Fiber content tagIf I could knit everything in cashmere, I would. It is so very soft and a pleasure to work with. But, it is expensive.

So, how do I choose more affordable fiber for my holiday boutiques? I typically buy yarn that is:

  • Soft. Shoppers want soft things, and they will stay away from anything itchy. I always test a yarn’s softness by putting it against my neck for a few minutes. If it feels scratchy, I don’t buy it.
  • Natural. Most shoppers prefer wools to acrylics. Blends can be okay, especially if there is some luxury fiber content in the mix. E.g., Debbie Bliss Cashmerino is a winner with its blend of merino, microfibre, and cashmere.
  • Good quality. I don’t want the yarn to show signs of wear quickly. I read reviews of the yarns online to assess quality, and I also will wash swatches a couple of times to see how well they launder.
  • Affordable. After all, the lower the cost of my goods, the more I can raise for charity! I seek out online discounts, sales, and even Groupon offers at local yarn stores to get the best price.

There are some exceptions. For baby items, I always choose yarn that is machine washable. That is the most important quality.

I also have received special requests to make an item in 100% acrylic because of wool allergies. When this happens, I look for a man-made yarn that is incredibly soft. One of my favorites is Cascade Yarns Cherub, which I used to make the It’s a Snap cowl and a baby blanket for a silent auction basket.

What are your favorite affordable, soft, quality yarns? I’d love to hear from you!