Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lion Brand and Cotton-Ease

I know this will probably make anyone reading this gasp, but I actually rather like Lion Brand's yarn. Blah, blah, blah, it's cheap and it's not an animal fiber. Blah, blah, blah, it's gaudy/scratchy/whatever.

No offense to the self-proclaimed yarn snobs (or anyone else, for that matter) - you guys taught me that certain things are worth spending more for - like superwash wool and alpaca, and good customer service with knowledgeable, helpful people at a real yarn store... and I am very appreciative... especially since some of those things I would probably not have thought of myself. Yall have me DYING to get my hands on some silk, angora, and cashmere! And after being convinced to try wool, I would now always rather knit with wool than acrylics, myself... I just love the feel of wool in my hands! BUT I don't think it makes me less of a knitter to use other, cheaper things whenever I feel like it. I don't even need an excuse for doing it, and no one should feel like they have to add in how they used acrylic because " I know so and so won't handwash it" or something along those lines. I used an acrylic yarn to knit a scarf for my mom, and I worked very hard on it, and she loved it. She didn't care that it wasn't made of some super special fiber. And it's not like I don't care enough about my mom to use the best for her. She deserves cashmere! And I don't really think it's fair to make knitters feel that their works aren't as special because they used *insert name of random cheapo yarn here.* Not that I have noticed this too often, but I have seen the occasional snub... even if it's unintentional. They probably worked just as hard on that FO, and ya know, yes you can find natural fibers for cheap, but knitting is an expensive hobby, and not everyone has it in his/her budget to buy even the cheaper wools. And when so and so posts about something she/he made, and receives a comment about oh, that's so cute... *insert something derogatory about acrylic here,* I'm sure it lowers the satisfaction of having made something, and devalues it. And most of the people using those cheap yarns either
1) are new knitters who don't know any better, and making them feel snobbed is not going to encourage them to keep knitting
2) don't have easy access to better yarns, or don't have the budget for them (do we really want to make people feel bad about that?)

Anyway, back to the point, and as I said before, I had no one in mind writing this, and if you only knit with natural fibers, that's fine and understandable, but just please don't alienate others or act like you are better than they, because they use acrylics. You can even talk about why you love your natural fibers so much, just don't be all like "OMG, I can't believe you use acrylic! UGH!!" Even if you're thinking it, you don't have to say it. There are better ways to introduce someone to the wonders of wool!

As far as LB yarn goes, I like that it's cheap, and I like that most of it is machine washable. I like that I can get Lion Brand yarn even in a tiny town that has only a Walmart, no craft store for about 50 miles, and no yarn store for well over 100. Although even our selection of Lion Brand and Red Heart is extremely limited, and I wish so much that I had easy access to other yarns. Now, I will agree that it's unlikely for any woman in the world to look good in a sweater knit entirely of Fun Fur. But it's cute when used for a scarf, or as trim for a hat. And I'll bet your 7 year old daughter would feel like a rock star in a little Fun Fur jacket. Also, Homespun DOES fray, so no fringes with it (or at least tie knots at the bottom, and expect them to eventually get fluffy), but it's very nice and soft, although, yes, it splits because it's so loosely spun. And I knit a cardigan with it last year, have even washed it a couple of times, and it still feels soft, looks nice, and keeps me warm. Anyway, the point of this is that I do like Lion Brand's yarns. Although I am in agreement that their Cashmere blend yarn is too costly for the cashmere content.

But this entry isn't really meant to praise the company, or even to make an argument for the use of the "crappy yarns." The point of this entry is actually just to whine.

I recently got my hands on some discontinued Cotton-Ease, and Lion Brand, WHY did you stop making this stuff?! I don't love knitting with cotton, but I've found it works rather well for knit garments in Louisiana, and this Cotton-Ease is nice and soft, and I love it! I mean, I love BSCF and Rowan All Season's Cotton, but Cotton-Ease was more affordable than the Rowan, and more easily attainable than both, especially for me... and it is really a great yarn! I'd say Lion Brand's best yarn. And Lion Cotton or Kitchen Cotton or whatever it's called is no substitute, because knitting with cotton blends is about a thousand times better. I guess I'm being a cotton snob now, haha... I'm a hypocrite. But 100% cotton hurts my hands. And, being serious now, why on earth did they discontinue it? It was before I started knitting, so I never saw it in stores, don't know how well it sold, but due to the fact that it's been discontinued for what, well over a year now, and still has so many fans, it HAD to have done well! Despite having been produced in a rather limited color palette. C'mon Lion Brand, give us back our Cotton-Ease! And in more colors!! You won't regret it!

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