Saturday, April 28, 2007

In which I debate the value of drool

Antique glass. That's the colorway name of this sock yarn, handspun by a local spinnery selling its wares at my farmers' market.

I stopped, two kids in tow, and lost myself in the plies, the interplay of the greens and blues, the absolute gorgeousness of this green-blue-aqua-water fiber. Just looking at it, stroking its wooly goodness, I felt peaceful and calm.

Until I checked the tag.

$36. For 175 yards.

Unless I'm knitting footies, that meant $72 for a pair of socks. My sense of calm fled, followed by a sense of frustration and, dare I say it, guilt.

I want to support local artisans. I admire the chutzpah of anyone who tries to eke out a living teaching mosaic classes, or making mead, or being a potter, or growing basil (and not the OTHER herb for which Northwest Washington is famous). And I WANTED this yarn. But $72 is a hefty investment for me for ANYTHING. Living on one teacher's salary with a mortgage to pay and a hope of retirement before age 92 and a burning hatred of credit card debt--lets just say that M and I are very careful with our money.

I felt frustrated and outraged by the price point, and then I felt guilty for being frustrated, because, after all, they have to earn a living, too, and clearly being the sheep-to-skein creators of this fiber entails much of the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears.

I hope someday I can afford better to support my local artisans. In the meantime, though, my reality is what it is. So I found another way to support them--I found their website and sent them an encouraging e-mail instead.

1 comment:

Lolly said...

Very interesting point, indeed. I think there is a high markup there. I know of several local spinneries and artisans who do not have those kind of prices... Checking at local festivals and fairs would probably be your best bet.

Thanks for blogging about this important point. Buying local helps on SO many different levels.

Best wishes Dana~