Hello, my name is Seraphina Knits and I am a yarn snob.
I came to this realization while on holiday in Lebanon. Excitedly, I went shopping with Auntie, Jawzi, and dear daughter (DD) in search for the perfect yarn for Joji Locatelli’s Grandpa Cardigan. Understanding I live in Qatar where the term “winter” means 70-80 F versus 115+, I did not need a 100% wool as called for in the pattern, but I hoped for a nice wool/cotton blend. Something that would offer reasonable warmth without cooking me and something easily cared for as being a new mom hand-washing wool isn’t really feasible. Still expecting and hoping to discover a rich history of fiber in Mount Lebanon, my expectations were shattered. In our outing up until this point I had yet to see a local yarn shop (LYS) and I was beginning to get nervous and silently accept I was not going to find my desired souvenirs for this trip (Joji so kindly pointed out that purchasing yarn while on holiday does not count towards your stash, but simply as souvenirs).
We walked into a shop that was billed as an underwear store, but when you walked it they had a bit of everything. They had clothes, kids clothes, men’s underwear, women’s underwear, some household linens, and in a corner yarn. At first it was like finding the holy grail. My heart skipped a beat as I walked over confidently knowing I would find my heart’s desire. And then I saw the labels and my heart sank. Acrylic. 100% Acrylic. Beautiful vibrant colors, but 100% Acrylic. I kept digging. This couldn’t be the only thing stocked. This is LEBANON, specifically Mount Lebanon where they get meters of snow in the winter! Surely they had wool blends.
Ha! Baby Alpaca…in beige.
I kept digging and hoping the Baby Alpaca was not a mistake; yet, it was the only one of its kind. Jawzi and Auntie point out large balls on the top shelf that look to be a good deal based on price and volume and they had some pretty colors. I pull down the first ball gingerly and hold my breath as I read the label: acrylic/wool blend and the second was an acrylic/wool/viscose blend.
Jawzi can read my face and knows I am not happy about this nor seem to be enjoying myself. I get Auntie to pick out a color she likes and I reluctantly pick out one for me. I also scoop up the Baby Alpaca as I can surely find something to make for DD with it. I put a smile on my face and paid. Jawzi asked several time what was wrong and at the time I couldn’t put it into words. I just knew my heart was sad.
It wasn’t until we got home and I casted on Leaflet using my stashed Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Limerick that I came to realize and accept I am a yarn snob. Truly there is nothing wrong with the yarn I purchased in Lebanon. No, it is not a pricey cashmere blend or kettle dyed in Uruguay, but it does technically meet the criteria in which I sought to buy: wool blend, easy care, and a beautiful color. I was able to get 1500 yards in two color ways plus 10 balls of baby alpaca for DD for a fraction of the cost to have snob yarn sent here.
Do not get me wrong, I LOVE my stash, but most of my stash remains unknit for various justifications: I haven’t found the perfect pattern for it, I have too many projects unfinished, I don’t want to knit something with the yarn I love and hate the finished product, etc. My grandmother always crocheted with Acrylic and her afghans have withstood the test of time compared to some items made from snob yarn that have pilled to a puffy mess, withered away with time, or have been accidentally destroyed through a washing mishap. So, if acrylic is acceptable for baby items, my grandmother, and hundreds of other knitters, why is it not good enough for me?
In my day-to-day life I do not require name brand labels, fancy cars, or jewelry. I am content with the simple and reasonably priced. I am known to always shop for sales and deliberate before paying full price for an item…especially if it is something for myself or something I feel I do not “need”. Why do I feel these tendencies do not apply to my yarn?