Recently, I have seen and been drawn into discussions about fiber and yarn, and have found myself in the midst of heated, heated discussions about fiber, or yarn snobbery. Hmmm. I have my own thoughts on that. After I'm done, you may think that I'm a snob, or you may come away with the thought that I'm open to whatever comes my way in the form of yarn. But that is completely up to you. Bear in mind that I'm expressing my own personal opinions, and if you disagree...well this is MY blog, so please keep it civil if you care to share your opinions. I don't enjoy nastiness and a rude comment will find itself immediately flung into oblivion without a second thought.
Okay. On fiber: in my opinion, there is no finer fiber to spin than huacaya alpaca fiber (but not the suri fiber). It has the crimp, the fine micron count that I want, the luxurious handle that I want, and it slides through my fingers so easily. When I spin alpaca fiber, I get completely spoiled and don't want any other fiber. That being said, I can honestly say that I have not spun every fiber in the world and am completely ready to experiment. I love trying new fibers and blends. The thing I love about animal fiber is that it holds it's shape, doesn't pill as readily as synthetic fibers, and can be felted! I LOVE FELTING!
In spite of all that, I do my fair share of knitting with synthetic fiber, too. I'm have no free access to animal fiber at the moment. What is available for an affordable price to the general public here, in Lima, is acrylic. I can't even find expensive animal fiber. So I use acrylic and am happy with it. And it comes in so many vibrant colors, many different textures, and ranges here from lace weight to worsted weight (no chunky stuff available yet). Moth-proof, and hypo-allergenic, anyone can handle it or wear it without breaking out or getting the itchies. The drawback is that acrylic pills badly, right from the start. And it doesn't hold it's shape. I HATE saggy elbows and baggy necklines and I get both when I use acrylic.
I am somewhat picky when I buy yarn, even acrylic yarn. My all-time favorite acrylic yarn is Lion Brand Homespun, with their Wool-ease running a close second. I'm sad that Lion Brand yarns are not available here. But when there is animal fiber available, I'll go for that every time. Lopi, I love you. Lamb's Pride, I'm enthralled with you. Odyssey Rock Ranch yarn (huacaya alpaca)...I'll take that over everything else. Now, let me say that at this moment I have an acrylic sweater on the needles that is a delicious olive green and I can't wait to see how it turns out!
One other thing that just really grabs me by the eyeballs and won't let me go is when someone walks by my booth at a craft show, picks up a skein of the yarn that I have lovingly spun, flings it back down, snorts derisively, and says LOUDLY, "I could buy a whole POUND of yarn at Walmart for what this costs". Really. I wonder why that is necessary. If the price seems unreasonable, why not simply put the yarn back and go to somewhere else? Or why not ask, without being rude, why this yarn costs more than that yarn? I'd be glad to tell them why I've priced it as I have. I don't try to talk anyone into buying anything, but I present what I have made and I'm THRILLED if they buy it. Oddly, people who pick up a sweater that I've made don't snort and tell me that they could buy a bunch of sweaters at Walmart for the same price. They usually just buy the sweater they like, acrylic or not, and I do make and sell sweaters from acrylic as well as sweaters from animal fibers, and I'm still thrilled when they buy.
One other thing: I do shop at Walmart when I'm in Cheyenne, and at Hobby Lobby, and I love them. I shop at the LYS when I'm there, too, and I love it.
So, am I a snob? I don't know. If I am, I am. I just do what I do. What I think it the MOST important is that people are freely able to express their creativity in their chosen medium. I have simply stated my preferences. What's another word for SNOB? Maybe connoisseur?