“snob: a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people…”
No one likes to be called a snob in the true sense of the word. In jest, I call myself a yarn snob, which is my strong bias towards natural fiber yarns. A “yarn snob” is someone who has a particular taste developed through experience and knowledge.
On the road to yarn snobbery, wannabe knitters eager to learn the craft don’t discriminate in their choice of materials, often ending up in multi-craft stores versus specialty retailers. I did this as at the beginning of my knitting journey; I purchased inexpensive yarns and needles to work with. And yes I used acrylic to make blankets and baby sets. This is simply the first step in learning any skill; testing the waters and getting a feel for the craft. As I gained experience and knowledge from experimenting with all the beautiful yarns, and the characteristics they impart into a knit fabric, I became a lover of natural fibers, full stop. Natural wool is my fiber of choice in yarns, from the finest merinos to the coarser wool varieties, and I obtain great satisfaction and results from using this amazing fiber. There is the rare synthetic yarn floating around in my stash these days. They offer little value to my projects, because I feel their inherent properties are inferior to natural fiber yarns, and not to mention their negative impact on the environment. This certainly sounds like snobbery, but true snobbery would also include criticizing others for their choices – not a good trait.
To deny others the journey of exploring and finding out how yarns contribute to the craft of knitting is diminishing their experience, and what knitting means to them. Most importantly, being a yarn snob requires being cautious when giving advice in communicating your expertise and tastes. It’s about sharing and helping others, opening their world to new information, and hopefully guide them towards new challenges that bring them joy, even if this seems somewhat selfish on your part.
So there is nothing unsavoury about having a certain taste level that enhances your knitting experience, or the pleasure received from being a snob. And until technology discovers yarns that mimic natural fiber ones that include all their amazing properties, I will continue to be a yarn snob, without the holier than thou attitude. And pondering this, I just may be a tea snob, an exercise snob, a food snob, bed linen snob….