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The Knitocracy and Cheap Yarn

March 31, 2011

Fair warning: I’m feeling cranky over something I just read and this is a knitterly vent post.

Before I found a sweet soul willing to teach me to knit for free, I crocheted. I almost ALWAYS bought Red Heart acrylic yarn from good ol’ Uncle Wally’s and made a few things here and there. There was once, as a non-knitting crocheter, that I dared to venture into an LYS. I was already intimidated because well, 1) I was intimidated by the fact that I couldn’t teach myself to knit and 2) there was a dining room table surrounded by about 10 women all knitting away, including the LYS owner.

I was young, barely past twenty and wanted to find some really good yarn for a crocheted sweater. Not one single person acknowledged the fact that I was expelling my humid breath in their presence, let alone that I WOULD HAVE BEEN a paying customer. Now, I don’t care about the people that didn’t work at the LYS but I was so put off from that experience and began joking about the Knitocracy. I swore that if I ever did learn to knit, I would refuse to be any kind of knit snob.

I have to admit that I haven’t crocheted since I started knitting, but I don’t think a thing of people that do and I don’t look down my nose at crocheted items. Perhaps because I started out in fiber arts using Red Heart (the slut of all yarns!) that I don’t look down my nose at what other people choose to knit or crochet with. As a knitter, I still believe that the Knitocracy exists and when I came across something from a knitter that was downright berating the use of acrylic yarn, I felt like that twenty year old crocheter again, minus the intimidation. When I read stuff that’s condescending and berating, it makes me ashamed to be a knitter.

Sure, acrylic is cheap yarn, but knitting is no poor-man’s hobby. If someone wants to use acrylic, why would anyone else care? If someone doesn’t like acrylic and they are fortunate to be able to afford a better fiber, then yay for them. But my confusion builds when I see crafters being condescending about what others choose to craft with.

ARGH! If someone doesn’t want to wear an acrylic sweater, then don’t make one and don’t buy one! If someone doesn’t care that acrylic is essentially plastic, why would anyone else care what works for them? Enough, already! Of course everyone would love, LOVE, to have a stash full of cotton, silk, kid merino, Quivet, or what-have-you, but unfortunately, not everyone is of the means to buy “good” yarn for large projects.

So here’s my confession: I really like acrylic yarn. I’ve been known to use Jo-Ann’s Sensations QUITE OFTEN and unabashedly so. But what you don’t know is that I still have a TON of Red Heart. I may joke about RH, but I’m not above using it and I’m not even remotely ashamed of using it.

There is no shame in cheap yarn.

So here’s my challenge to myself: Make a darling sweater using only Red Heart acrylic yarn.

I’ll keep you posted.

In closing: For the love of pete, cut the knitocracy bull#$^&.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2011 8:00 pm

    I’m thankful for this post. I use red heart as my main yarn. It’s what I know and what I’m used to. I don’t know what to buy or look for when it comes to other yarns. Shopping is also difficult when you’re on a college student budget. For a while now there’s been this sweater I’ve wanted to make for a long time, but have been sort of scared to, because of the cost and because I’m afraid I’ll mess up. Well, because of your challenge to yourself I can now go with confidence into making my first sweater using RED HEART and not feel bad about. After my confidence (and bank account) increases I’ll be ready for better yarn.

    • VintageDM permalink*
      April 22, 2011 3:17 pm

      Awesome Andrew! I’d love to share your progress here if you’d like to send on pictures and comments!

      I’m nearly finished with my challenge sweater and need to get some pictures posted!


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