Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Question of Quality

I've always been a pretty forgiving knitter, accepting that not everything comes out perfect and that mistakes make a piece more unique and "yours". However, lately I've discovered that not all mistakes our the knitter's fault. Sometimes it's the yarn.

Have you ever seen a yarn in a shop and fallen in love? Usually for me it's a yarn's colorway that draws me in. Contrary to popular belief, color is not everything. Take for example my current WIP, Pink Spiral Scarf. The yarn is Regia Hand Dye effect, something I purchased over a year ago at the yarn shop in Salina because I loved the color and thought it would make beautiful socks. I pulled the skein out a few weeks ago and looked up reviews on Ravelry. As it turns out, not a lot of people like this yarn. And I am definitely one of them. It's not very soft, really slick, and has this weird white thread that comes unwound from the ball as I go. If I had even tryed to make socks with it, they'd turn out awful. So I settled on a fairly easy, yet pretty shawl/scarf pattern. I like the pattern, but the yarn is not doing it justice. I'll probably finish it just to finish it and clear it out of my stash, but it's safe to say I will never buy this yarn again. I heard Regia makes some other great sock yarns, anyone have any experience with them?

This isn't the first time I've been worried about quality. I purchased some Mission Falls Merino a long time ago to make worsted socks for my mom. I had read on Ravelry that Mission Falls was a great worsted yarn and very luscious to work with so I figured I'd give it a try. After getting done with one whole sock I stopped. That sock is still in a bag in my drawer with the extra yarn for it's mate. I just couldn't get into the yarn; it lefts fuzzies everywhere and I heard that it doesn't wash up very well. Yet another yarn I will likely not purchase again. It's too bad too, because the socks are kinda pretty.

My final issue comes with the "Big Box Stores". I've noticed lately that stores such as Hobby Lobby have been selling yarns that contain less acrylic than they used to. Oddly enough, many LYS's are starting to carry many more acrylic blends and aren't as snobby as they once were towards acrylic yarns. This doesn't mean I will be buying any yarn from Big Box Stores any of them anytime soon. Just because the label says "wool" on it doesn't make it good quality wool. I saw some really pretty gradated Lion Brand that is mostly wool, but it was much scratchier than any wool I've ever seen at my LYS. Still, most yarns I have come to love contain at least 1/3 acrylic. My old standby has always been Berroco Vintage, which is 50% acrylic. I've made many accessories with Caron Simply Soft, my standby (yet trying to get away from) big box acrylic yarn. The biggest issue I have with Hobby Lobby and it's mates is the fact that many of their yarns lately have been clones of their companions at the LYS. I feel like this takes away from the whole LYS experience, something I'm not even going to go into right now.

(My effortless cardigan WIP, which is made from Vintage, 50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon)

This leads to my question. How does quality play into your yarn selections? Do you ever think about it when you are picking out a new yarn? What about acrylic, is there a place for it among the natural and "better" quality fibers?

Sometime I just wish I could look up the Ravelry comments right there in my LYS before I purchased a new yarn.


1 comment:

  1. Oh no...I actually made the same mistake you did and forgot about it until now. I have also been very disappointed with Regia, I've started three different pairs of socks with it and frogged them every time because it is nasty to work with. So, I feel your pain!
    Webs is the worst in terms of accidentally buying bad yarn. They put some awful yarns on sale and I've bought a few of them because I wasn't able to look up the ratings at the time.


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