Thursday, October 14, 2021

Sunk Cost

 I actually have a post graduate degree in Engineering Management. This means I have a bunch of business courses that have somewhat limited use to me, today. However, some of it is handy to remember.

In simple terms, sunk cost means that once the money is spent, the materials you may have spent it on now all have the same value (basically, they are free). In terms of crafting, it means that all the fabric, yarn and other materials in your stash are equal, when you start a project, so you are free to use whatever you like, without worrying that it was expensive when you bought it.

 The sale fabric has the same value as the pieces you paid full price for, and the hand dyed yarns have the same value as the mass produced yarn. Too often, I have heard people talk about saving a special fabric or yarn, because it was so expensive. If it suits the project, use it!

During this long period of isolation, I have been using this principle to choose from what I have, for projects I want to do. I will admit that I might not have used my favourite fabrics to make masks (although I have used every bit of my rainbow fabric). However, for everything else, I just use my stash as a free source of beautiful materials.

This was a week for that.

I discovered there a new baby , dear to someone I care about. New Canadian babies need winter hats, since winter is coming. So, I found a pattern I like and looked for some suitable yarn. I had one ball left of Knit Pick's Chroma in worsted. It was waiting for this hat.

So, now there is a hat. It is bright, and colourful, all the things Canadian baby hats should be. With luck, if it falls on the ground, it will be immediately noticed. Welcome to the world, little one. Here is a "free" hat.

I decided that my Chromebook needed a sleeve. I bought the Chromebook when it became obvious that Zoom was going to become my new meeting space, and my tablet was too small to see all the faces. In hope that the future may allow in person meetings, I decided that it needed a protective sleeve.

Isn't that fabulous fabric? I used this bright fabric for the exterior, some flannel on the inside, and a piece of fusible fleece as the batting. 

I actually quilted it, though it doesn't really show.

The binding was a piece of batik that just kind of suited. Now it is ready to slip into a tote bag, ready if I ever get to go anywhere.

It is a perfect fit, considering that I was just designing it on the fly. 

The flannel has been in my stash for years, and I have lots, so it probably wasn't expensive. The bright print was a much newer purchase, bought on impulse and at full price, as I recall. The batik is from my Batik Collection, that has been dwindling lately, as I find places I want to use it.

Using your fabric and gorgeous yarn lets you enjoy it so much more than keeping it hidden in your stash.


  1. I once had a winter 2 piece jacket and skirt that I saved for best occasions!!! What a waste of a beautiful outfit, in the end when it didn't fit me, I made crawler legging/long pants for the daughters. Love that hat, perfect yarn, and now I really don't save the best for "best days" but wear, use or otherwise every day.Best of all, my wonderful expensive down jacket gets worn every time the day is cold enough.The sleeve is lovely, bright is always beautiful, and this is so useful too.

  2. For many years my online quilt group has used the expression "holy fabric" - the fabric which is too special and precious to cut into, so you save it for a project worth of its beauty. Alas, that sometimes never happens.....I have been known to cut into my holy fabric stash on occasion, as you have been doing. Love the hat, the world needs more rainbow babies!

  3. Thank you for this new (to me) info on sunk cost. I have sunk a lot of $ into my hobbies and I too have a ton of expensive fabric I can't bear to use but really, what am I waiting for? People who buy my bag patterns have asked me a similar(ish) question before. Should they use old, cheap fabric to make the bags when it's their first time making it and my reply to them has always been: ugly fabric makes ugly bags. Use the nicest fabric you have. So I should really take my own advice esp when it comes to making garments, I often go hunting in my storeroom for my least favourite fabric. Should stop doing that.

  4. So true, the sunk cost was something I did not even think about. I believe in using what we have, give away and keep what we need. The wonderful thing about a stash, you can start a project anytime. No waiting just make a start, it is the first step. Love the baby hat with all those happy colours on it. Hythe cover for the chrome book looks just as beautiful and filled with smile inducing colours!

  5. I 'get' the engineering concept. I don't exactly know how, but I think it's built into the way I price (most of) my art quilts. The baby hat it adorable and yes, it's unlikely to be easily lost. Not so much the baby socks I prefer to knit for wee ones of my acquaintance (I've no grandchildren, nor do I expect any). That said, I enjoy making socks more than making hats!

  6. I have your statement about the value of the material, which we have read with pleasure in our own closet :-) yes, I see it that way too ... for my product, which I want to create, the only important thing now is ... the Color and the pattern ... and again and again I am missing a color ... is it the same for you ????
    The baby hat is terrific ... I love colors.
    P.S. You have created the carrying case for the laptop super :-)
    Hug Viola

  7. ... wanted to say that what is produced becomes as good as the most beloved substance itself is ... that is, a badly unloved substance does not make a good thing ... just as the slowest participant in a hike stops all of society ...