frugal yarn question for knitters
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  1. #1
    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Default frugal yarn question for knitters

    I have had a dilemma for a long time, and I vaccilate back and forth about it. I knit and quilt both. I WANT to patronize my local yarn shops and quilt fabric shops, in order to help keep them open. (Seems like a new one opens and closes fairly quickly around here).

    Their prices are much higher, of course. Even if I buy the same exact yarn online, it's often cheaper even with shipping, than I can buy at my local store. A lot of projects I do can be done with less expensive acrylics and such at WM or other discount stores. BUT, sometimes (oftentimes) I want the yarn the pattern calls for (to prevent projects from coming out different than the pic, LOL) or at least a similar blend of fibers and weight from Knitpicks or my other fave online shops. And yes---I check guage, but sometimes yarns have a different stretch or 'feel'.

    Anyway----I have trouble deciding whether to patronize local shops (which is a practice I agree with) or buy cheaper, simlilar yarns at online discount shops.

    Plus, I like good quality yarn. LOL!
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    McD
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    I am somewhat of a yarn snob. I like good yarn. I like to touch it. And fondle it. And lay nude upon it. TMI?

    Anyways, I digress. I don't use a lot of acrylics, such as Red Heart. I find them to be itchy, not soft, and I just don't like the feel of it. For smaller projects that don't require a lot of yarn, projects for me, or projects that I know will get used often, I buy the good stuff from my LYS. I usually only buy the super good stuff if it's just 1-2 skeins. I make exceptions...I recently knitted the large Chorley wrap and I saved up the money to pay cash for Rowan Big Wool. Pricey, but SO worth it.

    Ravelry: Chorley Wrap pattern by Marie Wallin

    I use Knitpicks a lot for projects that require a lot of yarn. I also like Lion Brand. I mix and match where I shop and I take al my classes, etc. through my LYS.
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

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    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Ooooooh, that's a cozy-looking wrap, McD. Love it!

    Yeah, I do a lot of Lion brand and Knitpicks. Most the time, it turns out fine if I match carefully the weight and fibers and check gauge.

    I guess it's these once in awhile projects that call my name that throw me into a yarn snob (I really am one, I am just in denial).

    For instance, I have this really gorgeous pattern for a jacket-sweater that is SOOOO my Mom. I really, really want to make it for her. And I want to use the yarn called for (Prism Symphony). I've found it online and it would cost (gasp!) $328 to make the item. Yikes. I love my Mom but...... And I know if I go to the yarn shop that recently opened in my small town, once I touch it, fondle it, and even roll in it naked (LOL!) I will PAY whatever they want for it....all of it. I know---I've seen me do it.

    Sigh. Knitpicks has a similar yarn for a LOT less, but of course, not in a color I can live with. What to do.....
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    I don't use local yarn shops. I would love to, but simply can't afford it. I crochet lapghans for a local hospice program, and though I wish I could give the best, realistically, I can't. So I content myself with WM, Joann's, and Hobby Lobby, occasionally Michael's.

    I do use acrylic yarns for these projects, because of the very straightforward care they require.
    Donna

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    Registered User Early Bird's Avatar
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    If the business model for your local yarn shop is, "buy local, even though we charge more," they must give the customer some other benefit, in order to stay in business.

    Maybe the benefit, to you, is worth it to see the colors in person.
    Maybe they offer help sessions.
    Maybe something else?

  6. #6
    McD
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    You mean this yarn: Prism Symphony Knitting Yarn at Yarnmarket

    Lovely.
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I know what you mean. I love the fabrics in the quilt shops and I want them all, but they are $10 a yard now and that just isn't in the budget. It's especially jarring when I can find nice fabrics at Joann's marked down to $2 often enough to support the habit.

    My compromises have to be to shop carefully and selectively. The two bigger shops here have sales about 2X a year where fabric gets marked half price. One has an annual fat quarter sale. I used to go once a year and buy whatever took my fancy. Now I only shop for specific needs, like backing for the quilts I made with all those cheap fat quarters. One of the shops has two big bins of "scrap bags" for $2-$3 and fat quarters for $1.50. There are some good deals there.

    Still, I buy things online if the deal is too good or can't be had anywhere else. I took a class last year where we were supposed to be using the designer's fabrics. $9.50 at the shop, $2.50 online. Hmmn, not a hard choice. I bought $45 worth of christmas fabric online in September because I couldn't find a quilt shop in 3 states that carried the line I wanted. I understand seasonal fabric is a tough item to stock, but if I had found it local I probably would have bought it on the spot.
    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You get what you need ~Rolling Stones

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    It used to be considered tacky and cheap to rip up already-knitted items and re-use the resulting yarns. Now, it's "upcycling" and all the cool kids are doing it.

    Patronizing thrift shops is important, too, as they also have payrolls to meet and overhead to pay. They also often employ people who may not be able to find jobs in more traditional retail establishments, which helps them and the community too. And often, profits from the stores support food banks, soup kitchens, assistance for victims of fires or natural disasters, etc. Buying knit goods to recycle from a local thrift can help your budget, and make every dollar you spend there work extra hard right in your own community, to benefit people in your community, and God forbid, maybe even you someday.

    Recycling yarns may not work for every project, but can be a consideration for some projects.

    You never know what you'll find. Currently, I'm working on a pair of mitts from recycled yarn in a pretty, light gray color. The fiber content is 70% lambswool, 20% angora, and 10% nylon. I didn't price it out compared to new yarns, but based on prices of recycled yarns being sold online, I figure I got at least $60 worth of yarn for around $4. That seems very worth it to me to frog a sweater. Other thrift fibers in my stash include 100% cashmere, 100% silk, 100% merino wool, and 100% Shetland wool worsted.

    IMO, using thrift yarn strikes a nice balance between doing something to support my local community and being kind to my budget.

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    I have also found that it is easier to knit from my stash for the month or longer, and then to buy at my LYS for sock yarn, 1 to 2 skein projects, or will save up and purchase for sweater yarn at the LYS when I can afford it. I also go to their knit night and bring a project that uses yarn that they sell, but not necessarily that I bought there.

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    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McD View Post
    You mean this yarn: Prism Symphony Knitting Yarn at Yarnmarket

    Lovely.
    Yeah, that's the one, McD. It is preeeeeetttttttyy. The project calls for 18 balls of yarn, though....18!!!! (that is if they're around 50 gms.)
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    McD
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    Have you checked eBay?
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

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    Registered User Uniwolf's Avatar
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    I will add another twist here, I love, love, love to crochet, but all of my projects are done in cottons, acrylics ect, because I am allergic to wool. Makes for addapting some patterns most difficult

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcompton View Post
    I don't use local yarn shops. I would love to, but simply can't afford it. I crochet lapghans for a local hospice program, and though I wish I could give the best, realistically, I can't. So I content myself with WM, Joann's, and Hobby Lobby, occasionally Michael's.

    I do use acrylic yarns for these projects, because of the very straightforward care they require.
    Yes, I make blankies for charity for sick kids, and I use acrylic for these----the softest I can find. As McD said, Red Heart and some others can be a little scratchy, but I find Lion brand in some stores, and Bernat. Also, some of the baby things I make for relatives having new babies (my niece just had twin girls! ) are acrylic, but the very softest.......it is easier to care for than natural fibers. Although I DID make layettes for the girls in a nice soft Peruvian wool (Knitpicks). I will include care instructions for my niece.
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Bird View Post
    If the business model for your local yarn shop is, "buy local, even though we charge more," they must give the customer some other benefit, in order to stay in business.

    Maybe the benefit, to you, is worth it to see the colors in person.
    Maybe they offer help sessions.
    Maybe something else?
    Yes, mine gives advice about each yarn, and knitting tips, and they give regular lessons on different techniques. And it IS nice to see the yarn IRL. I have ordered yarn online that was soooo not the color it looked in the pix.
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McD View Post
    Have you checked eBay?
    I don't 'do' Ebay. My dh doesn't trust it. Nor Etsy or any of those.
    ______
    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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