2.15.2012

Scouting Out Wholesale Yarn Suppliers & The Great Wool Debate.


Lately, as part of my , I've been entertaining the idea of buying yarn wholesale.  I'm planning to explore creating a line of knit winter wear & evolving my current line of handbags & purses such that I could make them to order in custom colors.  In order to do this, I'd need a reliable supplier &/or my own stock of yarn, and to cut costs it might make sense to just break down an buy wholesale.

I'm in the very, very early stages of this.  I've contacted just a few companies via email, and consulted some trusted atrsy allies who have gone through this process before.  But I'd like to keep you informed of my progress and also request your participation in the process of both yarn scouting & designing since my main goal is to buy supply somewhere in between "what the people want" and what is of good quality & sustainable for me.

I've asked you what colors you prefer in scarves & coats and I really, really appreciate all of the responses I got.  I value your opinions and am happy to have such a chime-in type of audience!  I also asked you about the weight of yarn you prefer.  But this week, I'm focusing on fiber-content.


At one of the holiday shows I sold at this winter, a lady picked up one of my scarves and said, "I have very specific things I look for in scarves: I am a daily MARC train commuter and I need something that I can throw in the washer and something that travels well- that's why I don't go for wool scarves." And some people just plain hate the way wool can feel, especially around their neck.

Here's my 2 cents: I'm a yarn snob.  I value quality over convenience.  100% natural fibers are all that I usually pick up.  And wool isn't always itchy.  Picture a super classy blend of alpaca, cashmere, & silk.  Sound nice?  Sure.  But do you know what that feels like???  Or how expensive a 50G ball is (can run you upwards of $14 commercially).  Also, yarns like this can only be hand washed and air dried.  Sigh.

I thought I found the perfect solution: 100% Superwash merino wool.  It's still wool.  And it's SO nice, and SO soft.  And you can throw it in the washer & dryer.  So I went to talk to my local yarn store expert about it since I've never really knit with it before.  She said the bulky weight knits up stiffly, and all weights tend to loose shape in the washer- so hand washing is not necessary, but recommended.  Sigh again.  Not the perfect solution.  I might try it out for myself though, despite, just to see.

So, I ask you: How do you feel, in general about the fiber content of your knitwear? Do you avoid anything that says, "hand wash only"?  Do you hate or love any particular fibers?

Your two cents will be very helpful, and might just make it into another highly nerdy pie chart;)


12 comments:

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

I love the quality yarns, but I confess to seldom buying them because of just the reasons you cite -- expense and ease of care. Of course, I am only a middling knitter, so I never know how things will turn out, another reason to worry about cost. I find that some acrylics are pretty nice now, much better than in the past and the bamboo blends are also nice.

Duni said...

Now that I've started knitting for recreational purposes I've also been looking for nice wool. I'm not too fond of wool/polyester mixes. Alpace is lovely - but the price tag isn't. I find the superwash pure wool quite acceptable for softness. It's recommended not to use fabric softeners when machine washing it. I'll let you know how mine comes out of the wash!

Jenny Chang said...

I'm going to be honest, I have ruined several sweaters by not paying attention to the care instructions. But I'm getting better at it as I get older and now I'm not afraid to buy "delicate" clothing or accessories.

Rose said...

I don't run away from "hand wash only" items, especially things like outerwear that you can wash less frequently than some articles of clothing. Feel is more important to me. I'm in the "no itchy wool around my neck" category.

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

I would go for comfort over care. I want something soft and warm. I would think a scarf would only need washed a few times per season, so I wouldn't mind taking the time to care for something that fits my comfort needs :)

PS...I order "wholesale", but from a 3rd party wholesaler who sells for multiple scrapbook companies. This keeps me from having to spend $1000 everytime I order from one company. I wonder if they have yarn wholesalers like this so you don't have to order directly from the yarn company? Might give you more options?

Miss Val's Creations said...

This sounds like an exciting, new venture for you! Hand washables do not scare me. I end up putting them in a lingerie bag and wash it with the rest of laundry which is always with cold water. Then I lay the delicate item out to dry!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. :)

Lin said...

How often do you wash your scarves? I dunno, I hate the poly yarns that you find in too many craft stores. I can't bear to work with it or wear it. I like those expensive organic yarns--the ones with character and texture.

And it depends on what I am wearing the scarf for or with--if it is to keep warm, I don't want it itchy. But if it is for a turtleneck as an accent, then who cares if it is itchy--I've got a turtleneck on.

Sedruola Maruska said...

I am a big "how does it feel" person. I love bamboo, alpaca, silk blends etc. I do not like super expensive since most people don't really know how to care for them after they are sold. I do like easy care, but when I can, I opt to get the more "luxury" yarns for myself or someone close that I can tell how to properly care for the garment. Looking forward to hearing your progress.

Judy Nolan said...

I have a hand wash cycle on my washer, and it really works. I air dry most of these so-called hand washables, and it doesn't bother me in the least if I actually have to hand wash it. As far as fibers go, I love wool, but cannot wear it in any percentage since I am allergic to it. An alternative for me is a soft bamboo or bamboo blend. And yes, I'll pay for it...I know what good yarns cost!

Splendid Little Stars said...

I'm not an expert on yarn types.
I don't mind hand washing and do in fact wash my scarves. It's not an every day occurrence, ya know?!
I can't abide itchy wool. I've always considered myself allergic. It's possible the softer wools like merino wouldn't bother me.
I used to have a store and ordered items wholesale. Some suppliers had no minimum order (rare); some had a minimum as low as $100. Some required one's first order to be larger than subsequent orders.

Additionsstyle said...

I don't know a lot about yarn or how to care for it. I prefer 100% natural fibers, but I don't like wool or wool blends. How a scarf feels is what's important to me. I prefer thinner scarves that are soft and easy to care for. I hope that helps.
Valerie
Everyday Inspired

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