Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Great Yarn Debate

I picked up knitting again after decades of not thinking about it because a friend and I decided we 'needed' to have a knitting group at church. There was no mission component or selling component; we were just knitting.

Then we had all this stuff and had to decide what to do with it - so the selling and the mission parts came in. This, of course, required the need to purchase more yarn.

I cannot wrap my mind around paying $12 for a skein of yarn. I've seen it. I've even touched it. I have trouble getting my mind around $10 for a skein of yarn. It could be because most of the knitting I do is for sale or to give away and the more expensive the yarn, the more care it requires. The items we give away need to have a wash and wear care tag because a lot of them are given to the homeless, who don't carry Wool-Lite with them and may not be able to launder it for a while.

Or they are given to people who are shut in who also don't have the inclination to 'lay it flat to dry'.

We price our items according to the yarn we use. (I have the task of pricing items for our sales) and we do not charge for the labor because that's the fun part and the reason we come together. The gathering is the mission - the items we create are an extension and the fruits of the mission. So we don't charge for the coming together or knitting when we're alone because we are connected through the group. So, I charge by finding out what yarn people have used and calculating from there the cost to make another blanket, hat, etc. plus and additional cost to help pay it forward and donate items to others.

A couple of things happen: some really labor intensive item can sell for a really inexpensive price because though the pattern was complicated, the knitter used yarn that was only $2.50 a skein. (Believe me, I've had this discussion with knitters who've said: "But it was a complicated pattern!" to which I have responded: "And that's your reward!")

We also get some rather expensive items. Use 12 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick and the lowest price charged for an afghan is $110. We have items like that and they are beautiful and we can display them as high end items. Whether they will sell at the last show of the year remains to be seen. If they do not sell, we will have to reduce the price, of course, so someone will want to walk away with it by the end of the week. You can see the $110 afghan here.

I was in Hobby Lobby the other day and was looking for a yarn that had slubs and bumps and I found one. It was so soft and so pretty and had about 90 yarns to the skein and I figured I would need maybe 8 or so to do a shawl. I looked at the price -$11.95. Put it back. Sigh.

Is there something wrong with me? I just can't see it.


Camille said...

Thanks ! This explains to me why you always purchase that big CARON skein of yarn. Your church is doing some really wonderful work !

Eryka Jackson said...

No, there is nothing wrong with you. It just means that you have more sense than the rest of us! I have spent $30.00 for one skein of yarn without flinching. So what does that tell you!

Beverly said...

It tells me I should come and live with you...maybe it's also because I'm a beginner knitter and don't think I could do a $30 ball of yarn any kind of justice.

I wouldn't even know what to do with a yarn like that - but I bet it's prettiful!

Beverly said...

Hey Camille -
Glad to see you're back blogging!
Yes, Caron One Pound is a great value for the kind of knitting I do. I also think, depending upon the color, it's knits up pretty nicely. I'm afraid if I go to an expensive yarn, I'll be too spoiled to go back. Lately, Caron has been over taken by Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn. My last two projects have been made with it and I am about to take pics and post!

Two Cables and a Frapp said...

When it comes down to it, knitting is nice on all yarn !!!

CN said...

Hey! CrochetCollection (otherwise known as Chelsea) here leaving a comment! There is SO nothing wrong with you! I cringe whenever I go to my LYS, there are some beautiful yarns, but compared to the cheapness and nice quality of good ol' knitpicks, I don't buy the quantity of my yarn there!

Beverly said...

just can't bring myself to do it. perhaps if i ever get this stash down to something more managaeable and i buy yarn only for a project i need, perhaps i will do it then (though that makes no sense now that i write it down.) someone gave me ten skeins of cascade 220 and i kept 2 and gave away the other 8. she's making some very nice things with it. i'm afraid to even use it!

Melodye said...

I'm amending my earlier post. Saturday I finished, Lu by Pearl Grey using a yarn from JoAnn's and I love it. So much so that I'm thinking of making it again in a more expensive yarn with some drape. Maybe something in silk. It didn't help that I went to Stitches East and felt all those gorgeous yarns. Help! I'm being seduced to the dark side.

Liz said...

This is really interesting, because if you win the yarn in my contest, it sort of goes against this. Mirasol Hacho is about $8 per skein. Good luck in my contest!

Beverly said...

Yes, it would kinda defeat the purpose - on the other hand, it would drive my hubby a little bonky which is always good for a chuckle..

Turtle said...

i so can agree with you. I so cringed when hubby took me for yarn on our anniversary for a hat i wished to knit. He picked out a skein that was almost 20$ (and according to the yardage i would need two) He bought them and i knit a lovely hat i do wear now a lot. I was so upset though when it used only 3/4 of one skein. My mother in law and others keep trying to get me to sell items, they do not understand the cost we can put into an item let alone even considering the i understand where your brain is at!! smile

Beverly said...

Meloyde-click your heels three times and repeat: 'there's nothing like acrylic, there's nothing like acrylic,
there's nothing like acrylic!"

squiggi said...

I agree with two cables, knitting is nice on all yarn.
I will never understand the folks that pay SO much for the quiviut!

Jemima said...

Your church is doing a really great thing, and i absolutely get why you would want to use cheaper and easy-maintenance yarn. Some of the superwash and acrylic blends are fantastic nowadays too.

But if you're making something really special for yourself or a loved one, I think it makes sense to use a local specialty yarn, some purchased handspun or a hand-dyed skein that reminds you of the sunset when you met the husband...that sort of thing. Fancy yarn for a fancy occasion!

OhAmyKP said...

There is nothing wrong with you or me. It just doesn't seem worth it. I look at the yardage to cost ratio, I has to be at least 65yds to the $1, or I pass it on. I've bought expensive yarn twice:

1)I buy all my yarn online from Joann or eBay, so when I go into an actually Yarnstore (where they only sell yarn & accessories) I get a little giddy and patronize well for the occassion. I've only had this occassion onces since there isn't a yarn store near me, and I bought 3skiens @ $9 each of chuncky Berroco peruvian yarn in gray each only had about 130is yrd cant remeber exact but it was expensive.

2)The next time I spent too much was when I was in low budget yarn swap on ravelry. my person said they liked cotton or bamboo so I tried to find yarn with both, there were two balls left of this gorgeous red, orange and black yarn. It went for $6 a skein with only 137yrs in each.

But I've been knitting for 3yrs now and even though they're so soft, and pretty (thats what gets me they are so darn pretty, like you could eat them. If I could eat them, now maybe I'd buy it) I dont give in to their lures.

My favorite yarn is the Lion Brand wool Ease line. The thick & Quick run a bit hight but its worth it and that $6.50 but I buy it on sale most time for $4.50 at joanns.

I"m on Ravelry - OhAmy

Timiae said...

Nothing wrong with you at all! I was the very same way (I'm somewhat embarrased to say that I'm not that way anymore, though) and bought my first skein of sock yarn for 9.00 and about died (I now realize that's cheap!). Good for you, I say.


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