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Let's chat about the price of yarn

James McIntosh
March 22, 2019

Is yarn expensive?

I often see on my social media that 'wool' is too expensive.

Personally I don't think it is, but let's look at this a bit further. Good and pure wool is not cheap, there is a lot involved in the manufacturing process, never mind the costs involved in growing the wool on the sheep.

Knitters know there are more items to knit with than wool, that's why we talk about yarn [noun]- a umbrella term for everything spun or twisted that one can knit with.

Alternatively, a yarn [verb] is a long story is what this conversation may turn into ...


Most balls of merino cost about £5.00 for 50g.

At the other end of the scale a good ball of the most fantastic top end of the market yarn may cost you £70 - but thats silk and cashmere mix whereas a ball of acrylic may cost £0.70. Take the £70 ball, divide that by 20 hours of constant knitting to knit a bit of loveliness and that works out at £3.50 per hour of entertainment and creative me time, that for me gives me a much happier life - I constantly testify how happy I am while I knit.  

A coffee costs £2.50


In my book Knit and Nibble I talk about all things knititation a process whereby hand knitting is a mindfulness practice that helps with a multitude of benefits including ...

  • sense of purpose
  • overcoming depression
  • self-esteem
  • anxiety and stress reduction
  • stress release
  • sleep improvement
  • chronic pain reduction
  • type 2 diabetes control
  • weight control
  • improved blood pressure

Fast fashion

I'm sure we are all aware of the term 'fast fashion' and for cheap clothing on the high street. But the knitter knows just how much work goes into a sweater, and the knitter knows that we don't knit to save money, so a comparison of a shop or internet bought item is not a fair comparison to the cost of the yarn required to knit the item. Us knitters may joke about our knitting addiction and knitting syndromes but knitting is about the sum of the parts, not about the finished project.

Size of ball / skein

Before we can make a judgment on price, we need to consider both the size of the ball in weight and in length of the yarn.

Yarn Fibre

Sheep, alpaca and other animals need feeding, husbandry, vet services, sheep dip and farms maintained all before the farmer earns a salary. This all costs money.

I hear you say... a fleece is the bi-product of the meat industry and sheep have to be shorn in the spring to stop them overheating in the summer time. Others claim that for ethical reasons sheep do not need to be shorn, others say that a long fleece is likely to become dirty and drag along the ground increasing the possibility of flystrike and other items, and a bulky fleece can decrease the mobility of the animal. The point is, sheering takes time, and that needs to be paid for. As does the processing of the wool, carding, spinning, dying ...

Man made fibres cost less.

Cost of extras

And indeed, a set of knitting needles and a great pattern cost money too.

Questions to ponder

  • I don't need any more yarn
  • I have too many projects on the go?
  • My stash big is too big?

YOU deserve lovely yarn. Go on, enlarge your stash. YOUR worth it.

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