Thursday, August 24, 2006

Koigu: The Louis Vuitton of Knitting

Yesterday's comments were pretty interesting. For the most part the majority of you do not share your blogs with people that were in your life prior to the blog. This is very understandable. Most people don't care enough about knitting like we do to actually start a blog and post pictures of our FO's so that perfect strangers can come and see them and leave comments about them. I see blogs as a great way for people who feel "singled out" in their own world to reach out and find people just like them so that they don't feel as weird. Like anyone on the planet earth, we knitters want to be apart of a group too and if that means going on the Internet and sharing our lives with others through the art of knitting, so be it.

Koigu: The Louis Vuitton of Knitting

Yesterday in the comments, Saun wanted to know what the yarn that started with a "K" was? Well that "K" is for Koigu. A yarn that I will NEVER USE EVER! Now I've never worked with the stuff before but from what I've heard in bloglines it doesn't seem like that great of a yarn. Here is a list of reasons why I will NEVER use this yarn

1) Expense -- As a college student I can't afford this yarn. Then again anyone with a normal 9 to 5 can't afford this yarn either! Though the retail price is about $10 according to this website, many vendors are selling the KPPM sock yarn for at least $12.25. With only 175 yards per skein you're paying about $25 for a pair of socks. This is great for a once in a while sock knitter but for you knitters who only knit socks, using this yarn exclusively will one day force you to loose all of your savings and end up on the side of the road with a sign that says, "Will Work For Koigu".

2) The Feel -- When I started to learn how to knit, I worked with crappy acrylic that I got from Wal-Mart. After discovering that I had a LYS not too far away from my Local Wal-Mart I decided to start buying yarn from there. Two years later, I am a complete yarn snob (and damn proud of it too!). Now I still use acrylic when I knit to get paid for it but for things I knit for myself or for close families and friends, I use natural fibers. This is because natural fibers are usually softer than acrylic, more durable and simply more luxurious.

I can't say the same thing about this Koigu KPPM yarn. When I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival last weekend I found some skeins of Koigu sock yarn in a woman's booth. Influenced by the rave reviews I read in blogs on the Internet, I was drawn to the brilliant colors. Then I touched it and it didn't feel as soft as I expected. Then the proprietress of the store told me that there was a pair of socks on the table right next to me knitted using the Koigu. The pattern could be found here.

I picked up the socks and they were hard as nails. It wasn't scratchy against my neck but it wasn't inviting either. I threw the socks back on the table knowing why I haven't bought this stuff yet.

3) Availability -- This yarn seems to be hard to come by. Practically everyone who is a sock knitter in Blog Land is always waiting for his or her LYS to get a shipment of the yarn. You don't know when it's coming or if they'll have any colors that you like sent to your store. The waiting time for this yarn is ridiculous. No wonder Koigu has been able to keep their prices up. Low supply and high demand keep prices up my friends.

4) Their Website -- This is what the Koigu website looks like. The website turns me off complete from this yarn company. It's completely disgusting and unprofessional looking. Why would I support a company that doesn't even have the time to build a proper website? They could at least higher someone to maintain it for them.

In conclusion, I am totally biased to Koigu. I compare it to designer handbags. Louis Vuitton is a major producer of designer bags. My mother is a faithful fan of their products. She has purchased numerous handbags, wallets and some pairs of shoes from Louis Vuitton. One of these shoes was a $500 pair of sandals. There were a simply mule with a metal gold colored strap and brown leather for the foot. I have to admit they were nice (sorry no picture). We went to dinner one night in a fancy restaurant for her birthday and she wore the shoe. A couple steps out the door and the strap that kept the shoes on your foot broke. Did I mention that was her second time wearing the shoes? $500 wasted. Thankfully she returned them and got her money back. But instead of writing off all the products of the company as low quality when compared to the price, she still continues to buy merchandise from Louis Vuitton. That's when I realized that my mother is more obsessed with the label that is Louis Vuitton than the actual stuff that they sell.

Knitters, especially ones that have blogs are influenced by fads all the time. A good example is that this coming fall cable knit anything will be the thing to wear. Why do you think Vogue Knitting and Knit Scene Magazine and other publications have patterns filled with cables in them? And why do you think that knitters all across Blog Land now want to learn how to make cables? It's all about trends and staying up to the times.

Other examples of fad knitting are Clapotis and the amount of Jaywalkers you see on bloglines (I won’t even link to these, you guys seen enough of those).

It's the same with Koigu. Koigu is no better than Trekking XXL or Knit Picks Essentials sock yarn. In fact I would say the latter 2 are a better value, quality yarn. Yes Koigu is hand dyed and you have to pay for the work the designer did to hand paint each and every skein but if hand dyed yarn is what you want, why not support one of our own Knit Bloggers who sell hand dyed yarns (like this one and this one) or go over to Etsy and get some great deals for some truly unique yarns.

Many knitters are anti-establishment out there but many more of us are really just as into the trends as the next person. In my opinion, Koigu is the Louis Vuitton of knitting. A overly priced yarn that is no better quality than it's cheaper counterparts.


Saun said...

This is too funny. I once went on a Koigu rant and pretty much said the same thing.I think the stuff is highly overrated but I won't go so far as to say I'll never use it. I just bought some only because I was in the store, it was in the store, and I liked the colors. (check my latest blog entry) There are so many other sock yarns of comparable quality and better cost that I will never hunt down any Koigu. Of all the socks I've knit, I think that the KnitPicks yarn is my favorite.

I would like to patronize the bloggers that sell sock yarn but because of the latest sock trend they are charging just as much as Koigu. $25 dollar socks is not something I will do on a regular basis.

I try not to get caught up in trend/fad knitting because most times, by the time you finish something the fad is over. I knit for the long term and if something happens to fall within the trend then so be it.

del said...

I bought this yarn as a gift before, but have never knitted with it myself. I wouldn't knit socks with it, that's for sure, because I don't do hand-wash socks. I saw a scarf pattern that would work with Koigu, but right now, I'm not holding my breath for it. And yes, it IS pricey for such a small amount.

jillian said...

Interesting thoughts! I have some Koigu in the stash - more because I really liked the color. I never have gotten the "Koigu" thing. There are so many more yarns that are softer and/or easier to get - and that's not even counting indie peeps!

Stephanie said...

I do have a question, there is a shell top pattern that I would like to knit and the yarn they recommend is Artyarns Regal Silk, but as you mentioned earlier who really has the money to spend on five/six skeins at $22 a pop!! So that made me think of Koigu as it looked to be the same weight and design patterns but with what I'm reading about the feel of it and also what I've seen from prices, this still doesn't seem to be ideal..... So with that said could you or anyone else help suggest a yarn similar to Koigu or Artyards Regal Silk in color and weight??? Preferably more on the cheaper side as well, something no more than say $10 bucks. I need 5-6 skeins, hanks, or balls at 163y/50g. Thank you for any help anyone could give!

Tiara said...

I think I'm out of the loop. I do think cables are attractive, but I'm more interested in learning the Clover Stitch than I am throwing cables onto everything I make. :)

Thank you for writing this blog. I'm trying my hand at knitting socks for the first time and the pattern suggests Koigu, but I was not sold on spending a bajillion dollars. I think I'll look for something more affordable.