I was reading in the March issue (yes, I’m waaay behind on my mags) of W magazine about high-end European knit designers contracting out the actual knitting of their garments to grandmas in East Europe. These grandmas are old school knitters from a time when people had to knit their garments to make hats, scarves, sweaters, and even swimsuits for some Europe’s hottest new designers. The pay isn’t so hot, especially when compared to the retail price of the garments. One designer stated in the article that she pays her knitters “anywhere from $7 to $12 to make a hat that retails for $110 in wool, $280 in cashmere.” Sweaters, of course, cost more.
So here’s an idea . . .
Rather than pay $500+ for an overpriced wool sweater or hat, ask your grandma (or borrow a grandma) to knit you a slouchy fall wool sweater or this summer’s must have cotton crocheted shrug. Not only would you get a fabulous sweater, but you would also make your grandma’s day. Now, you might want to update her on the latest trends by giving her a copy of the March issue of W magazine or pictures from Sonia Rykiel’s fall line. You might also want to accompany her when she heads out to buy the yarn. Make sure you purchase yarn made out of a natural fiber like cotton, wool, or cashmere. Acrylic yarn makes an itchy sweater and doesn’t wear as well as the natural yarns. Also make sure you choose a color that works best for you (black will continue to be a hot color this fall). The last thing you want to do is look like a Christmas horror.
Now if you don’t have a grandma or can’t borrow someone else’s you can try your own hand at knitting. My suggestion would be to start small (scarf, belts) and work your way up. The book, Stitch ‘n’ ##### by Debbie Stoller is a great resource that will have you casting and purling in no time.