WHY do pattern books use yarns that are hard-to-find?

I am SOOOOOOOO frustrated. I recently found a couple of sweater patterns I want to knit from a library book. All fine and dandy. UNTIL I took a look at the recommended yarn.

The yarns for both patterns are either:

  1. Waaaaaayy too expensive
  2. Too hard to find

Why don’t authors/designers use yarns that I can find at local craft stores (A C Moore/Michaels, etc…)??? The recommended yarns are Colinette Point 5 and Classic Elite Tigress. Are there pattern books out there that use “regular” yarns for “regular” people???

HELP!!! :hair:

You don’t have to use the yarn they indicate. You can use any yarn you want to, so long as you stick to the weight and general feel of the yarn. I adjust yarn requirements all the time for things. One of the best things you will do for yourself is to learn about yarn. Its tedious and there is a lot of stuff to learn about it, but in the end it makes substituting so much easier.

I agree with trvvn5…I’ve been knitting for 3-4 years now, and I don’t think I’ve EVER made anything in the recommended yarn Okay…I did made some dishclothes in sugar 'n cream…but beyond that, i researched a bit and use yarndex.com, figure out weight and content and get something cheaper every time.

My dh is a great guy and has no problem with my knitting habit…but I think even he’d blow a gasket if I made a $200 sweater!

Have you considered buying your yarns from online sources? There are many websites that sell reasonably priced, higher quality yarns.

Here are a few:

Little Knits – they have some wonderful sales on pricey yarn and some is available in full bags (of 10 skeins)

Elann – I have to admit to never having bought anything from them but have browsed their site and looked through their pattern selection.

Webs – I haven’t bought a lot from them but the more you buy, the bigger the discount.

Knit Picks – they have a good selection of their own yarns at very reasonable prices with great customer service.

I’ve never done it, but there are yarn sellers on Ebay as well.

You have put it into words what I find so frustrating. I go with my pattern to shop for yarn and then leave empty handed. Not great at knowing gauge mathematics. Also frustrated.

If you are on Ravelry, you can search for your project and see what yarns other knitters have made it from and what it looks like when it’s done. You can get some really great ideas that way.

I think the reason that some of these books have these outragous yarn requirements is because the knitter has a vested interest in the yarn. Whether it be a connection getting them this yarn, or maybe being sponsored by said yarn…or even just the simple fact that some ppl are yarn snobs. In some cases, I am sure it is about availability. A book is generated in a certain country, and that yarn is expensive to us here…but maybe not so much where they are.

Yeah…in the end, I really only pay attention to gauge, unless there is some sort of funky yarn involved (like eyelash)

I rarely use the yarn recommended for a pattern if I can find the same kind of yarn in a colorway I enjoy cheaper somewhere. And sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find the color of the recommended yarn (Hello, Tiptoe Through the Tulip Socks) So I checked around, found another yarn that was cheaper, more available, and had more colors that offered by Regia in the states.

Then I called a relative in Holland and asked her to pick me up some and bring with with her in May. Check the weight of the recommended yarn, then look around.

Once I have knit with a yarn purchased at a lys, I have had good luck buying off of ebay. (I am tactile and need to know how the yarn feels first before I buy it online.) I typically only buy sock yarn though, but have had great luck with the sellers I have dealt with. As others have said, learning about yarn is as important as learning how to knit. I rarely use the same yarns recommended unless I buy a kit.

I don’t think I’ve ever used a yarn suggested by a pattern at least intentionally. :wink: There will be a gauge on the yarn so find a similar yarn with the same gauge and you’re good to go. :thumbsup:

I think authors are trying to promote a certain yarn, like Crycket mentioned.

In the past, I could walk into a yarn store, see a cute yarn on sale that called out to me. And know how much to buy for a sweater. Now with skeins being smaller & yardages so different, I have a tough time knowing exactly how many skeins I will need. That frustrates me. If I have a particular pattern in mind, I can calculate the needed yardage. But on impulse buys, I’m never quite sure.

I don’t know about that. I suppose some are, but I think most pattern writers just use what they enjoy working with. :shrug: I’ve written a few and have no ties to the yarn companies.

I think usually the designer looks around for a really nice yarn to make their design in, something that will do what they want it to do and be the weight they want to work with, etc. I have gotten to use the yarn called for a couple of times and it did set me back a bit, but I got a good result and I’m glad I did it. I usually settle for yarns I can afford more, but sometimes the yarn called for is just the best yarn for the project. I made a top from Vogue Knitting Magazine for one of my daughters in the yarn called for. I’ve seen other tops done where they used different yarns and I have to say, the recommended yarn was the best yarn for the project. It made the top spectacular instead of just nice. I wish I could use recommended yarns more (but get them cheap). LOL

Certain yarns work better for certain patterns. More about the fiber content & finish of the yarn than anything else. In cables or complex patterns, a plain yarn with a glossy or smooth finish works best. The stitches look crisp & well defined. So part of it is matching the yarn to the desired look of the end product.

I still think designers should mention more low cost alternatives. Not many people can spend $100-$125 in yarn to work up a sweater. Even if they want to, it is out of reach for alot of us.

Abby, there is a wonderful little pamphlet that I picked up called “Yarn Requirements”. Its a handy chart of yarn weights and needed yardage to complete basic patterns, short sleeve, long sleeve xs to 3x. Got the idea? Being a real woman with curves it takes a substantial amount of yarn for adequate coverage, I can’t afford overpriced fiber.

According to Ravelry’s yarn index, Colinette Point 5 is a “Super Bulky” weight yarn which needs a US 17 or 12.75 mm knitting needle to get gauge of 7 stitches per 4 inches. Classic Elite Tigress is also a “Super Bulky.”

So you could substitute other “super bulky” wool yarn that have a similar look and feel.

You can tell the weight of a yarn by looking at the label: super fine, fine, light, medium, bulky, super bulky. Most yarn labels will give you a basic idea of what the yarn should knit up to gauge.

I agree that you should use Ravelry to look up specific patterns and then check the projects others have done, because they’ll often use different yarns and you can get an idea of what works and doesn’t work.

That is true…but remember some yarns are deceptive. For example, a lot of eyelash yarns are classified Super Bulky, and you wouldn’t want to substitute with something like Patons Bohemian. It wouldn’t work. The same is true for a lot of fuzzy mohairs and other yarns that need a little more room to spread. The threads on them are quite fine, but the classification is much chunkier based on its behavior.

Yes, I have substituted yarns when I’ve made other projects. And I would buy online, but then I wouldn’t be able to tell how the yarn feels!!! I want it to feel soft/smooth, silky, etc… But at least I now know that both those yarns are SUPER bulky.

I do all my yarn shopping at craft stores: Joann’s, A C Moore, Michael’s. Stuff like that. I would appreciate it if more pattern writers would use those number “icons” to help us regular people know how thick the yarn is supposed to be!

Thanks for all your help!

Since I live in such a SMALL town, (and when i say small i mean there isnt one single stop light and we share a post office with the next town!) the nearest yarn shop is 20 miles away in a “tourist town” (the yarn shop owner charges WAY more than she should because the “tourists” will pay for it) I usually buy my yarn online. I have had great success with ebay, I have even returned yarn before when buying it on ebay because it didnt “feel” right to me. I also buy ALOT from knitpicks. they have every weight available and I really like to dye my own yarn, which is NOT difficult at all. I have never bought yarn from Webbs but have bought knitting accessories from them. I have also noticed that herrschners has alot of nice yarn on thier yarn website, http://www.yarncollection.com/
Hope this helps a little
Happy Knitting :knitting:

I think those number icons are an American standards, so if you are buying yarn that is from another country, then yes, they may lack that helpful information.

True, that some yarns like eyelash are considered super bulky. I think the main thing is that you look for something that is the same general type of yarn. So you’d want to look at the type of fiber, how many ply, etc.

One thing I’m beginning to appreciate is that you pretty much have to knit a gauge swatch to see how the fabric looks and to get the correct measurements.