Do you love the look of hand knit clothing and accessories, but just don’t have the time or inclination to knit yourself? There is another option. Many knitting shops carry a large line of hand knit clothing, in designer yarns, for sale to their customers.Generally, knitting stores will carry such items as baby blankets and sweaters, afghans, purses and bags, scarves, hats and adult sweaters. Hand knit items tends to be a one-of-a-kind articles, which is nice if you don’t want to worry about running into someone else sporting the same piece as you. Plus, everyone will think you’re talented in handicrafts, a misconception you don’t have to clarify if you don’t want to.Be forewarned, these pieces are not cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to over $200 dollars depending on what you wish to buy. If you consider the cost of high quality yarn, the time involved in crafting these unique pieces, and the fact that you don’t have to do it yourself, the money spent is well worth it.If you’re looking for a specific color or styled item, you may need to do a little searching. Knitting boutiques tend to carry pieces in predetermined yarns and sizes. In other words, the afghan you’re looking at will probably only come in that size. However, there are a lot of stores both nearby and online that carry hand knit items and some are willing to take special orders, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.One thing to be aware of before you purchase a hand knit items is the washing and care instructions for different types of yarns.Yarns that include wool shrink when exposed to extreme heat. Think hot washing machine water or the heated air from the dryer. Even an overzealous hair blow drier has been known to damage a wool sweater. Sometimes woolen yarn is treated with chemicals to make them less heat sensitive. Other fibers, like acrylics actually expand when they get wet, and they need the heat from a warm dryer to return to their original size.Generally the safest bet is to hand-wash any knitted or crocheted projects with a gentle soap. Then lay it out flat on a towel to dry.Be sure you are willing to invest the time to care for your product properly before you buy it, and this goes doubly if the knitted outfit is a gift for someone else. No one wants a beautiful hand knit sweater that’s shrunk to the size of doll clothing.If you know what to expect, a hand knit scarf, hat or sweater can be a great investment that you can wear and enjoy for years to come.