Disclaimer: I was provided with the Yarn U App for free in exchange for a review of the product.
There’s no doubt in my mind that knitting and crocheting are a HUGE part of my life, and I’m 100% certain that if it wasn’t for my two little ones keeping me busy for the vast majority of the day, I’d spend a lot more time doing fiber-related things. Like shopping for yarn. I know this because most of my stash was acquired before the boys were born, and the few things I’ve purchased since then have been to work on specific projects. What knitter/crocheter doesn’t just ADORE yarn?
When we were still living in Baltimore, I visited my LYS–Lovelyarns–on a regular basis, even as I forbid myself from buying yarn that I didn’t have time to knit. Luckily for me, Sue didn’t mind having the boys run around, messing up her stacks of yarn! Now that we’ve moved to a new area, and the closest LYS isn’t within walking distance (nothing is within walking distance here!)… I haven’t had a chance to see and feel and drool over any new yarns.
This is where the Yarn U app comes in. Aside from the tactile element, Yarn U is as close as it gets to the experience of actually “seeing” yarn. The beautiful, close-up photos of the yarn and pics of project ideas are a great way of getting that yarn-y, fiber-y experience without actually going to your LYS. I’m often hesitant to purchase yarn online because the ONE photo that accompanies order pages don’t really give you a sense of what the yarn feels like, how well it would knit up, etc., but with Yarn U, between the array of photos and the helpful descriptions and lists of pros and cons, you get a much better sense of what the yarn “feels” like.
If you’re a yarn addict, then this is definitely a useful app. Although you can find yarn info for free on Ravelry, this app brings all the relevant info onto a single page because reading 100+ reviews/comments on Ravelry is quite time consuming!
You can search and sort yarns by weight, brand, hand/machine wash, those with free patterns available on the web… I think the user interface is clear and easy to use, and it allows you to mark specific yarns as favorites for quicker reference.
My only reservation about the app is that a vast majority of the yarns listed are described as “expensive” under the cons list. It’s not really clear what “expensive” means since it’s a relative term. I think it would be useful if, like restaurant guides, there was a range of prices indicated by $$$$… But I suppose that would be pretty difficult since you’d have to calculate the price according to yardage…
Anyway, it’s not just the whole “expensive” category thing. Most knitters are well aware of the fact that their fiber-obsession isn’t exactly cheap. Yarn can get quite pricey, and before you know it, you’ve knit up a sweater that cost over $100 in yarn alone… But I’m what I like to call a thrifty knitter, not because I’m not willing to pay for nicer, more expensive yarn, but because I can’t always afford to spend lots of cash on the pricey stuff, so I try to find nice, affordable alternatives. And sadly, most of the yarns that are listed on Yarn U are ones that are most certainly out of my price range.
That being said, the Yarn U app is definitely a great yarn reference to have on hand, and the content grows with each update so perhaps in the future, a wider range of yarns will be available. And for $2.99, it’s a good price for what you get. So why not?