
I cannot stop staring at this roving. It’s impossible to do it justice, especially with the snow and gloom outside right now. The colors are so soothing, really subtle, and I can’t wait to play with it. This will, undoubtedly, be the first thing I dive into after the wedding madness has settled down. And although it violates my no buying policy, I don’t feel guilty at all.