I’m a zen knitter. What I knit has to have some sort of balance in my life. Which means that sometimes the item I desire to make will outweigh the need for more expensive yarns or the yarn is lucious enough to balance out the fact that it is outrageously expensive. Sometimes a substitution will work. Sometimes it won’t. I have to decide which is more important. Really cool yarn like in the pattern or actually being able to afford the project.
The one thing I don’t skimp on, ever, is sock yarn. I’ve yet to pay less than $12 for sock yarn enough for a pair (except the one time I tried knitting them from KP Pallette and was highly disapointed) For me 2 things are important with sock yarn. 1. It must be of good quality so it will hold up. 2. It must be unique enough that not everyone is going to have my socks. For me, paying $18 to have sock yarn that is unique, pretty and quality is well worth it!
I do believe that there are some yarns that are just worth the price. Other times I’ve found less expensive substitutions. I’m not going to pay $20 for a skein of Merino wool in a solid color that isn’t all that interesting when I can get Merino wool in the same weight in a very similar color for half or a third of that price. I’m a bargain shopper, too and am willing to sit and wait for something to come on sale or find an equivelant.
Now to add to all this, there is some yarn that I just don’t enjoy knitting. I’m not crazy about most acrylic yarns. When I have to knit using acrylic (like for several charity projects I’ve done) I find the nicest softest in the prettiest colors that I can find. I’m very texture-oriented so even if it is absolutely gorgeous, if I don’t care for the feel I most likely won’t buy it. I’ve learned too many times that if I buy it and I dont’ like the way it feels in my hands I’ll end up not knitting it.
You have to buy what you want and what you can afford and find what that balance is with your pocket book. Later in life, when you’ve won the lottery or written that NY Times bestseller then you can buy all the expensive yarns you want! Until then make due. I’d prefer to knit with Caron Simply Soft for the rest of my life than to never get to knit at all.