Friday, January 06, 2006

I hate Spotlight

I know I am a fully-fledged yarn-snob Knitaholic now because I went to visit my local Spotlight (translation for non-Australians: big chain craft store) to buy some 3.75 mm dpns & left feeling rather nauseous at the sight and prices of their latest selection of novelty acrylic yarn.

(Of course if I was a TRUE Knitaholic I would have spent $18.00 plus postage on Addi bamboo dpns but I decided a could still cope with the $4 Birch versions as they are aluminum. But no more cheap plastic dpns - I am seriously thinking of tossing those I currently have as they are a bitch to knit with. But I digress...)

Spotlight is selling some acrylic novelty crap for $8/ball. EIGHT FUCKING DOLLARS!!! WHO BUYS THIS CRAP??? Especially when you can buy 100 percent pure Australian wool for around $3/ball. The mind boggles.

Carol S of Go Knit In Your Hat has written a wonderful article entitled 'The myth of cheap big-box craft store yarn', comparing the prices of various brands and qualities of yarn available in America. Read it, even if you are not in America. Because it is certainly equally true for Australia and I suspect most of the world. Basically she proves there is usually a cheaper and better quality substitute for many crap yarns,

Now I have been known to lash out up to $14.50/ball on Noro yarn (before I discovered my Canadian supplier) so I know how to spend money on yarn. But at least Noro is beautiful unique multi-coloured quality wool that is a joy to knit with. I don't want to think how much money I have wasted on crappy novelty yarns that ended up producing a scarf worthy of the Reject Shop or that was eventually donated to the local Op-shop or sold at a loss on eBay.

I never have the same urge to toss or otherwise rid myself of the pure wool and mohair in my stash because I know I am going to want to use it eventually. It's just a matter of finding the time.

Fortunately today I was not in the slightest way tempted by the $8/ball novelty yarn because someone in the store had thoughtfully displayed a jumper knitted in that yarn which was enough to scare off any sane person. And contemplate a contribution to You Knit What.


Leeanne said...

Oh I soo understand what you mean. Why pay $8 for it when you can get it at a $2 shop for less then $2. I am going to spotlight tomorrow to buy Aran yarn fingers crossed it can get it cheap. Some times kmart has some decent yarn atleast they have patons.

Knitti-me said...

I'll have to check out that article.

We're planning on Australia in 2006 to visit my in-laws - we'll be visiting my brother-in-law in Perth and then over to the East coast to visit another brother and the parent's-in-law in Brisbane area.

I'm starting to gather info on Australian wool sources so any tips would be appreciated.

Marg B said...

Hi Knitti-me, I'm in Melbourne which is thousands of kilometres from both Perth and Brisbane so I can't tell you about any wonderful local yarn stores in those cities. I'm sure there must be some. But as a general guide - if you want basic good quality 100 percent Australian wool, I think Cleckheaton Country is the best value. It comes in 8 and 12 ply (double-knit/sportsweight and bulky I think you call it. We don't have anything really equivalent to worsted weight here). Hopefully the ubiquitous Spotlight will still be stocking it by the time you arrive. The full price last winter was AUD$3.20/50 grams but there were often sales where it was 10-20 percent cheaper. Cleckheaton Merino wool is almost twice the price but some people think this is worth it as it is a lot softer. I know Patons has a good reputation but at the Australian price (around $6.50/ 50 grams) I'd rather spend a little extra and buy Jo Sharp from my local yarn store.

Another good reasonably-priced brand is 'Naturally' from New Zealand which a lot of the smaller yarn stores stock.

Australia is of course the home of Jo Sharp and I think there is a mill in Perth which produces a lot of the wool. Sometimes if they have a mis-dyed batch it will come up on Australian eBay for about AUD $35 per 500 grams which is less than half the retail price.

I'm a bit of an eBay girl in terms of buying the better quality yarns - I've bought some lovely homespun off eBay. And I can definitely recommend 'The Knittery' for beautiful hand-dyed mohair and merino yarn. You can buy that from wherever you are now.

Hope this helps!

Maneerat Boonsomsu said...

I am in Melbourne and totally agree with you. The yarns from spotlight are so overprice. Is there any suggestion of where I can get cheap and quality yarns? I normally shop online but you really don't see what you getting until you get it.