It can be really hard to choose the yarn for your next knit or crochet project, we have all the info to help you decide when to splurge on expensive yarn!
I am going to start by saying that the decision of when to splurge on expensive yarn is a completely personal decision. Ultimately, we all have different priorities and budgets and preferences so you can take my advice here with a grain of salt. I’m mainly covering this topic for those of us who sometimes have trouble deciding if expensive yarn is worth it.
There is also a big variation in what people consider expensive, so keep that in mind. In my mind, I consider yarn that’s more than $10 a skein edging into expensive territory. I would pause a moment before anything more than $7 a skein if it’s a medium sized or big project. I’m kind of a cheapskate so you might have a different definition of what expensive is and that’s ok.
So let’s talk about it, when should you splurge on expensive yarn?
When to use inexpensive yarn
- When you’re knitting or crocheting items for babies or small children. I have strong feelings about this one (though you are free to disagree with me), but I feel that the need to be washable and the short duration of wear overrides other factors when it comes to baby knits.
- When you’re making a gift for someone who does not knit or crochet. Not only will a non-fiber fanatic not know the difference between fancy and cheap yarn, they also are less likely to follow more complicated care and washing instructions that come with nicer yarn.
- When you’re making a gift that wasn’t specifically requested. This is a HARD HARD thing to hear, I’m sorry, but I’m going to be honest. You just never know, when you knit a gift for someone who hasn’t specifically requested a handknit item, whether they will like it. They might love it. Or they might shove it in the back of their closet and never use it. The possibility of the latter is a lot easier to stomach if you didn’t invest a lot of money into the gift. The more important thing in gifted knitting is the thoughtfulness and time that went into it, not how much you spent on supplies. And if they do love it then you can use more expensive yarn the next time you make them something!
- When you’re new to knitting. Honestly, every single person who learned how to knit was terrible at first. Don’t start your first project with expensive yarn, that will just add to the pressure.
- When you’re telling yourself you need to buy expensive yarn because you think you’re supposed to. I am a big proponent of non-judgemental yarn purchasing. Some people insist that cheap yarn is the worst thing in the entire world and you should only ever use expensive yarn. And those people are entitled to their opinions. But that does not have to be your opinion. Use what you like!
- When you’re making something that’s not a garment. For example, if you’re knitting a pencil case, or a stuffed animal, or my cabled Christmas trees or ornaments, use acrylic or something cheaper! (The exception to this it if you’re making my handwarmers, they’re not a garment, but a nice wool yarn works way better for these.)
- If you’re knitting something that will be heavily used or frequently washed like dishcloths.
- When you like it! It’s perfectly ok to like inexpensive yarn. I want to shout this one from the rooftops. You can like what you like. There are some pretty nice but cheap yarns on the market these days.
When to splurge on expensive yarn
- When your project is small. If you only need one skein, the cost is much more reasonable. This is another reason I love hats. And a reason that lots of people love to knit socks.
- If you will wear the item a lot. For example, sometimes I spend more on yarn for a hat or a scarf because you can wear the same hat every day for 5 months a year. But a sweater might be worn only once a week. On the other hand, if it’s going to be the sweater you keep in your overly air conditioned office and you WILL wear it daily, then the cost makes more sense!
- When you’re knitting for yourself! You will definitely appreciate it more than anyone else.
- When you’re knitting or crocheting for a fellow knit or crochet lover. They will also appreciate and notice expensive yarn (in addition to the effort that went into the gift).
- When you fall in love. I don’t mean when you fall in love with a person, no, I mean that moment when you see an absolutely beautiful yarn in the yarn store and your heart pitter patters and you can’t stop thinking about it. Who am I to deny love, if you absolutely adore an expensive yarn, then get it!
- For special occasion or heirloom items. If you are knitting or crocheting a very special item, then it makes sense to use expensive yarn that will last beautifully for a long time. Examples would be a wedding shawl or christening dress; the kinds of things that you might pass down to the next generation.
- As a gift for a fiber loving friend. One year my aunts went to their local yarn store and bought me a few skeins of really nice yarn for my birthday. They had the owner choose. And it was much nicer yarn than I would have bought myself. It was the most fun present!
What to consider when buying expensive yarn
- Yardage: Consider both how much you need for the project and how much is in each skein. Some fancy luxury yarns come in really small skeins which is going to make your project even more expensive. Same goes for the size of the project. The cost of a blanket vs. a hat will be significantly different.
- Dye Lots: If your yarn has dye lots listed then you need to make sure that you buy more than enough for your project. If you run out and try to go back and get more but they don’t have the same dye lot, your project will likely be ruined. This leads me to my next point.
- Return policy: When you buy expensive yarn for a larger project, you might overbuy to make sure all of your yarn has the same dye lot. Consider if the yarn store will let you return any unwound full hanks that you don’t use (if you have any). If not (which is a common and reasonable policy), can you use the extra for something else?
- Care instructions: Are you willing and able to follow complicated care and washing instructions for that nice yarn? Do you have somewhere to air dry flat?
- Do you have a project in mind? My advice is that it’s not a good idea to buy expensive yarn with no planned project. That expensive yarn will haunt you from your stash, staring at you guiltily every single day until you use it. And then when you do choose a project, there’s no guarantee you will have the right amount. That’s no fun!
So, what do you think, did this post help you decide when to splurge on luxury expensive yarn? I hope so!
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