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How to decide when to splurge (on yarn)

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To Splurge on yarn or not to Splurge .....
Hand-dyed yarns

To Splurge or not to Splurge ..... that is the question we all face in a yarn shop - how well do we want to indulge our "knitting self"?

As folks are choosing yarn for our next KAL - Free your Fade, I thought this might be a good time to address this topic.

Obviously, we at the shop are here to help you with your choice as you roam the shop, touching, feeling and being inspired by color and texture.

Some thoughts to ponder before you come to a decision include:

First and foremost - who is going to be wearing/ using this item.

A new mother (or an older one) who does not have time to read washing labels and hand wash items - I still have a laundry basket filled with items that need special care & attention when washing.... how often do I wear/ clean those items? Not often enough! 

A Grandchild who is going to enjoy life and their knitted treasures show it?

A sibling/ good friend who is going to curl up and enjoy a good book & cup of tea while wearing/ using the item.

As you approach your project, look over what the designer intended the end project to look like: definition of stitches, drape, construction and how is it going to feel when completed, how is it going to be used, cared for, and finally how much time is it going to take you to finish? Is this a project to splurge on or not?
  Fiber Content: this decision goes beyond the season and if it should be cotton or wool. Plant based fibers (cotton, linen, hemp) are heavier, much more dense, have less elasticity and very little memory (unless combined with something that has memory/ strength). Crimp (as in merino wool) is your friend for definition and elasticity thanks to the air in the yarn. Alpaca, mohair and other yarns have a halo, and less air - hence a slightly flatter, slightly obscure definition yarn when it comes to stitch definition. Is this a project to splurge on or not?

splurge yarns
Yarn Construction plays a big part as well in your choice (or it should!) Yes, we know, shorn, washed, carded and spun ...  but think about it. I have heard purists say single ply yarns are not really "true" yarn yet as they have not been 'balanced' with another ply.
There are lots of single ply yarns out there you just need to know how to work with them and choose the right project that will not end up being totally felted (unless of course that is the look you choose).
Single ply yarn is often very soft, and with very little body compared to counterparts with more ply.

The durability of two ply yarns depends on the degree of initial twist and the plying twist as well as the fiber content. Has nylon/ acrylic been added for strength? Cashmere or yak added for softness? Want to learn more, stop by an open spin afternoon or take a quick class with Judy - this is fascinating!.
Three ply yarns are well suited for projects that get high abrasion: socks & mittens for example.
There are yarns with more ply than that but I have been told these don't always line up well and the extra ply can be noticed if you examine your knitting closely. Note: the number of ply does not necessarily equate to the gauge of the yarn - some strands can be very very thin. Be sure to check the gauge of your project!

Modern technology has made spinning and plying yarn so much easier, however it still requires that the process be monitored. Poor monitoring can result in uneven thickness, multiple knots and other ill effects, you know what I am talking about....  so take time to think about your project, its longevity and choose to put your money into quality.

"Hand" is how it feels while you are working it, and how it feels as a finished product. Crisp, soft, silky, coarse, textured, smooth or stiff. All of the above will effect the drape of your garment, and the type of yarn you ultimately choose to use....  no matter the cost!

How are you going to feel working on this project? How often we hear folks come in checking yarns for their next project as they can't wait to finish what they are working on - they are "just not enjoying it" ... so sad! Knitting/ crocheting should be enjoyable! 
Need/ want to know more? Did you know that many magazines not only contain patterns and ideas, but have lots of great tidbits to help enhance your knitting/ crochet experience. They are worth taking the time to read, not just flip through the pattern pictures! There are lots of other great books and information available, check our shelves and magazine racks for more.....  oh and Happy Splurging!

Looking forward to helping you choose yarn .... 
ande, artisans & instructors @ Craftworks