The value of a hand-knit sweater

I’m a huge fan of thrift stores. I’m very much a “thrill of the find” type of person, and so the rifling through racks of clothes that a lot of people hate about thrift stores is a lot of the draw for me. Besides, you can find all sorts of things there! A lot of the reason why my yarn stash is so large is that my local thrift store sells bags of yarn that people have donated, and sometimes there is some excellent stuff in there for so cheap! I’m so looking forward to using the Araucania Pehuén that I found ages back for like, 2 bucks. 

So, I was wondering around a thrift store the other day, mostly just killing time, browsing the sweaters, and I saw one that I liked and pulled it out… It was the splitting image of the Starboard Sweater by Erika Knight from the new Interweave edition! And my first thought was “oh no, someone made this as a gift and the person hated it so much that they just gave it to a thrift store!” Which seemed a little odd, as I hadn’t seen many FO’s on Ravelry, and really, what are the chances of one turning up in my little thrift store? And then I saw the label. It was from a store, not hand-made, even though the Interweave one had the same mesh-stitch pattern, the same low-back high-front design, same fit, everything. 

I’ve always thought of hand-knits as special, I mean, you put hundreds of hours, and a fair amount of money into a garment, it should be a lot better than ones you can pick up in the store. But if I hadn’t seen the label, I would have thought this one was hand knit. And it made me sad, it seems almost pointless to put all this effort and love in when someone can get the exact same thing from a thrift store. Does the fact that it’s handmade make it better in some way? Hard to say. 

I’m sure I will keep on creating hand-knits, it’s very satisfying being able to say “yeah I made this” but I think this experience might have put a little damper on my creative process for a bit…

Apparently I have plans to get back in the saddle though, because on the same trip, I bought wool. I almost never find anything that even resembles fingering weight yarn in a thrift store, a lot of it is worsted/DK acrylic stuff that doesn’t have a label on (you’ll notice on my Ravelry projects page that a lot of them use “random stash yarn.” I have a lot of that, I don’t know the fibre content, or really, anything about it… I usually have to guesstimate the weight!). But this time there was some! So, of course, I got it. 


It’d difficult to tell from the picture, but there’s a bit of a sparkly sheen to it, and it’s really soft for an acrylic/nylon blend.

I’m a bit in love, I think I’ll make a pair of Jaywalkers with it. Maybe two pairs.

But the most interesting bit about this yarn happened when I got home, and tried to input it into Ravelry. It wasn’t in the database. Which is odd, but not unheard of, Ravelry has a pretty massive database, but there’s a lot of wool in the world. So, out of interest, I googled it, thinking if I could get my hands on some more of it I could may make the Peacock Eyes Cardigan with it. But there was nothing. I think Neveda might not be an active wool company anymore, but there was mention of a couple other types of their yarn. But, according to the internet, Ilona doesn’t exist. This makes me happy and scared at the same time. It’s cool to have a yarn that’s unique like this, but what if I need more to finish a project! I’m pretty excited to cast on some jaywalkers, but I should probably finish a few WIPs and frog some old, dead projects before I start something new.


2 thoughts on “The value of a hand-knit sweater

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