Cost of a sweater, good yarn???

So, I am about to tackle my first sweater. I've only done scarfs, hats and socks (ok, I did a vest but didn't like it so I don't count it). Anyway, up till now, I got all of my yarn at Michael's or AC Moore. I've never really spent a lot on yarn, most of it is under $8 and I often have 20% to 50% coupons.
Well, now I have a sweater pattern and the yarn it is recommending will cost me about $60 to make the sweater. OMG. I was told by a friend that this is actually cheap for a sweater.
What does everyone think?
Do people have 'favorite' yarns/brands?
Are there any good quality ones that don't cost as much as my mortgage?
I am also not confident enough with my knitting to spend so much on something that I might never wear?
I am probably going to go to my LYS and see what they have that might be on sale and see what they recommend.

I'm just looking for opinions on what most guys spend and which yarns to get and which ones to avoid


scottly's picture

For a fist sweater I agree 60. is a bit much. However, when you think about other pass times and hobbies it doesn't sound that bad for all the hours of enjoyment you'll get making it and then wearing it. A day skiing is probably at least that much or a round of golf and you can't wear it afterward.

QueerJoe's picture

If I really like the yarn that's called for in a pattern, or I just want to buy enough of a particular yarn that I really love, I don't really care how much it is because knitting is my one obsession and it's a helluva lot cheaper than therapy, alcoholism or restoring old cars.

That being said, I have no problem looking for less expensive alternatives when I'm making a sweater.

I have made sweaters that cost over $500 in yarn and I have made sweaters that cost under $10 in yarn.

albert's picture

For a first sweater, a learning experience, I would use the cheapest yarn available. Once you are comfortable with what you are doing you can use better yarns.

paulhenry's picture

Afraid I would go for the best yarn, reasonably possible, it's usually false economy to use cheap stuff. Think on how long it is going to take you to knit, and all the effort it takes, you want to have something you want to be seen in as well!
Of course you need to be sensible about costs of course, but you will probably find that slightly more expensive yarns are also nicer to knit with

rmbm612's picture

I agree strongly with QueerJoe's and Scottly's feelings about how the cost of yarn compares to other indulgences in your life. I am embarrassed to say that I have hundreds of dollars invested in books, gadgets, needles, dvd's, ball winders, swifts, let alone the thousands of yards of yarn waiting to be knitted into sweaters, scarves, socks, hats, shawls, and afghans.
I strongly advise you to find local yarn stores in your area and use the professionals in those stores to help you find yarns appropriate for the sweater you'd like to make. These stores and their owners and employees can give you the help, encouragement, and advice to make this project a successful knitting experience. They have a vested interest in you being a satisfied knitter who will return again and again. And most LYS offer clinics and/or classes that keep you on track should you experience difficulties or obstacles. I have never been denied help when the yarn I purchased for a project was purchased in the yarn shop.
Like Joe, if I find something that I just can't live without, I buy it with little regard for its cost. However, yarn stores have a wide variety of customers with varying degrees of discretionary incomes. Its important for them to serve a wide cross section of customers.
I personally like Rowan Yarns, Cascade 220 by Reynolds, Jamieson Shetland Yarns, Dale, Debbie Bliss, Schaeffer, Mountain Colors, and Henry's yarns. If I can get by for under $150 per project I feel fortunate. I would also suggest yarns from Knitpicks if you want to keep project costs down.
Another suggestion you might consider is to knit a small sample of the sweater you'd like for yourself and if the design, pattern stitch and color is something you enjoy knitting. I have done this and dressed many stuffed bears or used them as gifts, or kept them as references for future projects. I also am no fan of sewing pieces together so I prefer knitting in the round and knitting sleeves from the shoulder to the cuffs. Is this sweater a jumper or cardigan. Shaping patterned sweaters that are cardigans are a bit more of a challenge than drop shouldered jumpers.
Use the LYS resources. They are in business to provide a service to their customers and want you to succeed. Best of luck and keep on knitting.

TheKnittingMill's picture

I'm with Joe. If I really like a yarn enough I don't pay too much attention to the cost--within reason. Where that line lies is different for all of us I'm sure, but my cap is about $200-$250. Keep in mind that I don't do that very often as I don't make a sweater for myself or for Tracy that frequently. I tend to save the expensive yarns for smaller projects so I don't have to spend that much and still get to experience the higher priced yarns. Just be careful that sometimes quality and cost aren't congruent! (Found that out the hard way) Honestly, unless I'm working on commission, I usually use lower cost yarns when I gift to most of my friends and family. People who aren't into needlework may not heed washing advice (even though it's written down) and most of them couldn't tell the difference between an acrylic blend yarn and wool and cashmere blend and enjoy the gift regardless. For kids and pets I always use an acrylic blend or an all acrylic yarn for the ease of washability and longevity. In fact, unless it's a knitting buddy or someone very close to me I tend to go with acrylic blends; especially for big projects such as sweaters. For everything else I use a wool or wool/cashmere/alpaca/silk blend. As mentioned in another post, I get a lot of my wool from knit picks because of the low price and high quality. Hope this helps!

† Peace, love and happiness †

Tallguy's picture

$60 for a sweater is not that much. Most good quality yarn will cost much more than that.

I have always said that you should use the very best quality yarn you can afford. Not the most expensive, for cost does not always reflect quality. But quality can be found in the strangest of places -- and for little cost -- you deserve it to yourself to find it.

Starting out with the cheapest acr**** is a waste of time. There is no comparison with quality yarns. You don't learn anything. You would have to start all over again with real yarn. You can't ruin quality yarn just by knitting it! As many guys here have already said, they've had to knit, rip and re-knit the same item several times... and the yarn has held up. Cheap-o yarns can't do that.

Find the best yarn and your work will reflect that.

ksmarguy's picture

I agree for everyone...60 is not bad. My first sweater cost about 88 (alpaca) and I just got some a couple months ago to make another that cost about 126. Still fairly low, but I just don't quite have the funds yet to buy enough cashmere for a sweater. But I also got clearance yarn on that is going to make a sweater that will only cost around 45. So look more at the fiber and what you want the end result to be...if it feels nice to you and you will love wearing it, then it's the right yarn for you.

knit_knot_eat's picture

but how do I know if it 'feels right' if I am ordering it online?

ksmarguy's picture

I would say go to a local LYS and see what they have that is maybe the same brand...such as cascade...feel it, see if you like it, then you can order online if you find it at a good price. Also, check with your lys. Mine has a discount program which does make it worth my while to shop there. when I spend so much over time it accumulates and I then get 25% off of my next major yarn purchase so I do support them alot.