Fibers, the sequel

It’s just been a relaxing Friday for me. A little knitting, a little web surfing, a little reading, and lots of resting to get over the cold I have.

My web surfing has led me to some interesting blogs and opinion pieces about fibers. The term “yarn snob,” I’ve come to realize, is splattered all over the internet. Some bloggers are proud to identify themselves as yarn snobs. Other individuals attack the yarn snobbery. There’s even a blog article with the title “Avid knitters are yarn snobs.”

Yeah, I just figured out this “yarn snob” thing. Go ahead and say “have you been living in a cave?”

As I am now newly exposed to the term I find it comical that crafters on the internet have decided to turn what kind of yarn they use into a political identity. I suppose it’s inevitable given the facts: knitting and crochet is a hobby for most people and hobbies cost money that is left over after rent, lights, food, etc. The subtle online critiques and support of yarn snobbery seem to boil down to how expensive the natural fibers can be. Defenders of the acrylic yarns are quite correct in pointing out that if they can’t afford to knit with wool, well, time to buy the cheap stuff if the sales have dried up. The yarn snobs have correctly pointed out that acrylic yarns are not sustainable since they are based on petroleum. Basically, the Red Heart Super Saver is a furry ball of plastic.

It’s an all out fiber war!

Since it seems the majority of people who knit and crochet feel passionate enough about what kinds of fibers they use to identify themselves with their yarn I suppose I could chime in as the dispassionate yarn enthusiast. I shall hereby refuse to identify myself with the yarn snobs while at the same time not side with the acrylic lovers. If Elizabeth Zimmerman can be the “Opinionated Knitter” I’ll just be the “Shrewd, Objective, Dispassionate Knitter.”

Reflecting on the projects I’ve completed this year I suppose I am indeed the kind of person who knits without identifying himself with the fibers. For me it’s practicality. My yarn selections have a lot to do with the people who will wear the items and the kind of stitches used in the projects. Let’s see…

I made a double-knitted scarf for myself that is very warm and comfortable and, actually, it’s made from a yarn that is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I bought the yarn because I loved how it looked (it’s got lots of colors plied together) and it was being liquidated from a local shop. Basically, I went nuts and bought tons of it in various colors and never even asked the clerk about the fiber content. Aside from the scarf for myself I made another one with the same kind of yarn for a friend who loves hers. I’m now finishing another one because her mom saw it and wanted one and it just so happens I have plenty of this particular yarn left over.

I made myself two pairs of merino wool socks, a pair of merino wool socks for the other half, and a pair of cotton blend socks for my sister.

For my other half’s niece, age 3, I also made an acrylic sweater.

The other half will soon receive a cabled sweater made out of acrylic. This is happening by request! Yes, wearers do occasionally ask for synthetic fibers. In this case it is because this very special someone already has a wool sweater and another sweater made of silk that I crafted. My partner just wants another sweater made of another material to even out the wardrobe. I’m thinking it will be great for Fall and early Spring.

Oh yeah, I made my sister a merino wool scarf recently.

I have one project that I started two years ago and it’s still sitting somewhere waiting for me to go back to it: a mohair sweater for me. I’ll get around to it some day…


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