A Personal Debate: Mainstays Basic Yarn vs. Red Heart Super Saver Yarn

A Personal Debate: Mainstays Basic Yarn vs. Red Heart Super Saver Yarn

Recently, I was informed that Wal-Mart stores have started selling their own brand of fiber called Mainstays Basic Yarn. At the time I was notified of this new brand on the shelves, I was eager to check it out for myself. Unfortunately, I live in a somewhat rural community and the skeins had not made their way to my local Wal-Mart quite yet.

A short time later, I was able to get my hands on a skein of the Mainstays yarn and decided to do a comparison between Red Heart Super Saver and this new brand by Wal-Mart! This blog is entirely my own opinion, based on my personal observations debating two similar products.

Less money, less quality?

First observation, once I was able to find the product in the store, was the price. A skein of Red Heart Super Saver is $2.88 and the price of the Mainstays Basic Yarn is $1.97, so the obvious difference is the financial aspect. You are saving $0.91 per skein on the basic colors with the Mainstays brand. For those looking at the economic factor, this is a no-brainer. The Mainstays IS obviously less expensive. However, we all know that price is not always reflective of quality, and we all know the saying, “you get what you pay for.” Low prices can mean lower quality products. Keep that in mind when basing your comparison solely on economics – and yes, I do understand the importance of finances as a crafter on a budget, but one must consider other details as well.

Next, the volume of the skeins is equal – Each one weighing 7 oz. However, Red Heart Super Saver has 364 yards and Mainstays Basic Yarn has 397 yards. When we look at another obvious comparison, you get more for your money with Mainstays. I would like to insert a personal observation here: The Mainstays Basic Yarns are definitely a thinner fiber. Although you are getting “more” length in the skein, it actually feels “less.” You can even see when lined side by side, there is a fair amount of difference in how they compare next to one another. Having worked with Red Heart Yarns so frequently, it is hard to explain this, but their fiber has weight and thickness and feels somewhat sturdier versus the Mainstays Basic Yarn, which has a much thinner strand and feels lighter and less substantial. With Red Heart Super Saver, there is ample feel to my piece. The Mainstays yarn has a bit less volume and does not feel as abundant or as sturdy. I hope that makes sense. Both are 100% acrylic.

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(Photographed above: Red Heart Super Saver on the Left, Mainstays Yarn on the Right)


Soft but Found

The Mainstays definitely has a soft touch, but, like I mentioned earlier, it tends to lack that feeling of volume when you want something thick and warm or heavy such as a nice blanket, a winter hat, or a scarf, but it has decent softness nonetheless.

I found Mainstays Basic Yarns located ONLY in the Wal-Mart stores. Red Heart Yarns are available in, not only Wal-Mart, but several other craft stores, AND conveniently able to be ordered online. This is important for many who love the ease of online shopping or are unable to get to stores or choose not to shop at large retail shops such as Wal-Mart.

Another fact that I find important point to bring up, is that all Mainstays yarn products are made in China whereas the Red Heart Yarns are ALWAYS made in the USA. To many, this is a VERY important detail to consider when purchasing.

Shrinking options

I made two swatches out of both brands of yarn. I washed each swatch and noticed a slight bit of shrinking in the Mainstays yarn. You will need to keep that in mind when using this brand in sizing your projects. You may get more in a skein yet you may need to use more length in certain projects to adjust for shrinkage. I observed that both fibers have the same amount of stretch to them. I also noticed quite a bit of pilling with the Mainstays Basic Yarn with fuzziness as compared to the Red Heart Super Saver swatch. The Red Heart Super Saver block was also softer after one wash.

(Photo was taken after washed)

(Photo was taken after washed)

It took a while, but my local Wal-Mart recently started stocking this Mainstays yarn product on their shelves this past week; I noticed they are offering an assortment of basic solids in a rainbow of colors. The colors run similar to some of the Red Heart Super Saver yarn hues. Red Heart Yarns offers a MUCH larger selection of color, as well as a variety of other types of yarns and products, whereas the Mainstays offer this one type of yarn. Red Heart Super Saver yarn is not dye lotted which keeps color consistent with each skein of yarn you use.  So if you buy a skein of yarn, and 2 months later need the same exact color, you won’t have to worry about it being a different shade. I do not have information if Mainstays yarn does the same thing or not.

I hope this blog helps you as you explore the similarities and differences between these two products. Because of the limitation of the Mainstays yarn, I still find myself preferring the Red Heart Super Saver when choosing an economic and quality yarn product. Have you tried these two products? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!



This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!! ~Nadia

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Crochet Tutorial: Boho Tassel Scarf

Crochet Tutorial: Boho Tassel Scarf

What’s your go-to accessory? Everyone should always have a signature scarf, and this is the one for YOU! I am definitely a scarf girl. Summer/winter, it doesn’t matter! There are plenty of ways to showcase this piece, but here is one that is sure to WOW any way you wrap it!!

My Boho Tassel Scarf is such a fun and stylish project for the cold weather! This chunky scarf, can be worn loosely wrapped around your neck to keep you warm. The ends cascade down with tassel details, making this a fashionable and fun wrap for all! Guys, girls, kids, this can be modified for everyone!!


Follow along with this video tutorial to learn how to make this scarf:

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**You can always contact me via Facebook if you have any problems with the pattern. I am happy to help if you have any questions along the way.

***These patterns are copyright YARNutopia © so PLEASE DO NOT COPY, SHARE, ADJUST OR RESELL MY PATTERN. I wrote and tested this pattern myself, from beginning to end. It took a lot of time and work, and I would really like to have it remain “my pattern.”

***You can definitely sell anything you make from my patterns, please just link back to my website YARNutopia.com. Thank you!

Teacher: Nadia Fuad
Video and Editing: Fuad Azmat (My Daddy)
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Leave a comment, and share with your friends!


Designed by Nadia Fuad
You *may* sell items made from my pattern, but please reference my website YARNutopia.com.
Please do not copy, sell, and/or post this pattern and claim it as your own.
Shop Red Heart, America's Favorite Yarn

-Watch the FULL introduction of the video tutorial for frequently asked questions and watch the full video for tips on how to make these smaller or bigger.
-You will need 800 yards for this scarf
-This scarf is 9 inches (23 cm) wide and 98 inches long (284 cm)

Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Black (300 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Dusty Gray (300 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Flamingo OR Red Heart With Love Papaya (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Pumpkin (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Carrot (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Jade (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Aruba Sea (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Perfect Pink (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Royal (<50 yards)
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn in Aran (<50 yards)
Size I-5.50mm Crochet Hook
Yarn Needle
Measuring Tape

Shop Red Heart Yarns Website Today!

Special stitches:
Ch(s): chain(s)
YO: Yarn Over
St(s): Stitch(es)
Sl st: slip stitch
SK: Skip
SC: Single Crochet
Spike Stitch: Insert Hook into stitch from previous row, YO pull through and pull up to height of row you are on, YO pull through 2 loops on hook. Spike made.


If you have any confusion or difficulty with reading this pattern, please watch the video tutorial to have visual instructions.

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You will use both colors at the same time, trail the “dropped color” under your stitches, to pick it up for the next row. See video tutorial for visual instructions on how to trail along your strands.
Starting with Dusty Gray
Ch 26
Row 1: SC in 2nd ch from hook and across, ch 1, turn. (25 sts)
Row 2: SC across, change to Black, ch 1, turn. (25 sts)
Row 3: SC in 1st st, *Spike stitch in next stitch, SC in next st, repeat from * across, ending with SC in last st, change back to Dusty Gray, ch 1, turn.
Row 4: SC in 1st 2 sts, *Spike stitch in next st, SC in next st, repeat from * across, ending with SC in last 2 sts, change to Black, Ch 1, turn.
Rows 5-225: Repeat Rows 3 and 4 ending with a repeat of Row 3
Row 226: With Gray, SC across, Change to Pumpkin orange, ch 1, turn.
Row 227: SC across, change to Papaya, Ch 1, turn.
Row 228: Spike Stitch in each stitch across (work between the stitches and not in the stitches of row 226 (See video tutorial for visual instructions) ch 1, turn.
Row 229: Sc across, change color, ch 1, turn.
Row 230-301: repeat rows 228 and 229 (Color combinations listed below)

Row 230: Pumpkin (spike stitches across)
Row 231: Pumpkin (SC across)
Row 232: Papaya
Row 233: Papaya
Row 234: Pumpkin
Row 235: Pumpkin
Row 236: Perfect Pink
Row 237: Perfect Pink
Row 238: Aran
Row 239: Aran
Row 240: Perfect Pink
Row 241: Perfect Pink
Row 242: Aran
Row 243: Aran
Row 244: Perfect Pink
Row 245: Perfect Pink
Row 246: Aran
Row 247: Aran
Row 248: Perfect Pink
Row 249: Perfect Pink
Row 250: Aran
Row 251: Aran
Row 252: Perfect Pink
Row 253: Perfect Pink
Row 254: Aruba Sea
Row 255: Aruba Sea
Row 256: Carrot
Row 257: Carrot
Row 258: Aruba Sea
Row 259: Aruba Sea
Row 260: Carrot
Row 261: Carrot
Row 262: Aruba Sea
Row 263: Aruba Sea
Row 264: Carrot
Row 265: Carrot
Row 266: Perfect Pink
Row 267: Perfect Pink
Row 268: Carrot
Row 269: Carrot
Row 270: Perfect Pink
Row 271: Perfect Pink
Row 272: Carrot
Row 273: Carrot
Row 274: Jade
Row 275: Jade
Row 276: Royal
Row 277: Royal
Row 278: Jade
Row 279: Jade
Row 280: Royal
Row 281: Royal
Row 282: Jade
Row 283: Jade
Row 284: Royal
Row 285: Royal
Row 286: Jade
Row 287: Jade
Row 288: Royal
Row 289: Royal
Row 290: Dusty Gray
Row 291: Dusty Gray
Row 292: Royal
Row 293: Royal
Row 294: Dusty Gray
Row 295: Dusty Gray
Row 296: Royal
Row 297: Royal
Row 298: Dusty Gray
Row 299: Dusty Gray
Row 300: Royal
Row 301: Royal

When you finish making the scarf, be sure to make the hat to match!


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed.

The yarn provided for this pattern is courtesy of Red Heart Yarns



Like this scarf? Try the Something Blue Cowl!!

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Cricut Gives Your Ultimate Cutting Precision

KissMe Sweet Dreams Collection

Pokémon Go Style

Ready, set, Pokémon GO! Get your hooks ready to make some great Pokémon accessories and get a head start on your holiday projects! As this Pokémon Go! game has swept the world, I am no exception to the craze, I am hooked on crochet AND this app! (pun intended!)

Now we can hunt Pokémon in style with these great accessories. I made a cute Pikachu hat for my nephew, using my Basic Beanie Hat pattern and added some embellishments. Below, you will find the written instructions for those pieces.

Here are some other great crochet projects from other crocheters for additional Pokémon gear! Check ’em out and catch ’em all!

Pokémon Related Amugurumi: http://icrochetthings.blogspot.com/
Catch ’em all here: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/i-crochet-things

Pokéball Hat: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pokemon-ball-mod-beanie–slouch 

Super Cute Pikachu Amigurumi: http://www.sabrinasomers.com/free-amigurumi-crochet-pattern-pikachu.php

Another Super Cute Pikachu Amigurumi: http://bizzycrochet.blogspot.ca/2007/01/pokemon-look-alike-pikachu.html

Pikachu Hat: http://yarnwars.com/free-patterns-created-yarnwars/free-pokemon-pikachu-inspired-hat-crochet-pattern/

Collect all kinds of Pokéballs: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pokeball-11

Warm up with a Pokéball Scarf: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pokeball-scarf

Store things in your Pokéball Bag: http://athenahandmade.blogspot.com/2013/03/pattern-poke-bag.html

More Pokémon Patterns from The Crochet Crowdhttp://thecrochetcrowd.com/crochet-pokemon-returns/



This BASIC BEANIE HAT will help you make the shell of this Pikachu hat:

I used all Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Yellow, Black, Red, and White
I used an H-5.00mm crochet hook

Ears: work in continuous rounds. Make 2
With Yellow:
Rnd 1: ch 11, sc in 2nd ch from hook and across, put 3 sc in last ch, sc on opposite side of ch, put 2 sc in last st, place st marker
Rnd 2: 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 9 sts, 2 sc in next 3 sts, 1 sc to last st, 2 sc in last st, fasten off with long tail for sewing

With black:
Row 1: Ch 5, sc in 2nd ch and across (4), ch 1, turn
Row 2: Sc in 1st st, sc2tog, sc in next st (3), ch 1, turn
Row 3: sc3tog, sc around entire piece, fasten off with long tail for sewing.
Triangle made.
Sew black triangle to yellow piece at top.

Embroider nose and mouth on hat

Eyes: (Make 2)
With black: ch 2, 10 HDC in 2nd ch from hook. Sl st to 1st st, fasten off with long tail for sewing.
Embroider white dots in eyes for effect.

Cheeks: (Make 2)
With Red: Ch 2, 10 HDC in 2nd ch from hook. Sl st to 1st st, fasten off with long tail for sewing.

Sew all embellishments to basic beanie hat made in yellow.

Now you can play Pokémon Go in style!!