Blerg.

Jan. 19th, 2011 12:14 am
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I have a toe mostly worked up for a sock in nice but uninspiring yarn. (At the moment. It's a dreary navy blue tonal with some dye breaks - goes oddly lavender in places, slushy charcoal in others. It may be more inspiring yarn when everything isn't so grey out.I may rip it out and start something new as an alternate travel project but honestly, I've got so many WiPs on needles I have trouble picking one to focus on. I know what my problem is - I want to so everything at once and somehow expect it to be magically finished within a week - somehow ignoring the fact that 4 rows can take me an hour to complete. ::rolls eyes:: I need to buckle down and focus.

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I HAVE been spinning a bit lately. Hopefully there will be some washing and whacking this weekend and I'll have some pics. I haven't really been feeling the spinning thing this winter, but I think that's because I'm avoiding a project I started - about a pound of tightly curled cormo mix roving. I do not like spinning it, Sam I Am. I do not like it as top or batt, or having been slept on by my cat. I do not like it in the fresh air, hell, I do not like it anywhere. I'm not sure if it's how it's been processed, or is it's too sproingy, or too lanolin-y or what, but I just dread working with the stuff.(which isn't to say cormo doesn't make lovely yarn that I'd be happy to knit with, just, y'know, not when it's made with my hands.) BUT! I will finish it eventually because, well, I'm stubborn like that.

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If you are a fellow Ravelry junkie, you've probably heard by now that Remnants, the ridiculously sprawling Big 6 forum dedicated to whatever ravellers had on the brain that day is kaput. Done, dead, finito! Personally, I'm not sad to see it go and I'm all for whatever makes the site easier for TPTB to run, but I am sympathetic to the folks who hung out there regularly. It's know fun when your Internet watering hole up and vanishes. Been there, got the mousepad. RIP Remrants, you were something else.
fallingbooks: piles of books and yarn (fallingbooks)
So Red Heart is working with Debbie Stoller of Stitch 'n Bitch fame to create a new series of decent, critter-and-plant-based yards. So far there are three in the Stitch Nation line: Full 'O Sheep is a worsted, singly ply Peruvian wool, Alpaca Love is a worsted, multi-ply alpaca/wool blend, and Bamboo Ewe is a worsted, multi-ply wool/bamboo blend. I'm not sure how processed the bamboo is in the latter because there are a couple ways to do it, one retaining more bamboo-iness and the other not so much. They're brightly colored, have a decent handfeel (for the most part, I'm not wildly in love with Alpaca Love,) are readily available at larger JoAnn's, and (this is the big selling point) are under $5 a pop. "Affordable, premium yarns!" I've seen people trumpet. What a wonder!

Except, I kind of wonder if they're really that much more affordable. I picked a handful of standard workhorse yarns off of Webs, figured out the cost per yard (from their non-sale prices) for them, and compared them to the Full O' Sheep yarn.

I would like to note that this is not exhaustive, just things that I like and use as my basic everyday yarns, and that I'm not going near the more trendy and luxe stuff like Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, or Lorna's Laces. (This is not a knock on them - I love my LL swirl dk mittens! - but they're definitely not what I, a knitter on a budget, would consider for anything but special projects.)

So how did things shake out?

Breakdowns:

Single Ply
Stitch Nation Full O' Sheep: $5.00/155yds = $0.032/yd
Brown Sheep Lambs Pride: $7.90/190yd = $0.042/yd
Berroco Peruvia: $8.00/174yd = $0.045/yd

Multi Ply
Cascade 220: $7.00/220yd = $0.031/yd
Ella Rae Classic: $6.50/219yd = $0.030/yd
Knitpicks* Wool of the Andes: $2.19/110yd =$0.020/yd

*Knitpicks is available only at Knitpicks.com

It's basically a penny difference per yard either way. Peruvia is probably the closest equivalent, being both Peruvian wool and single ply, and the most expensive in comparison, but it's still not a ridiculous jump in price. I'll agree that every penny matters in these financially questionable times, particularly when you're working on a large project, but I think that the 'affordable' line is a bit overhyped. If you're really constrained that tightly by your budget, you'd be best served hands down looking at Knitpicks's Wool of the Andes, multi-plied-ness be damned.

I think where the Stitch Nation yarns really win out is in the area of accessibility. Nice, saturated color, wool yarn right there where anyone can get to it, touch it, squeeze it, and fall in love with it. That's fantastic for people who don't have a LYS nearby or are put off by ordering yarns online because they're not sure what they're getting into. And kudos for getting alpaca and plant-blend yarns in the broader knitter consciousness. I've certainly never seen the like before at JoAnn's. I hope they're embraced and that Red Heart takes heart (har har) from this and releases yarns of varying weight in this line. Sock, lace, dk, bulky. There's so much out there for people to explore once they're aware of the possibilities.

But I also hope that knitters who are wowed and amazed and fall in love with a better yarn than they're used to continue to explore and visit their LYS, or Webs, or Knitpicks and try some other new things. Because price isn't that insurmountable a barrier.

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Sarah

January 2011

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