Tricoter is getting a bad rap and I feel like I should chime in. I have been seriously knitting for 15 years now and Tricoter is a mainstay in my knitting repetroire and here is why:
You need to know that knitting a sweater is going to cost more than buying one. Since you will most likely spend over $100 on yarn, here is what you get for the extra $50 bucks you might spend on Tricoter's yarn...
1. A totally custom pattern! Tricoter's knowledgable staff can take the most random request for a sweater (say "I want a vest with a zipper and I need a size 4 and I want to mix in yellows and browns") and will clearly diagramthe project, from scratch or from a similar pattern and include clear directions. This covers everything from baby blankets to hats and all items inbetween. They have books to help you see what you might want but they will always help you tweak it to get just what you need.
2. If you ever run into a problem, you can stop in for help and yes, you might have to ASK for help from someone because it is a busy place but once you engage someone there they can become your knitting guide, help you improve your skills and they will never let you make a mistake without learning why and how to fix it. In addition, you will have hours of hilarious comedy material gained from sitting around listening to the foibles of Madison park's curious characters!
3. you can sit down and TRY ENDLESS YARNS until you get the right gauge and color combination that you want. THIS IS THE ONLY STORE IN TOWN THAT LETS YOU DO THIS! Again, you will have to want to do this. They will let you buy a pattern, yarn and needles without trying the gauge but they will always encourage you to try if you show any interest in doing so. I have learned from experience that this is the best way to be happy with your final product. Always check the guage!
Tricoter also has sales with up t0 75% off at least twice a year. Since I am not rolling in dough, I usually buy most of my yarn at these sales, and fill in with occaisional skeins here and there throughout the rest of the year. As long as you bought the yarn from there, they will always help you with your patterns and ideas.
Like anything else worthwile, becoming a part of the Tricoter community takes some effort. If you want to become a better knitter, this is the best place in town.
All that said - if you want to make a baby blanket for under $30, and you already have a pattern you love - go to the Yarn Gallery in West Seattle and buy cheap acrylic yarn - babies are messy anyway!
If you want to create an heirloom - go to Tricoter!