Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gifts That Keep on Giving - Part I

I said some time back that I would tell you about what I got for Christmas, I'm enjoying my gifts so much:

Cashmere socks / bed socks

If you can have but one real luxury, I recommend cashmere socks. They are of course warm, but everytime you wiggle your toes you will be reminded how soft and snuggly they are. They cause me to renew my determination to learn to knit socks, and then to look for less expensive sources of cashmere wools on eBay. I will gladly wash these socks by hand and mend any holes that develop. I shall let you know how many years they last.

It is an important frugal concept to consider Cost Per Wear, something I didn’t really appreciate until I started choosing clothes items that were more classic in style, in colours that went with ‘everything’. Only then did long term ownership become possible. Before, in my younger spendthrift days, I bought whatever was in fashion that I thought looked cute. A year or two later it was so out of fashion I couldn't bear to be seen wearing it.

For example, when I came over to England, it took me no time at all to learn that wool, as opposed to acrylic, was required if one was to stay warm at all; most of the sweaters I brought with me were useless and I doubted many that were in storage, waiting for me to purchase a house, would be much good either.

I bought a black wool cardigan from a charity shop. In addition to the fibre content and the great price, I liked its silver buttons, neat collar and patch pockets. I got such good use of it -- until it developed some holes and the wrists were unraveling -- that I didn’t hesitate to pay more than I would usually for a new black cardigan to replace it.

I found a lovely, simple cashmere, silk and angora cardigan at Agnes B in Paris; I think I paid about £100 for it; not very much by many people's standards but quite a bit by mine. It is getting very hard wear just like its predecessor. Any time I see a small snag, I take a small crochet hook and repair it and it still looks in very good condition after about 5 years. Thus I have learned that a higher price for better quality is not a bad deal at all.

I hope I will be able to say the same of cashmere socks because I’m afraid they may well be spoiling me against any other kind for winter wear.


TKW said...

Cashmere socks? Genius! I have a cashmere bathrobe and LOVE that thing.

Shelley said...

TKW -- I'd never get dressed! Must be heaven.

Jo said...

I had quite a bit of wool clothing when living in MN, of course there was a woolens mill in town and their discount center prices were as cheap. Wore those outfits for a long time. Then mother made quilts out of all the clothes we had outgrown and gave us each a quilt when we got married.

Frugal Scholar said...

You may find that it is more expensive to knit cashmere socks than to buy them. I buy cashmere at thrifts and wear it in the house when it's cold. My daughter may start making fingerless gloves out of the sleeves of ones with holes!

Shelley said...

Joanne -- Yes, youse guys up north would have a better appreciation for wool, wouldn't you? A quilt made from scraps -- what a novel idea... I really hate seeing people go buy big pieces of cotton to cut it into little pieces and then sew it back together. I hear that's really expensive these days, too. Serves them right. [Steps off soapbox].

FS -- You have a point there. I once saw a bit spool of cashmere thread on Ebay for a reasonable price but it needed some sort of further processing, which was probably why. I'm starting to imagine 'sock patterns' from sweater that's what I call pathological!

Pauline Wiles said...

I once had a pair of cashmere socks (received as a gift) and I loved them to bits, too. No sooner did they come through the wash than they were back on again! RIP, socks.