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The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Knitting

I first discovered knitting about a decade ago. For me, it’s not just about making some of your own clothes, but it’s also a great way for me to unwind and relax after a day at the keyboard. I went through a knitting dry spell for about three years, but decided to get back to it two years ago when I wrote a story about a knitting store for the local newspaper. It seemed that stepping inside this store …and seeing all the different yarns and colors, got my creative juices flowing again.

However, things had changed. Ten years ago before the knitting boom hit, prices seemed reasonable. In fact, it was definitely cheaper to knit a sweater than to buy one at the store. However, just like every other boom, its popularity caused the prices to go up. I still work on sweaters, felted bags, and blankets for the local animal shelter, but I’ve had to find a way around the price increase. Here are some places I’ve found on the net and tips I’ve gathered along the way. After all, being a Budget Smart Girl shouldn’t stop you from pursuing anything your heart desires, and a hobby definitely fits into that category.

Michaels Craft Store
One of my favorite spots to look for knitting yarn and supplies is my local Michaels store. They have a great selection of colors and types of yarn. And the best thing is they always have a sale on one type of yarn or another. It’s also a good spot to look for knitting supplies. And if you get their flyer they usually have a 40% off coupon that you can use to buy something that isn’t on sale that week. www.michaels.com. Click on Yarn and Needle Crafts.

Friends and Family
It never hurts to mention to family, friends, and even co-workers that you’re an avid knitter. You’d be surprised how many people have told me they’ve purchased yarn, patterns and supplies, and then didn’t find the time to get the project either started to finished. 50% of the time that person will tell me they don’t think they’ll ever get round to it, the yarn is just sitting there, and would I like to take it off their hands.

Garage Sales
And if you can’t find a friend or co-worker who’s in this dilemma, I’ll take a bet someone in the neighborhood is. I’ve found lots of craft projects, including yarn and knitting needles, at neighborhood sales. Yes, it’s sad to say this but the fact is one person’s failure can translate into big savings for you.

Internet Auctions
I have a friend who’s found some really good deals on yarn and supplies, even wholesale deals, on eBay.

Knitting 101
If you want to give knitting a try but can’t afford the time or money to take a class, here’s a really good site. It’s even helpful for seasoned knitters too. www.knittinghelp.com

Free Patterns
Sometimes I’ve found yarn at great prices, but then found just one pattern I liked in a $30 book. Here are some sites that offer free patterns. www.knittingpatterncentral.com/free_knitting_patterns.php.This site also has a great tips and tricks section to check out.
Other sites include-
www.knittingonthenet.com and www.woolworks.org
And another good resource for free patterns is your local library. Mine has a great selection of knitting books with patterns for just about every piece of clothing or purse you can think of.

Yarn and Bulk Buys
I’ve found these following sites have just about everything you’re looking for, including some that sell in bulk, which offers you even more savings
Bamboo knitting needles and yarn are the biggest trends in knitting right now and this site is definitely worth checking out-
www.8season-knitting.com…love the photo of the cat on this site.
And I love browsing on these two sites because you can get some great ideas for projects-
This site isn’t just for knitting supplies, so if you have other craft projects in mind it’s worth looking at-

Knitting as a Way of Saving and Making Money
I’ve already mentioned that if you can sometimes make your own clothes for less than you’d pay at the store. Knowing how to knit also allows you to do some repair work on sweaters that you might otherwise toss away. Or even turn an old sweater into a vest or a bag.
And if you’re a dab hand with the needles you might want to start making and selling stuff for some extra income. In a few weeks The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide will tell you all about doing just that.

The Budget Smart Girl’s Tip
Is there one particular store you frequent for knitting supplies? If so, do they have a mailing list, or a preferred customer list? If they do, be sure to sign up because many will give you first notice about sales. Plus, they will sometimes offer coupons to loyal customers.

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