Hand Knitting, Warm Clothes, and Other Barter Agreements

An Ohio woman who traded her hand knitting skills with a neighbor for paperhanging and a Colorado couple who exchanged a couch for warm clothes are among the barter agreements profiled in this installment of an regular feature.

| July/August 1979

  • 058 hand knitting barter agreements - KSI - Fotolia.jpg
    Hank knitting an afghan sweater in exchange for new wallpaper in her kitchen was one Ohio woman's solution to her remodeling needs.

  • 058 hand knitting barter agreements - KSI - Fotolia.jpg

Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas — barter — and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter agreements and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "You're on!" MOTHER EARTH NEWS replied. 

Hand Knitting for Wallpaper

My kitchen walls had a bad case of the drearies, but I didn't have the money to pay for a wallpaper job nor did I know how to do the work on my own. I had just about resigned myself to another year of bleak baking when barter came to the rescue. It seems that a friend of mine who is a professional paperhanger had once admired my homemade afghan and wished she could make one for herself. So I called my chum and proposed a swap, which she accepted as soon as the words were out of my mouth! I bought the yarn—a total outlay of $13—and crocheted up a storm while my friend purchased the paper and pasted it up. The end results were an artful afghan and a spanking new kitchen.

Some time later, the bathroom needed papering. I called my barter-mate again, and soon had a beautiful bath, while she earned two hand-worked shawls.

An added bonus evolved from our trading, too: While assisting my friend in her measuring and pasting, I learned enough about paperhanging to be able to tackle a second bathroom all by myself! And I couldn't begin to put a price on the pleasurable hours of company as the two of us worked together.

Karen Besecker
Arcanum, OH

Warm Clothes for a Couch

When we got our chance to relocate from southern California to the Colorado Rockies we jumped at it! We very soon found that our opportunity had created a couple of problems, though: We needed to sell most of our furniture to purchase some good warm clothing.

As the day of the move approached, we had not found a buyer for our sofa—which a MOTHER EARTH NEWS article had inspired us to reupholster—and without that money we couldn't afford the clothing. Then a fellow worker told me that he was interested in the couch but didn't have the $200 we were asking for it. I mentioned that we would consider trading for some warm duds, and the next day my friend showed up with two down jackets, a down vest, a pair of fur-lined boots, some rain gear, and $100! Needless to say, we made the swap and moved to Colorado in toasty comfort.

Karina Koenig-Johnson
1/18/2013 9:02:51 AM

when we lived in the UK we swapped our decorating skills for a couple of wardrobes, and more recently jobs around a friend's house for some curtain material for the lounge. Happy days!

1/16/2013 7:18:07 PM

I have bartered with piano lessons and guitar lessons. I received a large basket of fabric from a friend, art lessons for my children, rent for the piano lesson spot, and hay for my goats. Wonderful! We are still sewing with that fabric. I love these stories - they give me new ideas.

Donna Hendry
1/16/2013 5:39:57 PM

I have done many barters over the years. My two favorites though are regularly trading my jams for fresh milk that I would make into yogurt and cheese, and traded tutoring (I'm a teacher) for a roof repair. I've also found that holiday gifts are great barters. I make jewelry, but after all this time, my family has more than they can use; I've traded jewelry for homemade clothing, homemade candy, blankets, etc.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters