Yarn Craft Journey

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. 🙂


3 responses to “Yarn Craft Journey

  1. I’m not a big Smiley’s fan…because, I, am a true yarn snob. I wasn’t even thrilled with the alpaca that I bought there. And it’s cash only! Now, talk to me about Lorna’s Laces and Koigu… 🙂

  2. There are some nicer synthetic yarns out there, but you won’t find them at the craft stores. If you dislike cotton, you also might try some of the blended cotton yarns, and again, some of the more expensive ones are a bit nicer as far as not feeling like kitchen twine. the Rowan cottons are lovely, as are the Phildar blends. I’ve read that the KnitPicks new cottons are nice, and quite reasonably priced. Having said all that, I’m a wool snob also!

  3. When I started knitting, Red Heart was wool. Now you know how old I am. I started spinning because I couldn’t find any wool yarn, and I had some sheep. I think wool is the most wonderful fiber around. I don’t buy many yarns, but I have started knitting socks with regia, because they are machine washable and have the nylon for strength. Do what makes you happy. Knit on!

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