I arrived in northern Wisconsin on Wednesday to visit family and have a couple of days at our little cottage on a lake in northern Wisconsin. August 9th is my grandmother’s 89th birthday, so I wanted to make her something. I didn’t have room to bring yarn with me, since I was travelling with the kids, and I also wanted to be sure I picked a color/style she’d actually wear. So after some consultation, I went shopping at the local big box store that I normally boycott–but it is the only place in that sells yarn in town. The small selection at the store included lots of novelty yarns at reasonable prices as well as the worsted weight acrylics frowned upon by lots of stitchers I know. I started to wonder where yarn snobbery comes from… Does price=coolness? When Coats and Clark, the makers of Red Heart also make a “high-end” line called Moda Dea and large fiber manufacturers sell the same yarn to brands with a variety of price points and distribution options, why does brand even matter? I personally never shop by brand, only by feel, weight, color, etc. Beyond the look and feel, my ideal yarns come from sustainable fibers with a low impact on the environment, i.e. organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, soy, etc. And of course, when I’m designing for publication, it makes sense to use yarns that are affordable, easy to find and have a track record. It is a lot to balance.

Oh, so what am I using for Grandma’s shawl? I chose a midnight blue color of Red Heart Symphony–a faux mohair which is the most realistic I’ve seen (a boon for vegans and those with wool allergies), and I’ve mixed it with a variagated Red Heart worsted in colors my grandmother likes. The result is really stunning–like water colors. I’m using a big hook (size P) and a simple shell stitch. I’m not quite sure how the shawl will take shape, but I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

Yarn Snobbery, or crocheting in the North Woods