Bag of Wonder
The flu has moved on to Big-P but luckily he hasn’t been hit too hard and has a long weekend to get plenty of rest. After stocking up on fruit and veggies and so on at the Market with Mum first thing this morning I met Special-K for a coffee and a much needed chat which was a lovely way to spend a chilly Melbourne Winter morning.
We also had a wander into a couple of shops and I made great use of my two new shopping philosophies gleaned from a very brief reading of Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion. I intend to go back and read the book properly as she has much more to say to a lost shopping soul like me, but so far these approaches to shopping are doing me well. It’s pretty simply just about being confident enough to try things on that really, really appeal to me regardless of whether I think they are “me” or not, and then once I am looking at myself in them in the change room mirror I have to be 100% in love with the item before purchasing it.
For a long time I have been in a rut of buying black knit tops and various shades of the same style of cord pants, because that was what I felt most comfortable in. It was easy – I didn’t have to think and I felt ok enough. But I was so bored with my wardrobe and longed for the days when bizarre op-shop finds filled my cupboard (well actually, clothes rack it was then in those student days). I didn’t shy away from dresses and skirts and colours and scarves. It was all about fun and expression and dressing up. So lately I have been walking into shops, and as usual I find myself immediately drawn to the cords and then I shout to myself (very quietly) “NO! RUT! RUT! MOVE ON!” and dare myself to try on the most amazing thing that catches my eye in the store. Of course, it’s early days, so when I am standing in the dressing room I am still not sure about what I have on. But then it’s obvious to me that it’s not 100% love…
This means you end up walking away from a lot of purchases that could have been just alright (and I have a lot of ‘just alright’ things in my wardrobe) and theoretically I should now feel completely justified buying that one particular item every now and then that does look fantastic even though it might cost more than my usual purchases. Brilliant!
When I first got the book Big-P groaned at my affirming cries of “Yes! That’s right! I am worth full price! I do deserve to spend money on myself!” etc. and said to me with a great rolling of his eyes “this book could not have come at a worse time”. But actually, as a result I have found I have put back many more (cheap, cruddy and ugly) items than I ever would have before.
Today I was disappointed by the incredibly cute pink cardigan that looked so beautiful and felt like a dream but left puffs of pink fluff flying into the air every time I moved (definitely not 100% love), and a little disappointed by the other cute cardigan which was a little prickly around my neck (almost 100% but more like 95% love), but it felt fabulous to buy nothing and know that I had just had a successful day shopping. Weird but true.
Unfortunately I then made the mistake of going to the always devine Sunspun with Grandma to buy her yarn for Evie which she is keen to start. Here I made the even bigger mistake of spying the cutest little knitted bag I have ever clapped my eyes on (unfortunately that photo from that link does it no justice – it was much more like the scene pictured below).
I want to knit it for me! For my mum! For every single one of my friends! It’s from Rowan Magazine #30 and it’s knitted in two balls of Rowan Polar (or three according to the Woolshack). Ah no! At $25.45 a ball (plus the $45 for the magazine) that is no cheap project. So now I am grumpy and although I would prefer to use the beautiful Rowan stuff, I desperately need to learn how to substitute yarns.
I’m contantly surprised at how expensive yarn is in Australia. Even when you factor in the currency exchange, it still comes out much, much more expensive than it is in the US (compare prices at a place like yarnmarket.com with Sunspun). The Rowan magazine seems too expensive as well ($US42 buys a year’s subscription – 2 magazines). My guess is that Australian yarn stores set their prices when the Austrlian dollar was so poorly valued compared with the US dollar, and haven’t decided to pass on the recent price decrease to Australian buyers.
What really confuses me is that Australia is supposed to be a wool producing country – surely beautiful, reasonably priced wool should be available!
Sorry for the rambling comment – but the pricing discrepancy has been bothering me for a while!
Dare I say you sound like a knitting version of Homer Simpson….”ooooohhhh bag of wonnnnddddeeeeerrrrr….rowwwwaaaannnnn wooooolllll”
I love the bag of wonder, but am with you about the prices. I was in Lincraft today and they seem to have ripped off every type of yarn possible with their own label, maybe you could find a substitute there and have a play with it? Not that I am advocating shopping in Lincraft because every time I walk out and vow and declare never to go back in there again because of their service (or lack there of) but then I find that I have to go back and the vicious cycle starts again. Anyway, good luck with the bag of wonder !!!
Have you looked in to mail ordering yarn/mags from England. There are several stockists that mail order all over the world (see stockists tab at the Rowan website). I do this all the time to the USA and save a packet.
Claire, it isn’t hard to use a different yarn. Pick one that is the same gauge as the one recommended and you are set. Rowan is very expensive whereever you find it because of the brand name. If you are not set on using the exact same colors, there are always lots of good alternate choices…Diane
hey claire :] i was wondering if you bought your book Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion in AU or offline. i’d like to buy it but if i can find it here i would before ordering it online.
That book sounds great. Just what I need, I have a whole trunk filled with just alright clothes.
oh! bag of wonder!
I seem to be having these encounters about once a week now, and then of course suffering the torment of those nasty imported yarn prices for us ‘down here’. My sympathies.
But then, this *is* a great opportunity to refine those yarn substitution skills 😉
At that gauge you can knit the bag o’wonder with 2 strands of 8ply on 7.5-8mm needles 🙂