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View Full Version : Expensive Yarns Vs. Affordable Yarns


luv2knit
04-10-2007, 01:24 PM
This question has probably been addressed a hundred times already, but I just have to ask it again. I started knitting over a year ago and most of the yarn I started with was from the chain craft store, usually buying lion brand or something that was on sale. I have purchased yarn from a few LYS but never anything too exotic or pricey. I did recently purchase from discountedbrandnameyarns.com, haven't gotten my order yet, but wanted to try out a couple of yarns (bella brand and bamboo type yarn). I also took a look at yarn.com recently and looked over their selection. I also have looked at the yarn magazine and through the online websites to see the variety of yarn that is out there.

So here is my question, why spend twice as much on yarn (or more) that ends up costing you around $50 to $100 to make something when you can go get yarn at Micheal's or JoAnn's for a lot less. How much better quality is the yarn that is so much more expensive? And do you always use high quality yarn for everything you knit? I would like to be brave enough to try something like Noro or the like, but I am not sure I am convinced yet. :shrug:

CateKnits
04-10-2007, 01:33 PM
So here is my question, why spend twice as much on yarn (or more) that ends up costing you around $50 to $100 to make something when you can go get yarn at Micheal's or JoAnn's for a lot less. How much better quality is the yarn that is so much more expensive?

You'll know if you try it. Some of it is that much better and some of it isn't. You really have to try it for yourself to decide.
It depends on what I'm making whether I'll use "expensive" yarn or not. If it's something like mittens that I think are going to take a lot of abuse, I'll use a cheaper, sturdier yarn. :shrug:

marykz
04-10-2007, 01:35 PM
as a fellow new knitter....
knitting isn't about saving money all the time- it is also about the craft, enjoying the process, and having a treasure when you finish.

While my limit is about $12/ skein- those more expensive yarns are a dream to work with. gentle on the hands, lovely to work up, lovely drape/ feel/ fit. a sensory experience during the process.

inexpensive yarns for me are great for learning new techniques, trying out a pattern, or making a gift for someone who has no idea how intensive or expensive hand knitting can be. While it isn't hard, it does take significant amounts of time, and if someone just doesn't get it, they aren't worth it.

Inexpensive yarns are also good for washable baby stuff, fast knitted scarves, things you want to wash frequently, etc. Lion brand cotton is great for discloths.

And some patterns only work with the right yarns- you might not like the results if you use a very different yarn than what the pattern is written for.

Anyways- just my opinion. I love the bamboo- hope you have fun with it!! I have a bunch waiting to be made into summer tops.

bip
04-10-2007, 01:41 PM
Yes, this topic comes up pretty regularly here. It is the same as buying your clothes at Target or buying them at Nordstrom. You may really want the Nordstrom quality, or you may feel that the quality doesn't justify the price (or you may get shoddy quality from Nordstrom and be really mad!) Or you may feel that if you shop carefully you can get good bargains at Nordstrom and good quality at Target.

Basically, the counter argument to what you are saying is "why put all that effort into something with crappy yarn?" Price doesn't = quality, but there are many pricey yarns are really nice to knit with.

I went through a serious yarn snob phase where I wouldn't touch Michaels/JoAnn yarn. Then I got sick and tired of making $100+ sweaters that I am too fat to look good in and need a lot of special care, so I started to make more things out of bargain yarns. Now I use both types depending on what I am making. I use the good stuff for apparel and the bargain stuff for blankets and heavy-use items.

To answer your question: There are absolutely expensive yarns out there that are worth every penny and you will be in heaven every stitch. However, if your budget is really tight, the stress of having paid so much can outweigh the joy. I don't think I can physically explain why they are nicer. It really comes down to personal preference.

SkyBluePink
04-10-2007, 01:44 PM
I can't answer your question fully, but will offer my experiences. I started knitting six months ago and used big box craft store yarn exclusively mainly because I didn't know any better, and I"m a starving student, and I have no LYS within a comfortable driving distance. Also, I was practicing my knitting...don't want to mess up a high-quality yarn with the tripe I was putting out.


I am still putting out tripe (my giganto bag comes to mind), but I've made a few online orders and found some really nice yarn that wasn't too expensive. Handpaintedyarn.com has some really nice stuff that nearly equals mmmmmMalabrigo in softness. It also comes in a ton of different colors and is usually less than $6.20 for about 150 yards. Some of the yarns in the craft stores were about 10 dollars and they were acrylic, not 100% wool!

Also found some Noro online and found some in a LYS in Arizona (my new home next month). I've bought some 182 and some 195 and will make a couple of Booga bags, as it is my current obsession.

Anyway, there it is. It is possible to find nice yarns that don't cost alot.


SBP
:waving:

AnreeAce
04-10-2007, 02:27 PM
Previous posters have made some really good points here, so I'll try not to go over the same ground too much.

Bottom line, I think you can make beautiful things with just about any yarn and plenty of attention.

I made my mom a scarf out of some inexpensive yarn because she fell in love with the color & the feel. Nothing else would do, not even the stuff which was twice as expensive. She wears it every chance she gets, and I just hope she doesn't get heatstroke this summer.

But then there are the times when you fall in love with the most expensive thing in the LYS. I've got a scarf I made out of $40 of Noro Kochoran. It's lush and fuzzy, and I've never regretted it.

I knit as a way to relax (when I'm not dropping stitches), as a way to be creative, as a way to make things for the people I love. Lord help me, one day soon I'm going to start on a pair of hockey socks for my DH (think long legwarmers, in sportweight yarn).

Buy yarn you like to work with. Experiment. Create. It's a wonderful thing altogether!

GinnyG
04-10-2007, 02:38 PM
I think yarn is a bit like wine....... it takes education and experience to truly appreciate a fine yarn.

There are lots of perfectly acceptable craft store yarns out there; lionbrand and redheart don't make garbage. It is servicable yarn and a great product to use to learn with, make childrens clothing or a variety of ofther uses.

But all it takes is making one item out of a "fine yarn", my first exposure to fine yarn was with Schaefer yarn, to KNOW the difference. Like wine sometimes you can go with the less expensive brands but there are definately occasions which call for higher end.

debinoz
04-10-2007, 02:48 PM
I usually buy inexpensive because I REALLY don't feel like being single again after all these years! :teehee:

AnreeAce
04-10-2007, 02:51 PM
I usually buy inexpensive because I REALLY don't feel like being single again after all these years! :teehee:

:roflhard:

It's easier if you're the one balancing the books! :teehee:

PaperGirl
04-10-2007, 02:57 PM
I usually buy inexpensive because I REALLY don't feel like being single again after all these years! :teehee:


:roflhard: :roflhard:


Ive been knitting since late last year, and I bought a crap load of Red Heart to learn on, and I ended up giving alot of it to my daughter for her fingerweaving habit.

Lately, Ive tried to branch out from what is on sale at Hobby Lobby, to retail priced "luxury" yarn. And by that I mean....I bought 6 skiens of WotA...and 2 of Dancing for socks. :oops: That was my FIRST ever online buying experience.

And Im still braving up to start with the WoTa. :roflhard:

Mommy22alyns
04-10-2007, 03:43 PM
But all it takes is making one item out of a "fine yarn", my first exposure to fine yarn was with Schaefer yarn, to KNOW the difference. Like wine sometimes you can go with the less expensive brands but there are definately occasions which call for higher end.


I learned this the hard way with handbags. :thud:


It took me a while to get up the nerve to pay $5.25/hank for Tahki cotton to make a sweater for my daughter. Well, I needed 8 hanks.... Right now I'm going for the mixed bag approach, but I'd love to buy one gorgeous skein of Malabrigo and make myself a scarf too.

jdee
04-10-2007, 04:48 PM
I'll use anything, expensive or not, as long as it's soft. If it's 100% acrylic, but soft (caron simply soft, Bernat softee, etc.) I'll use it. I've used some of the more expensive (not too expensive, because I can't aford it) yarns, and love them too. I do try to get the best price I can for it. This rules out angora, mohair, and cashmere, but I probably wouldn't spend the extra time to care for them properly, so it's just as well that I don't buy them. I love to go with blends, too. Plymouth encore, and Lion woolease are probably what I buy the most, because they're easy to care for, soft to the touch, and affordable. I stock up on Lily Sugar n Cream yarn when it goes on sale at Hobby Lobby. I love it for dishcloths, hand towels and such. Also, lion cotton, and peaches n cream from walmart are good cotton choices....

I just love yarn. Just about any kind.

Paws4Knitting
04-10-2007, 06:04 PM
What do you guys top out at when it comes to spending money on yarn?

I saw this yarn that was 11.00 a hank but it felt wonderful and I thought the wrap looked beautiful. It is Blue Sky Alpacas! Has anyone used this? Is it worth it? Where have you bought it?

GinnyG
04-10-2007, 06:11 PM
I just paid 38.00 a skein for Schaefer Esperanza........actually 38.00 a skein for 5 skeins :oops: . But I'm almost done with the sweater and its DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mulderknitter
04-10-2007, 06:16 PM
I actually have this conversation with my LYS lady often. She has pointed out to me that since my love is Malabrigo, and she only charges $10 a skein, 220 yards of malabrigo for 10$ is a pretty darn good deal. Also she recently introduced me to Cascade 220, which she charges $7 for the skein. When you are thinking about "expensive" yarn, make sure to look at the yardage that you are getting. I recently almost had a heart attack in her store because she was charging $16 a skein for Tofutsies. But then she pointed out that you get BOTH socks out of the skein, instead of just one. :happydance: In the end, spending more can be a bargain!

Braden
04-10-2007, 06:16 PM
I mainly use only Knit Picks (http://www.knitpicks.com/) yarns, because they are good, natural fibers for a very affordable price. I also use higher quality stuff, but never the cheaper synthetics. I would say, if you want a low-price, high quality wool, than Knit Picks is the way to go.

Paws4Knitting
04-10-2007, 06:31 PM
Okay, with this Bleu Sky Alplacas- I would need 8 hanks or is it skeins at 11.00-- 88.00?
What do you think, the store website is JessicaKnits.com, well let me post it.....http://jessicaknits.com/needles.htm, here it is- I love it, but reluctant to spend the price for the skein, although it does feel wonderful.

:??

Sara
04-10-2007, 07:03 PM
Paws, WEBS has Blue Sky Alpaca silk for $10.30/skein and you may get a discount if you order a certain number of skeins.

Chel
04-10-2007, 07:27 PM
I don't think Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or A.C. Moore are necessarily cheap. In the end, I have standards- Super saver does not feel good against my skin so I do not use it. I *Will* however use it to make disposable kitchen scrubbies.

One of my favorite yarns ever is TLC Cotton Plus. It is a cotton acrylic blend but it is cool, soft, knits up beautifully and wears well even when washed in the machine. My only complaint is that it doesn't come in more colors.

In the end, even if something is "cheap" I will use it if it possesses the qualities I desire. I have petted some very expensive yarns I wouldn't dream of placing against my skin. But I would not hesitate to wear something made from Cotton Plus.

I guess what I am trying to say is that to me, yarn is like people. Some you like, some you don't... but each one has a purpose and a duty in the world. Some people are lovely grandmothers and perfect for gentle hugs, others carry guns and fight wars. They are both necessary and in the end they are *both* worth knowing.

Arielluria
04-10-2007, 07:43 PM
I usually buy inexpensive because I REALLY don't feel like being single again after all these years! :teehee: :roflhard:

I'm pretty new at this like luv2knit, and I'm pretty frugal in general, so I don't think I could EVER spend that much on yarn. I like the stuff I find at Michael's & Hobby Lobby. I'm new to the LYS, but when they told me it would take 20 skeins of an $8+ yarn to make a sweater for my husband..........well........ :out:

BTW, I tried that discountedbrandnameyarns.com (http://www.discountedbrandnameyarns.com) that you mentioned and got an error page. Is that the actual URL?

Stiney
04-10-2007, 07:48 PM
I just paid 38.00 a skein for Schaefer Esperanza........actually 38.00 a skein for 5 skeins :oops: . But I'm almost done with the sweater and its DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You beat me. :teehee:

I've got a skein of cashmere/silk from Jade Sapphire that was $32.

It's soooo delicious. And I supported my LYS AND a local dyer. So that means it was a good purchase. :shifty:

brendajos
04-10-2007, 08:03 PM
What do you guys top out at when it comes to spending money on yarn?

I saw this yarn that was 11.00 a hank but it felt wonderful and I thought the wrap looked beautiful. It is Blue Sky Alpacas! Has anyone used this? Is it worth it? Where have you bought it?

It depends on if i am feeling splurgy or not. I don't have kids and can spend my money any ol' way i want to as long as the bills get paid so i probably spend more than someone who does have those pesky responsibilities. However I do have a threshold for pain and it seems to be around $15. Generally it is less than that but about $15 is my splurge point. That being said, I seem to splurge A LOT when I see something I really love...lol. The Malabrigo private collection type stuff is about $16 or so and i LOVE the colors on that. I usually only get that stuff when it is on sale. My LYS had some misti alpaca for about $20/skein which i geeked on this winter because i had a coupon and it was awesome! I wouldn't have done it though if i couldn't have justified it to myself with the coupon.

all that being said it all really just depends on the yarn. My threshold for pain with Lion brand yarn is about $5. Anything over that at Hobby Lobby is ridiculous to me. :shrug:

sooo.... no help here...lol

projectgal
04-10-2007, 08:13 PM
My first project was a garter stitch scarf for a class at my LYS. It required two skeins of Noro, but it was so much fun to knit. Kind of pricey for a trial project, but with something as boring as all garter stitch, it was fun to see the fibers and colors change.

They knew how to get a person hooked! Now, if I want something washable or to be felted, I tend to go to a big box store for acrylic or Patons wool. If I want something to inspire me, I go to a LYS or online. A small amount of pricey yarn can go a long way if you need a fiber fix!

brendajos
04-10-2007, 08:18 PM
My first project was a garter stitch scarf for a class at my LYS. It required two skeins of Noro, but it was so much fun to knit. Kind of pricey for a trial project, but with something as boring as all garter stitch, it was fun to see the fibers and colors change.




Ugh... I don't eeeeeeven want to tell you how much my first skein of yarn cost. it was RIDICULOUS but of course the lady at the LYS let me pick out whatever I wanted and there were no prices. I had NOOOOO concept about how much yarn could cost. Suffice it to say that it is the most expensive skein of yarn I have ever bought.

jodstr2
04-10-2007, 08:26 PM
it's not so much a $ per skein thing with me - it's more about how much I want to spend at that time on a particular project.

I made a blanket for my auntie-in-law in Red Heart that I bought at Michaels a couple years ago because that's what I could afford for the project (with a blanket's worth of yardage in mind) AND it's a durable yarn. as much as I wanted to use something soft like Rowan Calmer or Manos, I knew that wouldn't be sensible.

KPPPM is probably my favorite yarn ever. but I've yet to buy it for socks because I'd need 3 skeins ($36) for a pair of socks, and I'd rather buy LL Shepherd Sock ($20.50 total) or Socks That Rock lw sw merino ($18.50 total), or even better - Trekking XXL ($14 total) because I get more yards for the money.

truth be told I haven't set foot in a Michaels or Joann or Hancock in over a year. it just doesn't seem appealing to me considering the stuff in my LYSs that I KNOW are appealing to me. that sounds incrediubly snobby, I know. maybe I should take a look at Michaels one of these days, just to give it an updated shot.

Paws4Knitting
04-10-2007, 08:59 PM
I myself, like to support the local yarn stores, but I love it best when they also give some incentive to the customer- such as discounting the thread you buy during classes.

I believe that because we all like to be involved in projects, it can be hard to commit to a store if they are not being competitive ( at least a little) with the big chains because it feels good to get a deal!!! :shifty:

luv2knit
04-10-2007, 11:35 PM
:notworthy: Wow great comments! I realized today that I have a lot of LB yarn! Ha...I need to expand a bit :teehee: I don't really care for my current LYS, but I got some great suggestions to try a few others in the area. I haven't had a chance yet, but I think I will try it and check out some of the yarns that I read about here on the forum.

From what I read I just need to figure out what yarn is best for the project and the person (if it's for someone else). I also like the comment on the cost, I will take a closer look at yardage. Thanks everyone!

Also here is the url for the store I mention in the first post....

http://www.discontinuedbrandnameyarn.com Thanks to the forums I checked this out last week and couldn't resist buying some yarn!

Thanks Again!!!
:hug:

GinnyG
04-11-2007, 05:35 AM
discontinuedbrandnameyarn.com is a great place to get some "higher" end yarn at a more reasonable price. You won't have alot of color selection but it will give you a "feel" for the yarn at a much lower cost. I just ordered (last week) some Brown sheep bulkey at 50% off :cheering:

kemp
04-11-2007, 09:48 AM
I actually have this conversation with my LYS lady often. She has pointed out to me that since my love is Malabrigo, and she only charges $10 a skein, 220 yards of malabrigo for 10$ is a pretty darn good deal. Also she recently introduced me to Cascade 220, which she charges $7 for the skein. When you are thinking about "expensive" yarn, make sure to look at the yardage that you are getting. I recently almost had a heart attack in her store because she was charging $16 a skein for Tofutsies. But then she pointed out that you get BOTH socks out of the skein, instead of just one. :happydance: In the end, spending more can be a bargain!
Excellent point! You really do need to look at a the yardage/weight. I sell some skeins of yarn that are 250 grams...which would equal 5 skeins in a lot of other yarns.

Basically buy what you like an can afford. It is a bit like wine...no one can tell you waht you like. If you like the $1/skein yarn, fine. If you like the $40 skein yarn and can afford it, fine. No rules except "don't go broke" :)

baronreads
04-11-2007, 02:20 PM
This is a great thread for a newbie! I've made alot of notes! Thanks ladies! :muah: