3 Best Yarns for Beginning Knitters

When I first started knitting, I would never think of putting a ball of yarn in my basket if it cost more than $5. Red Heart, I Love This Yarn (Hobby Lobby) and Loops and Thread’s Impeccable (Michaels) was all I used. Most of the time I didn’t even buy them unless there was a sale. I even bought old sweaters or blankets at the thrift store or goodwill just to rip them out and re-use the yarn. I know – that was a little extreme I’m not suggesting you do that.

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But I do suggest to all my new students that they start with these three yarns for two reasons:

1) They are not a big investment. Before you decide if you will love knitting (you will) stick to the $5/skein yarn instead of the $30/skein stuff.

2) It is so much easier to learn on plain yarn than fuzzy, ribbon, mohair, or any other novelty yarn. Please just don’t do it.

If you ask me to make you a large blanket I will still turn to Michaels for Impeccable yarn. Priced at $3.49 for 4.5 ounces, it has a nice color selection, it isn’t too rough for a baby blanket, and once in a while there is a sale that makes it ridiculously cheap.

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Michaels’s customer service has impressed me as well. My Sister-in-law once offered to shop for me while I was in Korea. I sent her the colors and she filled up her cart. The cashier commented that she must have a big project. When she explained that it was actually for me stationed overseas with my Soldier, the cashier offered to take 20% off as a Military Discount. I suppose that would’ve been a pretty elaborate story for 20% off if it hadn’t been true but the cashier had no proof of that. She didn’t need to make that offer. That’s the kind of service that keeps customers coming back. And the yarn is great too.

Hobby Lobby’s brand, “I love this yarn/cotton” is a very nice budget yarn as well. You will pay $3.66 for a 7oz skein. It will work very well for first projects. It has a nice feel and is easy to work with both on the needles and on the budget.

Red Heart Super Saver is a great “learning yarn” I wouldn’t choose it for that gorgeous sweater I saw on Pinterest. But I would use it to practice a new technique, cast-on, or pattern. Some say it can be scratchy. It can. For a baby blanket or other item that might be cuddled with or held up to a chubby cheek, I would pick the other two. But for most other items (mitts, dog sweater, hat, novelty items) a trip through the wash and Red Heart is almost as cozy as the others. Plus paying just $4.29 for a 7oz skein gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside too.

Remember – you will not want to show off your first projects. You really won’t. You’re just learning and making plenty of mistakes. Your stitches won’t be consistent and you shouldn’t be focused on making them consistent yet. Just knit. Just crochet. All of that perfection comes with time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pull back your crochet or tink (un-knit) your knitting to fix mistakes and learn to do it right. If you are going to take the time to learn this craft you should strive to do it right. But if you focus on perfection you will drive yourself mad. When starting out – just focus on learning and developing. Use the cheap yarn and enjoy the process. Make a few mistakes. Finish a piece and master a new technique and then laugh at the hideous neon-green yarn you picked. I did. Then throw it out (it cost all of $5) and start again with a nicer yarn the next time. Your taste in yarn will grow along with your confidence in your abilities. Until then – remember everyone has those first projects they aren’t proud of. EVERYONE. And if you are going to chuck it later. I would much rather it be Red Heart at $5/skein than Wollmeise at 44 Euros!!

My first blanket mid-way through the stitch-together process. Lovely huh?

 

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And what’s on my needles 5 years later.

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How to Save a Fortune on Bavaria’s 2 Best Wools.

I don’t think I realized how popular knitting was in Germany until I landed here and saw people knitting EVERYWHERE. To the dismay of a German friend of mine, her daughter even has knitting and crochet (stricken und häckeln) class in grade school. Unfortunately the handcraft didn’t come easy for her 9-year-old. But the school insists that grades be given for this class regardless of natural ability. Do the US schools even have Home Economics classes anymore? With Germany being the knitting mecca that it is and everybody learning how to do it as part of their grade-school curriculum, it is no surprise that Germany was where I finally broke into the world of high-quality yarn.

I am a big fan of German designer, Martina Behm and her designs feature Wollmeise yarns predominately. It now takes me just 85 minutes to drive to the Wollmeise Brick and Mortar location in Pfaffenhofen Germany.

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I spoiled myself bringing home my first hank of Wollmeise. No other light-weight yarn will ever compare to their high quality and vibrant colors. And it should be said that the only Wollmeise I’ve had the privilege of knitting has been their discards. Those hanks they feel are not high enough quality to be sold at their store or online but were instead picked-up at their bi-annual sale. They put them out each spring and fall at a local church down the street at a considerable discount. Their typical prices go from 100g of twin at 21,50 Euros to 300g of lace at 44 Euros. That’s $50 USD as of today.

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I got most of my Wollmeise yarn for half or two-thirds that price at their Spring/Fall sales. So I’m not even raving about the “good stuff!” I’m raving about their clearance yarn that they can’t sell for full price! Want to join in the action? Click Here for more information about their next sale days and make sure you are there early as some of their best colors sell-out fast.

Wollmeise Spring Sale - Knit Wits on location.

I discovered Schoppel Wolle after picking up a Crazy Zauberball at a craft market in my town. After a bit of Friday afternoon research, I discovered that their factory and outlet was located only 90 minutes away in Wallhausen Germany just south of Nürnberg. That Saturday I was creatively figuring out how to make the trip with my 9-year-old. I may or may-not have promised a trip to the Lego Store in return.

I found their clearance area which is full of balls which aren’t quite 100g and perfect for my thrifty nature.

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Take this Zauberball for example. 100g for 10 Euros on their shelf. I found the same color way in their clearance area for 189g for 5,67 Euros. The only difference? The clearance balls didn’t quite make 100g. Maybe there is one ball of 90 grams instead of 100g. In this case I think there are two 90g balls. Perfect for me since my Christine and Carrie shawls typically take just short of 100g.

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I don’t expect anyone stateside to make a special trip to Bavaria just to go yarn shopping but if you were ever coming for Octoberfest or the Nürnberg Christmas Markets anyway – it would be a great way to stock up on fabulous yarns at a fraction of the cost.

For knitters who are already anywhere close-by you MUST VISIT these sales. Just don’t bring your husband!

Unlike Wollmeise, who specializes in amazing colors in mostly light weights, Schoppel has a large variety of weights and colors and most are available at a discount in their sale area.

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I love their Crazy Zauberball the most. Not only does the color veriagate through the ball but it is a two ply yarn and BOTH plys veriagate independently which makes the most beautiful effect.

I chose this Crazy Zauberball for my first Entrelac pattern: Christine. I picked up dozens of Zauberballs on my first trip to the outlet but discovered that the Crazy Zauberball truly is the best!

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The regular Zauberball below has a great color change but both plys of the yarn change color together.

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What makes the Crazy Zauberball so special is that both plys change color independently. It creates a multitude of shades that was the perfect yarn for these entrelac patterns.

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Unfortunately there are limited ways for me to get my hands on these two brands that have become my staples. I can’t get them at Michaels or Hobby Lobby and Local Yarn Stores stateside won’t have them either. I’m glad they aren’t heavy as I plan to stock up before going home. I don’t think I could live in a world without Wollmeise or Schoppel-Wolle and frankly I don’t think you should have to either!!