I confess. I learn by mistake. I am terrible at investigating ahead. I am more of a “try it” learner. This approach is okay when the cost of “trying it” are small. I don’t recommend this approach for investing.
For my first knitting project taught at a fine yarn shop, Hanks, I was directed to an appropriate and good quality yarn for my first scarf. It was an alpaca yarn. Very soft to knit with. But even so I have to admit, a little weak on body so that the scarf wants to curl instead of laying flat.
My third knitting project was still the same scarf pattern but now I tried a different yarn, a silk yarn from Hobby Lobby. The feel is terrific but this one curls even worse than the alpaca yarn. The silk yarn did have a tendency to split easier than the alpaca but was still fine for this beginner knitter.
My fourth project was again the same scarf pattern but a third yarn, a cotton and linen, from a fine yarn shop, Silk Road Textiles. This yarn probably had the best body. It too splits easier than the alpaca but is still a great yarn. This yarn was multiple shades of grey which made a beautiful pattern as I knitted. I fell in love with variegated yarn!!
Then I discovered the beautiful Dashing Mouse yarns (pictured) at Silk Road Textiles. It is somewhat variegated and a thin yarn. I love the way it feels while knitting and the weight of the finished scarf. But since it is a thinner yarn, that means more stitches to make the same width scarf. So projects take a lot longer with the lace or fingering yarn.
Finally this summer I used Fixation which is a spandex cotton yarn. Thinner than worsted but thicker than fingering, this yarn is colorful for making socks. I’m actually on my first pair of socks so I can’t yet comment on the feel of the socks. I think in the future I’ll stick to the thinner sock yarns. They make soft socks even though they take longer because of all the stitches needed.
I am becoming a “yarn snob”. “Good” yarn does make knitting more enjoyable. We use cheap acrylic yarn for our church prayer shawls. This is in part because people may find animal fibers like wool or alpaca itchy. Also nonacrylic yarns have to be hand washed. Most people would machine wash the shawl and thus ruin it after the first washing.
So I find myself buying yarn at the expensive local yarn shop. In have already broken my rule of not buying yarn unless I have a specific project in mind so that I can take advantage of their few “sales”, i.e. 10% off. I haven’t bought yarn online yet but may have to consider that if I can find less expensive yarn. My local yarn shop had beautiful yarn for a sweater I’ll be making come January, but I didn’t want to spend $125!!! Fortunately the sales lady recommended another yarn at half the price. But I would like to find that kind of yarn, tweed, at a lower price.
I still have lots to learn about yarn and the best places to buy it. That’s part of the fun and adventure.