Monday, December 21, 2009

The International Society of Yarn Snobs

If you are on Ravelry check out this thread about yarn snobbery. There are over 600 postings and close to 5000 views so you know Knitters find this a controversial topic. The original poster (JezebellGray) said "I was at my LYS the other day and with my husband, we were talking about the sock yarn I bought, how it was acrylic, so that I knew his aunt couldn’t felt or shrink them after I’d worked so long to finish them. I got a snotty look from the woman in line ahead of me, and a “Acrylic yarn is for people who craft junk, not knitters.” I was shocked by that attitude and not sure what to say. Has anyone else had an experience where they were made to feel “second class” just because they knit with acrylic?"

We all have different reasons for choosing a yarn to work with and the good news is that we have so much variety now that knitting has become popular again. I come from a family of Knitters and I can tell you without a doubt that if my Mother was still alive she would kill for some of the gorgeous yarns I have been able to knit with.
Care is often a consideration, many of us knit gifts or donations that we know will be machine washed and dried. Allergies can be another concern not every one can comfortable wear natural fibers. Cost can impact your choices, especially right now with the current recession and high unemployment numbers. Sometimes we choose a yarn because we fall in love with a colour instead of a fiber. Not all of us have access to great yarn stores and Internet shopping means we can't decide based on touch if we like a yarn. Some live in climates that determine what fibers we will be most comfortable wearing. Certain projects call for very specific yarns and less experienced Knitters often like to use the yarn a pattern called for to ensure that their results are the same. Some knitters prefer to use Eco-Friendly Yarns for political reasons. Others are anti-wool for animal protection reasons. Still more want to use yarns that are created from recycled materials.

I wonder if some Knitters are concerned with the devaluation of knitting? Is that why people get so judgemental about the materials? Perhaps they feel that only luxury yarns justify their time in the eyes of the non-knitting world? Most people (non fiber types) don't know the difference between synthetic versus natural fibers and some will argue the definition anyway. Rayon fibers are often disputed as they are a natural fiber processed in the manner of a synthetic. So what is this snobbery really about? Knitting with acrylic can't really be so bad can it? Any ideas?

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