Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yarn Snobbery

If you're not a crafter, look away. This post is all about yarn and blankets: exciting stuff for us, not so much for you.

A couple of years ago a nice American friend sent me some worsted weight yarn. Worsted weight is heavier than European DK - I think it would be closest to our aran weight. I excitedly unpacked the box and withdrew what looked like a woolly club: an enormous skein of yarn, big enough to whack someone with. You don't believe me? Well, then - have a look for yourself. The American yarn is the one on the top (198g) and a standard skein of German acrylic yarn (50g) is on the bottom:


Yowzers, eh?
This the infamous Red Heart Super Saver, an acrylic yarn that has been described as "virtually indestructible" - and intrepid readers will know that I'm particularly fond of household items that are "virtually indestructible". The yarn is a bone of contention for many crafters: you only have to browse through large crafting forums like Ravelry to find countless posts about its general horribleness. Yes, the mere mention of RHSS causes outbreaks of yarn snobbery, like a plague of measles. It's scratchy. It's rough. It's cheap'n'nasty. Ewww! A serious crafter would ever so much prefer to work with *insert name of Indie dyer's handspun yarn confection here* instead of this horrid stuff. Fair enough.
But ...
for afghans and blankets, I love it. It's thick and warm and it seems to come in a gazillion colours. I've actually had dreams (this is sad, I know) of being in an American yarn store, buried under a mountain of RHSS skeins. Yes, really. And believe you me, if I want a blanket covering me in the depths of a Bavarian winter, then give me the RHSS afghan any day - yes, you can keep your cashmere/merino mix. I want something with a bit of substance.

Sadly this yarn isn't available in Europe, so I've been squirrelling away skeins for the past two years. I've been waiting for the right time, the right pattern. But now - in a fist of destashing - I decided to crack open my box of American worsted weight yarn and make something nice.
Something nice ...
... for me!

12 comments:

quinn said...

If you ever become desperate for a RHSS "care package" from the US, let me know. I don't know if the shipping would be exorbitant, but t may be worth a look. :)

quinn on rav

The Gingerbread Lady said...

Thank you, Quinn! I'm going to be a good girl and use up the skeins I've been saving (I'm such a frugal crafter) ... but once they're gone ... :-))

Gracey is not my name.... said...

You actually won't find RHSS in a "yarn" store. It is located in general craft stores, like Michaels, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby. I use RHSS, but now prefer Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn. It's very similiar BUT a lot softer....I can't get it where I live, as it's only sold at Hobby Lobby and there isn't one in my area. So whenever I travel, I stock up. If you'd like to see the difference, I can send a few balls of it...I just finished a baby blanket, so have some left over...

Susie said...

I absolutely agree with you. I was once in a yarn shop and the assistant told a customer she should crochet an afghan in Malabrigo. I still suffer guilt that I didn't whack that assistant over the head with something (something soft, I'm not mean) and tell her not to be so silly.

Jennifer said...

Do you want more? I have lots, and while I don't hate it with the vehemence that many crafters seem to harbor, I have entirely stopped making blankets.... Let me know. :-)

crymson said...

every yarn has a proper place and use in the craft world. I've had the guilty pleasure of using RHSS.

Seelenfein... said...

Aaaaah, the famous "Red Heart" - i wish, i can buy it in Germany... But no, you know, i Germany, we don´t can buy it. Sad... :o(

Have a beautiful day.

Lovely greets,
Annika

Jeff.n.Tia said...

I have to laugh, as the Red Heart yarn you posted a picture of costs only about $3.00 per skein here in the US! :D I don't know you, but I also would be willing to send some yarn if you ever really want any; I guess your situation just is never something that would have even entered my mind! I guess I should be thankful for our "cheap" yarn here. ;p

Jenny said...

I just finished a ripple blanket for my son in Red Heart Super Saver green camo. It is a little rough on the fingers, but the colors are fabulous. And after washing it feels sooo much better! I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby isn't rough and comes in nice colors. But, I think they stopped shipping overseas :(

Rachelle said...

I learned to knit in an LYS, so I was a snob before I could purl. I don't care about the cost of the yarn, just how it feels and sounds when I'm working with it.

It's the high pitched squeal that cheap acrylic makes when you work with that gives me shivers. I'm sure my afghans and baby blankets were made from Red Heart or some equivalent, and I still love them enough to use with my own children!

Kookie said...

Adding my appreciation for RHSS! It's not available here in the UK either & American friends are appalled that it could be a "wish list" item but I think it is fabulous for blankets, you just KNOW they'll last forever :)

Jeff.n.Tia said...

It's funny as an American to hear that you Europeans have trouble finding a wonderful yarn over there! :) I always assume the yarn must be even better, and of higher quality, but I guess not? I have several large crocheted blankets made by a relative here, and she always uses RHSS. I live in WA state, and a lot of us here love knitting and crocheting.