When you are buying yarn, there are even more things to consider than just weight and fibre content. Cost is a HUGE issue and we work hard to have a variety of price points available for the customers at DocKnits. Usually, the people with the smallest budgets gravitate to the yarns that cost the most. Champagne taste on a beer budget! Or so I tell my kids when they cannot afford what they really really want!
MAKE SURE YOU LOOK AT YARDAGE WHEN YOU ARE BUYING YARN
Often, people will come in with a pattern and if it calls for 15 balls of yarn, they buy 15 balls of yarn whether it is the yarn called for in the pattern or not. Do NOT go by the number of balls or the weight (50gm, 100gm) because the actual yardage is often quite different. Some yarns seem expensive but are not when you consider the yardage.
For example, Berroco just increased the price of their yarns (grrrrr) and Ultra Alpaca Light is now $9 for 144 yds/50 gm ball. Still seems like a good price. Shelridge Ultra DKW is $16 for 265 yds/100 gm ball. Seems too expensive right? In actuality, the prices are almost exactly the same. I love Drops yarns, but they package very little yardage in small balls and sell them inexpensively. But again, when you do the math, it is often the same price or more than other yarns.
If you are substituting yarns and don’t know the yardage, Ravelry will come to the rescue again. You can look up virtually ANY yarn made in the world and they will tell you the yardage (as well as the fibre content and comments from real knitters about their experience using the product). All you need to do is figure out the total yardage and you are ready to substitute for another yarn.
WHERE IS YOUR YARN BEING MADE?
Yarn from some areas of the world is REALLY CHEAP, but when workers and animals are being abused or mistreated, do you really want to buy from them? Rowan discontinued their line of Angora yarn products a few years back because they were not sure if the rabbits were being treated ethically. Good for them!
While Canada is far from immune from Human Rights violations, DocKnits asks what is the Country of Origin’s record on Human Rights? We try really hard to buy products from North and South America, as well as European countries that are treating their workers fairly. It certainly isn’t a perfect system but we do the best we can.
Did you know that Peace Fleece yarn specifically buys product from war torn areas of the world? These folks actively work to give women employment and the ability to better care for themselves and their families. Did you know that Madeline Tosh hires local women, trains them and again, gives them a skill, sense of purpose and ability to care for themselves? THESE are the companies that we need to be supporting.
TRY AND BUY CANADIAN WHEN YOU CAN
As American tariffs and barriers to trade increase and our Canadian dollar declines, Canadian yarn manufacturers and Indie Dyers are presenting more competitive pricing. Again, we have some wonderful Canadian producers like Sweet Georgia, Indigodragonfly, Fleece Artist and Handmaiden Yarns to name but a few. Look around our store for the Made in Canada tags to help in your yarn buying decision making.
ARE YOU KNITTING FOR SOMEONE KNITWORTHY?
If you are knitting for children, you need to find something that is WASHABLE. Yes, the cashmere sweater is beautiful on the baby in the picture and YES it would be totally appropriate for an heirloom or christening, but you know it is going to get barfed on. OR, Mom or Dad will “accidentally” throw it in the washer and dryer. So use something that is washable. End of story
Not sure that boyfriend is going to like what you knit him? Then go with a cheaper acrylic/wool blend. And as Judith Durant suggests in her book “Never Knit Your Man a Sweater (Unless You’ve Got the Ring)”. Try a set of coasters.
REGULARLY CHECK THE SALE BIN
Sometimes, we just don’t buy the right yarn for the right market. Yes, sometimes our customers don’t know a good yarn when it comes flying off the shelf and hits them in the face! So, it goes in the sale bin. There are wonderful yarns at really good prices and if you are on a beer budget, keep an eye out!! I survived on sale bins for years with great results. Be creative….Use Ravelry….Spend $20 on one ball of amazing sock yarn instead of $20 on crap yarn from the Big Box Store. You really will be happier
Hope these last 2 blogs help with your “yarn budget”!