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Hello friends! Today I’m excited to finally post something I’ve been writing in the back of my mind for awhile now; a full review of Mainstays Basic Yarn. 

mainstays basic yarn full review

Mainstays, a brand marketed by Walmart, offers low priced lines of kitchen, bed, bath, and home items. In the last few years, they have also begun to offer their own spin (ha!) on yarn. They offer bulky yarn, roving yarn, and of course, Mainstays Basic Yarn, a worsted weight acrylic, which we will be discussing in depth today. 

Texture, Workability, and Durability

mainstays basic yarn full review

In knitting and crochet alike, texture is King. Mainstays Basic Yarn is smooth and soft. How soft, you ask? Well, I knitted up a washcloth and handed it over to someone who often thinks of knitted goods as scratchy. A sort of unorthodox blind testing, if you will. Her immediate reply? “Wow. This is so soft! What’s it made from?” Still not convinced? The next time you’re at your local Walmart, swing by the yarn isle and check out the worsted weight acrylics. Give the Mainstays Basic Yarn a squeeze. And see what I mean? The yarn has a plush, almost fleece-like quality to it, reminiscent of stuffed, cuddly toys and playthings. 

How Mainstays Basic Yarn Compares

It just feels… different, and to me, this different is in a good way! We all KNOW and love our Red Heart Super Saver. It is the safe, cheap, and loved yarn that takes us to our childhoods, learning. Or to the days you struggled as an adult to make a slipknot, learning. I get it. Nostalgia is strong, and this is often a persons go-to first yarn.

But wow, if I had been given the option of knitting with Mainstays Basic Yarn as a beginner, I would have gladly taken it. In addition to the softness, and the smooth feel of the yarn, I am also happy to report that I haven’t encountered any fraying whatsoever. For a beginner, especially in crochet, this can be huge. Fraying yarn was my biggest trouble and my biggest peeve when I was learning. Mainstays Basic Yarn has a solid feel that you experience in more expensive yarns, and I appreciate that greatly.

When it comes to budget acrylic yarn, I feel that the most comparable yarn on the market right now is Hobby Lobbys I Love This Yarn. The texture and quality are similar, so if you’re a fan of I Love This Yarn, try giving Mainstays Basic Yarn a try!

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would I rate Mainstays Basic Yarns texture? An absolute 5! 

So, can you tell I’m a huge fan of this yarn already? I’ve made so many projects with it in the last year! So let’s talk durability, and pilling.

I can be rough with my finished products, I know it. Often just throwing it all in the wash and machine drying it too! You’re right, I’m awful. But having washed various pieces I have made, now numerous times, I can say I’m very impressed. I haven’t noticed pilling, and to me that’s a big deal. 

One odd thing I DID notice, however, is that for some reason this yarn does shrink a bit when machine washed and dried. Nothing substantial, and I liked the way it pushed my stitches together some, but do note this when you are creating size specific projects with this yarn. I’m not sure how or why the shrinkage would occur in a 100% acrylic based yarn, but it didn’t bother me and actually made me feel like I was working with something more expensive than I really was. 

How do I rate the durability of the yarn? 5 out of 5!

mainstays basic yarn in use

Projects and Prices

I’m a cheap wad, and bargains make me feel like a boss. Are you the same? How does it feel knowing that for under $6, you can make an incredibly soft baby blanket with Mainstays Basic Yarn? These soft, beautiful skeins will only cost you $1.97 each, and at 397 yards per skein, I find the price absolutely mind blowing. Mainstays, you have me hooked! 

So Many Projects With Mainstays Basic Yarn!

Above are just a few of the many projects I have recently made with Mainstays Basic Yarn – I can genuinely recommend it for the entire variety pictured – wearable accessories, dishcloths, and amigurami projects. Anything you can think of – in the case of the crochet willow square pictured above these three projects, it also worked well, but for square motifs I’d recommend blocking afterwords. It’s lovely to knit and crochet with, whatever your style, and whatever project you have in mind.

So, how do I rate Mainstays Basic Yarn when it comes to pricing, and projects? 5 out of 5!

Yeah, you can seriously tell I’m loving this yarn. I encourage all of my readers out there to pick up a few skeins and try it out. 

To conclude my review, I have only one more rating criteria – Colorway Options. How does Mainstays Basic Yarn fare in the department of color variety?  I feel that it really needs to release some additional colorways.

While the company may be focusing on the key phrase “basic” in their name, this yarn is simply too good, too easy to work with, and too soft to the touch not to offer a wider range of colors for us to choose from. I genuinely feel that sales would rocket if they produced a larger variety of colors. 16 colors to choose from is a strong beginning lineup, but more variety, more self striping or even self-patterning, would really up the game here. When compared to other budget yarns, customers may feel compelled to choose other brands merely due to low color variety and local availability. In my opinion, this is the only caveat of this brand. Mainstays, if you read this – Callie B from FreshOffTheNeedles desperately wants some self striping Mainstays Basic Yarn! 

When it comes to colorway variety, Mainstays needs to up their game just a little. 3 out of 5 for color variety!

mainstays yarn review

The bottom line – I Love Mainstays Basic Yarn!

My overall rating for the yarn is a strong 5 out of 5, and I will continue to use this for a variety of projects. I would really love to see more colorways added, as I feel that this would spark more customer interest, and keep this yarn stocked on the shelves for years to come.

So, that’s that, my first full length yarn review! I’ve been so excited to release this for so long now, and I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and let me know what you’d like to make with Mainstays Yarn, or have made already. Let’s talk yarn! <3 

Don’t forget to pin this review so others can read it as well! 

mainstays yarn review fresh off the needles

With love, happy crafting!

freshofftheneedles fresh off the needles