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Topic: knitting/crocheting in australia  (Read 4379 times)
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neekie
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« on: May 25, 2007 09:15:02 PM »

So I took up knitting maybe a year and a half ago. I don't know anyone who knits in real life so I've got a whole heap of questions not about knitting itself but about yarn..

What yarns do you all use? What brands for different kinds of fibres? Heck, what fibre dyou usually knit/crochet with?
Where dyou get them from - LYS, online, spotlight, lincraft, big W?? What's your favourite online yarn store?

It seems like the expensive stuff is easy enough to locate - Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Noro, etc can be found online/ at LYSes quite readily. I know (one of) the best value for money for wool can be found at Bendigo Woollen Mills - I guess I'm just wondering where the secret stash of nice, affordable, reasonable quality yarn is. Is all cheap acrylic here bound to be scratchy and icky? Or is there a caron simply soft equivalent (or do you all just shun acrylic like the devil)? (Also, is it just me or does anyone else wish like crazy that knitpicks shipped to Australia..)

I know everyone has different budgets, and different tastes, but surely nobody can pass up on good deals. Does everybody have a bread-and-butter yarn?

Sorry for the whole barrage of questions, I'm just awfully curious. I hope I don't sound all crazy for using a billion question marks in this post  Smiley



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utemama
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007 01:19:28 AM »

well i found sean sheep yarn you can buy at big w is really good yarn,found it to be top quality and beautiful to work with and wear.i stay away from acrylics,i find they seem to be itchy and awful at times.
also check out thrift shops like salvos and vinnies usually about now they put out large bags of good quality wool,you can get cheap without sacrificing quality.
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Miss_Vicki
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007 01:08:30 AM »

Sounds like you originate from the States neekie.  Is that true, or is it just that you have learnt to knit via the internet, where the majority of info comes from America?  If you have family over there, you could request they send you some Knit Picks yarns.  Prolly not very helpful, sorry.

You mentioned LYSes, so you are already ahead of me there.  In Brisbane there really is only one and the range isn't huge (the price is tho).  Funny thing though, I was in there about a week ago and they had knitpick options needles.  I think I may have actually squealled when I saw them.  I said to the lady working there that it was awesome they had gotten knitpicks to send out here and I asked if they would be getting any yarn from them in the future.  Well, not only did this woman not have any idea what the options needle sets were, she also hadn't heard of knit picks and so didn't know they did yarn.   Lips sealed  Oh boy, it is just like that around here.

Sadly we do not have a Caron Simply Soft alternative (cheap and synthetic but not scratchy, that is what you mean right?) and we don't have a Sugar 'n' Cream alternative either.  I am happy to be proved wrong though, so if anyone knows better, please set me straight.   Cheesy

As utemama said Sean Sheep from Big W is really cheap, they have a great colour range too.  They are especially great if you like novelty yarns, and even if you don't there are a few that aren't garish so it is worth a look (sometimes I like garish anyway Wink).  Just watch out for the Sean Sheep 100% wool, it is really very itchy!  But it does felt well, so it is great for pot holders, handbags and toys.  I have lots of Sean Sheep in my stash.

Utemama is right about thrifty yarns too.  I once picked up a big bag of knitting cotton for $5, it was very soft.  I brought home a knitted silk jumper a few weeks ago too (it was a really ugly shape, no one in their right mind would have ever worn it).  I have unravelled it, now it just needs to be washed and dyed.  Then I'll have a shawl or two worth of laceweight silk to knit, um, when I get around to it.

There is some very interesting yarn to be found at Spotlight, they just got in some very interesting blends.  I have lots of this stuff in my stash too.  Very recently they started stocking Lion Brand, but it is very limited.  There is only about four yarns from the range (and I don't think all the colours for them are available either), most of them are kinda novelty (but not overly).  The only one I was glad to see was Magic Stripes actually.  Lincraft is worth a look too, they have some alpaca/synthetic blend (about 50/50, can't remember) that I really like.

I too get the impression that Bendigo Woollen Mills, is the way to go.  Trouble is I have been too lazy to get around to locating their address so I can post away for a colour card.   Roll Eyes  Actually I have found it once or twice but never got any further.

Do we shun acrylic?  Not quite.  Some Craftsters do, but others can't afford to (yet?).  Outside of Craftster most folks knit everything in acrylic as the norm (well in my experience anyway).  My Nana thinks I am a full blown yarn snob, and I'd like to be one, I just don't have the budget to really do it justice.   Grin  I make my amigurumi out of acrylic most of the time, I figure toys need to be able to take a beating.  If you are wanting the cheapest in town I'd send you to Lincraft, their generic brand acrylic is dirt cheap and there is a heap of colours.  It is not the best however.  It catches and you find lots of breaks and knots.  The best cheapo acrylic in my opinion is Carnival (I think Big W still stock it), lots of colours without all those breaks.  If you are looking for good value basic wool, try Cleckheaton.  It felts and dyes well too.

I don't have a bread 'n' butter yarn yet, too busy experimenting.
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snakeface
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007 03:07:33 AM »

Quote
I too get the impression that Bendigo Woollen Mills, is the way to go.  Trouble is I have been too lazy to get around to locating their address so I can post away for a colour card.   Roll Eyes  Actually I have found it once or twice but never got any further.
http://www.bendigowoollenmills.com.au
Mine is hopefully in the post already. Grin

I get most of my stuff online. I compiled a list of all the links I know for yarn and such here. A trifle obsessive, I know. Notably, yarnsonline has cascade 220 and some nice sock yarns, the Knittery has some gorgeous hand-dyed substances, and I like ozeyarn for stocking the Inox needles. Five needles in a set of double-points for less than the Birch! I haven't bought from any other shops on that list, so I can't really comment.

Quote
If you are looking for good value basic wool, try Cleckheaton.  It felts and dyes well too.
True dat. And it's quite readily available too. But isn't it superwash? I didn't think it felted.
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Miss_Vicki
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007 05:15:26 PM »

Thanks for the link.  Last time I tried to find a website for these guys I came up empty handed.

Quote
Quote
If you are looking for good value basic wool, try Cleckheaton.  It felts and dyes well too.
True dat. And it's quite readily available too. But isn't it superwash? I didn't think it felted.
  Some of the range is definately superwash.  But i didn't think all of it was.  I'll check my ball bands to see if I am mixing it up with something else.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007 03:09:18 PM by Miss_Vicki » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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utemama
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2007 12:43:15 AM »

i was so lucky i got a heap of red heart as well as sugar n cream arrived today in exchange for crochet patterns.
big w still sell carnival i agree it is fine for toys,but i am also a yarn snob,can't help it,brought up on acrylic yarn but i so hate it.but my great aunt use to make those excellent toys gauranteed to last years.
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neekie
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007 06:44:51 AM »

ooh thanks for all the links snakeface.. I only knew about half of those yarn stores. (: i have one to add: http://www.ecoyarns.com.au/index.php ecoyarns sells a range of organic yarns and environmentally-friendly yarns (including SWTC!)

miss_vicki - I'm not from the states, I'm actually from Singapore  Smiley but yeah, I learnt to knit from the internet so I know alot about American yarns and things like that b/c of craftster and all the blogs out there.

I haven't tried thrifting yarn yet - I've realised I find it easier to pick a project first then try to find a yarn substitute, rather than randomly buy yarn then decide what to do with it (*ahem* but that hasn't seemed to stop me from randomly buying yarn....) hmm and I was at Savers one time and most of the sweaters there were acrylic and in really odd colours. I'll definitely go check out op shops and stuff when I have the time though

I've also tried the Lincraft brand acrylic (scratchy!!) and Big W carnival which I don't like cos it seems to stick to my needles and knit up really tight -maybe cos I'm not used to it.

Man all this talk about yarn makes me feel like going on a yarn buying spree.  Roll Eyes

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Miss_Vicki
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007 03:24:38 PM »

I haven't managed to find my ball bands from my felting projects yet, but I am pretty sure I am confusing Cleckheaton with either Holiday or Carnival's wool.  Not sure, best to take my recomendations with a grain of salt from here on in.   Grin Roll Eyes

Thanks for the Eco Yarns link, very tempting.
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lupinbunny
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007 11:28:44 PM »

I actually have trouble thrifting for yarn - I think we have fewer jumpers because of the weather, and the ones in the op-shops I frequent are pilled and yuck anyway.

What city are you in? There's some good LYS in Perth that stock mid-range (as in, sure it's merino, but isn't a 'name brand' yarn), and some pricy, fancy ones.
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neekie
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007 08:15:05 AM »

lupinbunny - I'm in Melbourne.. hmm don't know about brandless merino here, I've been to an LYS (woolbaa) here a grand total of twice - can't afford much of the yarn in there, and those that I can afford I can find elsewhere. Also I find it rather intimidating - probably cos I just feel a little out of place. Smiley

Has anybody tried out Patons shadow tweed or Cleckheaton's vintage hues? Seems like they're catching onto the loooong colour change trend, but I haven't had a chance to try them out yet - dunno if it'll be any good for entrelac, the colour changes don't look too obvious in some of them.
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