Unhappy with ACS!

Unhappy with ACS!

ACS, or Australian Country Spinners, is an Australian wool mill that both manufacture and import yarns that are branded Patons, Cleckheaton, Panda and Shephard.

Seasons come, trends change and there are yarns that only last a cycle or two, while others remain part of the ‘standard’ range.

However, when a new yarn is brought in that is missing from the Australian marketplace (or in this case, two), you’d think that not only would they saturate the market to pull customers away from other brands, they would also bring the yarn into the ‘standard’ range.

The two yarns I’m speaking of are Patons Merino Deluxe DK and Cleckheaton Country Silk.

Merino Deluxe DK is a machine washable merino wool that is has a very soft, next to the skin feel. Good for babies items too as it’s machine washable. The construction made it a very ’round’ yarn, with great stitch definition and a decent colour range. It also dyes brilliantly! The only yarn readily available in yarn stores that would be similar is Filatura di Crosa Zara, which RRP’s for about $3 more per ball than the Merino Deluxe DK did.

Country Silk was similar to Country, with the addition of some silk. This gave the yarn lustre, a little texture and a whole lot of depth, as silk dyes differently to wool. Was a good hard yarn (similar to Country) with a little added luxury. While not great for next to the skin, it knitted up beautifully. It was special, I don’t know of another yarn like it.

Instead, THIS winter, we are greeted with Patons yarns called “FiFi”, “Frou Frou”, “Fireworks”, “Frazzle”, “Foxy” and “Frost”.  Only 3 have any semblance of any natural fibres, while the rest is acrylic & nylon.

I know there are knitters who like sparkly yarns, or things that bear resemblance to furry puppets… I am not one of these knitters.  I like a smooth yarn that is soft and wears well.

There are other new yarns that might just be ok.  Dreamtime has been extended into 8ply, and Inca now has an 8ply version too.  Fingers crossed the Dreamtime is machine washable, as you wouldn’t be able to tell by the website, as there are no care instructions there.

I am upset, and have emailed ACS to that effect.  Have I heard back after 2 days?  No.  Am I happy?  Definitely not.

9 thoughts on “Unhappy with ACS!

  1. Hi I think you are being rather selective with your criticism here…. The Learn to Knit yarns Fi Fi Frou Frou etc are cheap beginners yarns which are designed for new kntters with lesson by lesson intructions. These yarns are not for experienced knitters. Patons & Cleckheaton do cater for experienced knitters as well Patons Mist, Wilderness, Classic Totem & Bluebell etc etc. Perhaps you should get your fact right before trashing a good Australian brand. Yes I am a retailer and Im sick of the same people on line who seem to have an agenda directed towards dishing it at ACS. What about brands like Sean Sheep & Saleutions, we dont here anything about these hideous yarns sold at Big W & KMart…..

    1. I have a long customer history with ACS, I have been buying ACS branded yarns for over 20 years. I have no ‘agenda’ to trash them, I love Patonyle and am thrilled the had the sense to un-discontinue it, but I do hope that some public criticism may make them look at what they are offering their customers as a standard range.

      I also think it’s insulting to ‘new’ knitters to say that they should be steered towards knitting with frothy acrylic yarns, rather than a nice luxurious yarn that would give them the tactile pleasure of working with buttery soft merino. I know which would keep me wanting to learn….

      And as for stuff being sold at Big W & Kmart, I really don’t have an opinion on those, as they are not brands I’m looking at, or have ever knitted with.

      I have a gripe with ACS over the discontinuation of GOOD yarns, including now Serenity I’ve been told. I have no gripe with retailers, you can only sell what’s available.

  2. I don’t think anyone is trashing ACS as a brand, just pointing out a dislike of novelty yarns and a desire for an extended range of staples. One season only yarns are not ones many of us wish to see added to the range put out by ACS and Tia is not the only one who has written to ACS in regards to this. I have written letters and emails expressing a desire that they extend their colour range and availability in some yarns. Am I too ‘dishing it to ACS’?

    As for Sean Sheep and Saleutations I am happy to state the same in regards to them – there are good solid yarns in their range, Rockbank being my favourite example, and terrible ones. I think I could say the same for all yarn companies. Do you wish me to write a complete list of those I like and dislike in order to not be selective in my criticism?

    I would think that the novelty yarns are exactly those that you did not wish to teach beginners on given that they are often incredibly difficult to see stitches and it is near impossible to correct mistakes. Although for some I am sure that is the attraction. Whenever I teach people to knit unless they have a wool sensitivity I have used Cleckheaton Country, yes an ACS yarn and one that is of greater value and utility than the current crop of ACS novelty yarns.

  3. Over the past few years I’ve been increasingly buying yarn from overseas – something I never thought I’d do. Surely it’s not asking too much for a good range of 100% pure Australian wool in a country that is recognised worldwide as the producer of the best merino in the world?

  4. Well, you know I’m behind you 100%!
    I just looked at the Patons and Cleckheaton websites and there’s nothing on either one that I’d use. I guess the baby yarns are good if you knit baby clothes, but I don’t. Patonyle in crap colours, otherwise no sock yarns. No laceweight unless you count baby yarn in 2ply. The only 100% natural, non-crepe, non-itchy yarn is Country and it’s variants. (How many different “Country”‘s do you need?!?) Very ordinary – I can buy Bendigo’s Luxury at a marginally cheaper price, and it’s a *much* nicer yarn.
    I can’t comment on Sean Sheep and the like – have never used them and never will. Looks like I’ll be buying overseas from now on.
    Still perplexed why they’d make novelty crap and aim it at beginners – it’s impossible to see what you’re doing with it. I refuse to teach anyone with it.

  5. Couldn’t have said it better myself! Amen to your entire blog post. I was in SL today and nearly fell over when I saw the FiFi and FrouFrou. Bring on the natural fibres…

  6. Good on you for supporting australian yarns. I didnt think you were having a go against them but ACS like all good businesses need to look at what their loyal customers want as well as new customers. I never understood why they discontinued Country Silk as I loved knitting with it and the colors were beautiful too. I have seen those new yarns in my LYS too but I think 1 or 2 of them would be hard even for my daughter to knit with and she is just a beginner too.

  7. Hey, I stumbled on your page just randomly. Morris and Sons in the city is having a sale until Dec 31st 2010 and they’re selling some of the yarns you mentioned here. I bought a pack of Patons Merino Deluxe DK (~$37 for 10 pack) and I saw Patons Serenity DK (I only saw white available). Patons Totem Merino also seems to be a decent yarn that’s available.

    I’ve also noticed Cleckheaton Kaleidoscope lately which seems like a very soft nice yarn but it’s 12ply. I bought that one for $33 (10 pack). At least when ACS discontinues yarn, we get it on special at Morris and Sons 🙂

    And I agree, I hate FiFi and FrouFrou and Zhivago…eww.

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