I am, as is implied by the name of my main blog Knitting Zen, an avid knitter. I started knitting many moons ago, on a whim. I am the type of person that, when I get bored, I learn new things, much to the chagrin of my family. Knitting was one of those things. And what does knitting have to do with costuming, you may ask? Well, for the serious costume addict, it can help add those finishing touches. You can knit a lovely shawl to be the perfect accessory for that Regency or Antebellum gown. It can help make a pair of fingerless mitts or long woolen socks for that Civil War Camp reenactment. It can help make your costume as elaborate as you want, or add that simple period look that you’re striving for. So, today’s tip will help you try to find the fibers you need or want, and still leave some in your wallet.
Over the years I have learned that you don’t have buy Red Heart Classic acrylic yarn for every project. In fact, I have learned to run from it. Granted, it is a sturdy, work horse of a yarn, it’s great for those afghan project, easy on the wallet, and can be run through a washer and dryer without fear of felting. But, the texture and finished look leaves much to be desired. I have developed a refined taste in yarn over the years, and sometimes only a merino/silk blend will do for that certain project. Even though I have learned to love the more luxurious yarns, I haven’t exactly hit the lottery for millions to afford said yarns. You don’t have to shop in the major chain craft stores, or even in the local specialty yarn shops to find a good bargain. Although, if you check the clearance bins in the back of those specialty yarns stores, you may find gold, so don’t over-look that option. I have found two online sources for some really great yarns, at some really great prices. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
First up is KnitPicks.com. This is my favorite on line source for yarn. They carry everything from 100% Peruvian wool to silk, linen and alpaca blends. All their yarns are made specifically for their company by mill owners around the world. They offer a wide range of colors, as wells as everything from lace weight to super bulky. They are my first choice for wool for aran sweaters, and fingering weight for socks. Not only do they offer a wide range of yarns, they also offer books, patterns, and their own line of knitting tools. They also offer an on line knitting community, so you can ask questions, exchange ideas and see what others are making.
Another online site is Elann.com. I have not used this site personally. But they do have a wide variety, with some really good prices. Elann differs from KnitPicks in the fact they they carry yarns from different vendors. Anyone that I know that has ordered from them has been very satisfied. I do check them out regularly to see if they have any deals that I might be interested in. They also offer a variety of free patterns.
My next tip is a site that offers more than just yarn. This is a web site created by knitters, for knitters. It is Ravelry.com. This is an online fiber community. Ravelry was developed as an online gathering place for knitters, crocheters, spinners and indie dyers. This site hosts an online market place, and is also a place for you to show-case your projects. There are tons of groups and forums. You can look up a particular pattern to see who has made it, how it’s turned out, where you might be able to find it and if it’s a project that you really want to make. There have been several patterns that I was enamored with, until I read that just about everyone had issues with how the patterns was written. You can research a yarn to see if it is suited for the project you want to use it for, or just to see how a certain colorway looks once it has been knitted up.
Keep checking back for more knitting related tips! ~ Miss T