Cheap Yarn, what's the catch?

Author: Laura   Date Posted:15 May 2023 

Have you ever found yourself staring at the shelves of your local dollar store, or National chain store, only to find an overwhelming array of cheap yarns?

It's not uncommon to see yarn sold for just a few dollars, but why is it so cheap? And what's the catch?

In today's blog we will look at why yarn, that looks the same as our brands can be sold so cheaply.

Cheap yarn is often made using cost-cutting methods. Manufacturers may use short fibres in combination with longer fibres to create the yarn. However, short fibres are weaker and less resilient, making them more prone to breakage. When these fibres are combined with longer fibres, the weaker fibres tend to wash away or break further during the manufacturing process. This leaves the stronger, longer fibres to abrade and twist, creating those unsightly pills.

The manufacturing process itself can also contribute to pilling. Abrasion is a common cause of pilling, and it can occur when the yarn is spun or during the manufacturing process. Cheap yarn may be produced using machines that spin the fibres together more quickly or with less care, resulting in more abrasion and, ultimately, more pilling.

Surfactants, which are chemicals used to clean and prepare the fibres for spinning, can also contribute to pilling if the wrong surfactants are used or if they're used in the wrong amounts. The wrong surfactants can weaken the fibres, making them more prone to pilling.

One of the most common issues with cheap yarn is pilling. Pilling happens when the fabric becomes covered with small balls of fluff, making it look old and worn before its time. While it's easy to blame the twisting of the yarn for pilling, the real culprit is often the quality of the yarn itself.

So, what can you do to avoid pilling when using yarn? Investing in higher quality yarns can help you avoid this issue. 

While these yarns may be more expensive upfront, they're often a better value in the long run because they're less likely to pill and will create a more professional-looking finished project. Look for yarns made with longer fibres, as these are stronger and more resilient than short fibres.

It's worth noting that some people may choose cheap yarn because it's affordable and can be used for practice pieces or beginner projects. However, if you're making something that you want to last, it's worth investing in higher quality yarns. 

Your time and effort spent creating a project deserve to be rewarded with a beautiful, finished product.

In conclusion, when it comes to buying yarn, it's important to understand the differences in quality and price. Cheap yarn may seem like a bargain, but it often comes with a catch - pilling. By investing in higher quality yarns and paying attention to the manufacturing process, you can avoid pilling and create beautiful, long-lasting projects.

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Comments (1)

Follow up pilling question

By: on 16 May 2023
Thank you for this explanation, it makes a lot of sense. I've stopped buying mass produced yarn - in part for this reason, but also in recognition & appreciation of the work that goes into high quality yarn. My follow up question: is it possible then, that blended yarns can also create this problem? For example, I have very expensive cardigan, purchased OS that has a blend of 2 or 3 different fibres. It upsets me that it is pilling so badly. I need to wear it more to get the cost/wear down, but on the other hand can't stand to see it pill!! P.s I am yet to visit your shop, but look forward to it in the near future!

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