Note to self - don't get taken in by a bargain...

sucre cardigan

This post is a lesson to myself, to not be taken in by a bargain. 

I love a bargain and I hate spending money. It might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s true. 

I love getting something I really need at a fraction of it’s original price, and I always shop around if I have to make an expensive purchase. Spending money sometimes frightens me a bit, whether it’s £30 on some materials I want for a project, or £300 on a new washing machine. This is why I’m often taken in by bargain yarn that I see for sale in stores and online. 

This year, big chunky cardigans have been popping up all over the high street, and I love the slouchy look and the puffy arms. I knew I wanted to make one and was immediately on the look out for suitable yarn and a pattern. 

 image from riverisland.com

image from riverisland.com

I found the Sucre Cardigan from Rowan patterns on Ravelry and thought it looked like the sort of thing I was after. It was oversized, with baggy sleeves, knit up in a chunky yarn. It was also a free pattern, so you can bet the thrifty side of me was loving that. 

To make the cardigan though, I needed a decent amount of chunky yarn, which I didn’t have. As is the case with all knitted adult clothing, I was going to need a fair bit of yardage in order to get the baggy look I was after, and inevitably this was going to be fairly expensive. 

 Image from Ravelry. Click for link

Image from Ravelry. Click for link

I know that the cost of these kinds of things is fairly relative. If you buy good-quality materials, the finished product is probably going to last longer and wear better than if you went for a cheaper material, but this argument usually finds it hard to get a win inside my head. And that’s where I sometimes get into trouble. 

One such case being my Sucre cardigan. 

The pattern calls for around 700 yards for the medium size, which is the one I went for, but I wanted to get some extra yarn, as I intended to make the length of the arms longer. I aimed to get about 900 yards to be on the safe side. 

I was looking online at various yarn possibilities, but didn’t see anything that really took my fancy. However, after a trip to John Lewis, and by that I mean a trip to the clearance section of the Haberdashery in John Lewis, I saw something that caught my eye. 

There was a whole bag of Bergere Filomeche and with each 50g ball at £1.58 it seemed like an ideal yarn to use for my cardigan. It’s 44% wool, 34% acrylic and 22% polyamide, chunky, a mid-grey and had a fluffy mo-hair-like texture which I thought would compliment the oversized look perfectly. I bought 13 balls and walked home feeling very happy with myself. 

bergere filomeche

Don’t get me wrong, this post is not meant to criticise any brands. I think Bergere do some lovely yarns and I’m sure people have a lot of good things to say about Filomeche too, but it was a hasty and misguided choice for this project in the long run. 

It’s a soft wool, and I personally don’t find it scratchy, so it felt really nice to knit with, however, the mohair-like texture also meant that it shed like crazy. You can tell when I’ve worn this cardigan by the trail of grey hair I leave behind on every surface I touch. 

The yarn itself isn’t uniform, it has some parts that are thinner, where the fibres have been spun tighter, and thicker where they are less tightly spun. These thicker areas where the fibre is more fluffy caused me some issues. If you pull them too tightly, they are liable to snap and that was pretty annoying, as you can imagine. I’m a bit nervous that this is going to happen when I’m wearing it at some point, and the whole things will start unravelling!

bargain yarn

The main issue that I have with this yarn in this project is the pilling. I have worn the cardigan a handful of times, mainly when I’m just sitting around the house or in the office, but it already looks quite tatty. It’s hard to capture in a photo, but the shoulders and arms especially, are very fluffy and pilled, which makes me think I might have been better off using a smooth yarn…

All in all, I think there are definite positives about this Filomeche yarn. It’s a lovely colour, has a nice feel to it, and I think it would be great in a scarf or hat - something that doesn’t get a lot of wear. However,  it’s definitely not right for a cardigan. What with the pilling, the shedding and the snapping, it’s not ideal, and even though I like the shape and look of the cardigan, I’m not chalking it down as a particular success. 

wrong yarn

For my next project like this, I’ll definitely be doing a bit more research and I’ll make sure to chose something more appropriate to the project, rather than getting taken in by a bargain. However much of a deal it might seem like!

Here are the question I'll try and keep in mind the next time I'm looking for yarn for a particular project:

  1. How much yardage do I need? 
  2. Is the yarn the right correct?
  3. Would the pattern look best in a smooth or fluffy yarn?
  4. Is the yarn likely to pill?
  5. Does the garment and yarn need to be strong and hard-wearing?
  6. Is this the right yarn or do I just like the colour?
  7. Would I buy this yarn if it wasn't on sale? 

Hopefully, those 7 questions should help make sure I don't waste time and money on a yarn and project that don't really fit together. I guess we all have to make these little mistakes along the way occasionally. I just want to try and make sure it's a mistake I don't repeat!

grey cardigan handmade