Friday, February 12, 2016

Common Sense Craft Supplies

     For those of us that include crafting as part of our means to do for ourselves, I wanted to talk about yarn.  More specifically, I want to talk about yarn quality and using common sense in our yarn shopping.  There are beautiful hand spun yarns on the market.  There are as many brands of designer yarns today as there are designer handbags.  And if you want to spend $20+ on a skein or hank of yarn, your selection is almost limitless.  Unfortunately, expensive yarn is a luxury that I can't afford.  It's a treat that I receive for the occasional Mother's Day or Birthday gift.  Most of the time, I buy my yarn at the big box craft stores.

     Let's face it, those of us who choose to stay at home to care for our families usually sacrifice quite a lot financially - namely a second income.  That fact has a large impact on the decisions we make from the home we live in to the car we drive, the foods we choose to prepare, and our entertainment and other purchases. When we approach crafting projects, we do so from a perspective of budget and practicality.  Although this can force us to accept lesser quality products, it also requires us to be more creative.

     On that note, I wanted to share my insight on a mass produced yarn that is soft, easy to work with, comes in nice colors, and is inexpensive - Woolike (super fine) by Loops & Threads.  This is the house brand for Michael's craft stores and because of that fact alone, it is frequently ignored and considered a sub-quality yarn.  The truth is that this is an outstanding yarn for the price.  And if you like to make socks, or other projects that use a fingering weight yarn, there are a lot of advantages. 

     At 85% Acrylic and 15% Nylon, it's easy to work with, doesn't unravel, and holds up well in projects.  Each skein is 3.5oz / 678yds.  That's a lot of yardage for a single skein and that means one skein can easily make a typical pair of socks.  But with all of the great colors that they offer, who can resist using more than one skein on a project?  Unlike some other mainstream brands of yarn, you do need to be aware of dye lots, but that tends to be true for most yarns - and this one comes in 21 different colors.  Finally, my personal favorite detail of this yarn... $2.99 per skein.  Factor in the countless sales and coupons at Michael's and this yarn is an absolute steal.

     So, all of my fabulous common sense comrades, forget the siren call of the yarn snob.  Yes, we all want those gorgeous hand painted silk blend sock yarns, but aren't the bragging rights just as good when you got the bargain of the month on your yarn and still managed to make an ultra cool project from it?  Not to mention, at prices like this, you can afford to keep knitting until you drop.

**The super cool socks that are being knitted in the photo above are called Toxic and are designed by Carol Young.  The pattern can be purchased on for right around $4 (US).  I am super stingy when it comes to buying patterns because there are so many terrific ones available for free.  This one was worth the purchase price because my husband and son both love these socks and I have lots of brothers, uncles, cousins and friends that I can put the pattern to good use for in the future.**

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