We’re all looking to save money on one of our favorite purchases – yarn. I’ve found a few good ways to save lots of bucks on yarn, so I’ll share them here.
The cheapest yarn is that which one can find at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and church sales. I’ve purchased many pounds of yarn this way. However, take care with a couple things when you buy yarn this way. First, check carefully for ODOR and condition. There’s no guarantee that the yarn has been stored properly or that it’s been able to avoid odor contamination from cigarette smoke or animal dander. If you’re allergic to any of these things, do a good nose check before paying. If the smell is unpleasant but the price is right, consider that you can remove any yarn labels, place the skeins in some panty hose legs, and throw it in the washing machine to remove the odor. A good helping of baking soda added to the wash cycle can work wonders. Use COLD WATER and not too much agitation. This will work for the vast majority of yarns. If the yarn is not clearly labelled and you’re unsure of the fiber content, better to steer clear of it if you will have to wash it to be in the same room with it! If the fiber can withstand the automatic dryer, throw in a fabric softner sheet to further improve the scent. ALSO, tug on a strand of the yarn to assure that it isn’t rotten. Elderly yarns that have been improperly stored will often pull apart without much resistance. Save your money by avoiding them.
Another great place for yarn bargains is online. This little computer interfaces with the entire globe and all its bargains.
Here’s a sample of $9.99 per skein yarn that you can purchase for $1 per skein:
There are various batches of yarns available at Smiley’s, some with very limited color selections, but always with greatly reduced prices. The selection changes from day to day and there is a minimum dollar amount to purchase, but great bargains can be found here.
I haven’t ordered yarn from Merle Martin in quite a while, but I got great prices and wonderful service. Best of all, the shipping costs are the actual postal rate. As far as I know, Merle has only Red Heart products and most are without labels, but she’s willing to match solids to variegateds, for instance, and is helpful in other ways. When I last ordered, I knew I needed to crochet a batch of babyghans, so I just left it to Merle to select colors for me. It’s hard to go very wrong with baby colors. I had also asked for about 6 skeins of a variegated yarn and 6 solids to accompany them. Merle did a great job matching and packaging. I’d happily order from her again. I believe these are mill ends, but there was no waste (as there often is with true mill ends) in the huge box I received from her. Find Merle at this site:
Ebay is another site where there are potential yarn bargains. However, beware. You must know what you’re purchasing ahead of time as the vendors who sell a lot of the yarn (and other craft items) are not knowledgeable about their products because they are NOT crafters and they’ve purchased huge lots from estate sales and such. They can sell cheaply because they paid so little. Another caveat about ebay is to check the cost of shipping. Many vendors will increase their shipping and handling fees to offset a low selling price. Also, be sure to check the vendor’s country before purchasing something on which you’d have to pay international rates. Few bargains there!
There are plenty of other yarn outlets online. I’ve not ordered from all of them, so I can’t vouch for their service or products. However, I’ll put in a pitch here for the LYS – that little yarn shop (or local yarn shop) that may be in your neighborhood or across town. They often have remarkable sales that trump all the ‘outlet’ values anywhere. Get on their mailing list even if you’re not a regular customer. In addition to having yummy yarns, they offer something no other yarn source has – years and years of expertise. That’s something to consider and maybe to figure into your budget. If you buy yarn from a reputable LYS and run out of yarn in the middle of a project, the yarn doesn’t perform as it should, the skeins are a tangled mess (yep, it happens), or you just can’t figure out something, they’ll likely be willing to help you – work out the problem, return the yarn, or find more in the dye lot you need.
I’d be happy to have others post here about reputable online sources of well-priced yarns. Personal recommendations are always the best.
By jd wolfe