Cheap and Cheerful: Sirdar Click Chunky

cheap and cheerful clickChunky cardigans cost a lot to make. Fact. Gram for gram you get far fewer yards per skein in a chunky weight. I know that I get enough wear out of my A Walk in the Woods cardigan to make the hefty yarn bill for the suggested yarn absolutely worth it, but not everyone wants to spend that much on their hobby.

With frugality in mind I decided to hunt the shelves for a Cheap and Cheerful chunky suggestion and one that just happens to be a perfect sub for my A Walk in the Woods Cardigan.

THE FACTS:

Price – around £2.70 per 50g ball (RRP is £3.19 but everywhere I looked had it cheaper)
Fibre – 70%  acrylic, 30% wool
Weight – chunky
Yardage – 82 yds
Range – 30 colours, a mixture of solid, heathered (flecks of colour added) and marled (multiple colours twisted together). Mostly quite natural colours.

MY VIEWS

It’s nice to crochet with there is no squeaking and only a very little tendancy to split. It doesn’t feel or smell particularly woolly but it is quite soft yet feels rugged and hardwearing. Compared to the Berocco Peruvia Quick that I swatched for the cardigan too and the Artesano Wool that the original sample is made in, the Click is much lighter and drapier when crocheted. It also has a lot more sheen to it than the pure wool does.

The range of colours is really nice and very wide for a budget brand. (And handily has three shades perfect for making the cardigan (Flock, Camo and Hustler))

To make the cardigan in Sirdar Click Chunky would cost between £32 and £62 depending which size you make. This is a whopping difference from the recommended yarn which comes in at between £85 and £153 depending on size.

You will notice a difference between the pure wool and the acrylic option but the Sirdar Click Chunky will make a very nice cardigan in its own right.

Side by side photo of the Sirdar Click Chunky (top) and the Berocco Peruvia Quick(bottom)

cheap and cheerful click 1

 

 

If you like a bargain you’ll be pleased to know that A Walk in the Woods pattern pdf is half price until Sunday (5th October 2014) night – a snip at just £1.75 (usual price £3.50)

Cheap and Cheerful: Rico Baby DK

Many patterns in magazines cost £60 to £100 to make in the suggested yarn which is out of budget for lots of you. In this series I look at lower priced yarns that I love and how they can be substituted.

I am an advocate of using the best yarn you can afford because the hours of work you put into creating a garment deserve the finest materials but lets celebrate the yarns that are great but light on the pocket too.

cheap and cheerful rico baby

 

Don’t be fooled by the name, this yarn really feels like a sports weight so is an ideal substitution where you see this weight used. Rico Baby costs around £2.70 a ball. It is 50% acrylic, 50% polyamide and has a whopping 165m to a 50g ball. This means is is light to wear too. It is a very rounded yarn and incredibly soft. If I was given a ball of this without the label I would be convinced it was merino, it is that soft, smooth and nice to work with. It doesn’t split and it washes and wears really well. (I have a ripple scarf made in this yarn that has been worn a lot in the past 2 years and it looks great still) The colour range is wonderful for a budget yarn with more than 20 colours ranging from bolds, neutrals and pastels. The palette feels very contemporary.

 

As a means of comparison (and to check that I wasn’t mad calling it sport weight when it calls itself DK) I crocheted up a small swatch in the same stitch pattern as the Bartsia Cardigan I made for The Crochet Project.

Bartsia Cardigan from The Crochet Project

Photo Credit Kat Goldin

 

I got the same tension using the same size hook (not mad then!) and comparing the two fabrics the Milla Mia has slightly better drape and is a little softer (it is a ridiculously nice yarn!) but as you can see from the photo the stitch definition and look of the yarn are incredibly similar.

rico vs milla mia

 

The Rico baby makes an excellent budget substitution and the price difference is substantial. To make Bartsia in a size L in Milla Mia costs around £60 while the Rico Baby would set you back about £24.

 

Cheap and cheerful: Cotton on

I was chatting on a forum recently and we were discussing the high price of making a garment from a pattern. Most of the designs in the magazines cost about £60 to £100 to make and many people didn’t feel confident to choose a cheaper yarn to use. I thought a series on the blog celebrating some of the best cheaper yarns on the market would be a great idea.

I am an advocate of using the best yarn you can afford because the hours of work you put into creating a garment deserve the finest materials but lets celebrate the yarns that are great but light on the pocket too.

cheap and cheerful cotton on

This week I swatched up some James C Brett Cotton On to try. I first came across this yarn when my LYS started using it in the learner kits for our classes. I was very impressed with the feel of it and how ideal it is for learning.

THE FACTS:

Price – around £2 per 50g ball
Fibre – 50% cotton, 50% acrylic
Weight – DK
Yardage – 158 yds
Range – 20 colours, 16 solid, 4 variagated in a range of pastel and stronger colours.

MY VIEWS

When I first tried the yarn it reminded me of Rowan Wool Cotton. As I had a ball of the Rowan lying around I decided to do a side by side comparison.

cheap and cheerful cotton on 2

 

On the left (purple) is the Rowan Wool Cotton DK (around £6 per 50g ball, 50% cotton, 50% wool, 123 yds) and on the right (brown) is the Cotton on.

I knit the two swatches on the same needles and one after the other so I could compare. Both were very easy and enjoyable to knit with. The Rowan was *slightly* nicer to knit, the Cotton On tended to want to catch to itself a little more than the Rowan.

After wet blocking both worked up to the same tension (20 sts and 24 rows to 4 in) and were very similar in appearance with good stitch definition. The Cotton On has slightly more drape. Both yarns are very soft to touch but feel like they would be hard wearing and resist pilling (those annoying bobbles you get in wearing your knitting)

Both yarns have similar care requirements and can be washed on a very gentle machine cycle.

I think Cotton On would make a great substitution for Rowan Wool Cotton and would also be a suitable substitution for a lot of the merino yarns on the market such as Debbie Bliss Rialto DK or Sublime Fine Merino DK. Both of these yarns cost more than £5 a ball and have fewer yards per 50g so the savings are significant.

The choice of Cotton On colours is not as good (less contemporary in my view) as in the dearer ranges but if you find one that you like in the Cotton On then I think it is an excellent choice and I would be hard pressed to justify spending more.

If we use 1200yds as an average for making a DK weight sweater or cardigan then we get the following yarn costs for the project:

Cotton On £16,
Rowan Wool Cotton £60
Debbie Bliss Rialto £60

I hope you found this review helpful and I would love your feedback and suggestions for other yarns to review.