I am an experienced yarn collector and I know my stuff. But it did not happen overnight.
When I just began to crochet the yarn was simply something I wound around the hook to get a blanket. As I gained experience I realized that some of my crochet frustrations came from the kind of yarn I used. At the time I started with the very plasticky feeling yarn from one of the cheaper box stores. I will be forever grateful to the anonymous lady, who told me – “It is not you deary, your stitches are fine, it is the yarn”. The light bulb went on. So I tried out the more upscale stuff from Lion’s Brand and yes! Things began to improve. At the time we lived on the farm, pretty isolated and I did not use the Internet much – it was too expensive – we payed per minute as for the long distance call. But I did use the wonderful free resources available to most of us – the public library system! I searched out books about yarn old and new alike and tried to sift the information looking for the “Perfect Yarn”.
After we came back to New York I discovered the LYS – Local Yarn Shops and they have changed my yarn perception drastically. I have finally met in person an amazing array of yarn. From slinky silk to nubby matte one. From fluffy but scratchy Icelandic Lopi to amazingly colorful and oh, so soft Koigy. I met cotton and alpaca yarns, microfiber and fabulous Italian acrylic blend. Scottish Tweed and Baby Ull by Dale of Norway. I had wonderful luck to stumble upon the very special Yarn Shop. The people there were amazingly patient giving me information and letting me make my choices. And I learned. I learned why one should not crochet a big girl sweater out of bulky, tightly spun cotton. I learned that a vest I crochet out of bulky, heavy alpaca for DH will subtly grow to the length of the mini-dress. I learned that if I see a yarn I fall in love with I should buy it – or it will haunt my dreams. I learned that while the socks made of wool are wonderful I should not use the above mentioned Scottish Tweed for them, unless of course I really want to punish the future sock wearer. Why? Just one word – itch! I learned that the acrylic blend baby blanket will be lighter than cotton, will wash better and live longer. And the baby will not be disappointed by not getting an “all natural” product, since babies can not read labels. I learned to use the best yarn (not necessary the most expensive one) because my time is precious and irretrievable.
I got more books and wanted to know what made yarn, well yarn. Why was Zara, made of wool heavenly soft and Scottish Tweed felt like Brillo. I know, I keep carping about that yarn, but it is still in my stash 12 years later.
I learned to knit and the yarns that were silent before started singing to me. I went to the wool festivals and met knitters and spinners. I became intensely interested in sheep and the different wool different breads of sheep produce. I decided to learn to spin. I have bought a wheel and even took a couple of lessons. So far the yarn I spun makes a passable twine. But I have hopes. I wish I could stretch my days more!
And I have been able to pass the love of yarn to my kids. This makes me very happy and unafraid to buy yarn. I know, even if I will not be able to knit and crochet it all someone dear to me will.