18 more days to Halloween

I just got an email from PolarKnit advertising their free Halloween themedpatterns on-line and was intrigued.

Before going any further, here is the link so you can start planning right away.

I saw the PolarKnit yarns at the recent trade show that I attended and loved the feel of it. It is made of actual polar fleece and comes in good colours and is nice to knit with.

BUT... Why didn't I bring it in?

This brings up a topic that actually came up in conversation earlier today: what are the criteria that we use in choosing a particular company to deal with or a specific yarn?

Generally, I use a series of questions that I ask myself, the first of which revolve around ease and dependability: Is this a company that I can rely on to deliver enough yarn on time? Do my regular suppliers have something comparable that I can include in my regular orders? Does the shipping from its place of origin cause me any issues? PolarKnit appeared to be okay in these respects although the representative wasn't actually there to ask questions of, so that made me a bit nervous.

The second batch of questions are more customer centered: Will my customers be able to work well with this yarn? Will it inspire project ideas for them? Will they recognize its value in relation to the price? And there I found the elements that made me pass up this yarn for this year, anyway. I'm sure that PolarKnit is a great yarn to work with; I'm a fan of polar fleece, why not in a yarn? But because of its very special composition, I guess, it makes it really expensive, especially considering the yardage that is in each ball. For that price, I want it to be REALLY special.

The other issue is that for some reason, they consider 12 stitches over 4 inches to be a Chunky weight and 16 stitches to be a Worsted Weight. This is much heavier than any other yarn on the market. It would drive a knitter crazy to get all set up with their yarn and a "chunky" pattern only to realize that they would need much more yarn than they expected AND they would have a terrible time trying to achieve a typical chunky gauge.

All this to say that each LYS has a different focus and set of criteria when choosing yarns. Each shop owner has their own priorities, preferences and penchants in style. I'm sure that PolarKnit yarns will find a good and happy home in many stores. It just occured to me that readers would probably find it interesting as an exercise, to hear a bit about why some yarns that I see make it in to my store and some don't.

I was however so pleased with the fun patterns like the one above and this skull beanie, both available as free downloads, but I do advise customers to be very careful and look at the pattern gauges closely before choosing a yarn, or 18 days won't be enough time to knit it twice to get the right size!