Freakonomics Take On Knitting

Traveling Sock at Alma 

 Does it count as a leisure activity if you do it at a bar?

I don’t know how I missed this, but there was a Freakonomics column a few weeks ago in the NY Times Mag about knitting and whether it counted as a leisure or work activity. It’s not particularly groundbreaking* and in fact, I think the whole premise is kind of duh-inducing (Surprise! Knitting does not save money!), but there is this quote, which I found mildly amusing:

“On a more personal note: one of the authors of this column has a sister who runs a thriving yarn store,** while the other is married to a knitting devotee who might buy $40 worth of yarn for a single scarf and then spend 10 hours knitting it. Even if her labor is valued at only $10 an hour, the scarf costs at least $140 — or roughly $100 more than a similar machine-made scarf might cost.”

I am glad that I am not married to one of the writers, since he would always be calculating the opportunity costs of my hobby. (If I were his wife, I would say “What’s the opportunity cost of (a) making your wife mad and (b) making her even madder by pointing out THE MOST OBVIOUS THING EVER?”)

On a random note, the article discusses this weird machine that grows plants in water that I was JUST pointing out to Adam at Zabar’s today. This is the kind of gadget that my college roommate would describe as “You need that like you need a bullet in the head.”

*Some magazine did a funny charticle that summarized recent freakonmic-like economic theories and rated them by “Likely to appear as an article in Slate” and “Duh factor.” Oh–I just did a google search. It was The New Republic. Here’s the article if you happen to subscribe.

** I looked up all the knitting posts on the Freakonomics blog, and I discovered that Steven Leavitt, the Freakonomist, is the brother of the owner of Yarnzilla, which I have actually ordered from. Apparently, said sister named both Yarnzilla and the philosophy “Freakonomics.” The blog also discussed the whole Socks That Rock Sock Club drama-o-rama.

Posted in Uncategorized at May 28th, 2007. Trackback URI: trackback

2 Responses to “Freakonomics Take On Knitting”

  1. May 29th, 2007 at 3:09 pm #Adam

    I have often secretly calculated the price of your projects based on opportunity cost, but I never say anything — I know it’s a fun hobby for you and that my hobby has a similar high opportunity cost!

  2. May 29th, 2007 at 5:10 pm #Michele

    oh that’s just too funny, calculating the opportunity costs of knitting!

    adam sounds like a smart man.

    and yeah sometimes it floors me how much the knitting costs. especially when you factor in time. what are you going to do though, knitting with poor quality yarn doesn’t appeal.

    great bar/knitting photo.