I Just Spent Half My Paycheck On A Hand Knitted Scarf, And It Was Totally Worth It

I used to buy a lot of fast fashion, but saving my pennies for something handmade was way more rewarding in so many ways.
Publish date:
February 4, 2014
scarves, comfortable clothes

Read more from Alyssa at xoVain!

I love knitwear. Real wool, synthetics, blends, I love them all.

When I lived in Vancouver, it was always too moist and rainy to wear knits; the humidity made them itchy and the dampness did not mix well with the course fabrics. But when I moved to Toronto, I found that knits were a winter survival wardrobe staple. More than anything I wanted to constantly be wrapped in big, comfy, hand knitted clothing. The only problem was, I couldn’t (and still can’t) knit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to knit many a time, but for some reason I just don’t have the patience. I inevitably make a number of huge mistakes, try to continue on, and end up unravelling the whole thing after shedding numerous tears of sadness and frustration.

What’s worse, no one in my family knits either, so chances of me getting my hands on something hand knit via that route were pretty much zero. And so, already on a tight university student budget, I started rapidly acquiring cheap, machine made, fast-fashion knitwear.

And slowly, as fast fashion does, my various chunky knits began to decay. What was once soft turned pilly, fuzzy, and scratchy, and some of my favorites were accidentally shrunken or stained. Everything wore out, but I didn’t want to replace my cheap favorites with more cheap favorites.

Over the past few months I made a decision to stop buying fast fashion frequently, and instead save up, buy less, and invest in local makers. And so with the knitwear crisis this year brought me, I decided to splurge on some Good Night, Day.

I first came into contact with Good Night, Day when shopping in some small boutiques for a cream winter hat for my mom a few years ago. When I found GND’s “Jarvis” toque, I had never felt a piece of knitwear so soft, and I immediately bought it for her for Christmas, even though I couldn’t really afford the $50 price tag. After that I started seeing Good Night, Day all over Toronto, but I was never able to save up enough to buy a piece of my own.

This year, with my old scarf in cat-hair-covered ruins, I decided it was finally time.

Turns out Good Night, Day is just one awesome local woman named Tara-Lynn. We connected over Facebook to talk knitwear and blogging, and funnily enough she told me her daughter had been using my xoVain hair tips, which was just about the cutest thing I had ever heard (her daughter looks like a tiny, green-haired mermaid btw).

We talked a bit back and forth because the scarf I had wanted was sold out, but she promised to order more wool and knit one for me anyway as soon as I placed my order.

And so I ordered. I ordered a gorgeous, cream extra-chunky “Lambton” Merino wool cowl, and I paid three times more for it than I ever had a scarf.

Everything about making this purchase gave me such a good feeling; I was giving money to someone in my community with a skill I didn’t have to make me something I wanted. The money I paid, though it was more than I was used to, was an investment into someone’s craft and into someone’s small local business.

Even better, Tara-Lynn uses only ethically harvested, fair trade wool from South America. All of the wool is hand dyed and handspun, and the money from her wool purchases goes directly to the shepherds and the local children’s school, so that the shepherds can continue their trade and won’t have to relocate to larger cities.

Buying a hand-knit scarf made me feel like my money was going somewhere, like it might actually be making the world a tiny bit better, or at least not any worse. Tara-Lynn posted progress shots to Instagram of the knits she was making for me, and we’ve been chatting back and forth ever since. Wearing my new, super soft wool scarf not only warms my outside, it makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy on the inside, too.