Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Just Loreal

When Cybil Shepherd looked into the camera, tousled her perfect blonde curls, and murmured, "Because I'm worth it," she was explaining why she was willing to pay, on average, 70 cents more for her hair color to get the color and feel she wants.  70 cents.  The "Because I'm worth it" campaign went on for years, and was one of the most effective ad campaigns of all time.  It celebrated the fact that the Loreal product was more expensive, and made it into benefit instead of a problem.

I think the reason the campaign was so successful is because women tend to put themselves last - behind the kids, behind their mate, behind their parents... We were raised that all this altruism is a virtue, and it's an expression of how much we care for people.  Deciding 70 extra cents on haircolor was an indulgence was a splurge most women found acceptable and attractive.

I'm here to argue that the same is true in knitting.  We knit for a variety of reasons, but almost none of us knit because we have to.  It's usually because we love it, or we like to craft things with our own hands.  It's our hobby.  And yet, we tend to continue to put ourselves last. 

Do you want to knit with great needles?  Then do it!  You're going to spend dozens of hours with those needles.  There is no point in fighting them.  Find needles that work with your knitting style, and not against it.  Needles with smooth action, that feel good, and have points sharp enough to pick up stitches easily without splitting your yarn.  Trust me, your husband would not spend dozens of hours with a golf club or fishing rod he hates.  (Really puts it in perspective, doesn't it?) Go buy the good needles.  The $3-5 price difference works out to pennies per hour of use.

"I'm not good enough for that yarn yet.  I'm still learning."  Have you ever said it?  Unless you were talking about whisper thin lace yarn, or some other very technical yarn, you were selling yourself short.  When new knitters come to the shop I encourage them to start with great needles and very good yarn.  If anything, folks who don't knit well need good tools and good yarn.  The yarn won't split or pill or stretch while they work it, so they can just focus on learning the stitches.  Remember that good quality yarn can be had for the same prices (and sometimes less) than crappy yarn.  And great quality yarn makes better garments.  After all, your yarn is the biggest element in defining the fabric you create.

Not sure how to tell what's what?  Ask someone at the LYS to grade yarns for you.  It might sound something like, "I need worsted yarn for this project.  Can you show me 4 or 5 yarns that would work, and then rank them by quality for the project?"  The different fiber content, tightness of twist, and number of plies ideal for your cardigan will be different from what's best for someone else's baby blanket.  Get some advice, and think about it.  Advice of this sort costs you nothing, but can easily save you time and money. 

Oh, and color?  If what you love is a handpaint that costs 30% more than the solid, unless it means you can't pay your other bills, buy it.  You're worth it.

1 comment:

ddeangelo said...

EXCELLENT advice. I also fell into the "ok to use cheap yarn" trap until I knitted with a hand-painted merino wool. Never looked back.

The best tools produce the best results.