The boys and I got our haircuts yesterday, and they are kitted out in new pants as well. The new pants are pre-faded and pre-frayed, so there is not much difference in their overall look, but they are happy.

We also got the grocery shopping done. Since they were with me, the boys chose the stuff for their school lunches, and we therefore have in our pantry things called “gushers” and “fun-yums” and cookies with rainbow-colored chips in them. All in ecologically-unsound individual bags. They’re happy.

Having completed my jobs for the day (did I say I was going to do housework? Hmmm….), I pulled out and redid the leaf edging for the baby hat. For some reason, on my monitor this yarn always ends up looking as though it has been photographed in black and white, but it is actually green.

I needed more repeats than this pattern suggests, but it is a concept more than a pattern — start with a nice edging, then pick up stitches along the straight edge and make a hat in the usual way. Lauren Eade wrote out the pattern. If she has a blog or other home on the web, I cannot find it. I am not intending to belittle her accomplishment. It is a great idea. I am intending, since this hat is for one of twins, to make another with a different edging for the other twin, and I expect that this will be my basic baby gift from now on.

But it brings up a question for me. Can I really justify buying another pattern book? Not right now, of course. I have a bunch of WIPs. I am just indulging in that gentle speculation about the next project after I finish Erin and my possum lace shawl. And the baby hats. And the quilt. You know.

Now that I have made a couple of skirts, I am thinking that I should knit some pretty blouse to wear with them. My knitting books — although I have quite a few — do not contain any such patterns.

Elsebeth Lavold of Viking Knitting fame has some very feminine designs out there.

Like this one from her “Summer Breeze” collection.

Note that it is just a basic cardigan shape with a shawl collar (I have instructions for that in one of my technique books) and a lace edging (I have lots of those in my stitch collections).







This one is from the same book.


Note that she has simply put a lace panel into the raglan seaming.








This is from her “Sophisticated Lady” collection.


She also has a new book, called “Enchanted Garden,” which has several styles of this kind.


The trouble is, I look at these very pretty sweaters and think, “Okay, she put lace in at the raglan shaping. I can do that without spending $16 on the book.”

In general, I like to buy technique books, not pattern books. If you buy a book for the pattern, you are adding $16 to the $40 or so in yarn and ending up with an expensive sweater.

If you buy a book for the technique, you can make a lot of things over the course of years, pro-rating the cost of the book over all those Viking motifs you knit, or all those clogs and bags you felt, or all that Fair Isle you do, and  justify the whole thing as part of your education as a fiber artist.

On the other hand, following someone’s well thought out pattern allows you to embark on your sweater with confidence, not with the expectation of having to redo the lace-at-the-raglan bit eight times before getting it right. It also cuts down severely on the math.

And — and this gets back to the original point — there is also the fact that Lavold thought of putting the lace into the raglan. I think of plenty of things, but I did not think of that. Doesn’t she deserve some credit, and maybe some royalties, for having thought of it? As Go Knit in your Hat sensibly points out, it is only the fastest and most prolific knitters that can reasonably claim that they have to be really frugal with their hobby. At the rate of two sweaters a year, I am spending a lot less than, say, a golfer, even if I bought a new book for every sweater I made. Should I not take responsibility enough to help support the knitting designers I admire, rather than just snitching their ideas?

If we all just used free patterns off the web, eventually the knitting designers would have to give up and get other jobs.

What do you think? How many projects do you have to make from one book before you are justified in buying the book? And is there ever a circumstance in which you ought to buy the book?