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View Full Version : Budget, Experience, and Climate Considerations


cgd
07-08-2006, 01:21 PM
I see on the board where others are allergic to wool. I haven't chosen to work with it since it itches me a bit, plus I live in Mississippi, which is like a sauna most of the year. Even in the winter if it's freezing in the morning, a wool sweater will, on most days, cook you once the temp goes into the 50s.

Another factor in my knitting life is that my budget is more suited to Red Heart Super Saver and Sugar-n-Cream than higher-dollar yarns. I also feel like it's foolish to buy expensive yarns since I'm still mastering the basics. Of course, many patterns I see are designed to made with the nicer yarn. And if I use a different yarn, the gauge will be totally different.

For these reasons, I'm starting on dishcloths rather than hats and scarves. Very few people wear them down here. I am going to attempt an acrylic cap for my FIL in a camo print since he's an avid hunter.

I guess I'm asking this: have any of you been down this road? I think I need to make a basic WW or acrylic cotton summer tank top rather than with Paton's Grace at this point. Does anyone have any basic patterns using acrylic or cotton? Or do I just need to do the math on a pattern by using a gauge swatch then press on? Any other Deep South humidity/heat survivors for whom snow is something you only see on Christmas cards and the news? Well, I did see some in January when I got stuck at O'Hare Airport, so I have to respect those of you who live in the north!

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

nicolethegeek
07-08-2006, 01:47 PM
I woudn't suggest acrylic for wearables. It has no absorbancy, and will therefore feel like you are wearing a plastic bag. Cotton is a much better choice. You will find that using something like Grace, rather than S&C sport, will give a much nicer finish to your garment. The difference in the enjoyment of making something with a yarn that you love the feel of, rather than something "cheap", is well worth the difference in cost. When you think of how much time you are spending working on something, make it as enjoyable as you can. Personally, Grace is my DK/ sport cotton of choice... reasonably priced, and feels like silk between the fingers.

cheesiesmom
07-08-2006, 02:37 PM
If finances are a consideration, I certainly wouldn't shy away from using an acrylic yarn that was within my budget. Especially if the alternative is not attempting to knit a tank. Grace sounds like a lovely yarn, but at $4+ a skein it is more expensive than Sugar and Cream. I've done placemats in S&C and I don't think I'd like it for clothing, but there must be something else you could use. You should probably check out your yarn stores/online to see what is available in acrylic. I'm working on a baby sweater in Plymouth Dreambaby which is acrylic but is machine wash and dryable. That is a major consideration for me in making baby/children items. Plus, this is a soft, lovely yarn that is great to work with. Very little splitting, knits up evenly, etc. I purchased it through an on-line auction and it was quite reasonable. There are acrylics and there are acrylics.

When I was growing up both my mother and grandmother knitted and crocheted for us; scarves, mittens, hats, cardigans. They would never have considered using anything other than the stuff you could find at Woolworth. They knitted for practical purposes, for economic reasons, for pleasure and to "while" away those long winter evenings. And they couldn't have been more proud of their FO's if they were cashmere.

If I were you, I'd look for a yarn that fits my pocketbook, the climate I live in, and makes me happy to work with. Today it might be Redheart but someday it could be Rowan or Debbie Bliss. Even acrylic will make you a more proficient knitter. I wouldn't worry so about the medium; just keep on knitting.

:thumbsup:

Chel
07-08-2006, 04:06 PM
cgd,
I totally understand where you are coming from! Living at home with my disabled mother, cost is always an issue. I have been using Sugar and Cream to practice and learn new stitches. I make lace or cable bordered dishcloths in varying colors. I box them in coordinating bundles of 5, then wrap in wrapping paper that matches the color of the discloths inside. This way, when I have an "emergency" where a housewarming gift or such is needed I have it ready to go and know by looking at the outside of the box which color discloths are inside. I am getting lots of practice, learning techniques and covering my butt all at once! Plus friends and family love the homemade touch.

I did want to mention a yarn I found that I like a lot. Its TLC Cotton Plus.
http://www.coatsandclark.com/Products/Knitting/Medium+Yarns/TLC+Cotton+Plus.htm

It is a cotton/acryllic blend. I find I really like the way it feels as well as the drape. Its both comfortable and economical. It comes in an array of colors. I find it at my local A.C. Moore, but I am sure its nationally carried.

I live in Maryland so I don't have the sauna effect you describe, but I am HOT all the time. I would leave the heat off for most of the winter if my Mother would tolerate it, and most of the time you will find me on the couch knitting in as few clothes as I can manage and still be decent.
Even as hot as I am, I find this yarn is comfortable-definitely better to me than pure acrylic which causes me to sweat puddles.

Hope this helps. And when in debt :doh: I mean doubt, remember www.elann.com

cgd
07-08-2006, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the replies. I knew I'd get some good food for thought here. I just hesitate to spend money on the nicer stuff til I get better. I'll check out the suggested yarns and just keep on knitting, even if it's with Red Heart or SnC for now. I like SnC because it reminds me of handmade cotton things from childhood.

I really like the practical aspect of knitting, as cheesiesmom said. The same was true in my family, though it was more sewing than knitting, with a bit of crocheting thrown in. I have quilts that grandmothers and aunts made when it was necessary for families to make their own clothes and covers, even if wasn't fancy, maybe even because it's not fancy (they are pretty though). The SnC cotton yarn brings this feeling back to me, so it feels good in my hands even if it's not as soft as other yarns.

I've worn store-bought 100% acrylic sweaters because of the low cost and easy care and because we don't need so much warmth here and like them. I may just try knitting one on the cheap so I can learn how to size a sweater with a view toward experimentation rather than wearing. When I get better, I'll definitely look into the acrylic/cotton blends as I know y'all are right--I will want to use better materials. But I have a LONG way to go before that day comes!

I appreciate all your viewpoints on this and will knit on!

brendajos
07-08-2006, 05:40 PM
it looks like you received good suggestions here...i previously lived in Louisiana so i can't imagine doing the knitting i do now with those temps! :shock:

One thing that jumped out at me in your post though is that you might want to consider the kind of hunting your father in law does before knitting a Cammo hat! Sometimes safety orange is just a better option ya know! :thumbsup: unless of course you don't like your father in law :rofling:

KristiMetz
07-08-2006, 05:58 PM
I think that for those of us who have a little time to shop, wonderful quality yarns in great fibers can be had for a VERY reasonable cost. it's a matter of looking for sales online and researching.

I think you might want to consider some yarn blends. Cotton/microfiber acrylic... cotton/linen, cotton/rayon, that sort of thing. Cotton by itself can be kind of unappealing and has no elasticity (plus it grows throughout the day). But, there are tons of wonderful cotton blends!

I highly recommend haunting sites like elann (http://www.elann.com), knitpicks (http://www.knitpicks.com) or just looking for sales at places like herrschners (http://yarnsale.herrschners.com) online or the online "garage sale" at WEBS (http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/1317/0-0-1294/). You can really find stuff for a steal! I just got some Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk at a site for FOUR BUCKS a ball... that's 50% off!

Elann has some WONDERFUL summertime yarns for very cheap.

Also check out this forum (http://knittyboard.com/viewforum.php?f=3&sid=b8b6021d5569465b1e08bce9efd1e6af) on knittyboard - folks post about great deals they find.

I can definitely relate to not wanting to knit with nicer stuff until you feel the quality of your work is up to it. But, I also submit that if you feel ready to tackle a piece of clothing, your whole experience (knitting the piece and then wearing it) will be totally different if you carefully choose a yarn that you really like and will suit you and your climate.

I frequently want a good deal, but I really don't buy the stuff at WalMart (Caron's, Red Heart, Lily) simply because you can find stuff for around the same price online, on clearance. When yarn stores clear out discontinued yarns, there's no limit to how low the prices can get sometimes.[/url]

Mrs.H
07-09-2006, 12:51 AM
Cindy, I know the weather you live in all to well, having lived in FL, and southeast GA in the past, as well as the summers in DE, all of them hot and sticky. I would stongly suggest you check out ebay for the reclaimed/recycled yarns for sale there. I just bought a batch of butter colored, worseted weight, silk blend yarn, 928 yards for $19.28 including shipping. It is a 3 ply yarn, 2 nuby silk, 1 rayon, or 55% silk & 45% rayon. That would knit up a sweater very comfortable to wear in your neck of the woods. She had several other batches of "recycled" yarn availble the last time I looked, including sport weight cottons, worseted weight linen blends, another large amount of a silk blend. The seller's name is yessiam04, I'll be more than happy to let you know what I think about the yarn I bought from her as soon as it is deliveried. I am seriously thinking about recycling the yarn from some sweaters I haven't worn since Moses was a baby. Of course that will mean buying a swift( since I don't have any ladder back chairs) and a winder. One other thought, check out the thrift shops and estate sales for yarn and other knitting supplies, you never know when you'll get lucky at one of them.
Linda

Jenelle
07-09-2006, 01:13 AM
I think you should attempt a scarf. You can make some pretty nice ones even though you live in hot weather. Just wear them as an accessory(maybe make them a little bit thinner than the average scarf, and a little bit shorter).

One cheap acrylic yarn that I love to work with is Caron's simply soft. It's a 100% acrylic yarn. Cheap, a lot of nice colors to choose from, and is very soft!

There's also a cotton yarn called Peaches and Cream that can be found at walmart. It's a 100% worsted weight cotton yarn that's around $1.50 for about 2.5oz.

I've seen TLC cotton plus yarn and I've been wanting to try that out. I can't seem to find it though. :rollseyes:

I'd say just check your local craft stores for any deals. If you look around, you could probably even find yarn in your dollar stores(I found multiple types of yarn at the dollar stores) or even check thrift stores. I found a whole bag of 100% virgin wool for only $1.50 at the Good Will.

Mrs.H
07-09-2006, 02:40 PM
One thing I forgot about was the discontinued, and close out yarns, I just bought 10 balls/skeins of them at Walmart for my granddaughters to knit with. I found them on a small end rack near their regular price yarns. They had a nice selection of fashion yarns to choose from on that rack. I also forgot to mention Tuesday Morning is now carrying some closeout yarns, and their prices are fantastic. I bought some Lions Brand Homespun yarn for $2.50 a skein, it's normally $5.99, and the one I shop at had even more of the novelty/fashion yarn.
I hope you have better luck finding nice, and affordable yarn.
Linda

cgd
07-09-2006, 04:04 PM
Brendajos, I hear you about the orange, and yes, I do like my FIL! There are actually orange stripes on this cap, plus he wears an orange vest. Also, his deer camp doesn't allow alcohol, which goes a long way toward guaranteeing his safety :D (I have no moral thing against alcohol, but it doesn't mix with guns and testosterone--yikes!)

Jenelle, I did crochet my mother a cap and scarf for Mother's Day using Caron Simply Soft. It does feel wonderful, and she liked it. She's in Alabama, also humid, but her town is further north in the foothills, and likes caps now that her hair is a bit thinner. I'll give knitting a go with it. The TLC was mentioned before, and I'm thinking of ordering some from on-line as joann.com has it. There's a nice tangerine color. Now I'll need to figure out how much to use for a tank top. I'm thinking 6 or 8 skeins.

Mrs. H., Kristimetz, and all of you, thanks for the links and tips to the bargain yarn. I tried to visit my LYS last Friday but got in a car wreck on the way (I'm OK and the car will be). After all that, I managed to get there at 3:30, but they'd already closed (not supposed to close til 4). Their hours are very short and I have to work for a living, so getting there isn't an option sometimes. I'll have to investigate ebay too--I should have guessed they'd have yarn since they have everything else under the sun!

XbelovedXoneX
07-09-2006, 05:56 PM
I have to echo KristiMetz and really recommend Knit Picks yarns. I started knitting back in February and most of my knitting has been with their yarn. I really have to say it's the best regarding price and quality!

shellebelle216
07-09-2006, 05:56 PM
Something I have seen posted here numerous times is to go to Goodwill or other thrift stores and buy a sweater and then undo it and use the yarn for whatever you want to make. You can get some really nice yarn this way for three or four bucks!

Jenelle
07-09-2006, 06:02 PM
Jenelle, I did crochet my mother a cap and scarf for Mother's Day using Caron Simply Soft. It does feel wonderful, and she liked it. She's in Alabama, also humid, but her town is further north in the foothills, and likes caps now that her hair is a bit thinner. I'll give knitting a go with it. The TLC was mentioned before, and I'm thinking of ordering some from on-line as joann.com has it. There's a nice tangerine color. Now I'll need to figure out how much to use for a tank top. I'm thinking 6 or 8 skeins.

What tank top are you thinking of doing?

brendajos
07-09-2006, 06:05 PM
Brendajos, I hear you about the orange, and yes, I do like my FIL! There are actually orange stripes on this cap, plus he wears an orange vest. Also, his deer camp doesn't allow alcohol, which goes a long way toward guaranteeing his safety :D (I have no moral thing against alcohol, but it doesn't mix with guns and testosterone--yikes!)



:shifty: whew!

cgd
07-09-2006, 06:18 PM
What tank top are you thinking of doing?

Just something very basic as I've never sewn or done any wearables other than hats and scarves.

I'm such a ditz-head--I've been saying Sugar-n-Cream all this time, and I've actually been using Peaches-n-Cream, the one you were talking about that we get at WalMart! It makes great dishcloths. I wonder if it would work for a first tank top . . .

Hildegard_von_Knittin
07-09-2006, 11:48 PM
Cindy, I'm going to vouch for Knitpicks yarn, too. I use it almost exclusively, because the quality is good for the price. It isn't the BEST yarn in the world, but if you woul dlike to treat yourself to something luxurious, but don't have the budget, their "high end" yarns (like Ambrosia and Panache) feel FABULOUS, and it won't break the back to knit yourself something small using them.

Remember, too, you don't have to knit clothes!!! You can knit pillows, table accessories, seat cushions, even curtains. And bags of course :-)

If you're allergic to wool, have you tried other natural fibers like alpaca? What about blends? It might also just be chemicals in the wool... if you have a chance to try organic wool, you might discover a difference. And wool, really WILL keep you cool... if you get a light weight wool. A super bulky chunky bloucle wool yarn tank top you fry you! But a DK weight wool-blend might be just the thing. Wool will wick away moisture in ways a cotton or acrylic can't, keeping your body less damp, and therefore cooler.

cgd
07-10-2006, 06:00 PM
Hildegard, where do you buy Knitpicks?

brendajos
07-10-2006, 06:06 PM
well i am not hildi but you can see their link at the top of the page here. if it isn't there just refresh until it comes up. otherwise it is www.knitpicks.com if you buy through the link on this page Amy gets a kick back! :thumbsup:

cgd
07-10-2006, 10:08 PM
A big DUH for me!! I don't pay attention to the popups much, but I see it up there now. Thanks, Brendajos!

brendajos
07-10-2006, 10:49 PM
lol i don't either until i need something! ;) this is actually one of the only sites i let them show up on...otherwise they are blocked! :thumbsup:


don't forget to sign up for their catalog! it takes quite a while for that first one to arrive a lot of the time but it is usually worth it.

nicolethegeek
07-11-2006, 10:03 AM
Here in Canada, our S&C/P&C is called Bernat Handicrafter... basically the same stuff in different packaging since Lily and Bernat are both the same company.

Anyhoo, I've crocheted a tank top for myself out of WW 100% cotton, and made all kinds of things {knit and crochet} for my kids out of it. It's not the greatest cotton to work with for clothing, but with careful laundering it does turn out nicely. I usually buy it in {nearly} 1 pound balls, so it goes a long way!

Mrs.H
07-11-2006, 03:53 PM
The recycled silk blend yarn I talked about earlier arrived yesterday, and it is very nice. I am looking forward to finding a pattern to use it with. My DH is getting excicited about the whole recycled yarn ideal now. He is planning to start looking (fleamarkets & yard sales) for nice sweaters to buy for recycling, he even told me to go ahead and order a yarn swift today, :happydance: , he wants to do this as a new hobby! :D
Linda

miccisue
07-12-2006, 07:41 PM
I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds here, but this board prides itself on not being yarn snobs....but although very nicely written, some of the replies do sound like anyone using less than wool, cotton, alpaca, silk, etc. is a knitting reject.

I know you don't intend that at all, but please be a little more supportive of those of us who are still not confident enough to outlay tons of $$$ while we hone our skills. Personally, even if I was tons better at knitting than I am, I still could not afford to buy a lot of the yarns previously mentioned. Also, there are people who are vegan who will not use any type of animal fiber..... :blush:

Am I oversensitive? Probably. But I love knitting, can't afford high priced yarns, and feel like the "poor relation" when my beloved acrylic Super Saver is made to sound like it's not worth my time, and that I'm not worthy to be on the board 'cause I don't use "higher class" materials. :crying:

If I've offended anyone, I apologize....but I did want to let you know that unknowingly, there is a bit of a yarn snob attitude that is coming across - and I know that the board doesn't want that.

Thanks for listening.

kimono7
07-12-2006, 08:42 PM
I think you'll find this article interesting. It really opened my eye when I was a newbie.

http://goknitinyourhat.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_goknitinyourhat_archive.html

You might want to try ebay.com and craigster.com as well. And knitpicks.com of course :inlove:

miccisue
07-12-2006, 10:14 PM
A very interesting article - didn't see the need for the insults, though. However, most comparisons were with yarns that contain wool. I simply can not abide wool. I break out in a rash, and scratch myself raw. Thus, wool is out for me.

The other example I saw was yarn that contained cotton - and said machine wash and dry flat. This might be OK for certain projects, but I prefer machine washable/dryable.

If I'm knitting for kids, you can bet I'm using the easiest to care for material there is.

I could be nuts, but I've made many garments with Red Heart acrylic, and they all felt just fine to me.

So, maybe I'm the "trailer trash" that uses "crap" yarn....and finds it quite satisfactory for my circumstances.

I do occasionally get yarn from my LYS tht is more "upscale", but for the most part, I stick with acrylics. Someday I'd love to try the soy yarn....but that day will have to wait.

bjc1050
07-13-2006, 08:58 AM
miccisue

I'm an acrylic user, too. I refuse to pay more for yarn, than I would pay for a ready made item. That being said, I've discovered that many Red Heart Super Saver yarns would be preferred for items that will not be worn next to the skin...better for household items. The RedHeart Classic and TLC are perfectly acceptable while Simply Soft is my preferred acrylic yarn...you really get a lot of yarn for the money, especially with 40% off coupons.

I also like Paton's acrylic yarns, they feel good...haven't actually used it yet, but have some waiting to be knitted.

Someday I would like to try some Brown Sheep yarns.

miccisue
07-13-2006, 09:15 AM
Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've found that most of the Super Saver I've used becomes much more wearable after a couple of washings. I don't know if they treat it with something to make it easier to work with while actually knitting the project, or what, but I've found that washing makes a huge difference.

Since most "ready made" sweaters I buy are of acrylic also, I don't see the big deal...quite frankly, I don't buy stuff that costs a ton and then has to be hand washed and dried flat. I simply don't have the time or space for that.

I've never tried Classic or TLC (all they carry here is regular Super Saver, and some of the fun yarns like Symphony and Foxy) but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the tip! :thumbsup:

cgd
07-13-2006, 10:56 AM
Miccisue, I'm right there with you in redneck-ness (esp. since I live in Missisippi LOL--we get labeled!) and having wool itch me. I too like Red Heart and Caron yarns and Peaches-n-Cream, in other words, whatever I can get at WalMart. I don't think it's crap yarn either. My grandmother's simple hand-made quilts would probably not win any competition blue ribbons either, but I love them because they're not fancy (they used scraps, whatever they had). But if someone called them "crap" quilts, I'd be insulted. Practicality is part of the appeal of doing these things ourselves, at least it is for me.

Back to yarn: the LYS's hours aren't very accommodating to those who work outside the home; 10-4 doesn't wprk for me when my job hours are 7:30-4:30. One day I got there at 3:30, but they were closed anyway even though their posted hours are til 4:00, so I don't wish to brave the traffic to get there when I can order on-line and/or buy at Wal-Mart, whose selection IMO is pretty good for a store that doesn't specialize in crafts.

I too have bought ready-made 100% acrylic sweaters and love them, so I'll probably use these when I knit a sweater (not ready for that yet).
Do you have any basic patterns you used when knitting acrylic sweaters? I'd like to try one, but the patterns usually call for high-dollar wool yarns, and I'm not ready at this point to experiment with both the sweater AND a gauge change. Heck, just a basic sweater at this point would be an accomplishment for me!

miccisue
07-13-2006, 12:53 PM
Cindy,

The pattern I plan to use is on the Bernat website. It uses Solo yarn, and is rated "easy". Coats and Clark has a cowl neck sweater that uses Light and Lofty and Super Saver...also rated "easy". Just check out yarn websites or (I think this is right) knittingpatterncentral.com and just browse until you find one that you like and seems like it would be workable for you.

My LYS is like yours....the hours are not at all friendly to working people. Add to that the fact that I work every weekend, and my chances to buy from them are pretty much shot. I try, but it doesn't happen very often. I also find it amusing (and a sign that they try to cover every level of knitter - both experience and expense wise) that they carry a decent stock of Lion Brand "crap" yarn. ;)

I'll keep looking and see if I run across any other easy free patterns for sweaters.

brendajos
07-13-2006, 01:04 PM
does it actually say Crap yarn? :shock:


though i must say that if i am going to buy yarn at Michaels or Hobby Lobby i am more inclined to buy Simply Soft or TLC than I am Lion Brand because I think it is overpriced for what it is and doesn't feel that great to me.

Though when I first started knitting i couldn't imagine wanting to use anything BUT Lion Brand. I loved their colors and thought they had all sorts of great stuff. I still have some in my house for some projects that i someday plan on completing. It isn't that i hate their yarn...i just figure i can get better stuff at my LYS for about the same amount of money.

plus they irritated the heck out of me when they started requiring that i sign into their website to see patterns....hmph! ;)

miccisue
07-13-2006, 02:24 PM
Yep, read the article. It actually says "crap yarn". The writer does have some good comparisons, but as I said, in my case it's kind of like apples and oranges. I don't do wool....and most of the comparisons were for wool or wool blend yarns. There was one with cotton, but quite frankly, reading the instructions....it would be more work than I would like to put into it. Some people want to use high end stuff if they're going to spend the time on making something, and that's fine. I personally want to be able to wear what I make without having the hassle of hand washing, laying flat to dry (and hoping that it isn't wonky in shape when it's done), dry cleaning, etc. I like machine washable and dryable, and I like it to retain it's original size. I've found that no matter what they say about cotton, it's going to shrink if you dry it in the dryer....even if it's preshrunk and says it is able to be dried in the machine.

Also, in the article, I found the pricing given for the Lion Brand was a tad higher than what I've seen in the store. Maybe by only 50 cents a skein, but if you're talking 10 skeins, that's still $5...and that could tilt the results of the "survey".

To each his own...I'm just asking that people respect those who choose, for whatever reason, to use primarily acrylics and not make them feel like they should never have picked up the needles at all if they aren't going to use wool, cotton, silk, etc.

bjc1050
07-13-2006, 02:35 PM
Cindy,

"Do you have any basic patterns you used when knitting acrylic sweaters? I'd like to try one, but the patterns usually call for high-dollar wool yarns, and I'm not ready at this point to experiment with both the sweater AND a gauge change. Heck, just a basic sweater at this point would be an accomplishment for me!"

The Leisure Arts leaflet 99 Knit Stitches has some sweaters that look fairly simple as well as the Leisure Arts leaflet I Can't Believe I'm Knitting which has a vest that should be fairly easy. I'm planning to begin them for my GD as soon as I finish the poncho I'm working on for her. I bought some Paton's acrylic yarn since it's supposed to have the gauge called for in these patterns, but I hope to make them also with Simply Soft. Another nice thing about these patterns is that the size range is large enough that I can use them even as GD grows a little bigger...she's only six. The vest and sweater can be knitted for adult sizes, too.

cgd
07-14-2006, 02:35 PM
Bjc1050, thanks for the tip. I have that book I Can't Believe I'm Knitting and will look back into it for the vest pattern.

Miccisue, I agree about the article. BTW I just went to my LYS just for the heck of it. The only reason I could go during their precious 10-4 hours is that I had a root canal this morning and didn't feel like going back to work. I didn't like it much--everything is so expensive, and I didn't see anything on sale. Plus it's funny that most of their yarn was wool-oriented here in Mississippi! I left without buying one single thing. I guess I'm just a Wal-Mart girl at heart and will probably stick with that, aside from the occasional ordering of something like TLC Cotton Plus.

Nice to know there are other basic needs-type people here!

bjc1050
07-14-2006, 03:19 PM
The vest is a pullover type - not open like a cardigan.

knitncook
07-14-2006, 05:00 PM
I know this thread is a tad older, but I wanted to add my 2 worth. I live on the Florida Gulf Coast so totally understand the kind of winters you are talking about. Heavy wools are definitely too much on even the coldest days thanks to warmer afternoon. BUT wool breathes and thinner weight wools are perfect for our climate. I even make wool socks that I wear all year long.

I've been knitting for a long time and I am so thankful that my mom taught me to knit using good quality fibers. It makes all the difference in the world with how your projects turn out. I've tried to save a buck by substituting lower quality yarns and in the end am not pleased with the way that something turned out. It makes me wish that I had spent the $8+ a ball instead of the $2-$4 a ball. I also like the way that higher end fibers tend to feel in your fingers. They flow so much smoother and feel good on your hands. I can't stand to knit with most acrylic and polyesters as they tend to kill my hands after a while.

I am on a fairly restricted budget, but between the little I have and looking for good sales online I can usually keep my needles busy! And I would prefer to knit only 3 or 4 items a month in the "good stuff" than 20 items in the cheap stuff (I could do 20 items. I don't really need sleep, right?)

cgd
07-14-2006, 09:26 PM
Your point is well taken, and one day I might splurge on a better fiber when I get a lot better and feel like I'm capable of making something without so many mistakes. Right now I'm not worthy of expensive fiber even if my budget allowed it. Besides, the dentist, the endodontist, my son's summer camp, and the body shop (root canal and wrecked in two weeks' time) are getting all my money :rofling:

miccisue
07-14-2006, 10:25 PM
I know this thread is a tad older, but I wanted to add my 2 worth. I live on the Florida Gulf Coast so totally understand the kind of winters you are talking about. Heavy wools are definitely too much on even the coldest days thanks to warmer afternoon. BUT wool breathes and thinner weight wools are perfect for our climate. I even make wool socks that I wear all year long.

I've been knitting for a long time and I am so thankful that my mom taught me to knit using good quality fibers. It makes all the difference in the world with how your projects turn out. I've tried to save a buck by substituting lower quality yarns and in the end am not pleased with the way that something turned out. It makes me wish that I had spent the $8+ a ball instead of the $2-$4 a ball. I also like the way that higher end fibers tend to feel in your fingers. They flow so much smoother and feel good on your hands. I can't stand to knit with most acrylic and polyesters as they tend to kill my hands after a while.

I am on a fairly restricted budget, but between the little I have and looking for good sales online I can usually keep my needles busy! And I would prefer to knit only 3 or 4 items a month in the "good stuff" than 20 items in the cheap stuff (I could do 20 items. I don't really need sleep, right?)

I think that your choices, for you, are great.

I can't understand why this thread keeps going back to wool yarns, though. I thought that - aside from the cost issue - it was pretty apparent that some people simply can not tolerate wool because of the discomfort it causes them. (I'm one of those people....I break out in a rash and scratch myself raw). :??

I've never tried alpaca, although it sounds lovely....but I'm not sure of how it compares to wool irritant-wise, and don't want to spend $7 or $8 a skein to find out I can't wear it.

I'm just a real low maintenance type, I guess. I live in jeans and Tshirts, and wear Sauconys. I work 11 hour days, and want things as simple as they can be when I get home.

I browsed through Knitpicks, and as I recall, only saw 1 cotton yarn that was machine washable and dryable. All the rest were hand wash. Considering Sunday is my only day off, I just don't want the hassle of that.

I think it's great that you love the quality fibers, and that you are able to work with it so well. No one taught me the finer points of quality fibers...I took a knitting class about 20 years ago, and just recently picked it up again. The fibers I'd most like to try in the future are the soy and corn yarn....they just sound so cool!! Still, for now, acrylics suit me just fine. I made scarves for Christmas presents out of acrylics, and have heard nothing but great things about them, so apparently I'm not the only one that doesn't mind lesser quality yarns.

bjc1050
07-15-2006, 08:36 AM
I'm a machine wash and dry person, too. Besides, price doesn't always assure quality. As I work with Simply Soft, I'm continually amazed at how nice it works up (this is my 1st time using it). Also, I knit mostly for my GD and dogs or toys or household items. I don't intend to spend $7 or $8 per skein.

nicolethegeek
07-15-2006, 11:59 AM
I have discovered that even my cheap acrylics benefit from a little special care in the laundry. I keep a clothes drying rack beside my washer and dryer at all times. Anything that I've made that's 100% acrylic gets either hung up to dry on hangers, or spread over that rack. It didn't matter how much fabric softener I would use, the acrylics in the dryer would create so much static in everything else, that I would have to run everything else through the dryer again. They don't take long to dry either... usually by the end of the day {even in the humid summer months}, I have them all put away. Even items made out of dishcloth cotton {other than dishcloths! :thumbsup: } need special care or else they look like... well... a dishrag after a few washings.

Do I work with a lot of more expensive fibres now? Yes... I'm the first to admit that my budget has taken a nasty hit since I've discovered higher end stuff. Do I regret spending more? Not one bit. Like everything else in my life, I do the best that I can afford that is also practical. PRACTICAL is the key word in any of my fibre discussions. I live in Canada, and since many brands aren't as readily available here, I need to do a lot of substituting to get end results that I like. I have a HUGE stash of cheap acrylics, but I also have a HUGE stash of more pricey sock yarns and the like. It's all about what I'm working on, and what the end use of the item will be that makes the final decision on what the fibre will be, regardless of the cost.

miccisue
07-15-2006, 01:25 PM
When you hang stuff to dry on hangers, how do you keep the shoulder "bumps" and overstretched arms and lengths from happening? I've never had any luck drying stuff on hangers. I either have to use the dryer, or dry it flat (and drying it flat , for me anyway, is a royal pain in the behind as I don't have space to place a flat dry rack, and it can take forever for a sweater to dry when you have to use the ironing board with a towel under the sweater!!!).

I haven't noticed acrylics causing a lot of static, but I use dryer sheets, and am so averse to static electricity that I use tons of Static Guard in the winter months. LOL!!!!

nicolethegeek
07-15-2006, 02:05 PM
Even with using 2-3 dryer sheets, I would still have static build up {esp. with afghans} so bad that my hair would stand on end when I remove clothes! The only thing I would put on hangers would be the smaller acrylic sweaters and things like scarves and such. The washer would spin out so much of the water that it didn't take much for them to dry anyway. I made some thick hangers {several wire hangers held together, with a crocheted cover} that help to prevent some of the hanger bumps.

My dryer rack doesn't take much room in the laundry room, and I just fold it out of the way when I'm not using it. I have used sweater drying racks that straddle the bathtub with good results. Since my laundry room is in the basement, and my bathtub is on the 2nd floor, the dryer rack was a wonderful addition.