I know that some people will only knit with animal or plant fibers, but I like to choose my yarn for my project. I prefer to make baby/children's, charity, and pet items with acrylic's because they are 100% washable, kids grow out of things so quickly, most charities prefer acrylics due to washability and unknown allergies and pets can be really hard on things. Buying really expensive yarn doesn't make sense. I will not make my husband anything that has any possibility of shrinking because I absolutely know that he's going to toss it in the washer without a thought. So again it's acrylics or superwash when I can find it. If I am making something for someone that scoffs at the "handwash" label and will throw it in the washer, I use acrylics. If I am making something really nice for someone that will pay attention to the care instructions I will splurge for the animal and plant fibers from Knitpicks or my LYS depending on what I'm looking for. Sock yarns I try to stick with superwash wool that may or may not include nylon because I have found that acrylics don't work as well with socks. I usually get my sock yarn at Joann's or Knitpicks because it is less expensive than my LYS.
Don't get me wrong, if I could afford to and it made logical sense, I would use the natural fibers more than I do, but for me it just makes sense not to limit my choices.
Also, with Joann's they have tons of coupons and sales on yarns all the time. I know that Hobby Lobby has a coupon in the Sunday paper in my area.
I hope this helps when you're trying to match a yarn to your project.
For the most part..I agree with Dawn..if you KNOW the person is NOT going to carefully laundry the knitted item but you love them and want them to have a beautiful knit item..ie college students ..then I say use acrylic blends...
I will NOT buy from Hobby Lobby as I have taken back so much of their yarn, it pills, splits and basically is difficult to work with...and if you read the label from yarn there it is made in some foreign country..ie Tiawan (sp) do they even have sheep or grow cotton there??? lol j/k
Also ..on a friends recommendation..I purchased some beautiful wool blend from an online store in UK..ahem...with the exchange rate of the Euro..for some $30.00 yarn purchase it cost me $51.00...NO thanks ..never again! Lesson learned!
I have ALWAYS for a few years now purchased from Knit Picks as I find they have luxury yarns, without the luxury prices..you can NEVER go wrong with Knit Picks...
As for LYS..they are always WAY too pricey for same yarn I get at Knit Picks at reasonable prices..thats my HO and I am sticking with it lol
I totally agree Marty...each person has their "own" style, choices and beauty to add in knitting..
I have learned many valuable lessons in the many years of knitting..and when helping others..I try to give them a generic style and encourage them to do what they feel most comfortable with ..
I have always had the best luck with KP yarns, accesories etc...that is what keeps me coming back time and time again.
Ladies, thank you so much for your input--i selfishly am knitting for myself (lol) so I will start shopping KP and start a stash to draw from!! I plan on doing wristlets for everyone this Christmas, and a sweater for my husband after that and your thoughts regarding washability is advice well taken!
I do have one question--what is the yarn type that gets "fuzzy"-i can't stand that!! I always thought it had too much acrylic in the blend. When you say acrylic blends what is the highest acrylic percentage to get a product that comes out beautiful(again, it's for moi!!).
Julie, you have already received great advice. Although I don't really like to knit with acrylics, acrylics have come a long way in the last few years. Just because a yarn is expensive, doesn't mean it will work better than something less expensive. I agree that you have to take into consideration who you are knitting for. I don't think I would ever tell someone you can't knit with acrylic. I would rather encourage someone to knit rather than turn someone off from knitting because they can't afford the "expensive" stuff. I often use acrylics in charity knitting, though sometimes I will use superwash. Even though I may be a yarn snob when it comes to purchasing my own yarn, I don't like being a yarn snob to others. I don't cringe when someone buys something I wouldn't care to knit with. We all have a budget to follow. So knit with what you feel you can afford and don't let anyone chide you about what you choose. It is the love that goes into your knitting that counts.
There isn't one yarn I've used from KP that I was disappointed with. Yes, there has been a time or two where the color wasn't exactly what I expected, but over all the quality of yarn is good. And the needles are excellent.
I agree with Cheryl here...As I also said..consider who you will be knitting/ crocheting for..ie..my college aged grands would only put a pristine all natural fiber piece in a dorm washer and dryer..leave it forget it...leave it on the floor etc...it would be ONLY acrylics for them...and a busy mother with NO time to fuss with laundry...an acrylic blend or super wash...
For me personally I normally ONLY use natural fibers for hubby, home, kitchen etc...and close friends and family that I KNOW will take care of it.
I once made a HUGE oval coffeetable size doily in a very intricate pineapple pattern for my SIL...I told her..hand wash ONLY please as it would damage it in the machine and NO dryer...air dry only..so the doofus gets the bright idea to place it on top of a HOT working dryer to dry it...it shrunk in half...she and I both were heart sick.
So even sometimes when you instruct others how to launder that beautiful piece ..they may still ruin it..
Just follow your heart, your budget and know the receipient.
I have to agree with what everyone said so far. Look at who you are knitting for. I have adult men in my life who do not have the time time and inclination to hand wash and lay flat dry anything I make for them. Yet, they are thrilled to receive hand made gifts. For them, I use either superwash wool or a wool/acrylic blend.
I have a sister who is truly allergic to wool. So I found a beautiful acrylic yarn at my LYS which was more than some of their superwashes. She was thrilled with the gift and I learned a valuable lesson, that acrylic did not have to be junk.
That said, there is little that Joann's or Michael's sells that I would use for knitting for my family and friends. As someone said, the yarn tends to pill easily, split and or be rough on my hands while knitting. (I have too much of this kind of yarn in my stash, which I collected prior to learning what I like and don't like.)
There are a few yarns I've gotten from Hobby Lobby that I do not mind using for my charity knitting which must be washable.
I have been knitting for about 2 years now so I consider myself a newbie. My mother gave me some advice when I began "Life is too short to knit with bad yarn." It often is not the price but the yarn itself that determines whether I consider it bad yarn.
I have never been disappointed with any of the yarns I have gotten from Knitpicks. I tend to wait to place an order until I have enough for free shipping. I have heard of others who go together with friends to get to that point. There are ways to cut your costs. I think there even may have been a podcast about that a while ago.
That said, I do support my LYS because it fills a niche that the big box stores do not. The store I consider my LYS is not the closest yarn store to me which unfortunately only sells very high end yarns. My LYS carries yarns of various price points, is willing to show me a technique that I may need help with seeing someone do and is welcoming even if all I want to do today is get a fiber fix. They know I will be back another time. There are classes there for all skill levels, new friends to make and a place to just relax for a while. So search your town and see if there a place like this because the internet does not do this for me. If we do not support those shops that do meet our needs now, they may not be there in the future.
Nicely done, Janice!
This is my one for the winter, the one i am working on at present is a different pattern to this one