High-End vs. Budget Yarns: Which Should You Use For Your Next Project?

High-End vs. Budget Yarns: Which Should You Use For Your Next Project?

If you are part of the knitting or crocheting community, you must know the experience of walking down isle after isle of yarn with varying colors, textures, sizes, and weights feeling overwhelmed. It can feel like walking down a rabbit hole, especially if you have no project in mind and are just drawing inspiration from the yarn itself. You may find yourself asking which yarn is best and whether you should go for budget yarns over the quality of higher-end yarns. The answer to this question is not as straightforward as many would like: it depends. The type of yarn you choose will change the drape, shape, and wearability of clothes such as sweaters, shawls, socks, and scarves. Other projects, like blankets, will require a yarn that will not warp in the wash and will hold together well when moved around. This blog post will explain the differences between high-end “luxury” yarns and budget yarns.

What Is a Higher-End Yarn and What Projects Is It Best Used For?  

A higher-end yarn typically has these characteristics: 

  • Luxurious feel
  • Unique, vibrant colors
  • Ethically sourced
  • Durable and long-lasting

These yarns are typically more expensive due to the source of the fabric used. They should be considered “ethically sourced,” animal friendly, and are made of natural materials, such as animal wool or plants. Some examples include merino wool, alpaca, cashmere, bamboo, linen, and silk. While it depends on the source of your yarn, many of these fabrics can be ethically sourced and make luxurious wearables such as sweaters, scarves, dresses, and cardigans. You may consider using the wool yarns for warmer weather. If you are making yourself wearables that will not be used frequently, such as those for a wedding or gala, you can use one of these higher-end yarns as they are delicate and are not made for normal wear and tear, requiring more care during washing than budget yarns. Brands such as Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, and Rowan are known for their luxury yarns.

High-End vs. Budget Yarns: Which Should You Use For Your Next Project?


What Makes a Yarn “Budget” and When Should I Choose These Over Higher-End Yarns?  

Budget yarns are typically synthetic or blends and are mass-produced. You can easily access these at your local craft store without having to put a hole in your wallet. Typically, if a yarn is highly affordable, it is likely made of acrylic, nylon, or polyester. These yarns are not as delicate as luxury yarns which means you can use them for items that will be utilized often, such as afghans, beanies, rugs, and throw pillows. Some plant-based yarns are also considered “budget” depending on the type and brand. For example, cotton is available in many colors and can be highly affordable if you choose wisely. Likewise, rayon is a plant-based material that you can also find at low prices. These yarns do not require the maintenance of luxury yarns and can be machine washed with other clothes. They are more durable and will hold together well on garments that are often moved around and stretched. Some budget yarns can also feel like luxury yarns without the hefty price. Big name budget brands include Red Heart, Lion Brand, and Caron. 

Factors to Consider When Buying Yarn

Before you purchase yarn for your next project, consider these questions: 

  • Will this project be used often? If so, will it require frequent washing?
  • Are you making it to be worn during warmer weather?
  • Will you be using the finished product for a fancy event or for casual wear?
  • Are you making it for someone else? What are their preferences?
  • Is it for a baby? What fabric do the parents prefer? 

KnitPal sells an array of blended, plant-based, and synthetic yarns perfect for any garment. You can find great choices of luxury blends on our KnitPal website for your next project. There is no yarn that is perfect for every type of wearable, blanket, or rug. Consider the type of project you are completing before purchasing your yarn and you’re sure to choose the right one.

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