The price of wool, and what’s on my hook

July 5, 2011

The Independent reported recently that soaring wool prices are having a knock-on effect on the suit-making industry. Apparently it’s because of the amount of wool being produced has hit an 85 year low — in part a result of the terrible floods and drought in Australia, the world’s biggest wool producer, which disrupted farming. A few weeks before they were reporting that cotton prices are rising too.

Of course, these are insignificant effects compared to the life-changing devastation that many in Australia are having to deal with, but as a crafter it’s fair to say, it doesn’t sound like a good thing. Knitting and crochet are not the hobbies they once were — a necessary skill to produce clothing at a more affordable price than you could buy the ready-made thing. Nice yarn is expensive and there are so many lovely, cheap clothes in the shops that it’s usually cheaper to buy something than knit it yourself.

Since my expendable income has dropped just recently (going on maternity leave and of course, all sorts of things I want/need to buy for the little man) I thought this would be a good time to try out some cheap acrylic yarn. I already try to buy most of my yarns from the seasonal sales, but even with reductions the prices can’t compare to some of the acrylics you can get.

The picture above shows a blanket I’ve just finished. The pattern is the Summer Garden Granny Square by Lucy of Attic24, and I’ve made one before out of lovely Rowan pure wool DK. You can see it here.

This time I used Yarnfair Double Knitting which I found for sale in my local Wilko. The blanket has 63 squares (7×9) and a border, and took just over three balls of yarn. At £1.27 for a 100g ball (and one of the colours was buy-one-get-one-free), it cost less than £3.50 to make. Bargain! I haven’t blocked it yet and am not sure about blocking acrylic, but I’ve read that steam-blocking works. I’ll give it a go when I get a chance. For a little blanket/throw that isn’t going to be kept for best, the acrylic yarn seems to work really well. I don’t think I would want to make any clothes out of it, but it’s definitely got its place.

One peculiar thing I have found is that it’s really difficult to photograph it and get the colours represented properly. I’m not sure why that would be — maybe it’s just the colours I chose. It definitely looks cheerier in real life than in my photo.

Now that’s finished, I’ve started another quick project with some of the left-overs. Something with a bit of texture. This one’s shaping up really well — it’s nearly finished already and the cheap yarn is perfect. I’ll have something finished to show off soon — but I’ll keep that for another post.



  1. I use acrylic yarn for blankets, too… honestly, I can’t imagine using anything else. It washes so easily, holds sculptural stitches well and is cheap cheap cheap.

  2. I used to use pure wool for blankets but I am now a convert to acrylic, especially Stylecraft dk…it is soft, fabulous colours and a fraction of the price of wool…and it is warmer!!! xx

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