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Topic: Question about buying yarn  (Read 625 times)
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jeljohns
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« on: December 05, 2007 10:22:22 AM »

I discussed this with a fellow Craftster, but I wanted to open it up and hear what others had to say as well.

I'm a newbie knitter (still in the scarf and hat stage) so I use pretty cheap yarn like Red Heart.  I see a lot of you posting beautiful finished sweaters and other wearables constructed from very nice yarns. I calculated a couple of projects I would like to do and a lot of them were over $100 for the yarn.  Does everyone really spend this much for a sweater?  I'm just curious to hear how you go about buying yarn and how much you are willing to pay for your craft.  I would like to make wearable garments, but don't want to go broke from knitting!

Smiley

Also, what is the best way to substitute not so expensive yarn in a pattern?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007 10:51:20 AM by jeljohns » THIS ROCKS   Logged
ThreadOrYarn
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007 11:51:54 AM »

I discussed this with a fellow Craftster, but I wanted to open it up and hear what others had to say as well.

I'm a newbie knitter (still in the scarf and hat stage) so I use pretty cheap yarn like Red Heart.  I see a lot of you posting beautiful finished sweaters and other wearables constructed from very nice yarns. I calculated a couple of projects I would like to do and a lot of them were over $100 for the yarn.  Does everyone really spend this much for a sweater?  I'm just curious to hear how you go about buying yarn and how much you are willing to pay for your craft.  I would like to make wearable garments, but don't want to go broke from knitting!

Smiley

Also, what is the best way to substitute not so expensive yarn in a pattern?

Sales are good. Especially if you don't care about matching dyelots from buying over time instead of all at once. I've heard that some stores will put yarn on layaway for you - you agree to buy a sweater's worth of yarn, and pay for it over time. I'm not sure the extact details since none of the stores nearby do this, not that I know of anyway.

Or you can figure that the sweater is your yarn budget for the next 10 months and rationalize it that way - instead of spending $ often for a lot of small projects, you spend $$$ once for one big project. It helps if you have a stash already so if you need a break from the big project, you have some yarn on hand for 'free' to work on something else.

Encore and Cascade 220 aren't hugely expensive for a sweater - maybe $60 or so each for adult size med/large sweaters. (on sale, though). Red Heart/Caron/LionBrand aren't expensive either, I just don't like using them that much. I use them for smaller things though.

Substitution needs a smart trial&error - if the pattern uses chunky yarn, substitute another chunky yarn, not a DK yarn (that's the smart part). Then knit up a swatch and see if the swatch looks/feels right (that's the trial & error part) - if the sweater pattern pic has a loose drapey flowing look to it, and your swatch can practically stand up on its own, it's not a good substitute if you want the same loose drapey flowing look.
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RealC
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007 11:54:32 AM »

Well... I haven't made any $100 sweaters, but I've sure made some $25 socks!  LOL ... Honestly, for me it's a hobby more than an inexpensive way to get clothes. Part of the pleasure is working with really nice yarn. It would take me a long time to make a sweater, so I would want it to be really, really nice.

But you CAN shop around, and buy yarn pretty reasonably, if you want to. Littleknits has nice stuff at good prices, and knitpics is a great place to get decent quality stuff at a decent price.

Joann.com has a nicer selection of yarn than my local store does, too.
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Caclark4
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007 12:13:47 PM »

I'm starting to upgrade my yarn choices.  I still use a lot of acrylic, but usually when I'm knitting for my nieces.  I'm up to spending up to $10/skein for yarn.  If you know what you want to use, try e-bay.  I have gotten some phenomenal deals there.  I once got $80 worth of yarn for $15 (inlcuding the shipping).  Start by using "nicer" yarns for smaller projects for yourself.  Get the awesome yarn for some killer socks or for some fingerless mitts.  Then just build up your yarn purchases from there.  Can it get expensive?  Heck yeah but after a while you will figure out when its important to you and when its not...just like buying expensive clothes vs. Walmart...lol.

P.S. I'm upgrading now because I've progressed in skill but also because I finally graduated from college so I have this little thing called income now...lol.
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redwitch
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2007 05:31:39 PM »

It's a hobby, hobbies rarely earn money or save you money on clothes etc. Some people will spend that much on a jumper's worth, absolutely! Remember you can turn that $80 into a quality garment customised exactly to your aesthetic taste, fibre preferences, and body shape.

When I spend $30 on merino for socks, I remember that I could spend the same amount seeing a movie: parking and petrol costs perhaps, one ticket = $13, snacks/drink... even a single $13 movie gives me only a couple of hours of entertainment at most. I pay that money because I think the entertainment I get is worth spending that number of dollars.

With knitting, that same $13 gets me one ball of wool that I turn into a sock. I get far more than an hour of entertainment from it: squeezing it, thinking about my sock, choosing a pattern, and then hours of knitting.

So for the price of wool for a pair, I could get 3 hours (from 2 movies) of enjoyment, or 1-2 dozen hours of entertainment. It's actually pretty cheap (not enough to make me agree with people who see us knitting socks and say 'you must save a lot of money doing that').

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stripey_cat
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007 07:05:01 AM »

What they've said: sales, ebay, charity shops, car boot and estate sales are all good for cheap (ish) yarn.  And if you view it as part of your entertainment budget, rather than your clothes budget, the prices look more reasonable in any case - how much can you spend on things like eating out, books, films, newspapers (I knit on the train), trinkets that catch your eye?  Also, 100$ (or 100) is a lot to spend on a fashion item, but for something that you'll wear for years it's not so bad - pick your garments to splurge on carefully!  That said, I'm more likely to make sweaters or cardigans in 1 a ball discontinued colours, and small accessories in the full-price things!

K.
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sherry71
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007 10:23:40 PM »

I have been knitting for years & I have gradually built up my stash that is so large with great fibers.  Another thing you can do that hasn't been mentiond at least on this thread, is to recyle yarn.  For more info, there are many threads here on craftster about that.

An example, I went to Goodwill the other day & bought an mens 2x large sweater that had never been worn (still had its originl tags on it).  By the way, it was a GAP sweater & was a dark eggplant color.  It was 100% bulky wool.  I have yet to unravel the sweater but I will probably get at least 2000 yds of bulky wool that I can make into something else.  This sweater I got for $3.  So, 2000 yds bulky wool for $3, yep....a steal.

One more great find.  At the end of last winter, the goodwill was trying to get rid of the rest of its stash of sweaters.  I found a WOmans Large 100% Neiman Marcus cashmere cardigan sweater.  It was a fingering weight & sooooo soft.  It only had one tiny spot that I had to throw away.  I cannot remember at this point how many yds I got out of that sweater.  But I only paid $1.99 for it.  I remember seeing this exact sweater at Neiman Marcus the year or 2 before & it sold for around $175.00.  I have yet to make anything out of this but wouldn't a bunch of cashmere socks be awesome?!
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mamakass
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2007 02:47:19 AM »

The other thing is that there are good yarns out there that aren't HUGELY expensive. If you want to put a limit on it, and still get more beautiful yarns, you can put a cap on the amount you're willing to spend per yard, and look until you find something that fits. I recently made a "no synthetics" ban on my yarn purchases, which obviously made me start spending more, but I figured that I was willing to spend 7 cents per yard in worsted weight or smaller and 12 cents per yard in bulky yarns, and that I'd find yarns that fit that price range.
Also, if you love knitting, and you love yourself, figure that you're worth it.
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