Mad March: giving the gift that suits everyone?

March is so busy with birthdays – some long-established and a new one due to arrive in the month, as well as Mother’s day in couple of weeks, so I’ve had to start early on getting the month organised (although we’re already a week into it)!  Minor achievement is that I actually finished a little something today, which I’ve put over on the project calendar – a phone cosy as part of the gift for a good friend, so that’s one thing down and about six more to go!

A cosy with love

Seriously, it has to be said though that because we need to be pretty frugal I’m trying to balance between home-made gifts and things that people actually want / need / have asked for and to be honest sometimes it can be a little hard to achieve the balance needed.   There’s lots of inspiration out there (I’m aiming to build a blog list of inspiration to share at some point) but I’m intrigued as to how others of the frugal fraternity manage to give the ideal gift that suits the occasion and recipients’ tastes, needs and wishes along with suiting your own pocket (especially when that pocket’s a little empty).

I’m lucky to be able to knit so many of my gifts take a knitted form – today’s phone cosy being yet another example, and I do have some crafty leanings, which I think helps.  I’m also a bit of a perfectionist so I don’t want to give anything that is of below ‘shop-bought’ quality and I pay special attention to this when I am making things – I figure that what I’m not putting into the present in terms of ‘fiscal’ cost, I more than make up for in time and care.  But how far can this go when producing things for others who may not be of the same mind-set?  My friends and family are all understanding of my change of circumstances, but is a home-made / frugally-sourced gift possible for every occasion and every person?  Of course, necessity being the mother of invention or such, my last question is something like a challenge really, so to all of you out there – is it really possible?  Obviously I’m going to end up following this challenge as the year progresses and perhaps at sometime I’ll sort out an overview of the inspiration and ideas I’ve gathered, but I’m genuinely interested to know how (and if) others manage to achieve a balance with frugal gift-giving!

[Post script:  I’ve decided to add a post-script to each post to give an added insight into this life.  The post-script will always be a brief description into what’s going on as I’m writing the post.  Tonight’s ditty has been scribed to a background of my husband marking books whilst singing ‘I walk the line’ along with Johnny Cash on Spotify and intermittently throwing chocolate wrappers at me (I’m not allowed to eat it 😦  ), whilst both dogs scratch their a***s and try to catch the wrappers!  Who needs gifts anyway, when you have all this …?]

Save £223 – and make a ‘Killing’ of your own!

One of the little tasks that I have successfully completed whilst being a bit laid up and poorly is a bit of quiet knitting – of the Killing kind! 🙂


The original look!

Even without a TV we have managed to catch up (just about) with the national trend of all things Danish – namely The Killing – not only a ripping good yarn but also some knitted good yarn in the form of Sarah Lund’s gorgeous sweater (first series).  So, I was doubly smitten, not only because I love a good ‘whodunnit’  but also because I know a good warm sweater when I see it (this house is freezing, remember?).  Initially, I thought the sweater might be just the sort of thing to appear in the shops thanks to the whole merchandising mentality that goes alongside anything even vaguely popular!  However, imagine my horror (or is it just naivete?) when my investigations revealed that the sweater’s sold as an exclusive little designer number costing approximately €280 – that’s about £233!  Now this may be a worthwhile investment in the spirit of having a lovely designer jumper to be worn as a statement piece, but is not a worthwhile one in the spirit of both frugality and keeping myself warm – we’re talking getting one of the smaller windows double-glazed for that kind of money!

So, I found myself muttering that whole knitter’s mantra, the one that goes “I could knit that myself for a fraction of the cost” … and before I knew it, it had become a project for the 2012 calendar!

I raided the internet and came up with the Nordic patterning, thanks to the knitters of Ravelry for pointing me in the direction of the kind folk who have developed a whole website dedicated to the sweater itself (yes, I couldn’t believe it either); raided my jumpers to find one that I could copy the sizing from and finally raided my yarn stash to find something suitable to knit it in – all this raiding, those ancient Danes would have been proud!


The finished sweater!

Ok, mine’s red with white, largely because I am too clumsy to wear white, plus I had some lovely chunky red in my stash, and mine’s long – to keep as much of me warm as possible, so it’s not really a replica sweater, more of a tribute!  The main thing though, is that it’s actually warm as well as a fun frugal knit, using about a tenner’s worth of yarn.  Ok, I didn’t use top quality yarn which I’m sure the original sweater does, and I’m not factoring in the time spent making it (not as long as you’d think though because it’s chunky yarn on big needles) but I’m pleased with it all the same!