I chuckle when I think back to how, when I first got heavily into crochet and then knitting prior to the birth of my last child, I had no clue about the different types of yarn. I had no knowledge of the fact that pretty doilies and pillow edgings and tablecloths were made of crochet cotton, a thin thread you work with tiny hooks/needles. My yarn horizons spanned as far as acrylic and… acrylic.
Somewhere along the line I found knitting and upon reading up profusely I learned such things as mohair, wool, alpaca and cotton existed. I mean, I knew they existed, but I assumed these materials were only for commercial knitting. Don’t ask me how I thought people only hand-knit socks from good old Red Heart(I knew enough that socks can be handmade and, ultimately that acryclic socks would sweat like mad). I just figured something was being used.
Until I learned more about different fibers I believed that acrylics(with the exception of cotton yarns for dishcloths and the aforementioned doilies, etc.) were for crocheters and the ‘good stuff’ was reserved for knitters. I realized I was wrong when I got a book of crochet patterns for young children and ALL the yarns called for were these ridiculously expensive, high end (gasp!) wools, cottons, and blends thereof. Names I never heard of being used for crochet, such as Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Jaeger, etc. In fact, names I’d never heard of at all! What a major disappointment!
Once I picked up knitting, though, I realized that all these different yarns serve a purpose, creatively as well as budget-wise. A little Elizabeth Zimmerman reading and access to some spare cash taught me that non-acrylics were the way to go. Sure, you can use the Bernat and Red Heart for baby/kid clothing. These companies(as well as others) make really good yarns that don’t go all wonky when washed by machine, although they do still fuzz up alot unless you hand-wash them(and really, isn’t the idea of them being machine-washable to put them IN the machine?) However, I have been touched by the natural fiber bug and the rest is history.
I quickly added to my stash the likes of Cascade, Lorna’s Laces, Lane Cervinia, Patons, Koigu *drool*, you name it. I’ve yet to do the Debbie Bliss et al thing, but you get the idea. I do like natural fibers–except cotton which incidentally gets on my NERVES; I guess I could try a blend one day–but I still hold a special spot in my heart for the old standbys. In rummaging through my stash once I found I have about equal amounts of both natural and artificial fibers, including some fun fur(insert giggle, groan,etc).
I’m part yarn snob/part acrylic lover. And proud of it. I haven’t been to my closest LYS which happens to be Smileys Yarns, in a long while. I used to go regularly, filling bags with all sorts of goodies as a crocheter and new knitter. I miss the cool bargains, and they evenhave some natural fibers. I think I need to pay them a visit real soon. 🙂