View Full Version : Expensive (quality)yarn-v-cheaper yarn?

03-26-2008, 09:59 PM
Hi,...sorta newbie here..I've fallen pretty hard for some fabulous yarns at yarn shops,and have ended up paying quite alot to make a scarf/or hat. I love the yarn shop yarn,it's just gorgeous....:muah: But, I'm not rich either,and not a super knitter yet, and may never be...but I do it for the peace,and calm of it..and to end up with something beautiful,even with all the imperfections I later find in it...Guess I want to know if you all think it's worth the extra expense,or do you still get your thrills:woot: out of yarn from a craft store. Not trying to suggest that I'm a yarn snob or anything like that..I've met some in person,that sort of frounded on some Lion Brand that I wanted to use...and still have. Appreciate your feedback.:wink: (really like you all..and glad I found you~)

03-26-2008, 10:08 PM
i'm also a very new knitter, and like you....i've learned a deep dark secret about myself....

i'm a yarn ho'. I love the different fibers..and yes, i LOVE the expensive ones. as someone who quilts, and did years of needlework...this is the balance i have struck with myself....

i try to patronize the local shops-if we don't, they won't be there. however, i'm also not adverse to internet shopping and ebay shopping. sometimes there are really great deals out there.....but again, i try to spend however little i have, i include the local shops as well. they offer help and encouragement, and so, it's an obligation on my part to share some of my $$ with them.

03-26-2008, 10:10 PM
I've fallen for beautiful yarn, too. When I first got back into knitting, I thought that I'd be fine working with what I could find in the craft stores.

Then I discovered the good stuff and all hope was lost. If I'm going to spend lots of time on something, I'm going to enjoy every stitch of it. Loving the yarn I'm knitting with is a huge part of my personal enjoyment of knitting.

My pocketbook wishes I was less selfish when it comes to yarn, but what the heck--you only live once, right?

03-26-2008, 10:30 PM
You should always work with what you love and can afford. If craft store yarn works for you then use it. If you want something more expensive then use it. Clearly don't go broke to knit but knit with what makes you happy. And watch for sales. Some stores have REALLY great sales and someone almost always posts about them here. I have gotten some really awesome stuff for half price or less in some of these sales. Makes it even more delightful to knit with it, i think. ;)

03-26-2008, 10:32 PM
Yep, I right here with you all! I've been knitting with some really nice silk and wool blends lately and get super frustrated when something I've made from acrylic pills on me in the washer. :tap: It costs more but well worth it considering you want your work to be around for a long time. I love cottons and those are always inexpensive. Silk and Wool are :hug: I haven't tried the alpacas or angoras or bamboos yet, but working on it! Mary

03-26-2008, 10:33 PM
The thing is, higher priced yarn doesn't necessarily mean a better quality. I've heard from knitters that bought nicer and expensive brands and were disappointed that it didn't wear well or pilled badly. The same can be said for cheap yarns too, but maybe the disappointment isn't as much. I like any yarns and am happy with the middle of the road prices, whether I get them at a craft store or online. Though since I'm a price shopper, I usually get the cheaper ones and enjoy using them too.

03-26-2008, 10:48 PM
I'm also a beginning knitter, and something I've noticed is that even some yarns from the craft store can be expensive, and some yarns from a local store can be inexpensive. And you can get nice quality yarns of different fibers (wool, alpaca, cotton) for fairly inexpensive from a Jo-Anns or Michaels.

(And I've used a few Lion Brand yarns and have nothing but praise for them!)

03-26-2008, 10:52 PM
My knitting motto is "Life is too short to knit with icky yarn." If I don't love the yarn before I knit something up, I most likely won't love the FO and all the time I spent knitting is tied up in something I am not thrilled to wear.

Having said that, I have found "just the right yarn" everywhere from Wal*Mart to exclusive boutiques. I agree with twoxover that it is important to support local yarn stores that support our craft. But there are fine on-line sources of yarn who support our craft too- look at all those who advertise here or have their own forums. :)

Finally, I knit a good bit (and my two knitting daughters raid my stash), so I don't think I could support my habit if I had to pay boutique prices for everything I worked up.

03-27-2008, 02:07 AM
Welcome to the yarn addicts club! I think you should get the yarn that you love most. I'm a natural fibers freak myself and am fascinated with all of the kinds of wool--sheep, alpaca, cashmere--and I'm dying to try bamboo. The best prices that I've found have been at knitpicks and if you spend a certain amount shipping is free. You know, I really need to see if they have an affiliate program. I talk about them way too much! I do buy Lion Wool yarn at Wal-Mart because it's so convenient. The only acrylic yarn I have is some that I got for practicing socks and, of course, fancy eyelash-type yarns that I really only use for scarves.

03-27-2008, 07:11 AM
I buy yarn for the feel of it. I like my yarn nice and soft as they go next to or near the skin. I use Lion Brand and have gotten real nice alpaca off of ebay. I also use my lys for yarn and any equipment I need. I know some yarn snobs and some are real nice and the really bad ones tick me off. Use whatever makes you and the person who will receive your labor of love and don't worry what others think as you and the receiver of the gift are the only ones that matter.

03-27-2008, 08:33 AM
I'm with Cynamar, I need to join a knitpicks-a-holic group. I love their stuff. It's way inexpensive for the quality, and you absolutely cannot beat their customer service.
There is nothing wrong with knitting with inexpensive yarn, as long as you like it. I still use red heart and Caron's simply soft for stuff.

03-27-2008, 08:43 AM
I still use both. Just made a baby blanket from Red Heart Soft and love it! But when I go to the yarn shops I have no problem dropping $$ for nice yarn. Honestly, it depends on what I'm making and for whom. If it's for me or my daughter I don't mind spending the extra. If it's a gift for someone I know will love and treasure it, I don't mind spending more (which is becoming more and more the norm for me). There are still nice yarns available at the craft stores too, so you just have to find what works right for your particular project.

03-27-2008, 10:39 AM
I will admit to a love affair with Malabrigo and PureWool from my LYS. However, I do love my big craft stores for cotton. chenille, bamboo, etc...

03-27-2008, 10:44 AM
Fiber Fiend here!!! I knit for the Zen experience, which includes frogging and the frustration of learning and accomplishing new taskes. But the MOST ZEN experience of all is the feel of the fiber and the needles as you knit and cheap acrylic yarn just doesn't cut it.

03-27-2008, 11:15 AM
I have used both expensive and inexpensive yarns. What I use depends on who I'm making something for or what I'm making.

Becky Morgan
03-27-2008, 12:00 PM
I joined an online knitting group back at the dawn of the Net. They were raving, and I mean raving, about this certain brand of yarn, how wonderful it was, how worthless anything I made must be because I didn't use (name brand--I'm not going to here.) It was three or four times as expensive as anything I was using, so I waited until I had a special Christmas project, took part of the Christmas club many m,iles to a yarn shop, and bought some.
I don't mean I didn't like the feel, or the colorways were bad. I mean it fell apart while I was using it. It was loaded with knots, bumps and fuzz (and it was supposed to be smooth), it pilled while I was using it (and it was wool) and the project never got done because the yarn crumbled to bits. When I reported back to the forum about the wonderful Blank Extra Premium Incredibly Super Fantastic Yarn, they said they knew it fell apart, was hard to work with and crumbled...but wasn't knitting itself the whole aim of the project, and weren't those items meant to be disposable?

The brand did make it up to me in part by sending me coupons and patterns I could use with their other projects (since I did NOT want more of that yarn!) and I buy their other projects. The whole experience taught me never to pay full price for anything I can't put my hands on. (No yarn petting allowed at that shop; no wonder.) If I can find a partial ball of an expensive product and try it, that's fine, if the shop owner will let me touch it and/or handle an item made with it, that's good. No touch, no deal.

Right now I have a whole bag of different Patons products I bought while Big Lots had them for $1.00 a ball. I've also been making a lot of stuff from Lion Landscapes and Watercolors, which set me back $1.50 each. (I found out Watercolors doesn't felt for much. Oh, well, my purse is just a tad bigger than I meant it to be:D)

03-27-2008, 12:27 PM
Yep. There's this yarn that has very pretty long color changes that everyone raves about. So I snuck about the LYS to see and touch it. EWWWW! It's rough, much scratchier than RH Super saver, not something I want to work with at all. Everyone who loves it says it softens up nicely after washing, then in the next breath talk about picking out twigs and brambles and `stuff' from it. No way am I paying $8 for 100some yards for that experience! I'll stick to the cheapo acrylic thank you.

03-27-2008, 12:41 PM
Some cheap um inexpensive yarns I like. Others I don't. Ditto for the expensive ones. So I buy some of each, whatever fits my project and/or I fall in love with. In the end time will tell if I like working with the yarn or not. If I like it, I'll be willing to go back to it again later. There are some yarns where I'll put up with borderline-acceptable texture if the color works just right, too. Red Heart Soft is pretty nice and cheap. But I also like hand-dyed $30/hank yarns, too.

03-27-2008, 01:29 PM
Gee, I guess I'm normal,or close to it..whatever that means in the knitting/yarn lovers world. I seem to gravatate to those beautifully colored hanks/skeins,and if I touch and like,I'm pretty much a gonner. I do agree totally with "shop with your local yarn shop" I've met the neatest women,and gotten all kinds of free help & advice,for that reason alone I feel it only right that I buy from them,which I do...alot. I am finding that it's not just the yarn but the tools as well..I have discovered the joy of using bamboo needles,and those fab one's on the circular that have the swivels on the base,my goodness are they wonderful to the touch,as well as limit frustration,with increased joy. You are all correct...I don't think I could work with anything that I just don't love to pick up,and look at..but I do need to find some use for a whole lot of CHENILLE (lion) that I bought on sale and was talked out of using for a sweater because of the bagging/stretching,so I went off into the world of Noro...cloud9 love the colors. I agree too that if I'm making a sweater,I think I'll use the really good feelie stuff..life's short,wear what feels good. :inlove: Now, what to do with 10skeins of chenille?:muah:

03-27-2008, 02:01 PM
I find that I like the natural yarns silk , wool, cashmere some can be very costly;) but I buy what I like and can afford and go from there......it's all about being happy with what you are doing :) and knitting really brings joy to me:mrgreen:

03-27-2008, 02:24 PM
If I'm going to spend lots of time on something, I'm going to enjoy every stitch of it. Loving the yarn I'm knitting with is a huge part of my personal enjoyment of knitting.

I agree with Ingrid. You have to love the yarn, which doesn't necessarily mean it has to be expensive. I go for the feel of the yarn and of course the color too.

I decided when I first started knitting that I was knitting only for my personal pleasure, so if I start a project and decide I don't like the yarn or the pattern, I stop. I know that would drive some of you crazy, but hey life is short, knitting is my love and not my job, so I'm not going to waste my time if I'm not enjoying it. Oh, and one more thing -- I'll finish it when I'm good and ready! :teehee:

03-27-2008, 02:29 PM
I agree with a lot of the others. I use yarn I feel is appropriate for the object. I like RH or Carons SS for afghans as they are going to take abuse and be washed regularly. I like the KP Palette yarn I bought for socks and just bought some washable merino from LYS that was waaaay more expensive and don't find it any better than KP. I also spent 7.50 a skein for bulky yarn to felt for slippers, I probably would have been better off at Michaels and buying what they carry at 1/3 the cost. I am knitting frantically to finish my merino socks so I can cast on the bamboo for my next pair.
I prefer getting yarn on sale, but am weak when in the presence of pricey yarns.

03-27-2008, 04:30 PM
I love Lion Brand yarn. I don't care what people say about it. It is soft, easy to work with and looks nice. I have "splurged" and bought some expensive yarn for specific projects, but for the most part I buy from craft stores and even then I look at the clearence section & the sales. There are often REALLY great deals out there & I wait for them.
WEBs has a clearance section on their website where they sell the expensive yarns for cheap too.

03-27-2008, 04:46 PM
I'm cheap. I'm not going to pay more for materials than I could pay for the finished product.

03-28-2008, 02:10 PM
Wait, you all buy yarn with projects in mind?

I buy the yarn and then try to justify it by coming up with a project:aww:

I have a yarn addiction

03-28-2008, 02:25 PM
Wait, you all buy yarn with projects in mind?

I buy the yarn and then try to justify it by coming up with a project:aww:

I have a yarn addiction
If I did that I would always find a project that needed 1 more skein than I had and when I went back to get more the color wouldn't match.

03-28-2008, 02:27 PM
I'm with Mike! I do buy yarn when I have a project in mind, but my stash is full of yarn that I never had a clue what to do with. I just loved it. I did buy my Lion Wool intending to make myself a scarf/hat/mitten set and I do have a ton of sock yarn (but not for specific socks). The rest is just stuff I loved.

03-28-2008, 02:29 PM
Since I figure I only needed 2 skeins for a scarf, that what I bought. I buy what I think I might need for a project, but that doesn't always work out....

03-28-2008, 05:38 PM
Wait, you all buy yarn with projects in mind?

I buy the yarn and then try to justify it by coming up with a project:aww:

I have a yarn addiction

Well, Valkyrie..we are a yarnie-match:hug: I see,fall in love,and dive in..who knows what it will eventually be...I just know when I see something that I love,I've got to have some of it..and because of that I have ALOT of scarves...someday tho, I'm planing on making a knitted patch quilt...a hogepoge of all my favoritescloud9 ..

03-28-2008, 06:46 PM
It also depends on what you consider expensive. The prices that WEBs and KnitPicks charge don't seem to much to me. My LYS, however, has some skeins and hanks that are in the high $20 or $30 range. Why on earth would a peson spend that type of money? The best knitter in that shop, who teaches great classes, uses moderately priced yarns, and will guide students to those.

I don't like Red Heart yarns,just don't, it's a thing from when I crocheted. Some of Lion Brand's are OK, but with all the knots and funny centers it can get exasperating.

03-28-2008, 07:34 PM
I am in the middle like most people. Fancy yarns actually helped get me into knitting. I found them so interesting and wonderful and I had to work with them. I love to buy some luxurious hand dyed yarns, but they're not always practical.
For example, I made a lovely afghan out of Manos del Uruguay. I loved working with it and the colours are divine. Each skein cost me about $17 with tax...that's a lot when you have to buy 12. I bought them one or two at a time for about 6 months. Now the afghan is COVERED in pills. I mean literally covered. And the fringe is all felted together. Not exactly what you want in an afghan.
Next time I will use a yarn with some acrylic in it, maybe all acrylic and that is significantly cheaper. It would make washing more convenient too.
On the other hand, I have bought some wonderful sock yarns that were pricier than I would normally buy and I have never once regretted those purchases.
I hadn't really delved too far into the acrylic world until recently though. I made a blanket for the DBF's nanny for Christmas and I used Patons Shetland Chunky, which I discovered was incredibly soft and lovely to work with. Now I am working on these charity baby blankets with 100% acrylic yarn and I'm not hating it!
I think you have to like the yarn enough to work on it for a whole project, expensive or not. Also, if the whole time you're working on it you think "oh my gosh, this way so expensive" you're never going to like it.

03-29-2008, 03:45 AM
Each skein cost me about $17 with tax...that's a lot when you have to buy 12. I bought them one or two at a time for about 6 months. Now the afghan is COVERED in pills. I mean literally covered. And the fringe is all felted together. Not exactly what you want in an afghan. Oh you poor thing! That really sucks. It's hard to tell isn't it?

I try to shop at the local yarn shop where I can simply because I know that they'll give me honest advice. They want you to come back I guess!

I do try and buy yarn that I think is lovely to the touch and is a nice colour. I'll knit with what I like although I'll only knit what I know I can afford.

03-29-2008, 11:56 AM
Expensive does not equal better, and neither does inexpensive equal inferior. I've used crappy yarn that was expensive and I've found really good yarn I like working with that was a bargain.

You have to use the best quality you can afford. If you don't like working with a type of yarn, you're less inclined to finish your project. I have UFO's that became that way because I hated the yarn I was working with.

I'm one of those people who buy yarn with specific project in mind, but I always by extra so I don't run out. A majority of my stash is made up of extra yarn left over from projects. What it really comes down to is trying to get the biggest bang for your buck. I do a lot of shopping around on the Internet to find the biggest bang for my buck.

03-29-2008, 01:04 PM
I find that it is totally subjective...I have been on a few boards where ppl are discussing yarn, and you get some ppl who are die hard natural fibre users...and others who don't mind the cheap stuff.

For me...I gauge my project. If I fall in love with a natural fibre...and I can find a really nice project for it...I will consider the cost...

But if it is for a new project I am not sure about...or can do with any old thing...I dont have any problem using whatever is on hand, or availble at Walmart (ugh) or Michaels (ugh again)

The project to me counts because some things are really better off with el chepo yarn...for example....things that are not necessarily going to be in direct contact with the skin. For example, a childs back pack. It will likely take abuse, and a lot of wear, and to knit it in really nice yarn wouldn't be worth it..

Mind you...I have also heard ppl of the mind "if it is worth knitting, then it is worth buying the best you can afford" although I do agree that the time and effort you put into something has value...I do always agree that it needs to be premium....

The best wool is the wool that makes you happiest!

Firey Vixxen
03-29-2008, 10:57 PM
When buying yarn I use the "pretty-touchee" rule.
If it's a pretty colour and nice to touch, I look at the price and work out if I can Afford it at the time. If I can, I buy it. If I can't, I write down the yarn and colour so I can find it again when I can afford it and have the prefect pattern in mind.
What something is made out of only comes into mind when I find the most prefect touchee yarn and the colour isn't quite right (or they don't have any of the colour I want. entire ranges without green:?? ) then I look at other "Alpaca blends" or whatever the Yarn was.

03-30-2008, 12:13 AM
Mmm, I love the nicer and more expensive fibers, too. I love ones that feel luscious and soft, like Classic Elite Alpaca Sox (probably my favorite soxk yarn) and scartchy ones that are fabulous dyed like Noro Kureyon.
But since learning the difference between all the fibers, I think that I notice the most is that I prefer natural fibers! I mean, some acrylic blends are okay, but most all-acrylics yarns feel like I'm knitting with plastic, even if they're soft like Caron Simply Soft. I call that feeling "craplastic", because it's crappy and plastic.
The good thing for me is: I can get fairly soft natural fibers for little more than the acrylics. I DO enjoy the luxury yarns, but things like Cascade 220 and especially Lion Brand Lion Wool are soft, natural, and fairly cheap. I tend to use yarns like that as my workhorse yarn.
I love the fancy ones, but plain wool is quite lovely and aesthetically pleasing, too. And it's not too much more expensive than craplastic acrylics.

04-01-2008, 03:16 PM
I want to first thank you for the report/opinion on MANOS DEL URUGUAY yarn..When I first got back into knitting again just a few months ago, I was drawn to that verigated yarn like a magnet..:heart: It is just so beautiful. Like you say it is still in the $17.range per hank and I thought I'd wait until I was a little,(or more) better knitter before I invested that much for a sweater I'd love to have. MY GOSH,your saying that it pills like crazy would have just been a huge disappointment. I am so sorry for your disappointment as well..but thank you for sharing that info. Perhaps a good thread would be just for yarns we have used,and love,and those we don't,and why. Seems it would be benificial to all of us newbie(moi)and veterans alike.
Thanks again for the response,and head's up.:muah:

04-03-2008, 04:30 PM
I just recently was blessed with a HUGH HUGH stash (really hugh, 3 large plastic totes 4 shopping bags, 1 large lawn/leaf bag full of yarn plus 120 spools of doilly thread) from a friends Grandmother that passed. It is not all expensive yarn, I have had hours of knitting so far with this yarn. If by chance I have an extra dollar and I'm able to splurge on a LYS trip, I find it all the more special to be able to make something for someone special (grandbaby) with the more expensive yarn. There are very nice yarns out there that are inexpensive. What ever you make will be made with love and I sure anyone will be glad to receive such a gift. If the type of yarn is an issue for anyone you knit for, then I'm sure they know a bit about types of yarn and probably know how to knit and or crochet and can make something for themselves.

04-03-2008, 06:13 PM
I'm a zen knitter. What I knit has to have some sort of balance in my life. Which means that sometimes the item I desire to make will outweigh the need for more expensive yarns or the yarn is lucious enough to balance out the fact that it is outrageously expensive. Sometimes a substitution will work. Sometimes it won't. I have to decide which is more important. Really cool yarn like in the pattern or actually being able to afford the project. :D

The one thing I don't skimp on, ever, is sock yarn. I've yet to pay less than $12 for sock yarn enough for a pair (except the one time I tried knitting them from KP Pallette and was highly disapointed) For me 2 things are important with sock yarn. 1. It must be of good quality so it will hold up. 2. It must be unique enough that not everyone is going to have my socks. For me, paying $18 to have sock yarn that is unique, pretty and quality is well worth it!

I do believe that there are some yarns that are just worth the price. Other times I've found less expensive substitutions. I'm not going to pay $20 for a skein of Merino wool in a solid color that isn't all that interesting when I can get Merino wool in the same weight in a very similar color for half or a third of that price. I'm a bargain shopper, too and am willing to sit and wait for something to come on sale or find an equivelant.

Now to add to all this, there is some yarn that I just don't enjoy knitting. I'm not crazy about most acrylic yarns. When I have to knit using acrylic (like for several charity projects I've done) I find the nicest softest in the prettiest colors that I can find. I'm very texture-oriented so even if it is absolutely gorgeous, if I don't care for the feel I most likely won't buy it. I've learned too many times that if I buy it and I dont' like the way it feels in my hands I'll end up not knitting it.

You have to buy what you want and what you can afford and find what that balance is with your pocket book. Later in life, when you've won the lottery or written that NY Times bestseller then you can buy all the expensive yarns you want! Until then make due. I'd prefer to knit with Caron Simply Soft for the rest of my life than to never get to knit at all. :)