Sometimes it can be really hard to choose which yarn to use for your latest project and often cost is the deciding factor. This means that man-made yarns are often substituted for natural as it keeps the cost down. It's true that when you add up the cost of making a sweater, for example, the difference in prices between yarns can be quite alarming. If we assume that a size 10-12 jumper plain jumper takes 1000g of double-knit yarn then it can cost anything from £10.00 for the very cheapest acrylic to £100.00 plus for a high end natural fibre. We often compare to shop-bought mass-market items which are much cheaper but they are mass-market so we are not really comparing like with like. Based just on cost it seems obvious which yarn to knit or crochet in but there are more things to consider.
I've just knitted a man's jumper in Woolyknit Diggle which is a mid-range British wool priced at £3.50/50g. The garment took 12 balls so cost £42.00. It could have been made in a cheaper acrylic for around £22.00 but cost isn't the whole argument. The garment was for an adult (my husband) who will hand wash it (because he knows the penalty if he felts it in the washing machine!). The jumper is heavily cabled so wool will keep the structure of the cables better after washing. I well remember knitting a beautiful cabled jumper for myself in a lovely soft acrylic which looked lovely till I washed it when the yarn relaxed, the cables went flat and the jumper grew by a couple of sizes! Greg isn't likely to have a growth spurt so I don't have to worry about him growing out of an expensive knit and he doesn't find wool itchy. I think that's most of the objections to wool dealt with so now it is just cost to deal with.
I finished the jumper two weeks ago and it has been worn for at least ten out of those fourteen days. This brings me to cost per wear. Cost (£42.00) divided by number of wears (10) = £4.20/wear. Every time Greg puts the jumper on the cost per wear reduces. Wool doesn't wear out quickly and barring a washing 'incident' and based on other garments I've knitted for him, Greg will still be wearing this one in 20 years time by which time costs/wear will be measured in fractions of pence not pounds. Knitted in a cheaper yarn the jumper would lose its shape and structure after a few washes so cost per wear would be much higher. In the long term, the more expensive option is a better deal.
I know not everyone likes natural fibres finding them itchy or ethically problematic, but whatever you buy, you are going to spend a lot of time producing a handmade article so whether the yarn is natural or man-made, it's worthwhile making it in the best you can afford.
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.