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The 10 Best Ways to Buy Yarn for Knitting or Crocheting Projects

Updated on December 7, 2015

Buy Your Yarn in the Best Way!

Depending on how quickly you become an advanced knitter, you will need a yarn stash specific to your needs.
Depending on how quickly you become an advanced knitter, you will need a yarn stash specific to your needs. | Source

This article will go into more detail about which yarn to use for which type of project. For example, if you are a beginner, basic yarn is recommended, because it is easier to work with and learn from. Determining which type of yarn you need depends on what project you are working on. So, both skill and project type are factors in choosing the right kind of yarn.


 If you can knit items that are more complicated than just a square or rectangle, you are probably no longer a beginner.
If you can knit items that are more complicated than just a square or rectangle, you are probably no longer a beginner. | Source

The Yarn You Will Need for Your Knitting Project

In order to know what kind of yarn to buy and how you want to build up your yarn stash, you need to determine what the main reason you want or need yarn. By figuring out what projects you will be focused on, you can establish which kind of yarn you will need and use the most.

The following table will examine the various yarn types, which weight or ply is associated with each yarn type, and what projects you can do given the yarn you pick out. Inversely, depending on what projects you have a passion to knit; this chart will help you find out what yarn you need to purchase.

What Yarn Do You Need for Each Project?

Yarn Type
Weight (Ply)
Projects
Lace or Cobweb
0
Lace projects like doilies
Fingering or Baby
1
Lace projects or socks
Fine or Sport
2
Baby items, thin sweaters, accessories
Worsted, DK or Aran
3 or 4
Scarves, Hats, Mittens, Sweaters, Blankets
Bulky or Chunky
5 or 6
Rugs, blankets, heavy sweaters
This table can further be broken down into light, medium, and heavy worsted weight yarn. This can also further narrow down the projects you create with each type of yarn.
Build your yarn collection in the best way possible.
Build your yarn collection in the best way possible. | Source

Building a Yarn Collection

Part of building the perfect yarn collection is deciding what colors you want to use for your projects. This can be determinant on who you are making what project for. For example, manly colors may be green and blue, while girly colors may be pink, purple, and red. You should decide what you are going to make.

What kind of projects do you know how to do? Who do you want to give your finished projects to? How much leisure money do you have to spend on this hobby? How much yarn do you think you will need, and how much room do you have to store your yarn collection?

How advanced of a knitter are you?

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There are so many ways to store yarn. Of course, there are the traditional ways of storing them in yarn totes or yarn baskets. Pinterest and other websites now feature a huge variety of unique storage ideas for yarn today! I would like to expand upon all of the ways you can store your yarn in another article. For now, if you are just starting out, you can use a basket. If you don’t have a fancy one, you can always use a laundry basket until you find something pretty that you love!

Decide your projects, favorite colors or the colors needed for the projects you wish to do, how you are going to store your yarn in the most efficient manner, and how much yarn you need. You can also determine alternatives to yarn weights and types to find the yarn that is just right for you.

Once you have answered these questions in your mind, you will have a better idea of what kind of yarn you will want to buy, how much you can spend, and what kind of yarn collections you will want to build. By figuring out the details to all of these things, you can effectively buy yarn in the best way.

When considering how much yarn you wish to buy for your collection, ensure that you have the storage space you need to store the yarn in a useful manner. Also, make sure any roommates you may have do not mind you bringing this new hobby into your joint living space.

My Favorite Type of Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver – Worsted Weight Yarn

My favorite and least expensive yarn - the yarn I learned on!
My favorite and least expensive yarn - the yarn I learned on! | Source

How much yarn you will need based on your skill level

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Red Heart yarn has always been my favorite. Since the times that I have done crafts in my life were times when money was tight, I found plain worsted weight yarn to be the cheapest. I never stuck with knitting enough in the beginning to become an advanced knitter either, so to me, worsted weight or 100% Acrylic weight is the easiest to work with.

Some of the features I love about worsted weight, especially Red Heart (see the link at the bottom of this article to connect to their website or pull it up on your phone to download their iPhone application which has hundreds of free patterns), are the price, the selection, the ease of use, and the availability. I would strongly recommend Red Heart for those of you who are beginners, because it is simple to use. Of course, as you move on to more complicated projects, you may wish to try a softer yarn or a different fiber, depending on the project you are trying to master.

Nearly every craft store I have ever been to has carried this brand of yarn. However, Hobby Lobby has recently changed from Red Heart to their own generic brand of worsted weight. It is called Crafter’s Secret and is about the same price as Red Heart, but of course the colors are a bit different, making it difficult to stock up on a color when you run out mid-project if Hobby Lobby is closed since they are the only ones who carry it.

Where to Store Your Yarn Collection

There are many traditional and unique ways to store your yarn. The questions you must ask yourself before picking which method of yarn storage to use are:

1. Do you have a huge variety of colors?

2. Do you like to have the types of yarn to be separate when storing them?

3. What method of storage would make logical sense for your living or storage space?

Store your yarn where it best suits you. Where can you find it the easiest?
Store your yarn where it best suits you. Where can you find it the easiest? | Source

Here are some other ways to look into ways that you can store your yarn collection:

1. WHO might get into your yarn stash? Answer: your spouse, kids, family, or pets?

2. WHERE can you buy yarn storage containers? Answer: Hobby Lobby, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, or Big Lots. Big Lots is where I bought my storage shelves at a very low price.

3. WHY do you need to store your yarn stash? Answer: to keep dust off your yarn skeins, to keep bugs out of your yarn stash, to help your pets not get into trouble by playing with your yarn and making it nearly impossible to use in the future, and to avoid clutter.

5. HOW you plan to store your yarn collection depends on what? Answer: (a) how often you use your yarn, (b) whether you need it within reach at all times, (c) when you need access to your yarn stash, (d) how much room you have in your home and how much yarn you have to store, and (e) the reasons you are needing to store your yarn rather than keep it in a storage tote.

6. WHEN should you organize your yarn collection? Answer: When you have more than a backpack, bag, or basket full of yarn; when the room for yarn is getting tight.

7. WHAT are some of the basic ways to organize your yarn stash? Answer: Plastic containers, shelves, a storage trunk, canvas boxes, canvas shoe or purse hanging container for the closet, baskets, drawers (plastic, wood, or canvas), or a yarn storage tote.

Make your yarn collection beautiful!
Make your yarn collection beautiful! | Source

Buying Yarn for Your Yarn Collection

Growing a great yarn stash is a fun accomplishment! You may live in a remote area to where you have travel quite a distance just to buy yarn. For example, I once lived on Mountain Home Air Force Base. At that time, the small city of Mountain Home, Idaho, was actually 60 miles away from the Air Force Base. Even the city did not have a major store like Walmart. They had a very small K-Mart. The nearest city with a Walmart and probably several other craft stores was Boise, which was 120 miles away from my home.

Because I can relate to the distance issue, I would like to point out ways you can purchase yarn on the Internet. I’d also like to show you ways that you can buy or inherit craft supplies like yarn without traveling far. Finally, of course, I would like to go over the various ways you can buy yarn at nationwide stores and chain stores.

This chart will put the yarn sources in order by expense with the cheapest ways to buy yarn up first. That is the sorting order. Of course, depending on the market and whatever sales are going on, the items on this chart could move up or down a notch or two. However, in general, this chart should be pretty accurate, at least based on my experience.

Sources Where You Can Purchase Yarn

Where can you buy the yarn you need?
Where can you buy the yarn you need? | Source

This table will provide the name of the yarn source, the prices associated with this yarn source, the quality of the yarn provided from this yarn source, and the location where you can buy the yarn from this yarn source. The table will be sorted in price order with the cheapest on top; however, keep in mind that these are estimates, so with research you may find that one yarn source needs to be adjusted on the table.

10 Ways to Buy Yarn for Your Yarn Collection

Yarn Source
Prices
Quality
Location
Hand Me Downs
Free
Depends on Source
Various
Craigslist
Very Low
Various
Usually a Local Seller
Garage or Estate Sale
Very Low
Various/Often Low
Typically Very Local
eBay
Low to Medium
Depends on Listing
Internet
Supercenter Walmart
Low
Decent/Varied
Usually Several per City
Hobby Lobby
Variety
Depends on Yarn Type
Often Many per City
Michael's Craft Store
Medium to High
Depends on Yarn Type
Typically at Least 1 per City
Amazon
A Bit Higher than Normal
Brand New
Internet
Online Yarn Store
Medium to High
Usually Higher than Normal
Online
Local Yarn Store
Usually Pretty High
Typically the Highest Quality
1 or More in Your City

The Ten Best Ways to Buy Yarn for Your Yarn Collection

1. eBay

An example of an eBay posting
An example of an eBay posting | Source

Often you can search for huge lots of yarn and find excellent deals. You can quickly build up your yarn stash using eBay. Typically, to find these good deals, you should use the words, “Huge Lot.” Many people do estate sales or just decide to get rid of their unused or unwanted yarn, so they sell a ton of old yarn at a discounted price.

This is a great place to buy a big box of hundreds of balls of yarn or hundreds of skeins of yarn at a discounted price. When it gets shipped to you, if you find some trashy yarn or yarn that is out of your league that you don’t want or don’t know how to use, just sell it on Craigslist or donate it.

I have often found awesome deals on eBay at a very low price. There is nothing better than getting a box of yarn in the mail! This is one of my favorite places to buy yarn. I just check eBay every now and then to see if there are any new lots of yarn for sale.

eBay has lots of filters that can help you find exactly what you are looking for, and each day new items arrive. Therefore, if you are looking for something in particular, you could check eBay daily to find out if a posting matches your wants and needs.

I typically narrow down my search by categories, subcategories, specific attributes, condition, price, format (auction or buy it now), and location, which I did not used to care about until I had the disappointing experience with the buyer from China, who I had contacted numerous times and still never received the product nor a refund. eBay was no help in this situation either. Therefore, my suggestion would be to purchase locally (in the United States).

2. Amazon

Example of a Listing on Amazon
Example of a Listing on Amazon | Source

This website also sells a variety of yarn, but they do not sell used yarn. They also do not usually sell in bulk. However, often they have very low prices, and if you sign up for Amazon Prime, you are eligible for many benefits including free shipping when you purchase items through Amazon.

You are also able to purchase used or new items from other sellers, but you do want to be careful when doing this. For one, a purchase from a buyer overseas can take a long time. In fact, I ordered something, and for months tried to resolve the issue, and I never received my product or a refund, because I purchased from China. I had contacted numerous times and still never received the product nor a refund. eBay was no help in this situation either. Therefore, my suggestion would be to purchase locally (in the United States).

One caution I would also suggest is to view the percentage the buyer has (AKA the rating, such as, 98%). If they have a score lower than 90%, you may want to read some of their negative reviews to see why some people voted them low. If the issues were uncalled for, then you can confidently purchase the item from that buyer. However, if you see a low percentage rate and read many negative reviews that are repetitive in their complaints, you may not want to risk purchasing from that buyer.

A final caution I would offer when purchasing from Amazon is to review the item’s description and details to ensure you are purchasing what you actually want or need. For example, check the status of the item. How used is it? When I purchase books, I ensure that I get “Like New” or “New” books, because I like to highlight and make notes in the margins.

If I were to purchase a used book, I would not know what to expect when it arrived. I would be very disappointed if I did not receive the book in the condition that was listed in the posting. Usually, you can resolve these types of issues with Amazon or the buyer, but often it just is not worth it, so read the description carefully.

3. Garage Sales and Estate Sales

Here is a listing I found about a garage sale nearby selling yarn.
Here is a listing I found about a garage sale nearby selling yarn. | Source

An estate sale usually occurs when a relative dies. Usually the relative is older and often participated in craft projects before passing away. When attending estate sales, the remaining relatives may sell items at a discount as they just wish to get rid of it so that they can move on and grieve in their own way.

Often, huge lots of yarn are available at estate sales along with accessories. I have found many children who did not understand what the needlework materials and tools were worth and had them marked way down. Some sell their inherited craft items on Craigslist, which is nice because you get a better view of what exactly they have without driving around town. Some Craigslist estate sellers list out what they plan to sell. ew” books, because I like to highlight and make notes in the margins.

Another way to find garage sales is just to take a stroll around your neighborhood or area and look for signs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Another way to find garage sales is just to take a stroll around your neighborhood or area and look for signs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. | Source

Since most people just want to get rid of the stuff their ancestors left that is of no sentimental value to them, they will sell vintage yarn and knitting supplies at a huge discount. For one, they may not have any use for the craft items that were left for them. For two, they may just want them out of them possession due to the memories that the crafts bring back to them, which just prolongs their grief.

Finally, if you don’t know what is for sale at an estate sale, you may just want to drive by and check it out. They could have just run out of time when listing items in the Craigslist post, and by going in person, you could find your dream stash at a very reasonable price! llers list out what they plan to sell. ew” books, because I like to highlight and make notes in the margins.

4. Supercenter Walmart

Picture of a purchase from Walmart (online).
Picture of a purchase from Walmart (online). | Source

I must say that Walmart supercenter stores usually have several isles of crafts and yarn, including knitting supplies. Since Hobby Lobby no longer carries worsted weighted red heart, it is great that Walmart still carries it.

Usually, these red heart yarns are full of the best prices around. They also often have huge clearance prices on all of their crafts. They carry a lot of chunky yarns that have prices that you cannot beat anywhere else. I would honestly say that Walmart has the best prices for yarn; the trick is to find the yarn you need and to ensure they have it on hand. t a very reasonable price! llers list out what they plan to sell. ew” books, because I like to highlight and make notes in the margins.

You can order the yarn you need online through Walmart’s website or you can pick it out off their website and have it brought to your local store. Then, you can go pick it up at your convenience. You may have to shop at more than one Walmart supercenter when looking for a specific yarn, because they often have different yarn brands and colors, but you can call ahead to ensure they will hold the yarn you want until you can get there to pick it up.

5. Knit Picks (Online Store)

Website for Knit Picks
Website for Knit Picks | Source

Knit Picks has free knitting patterns and they sell a variety of knitting tools:

  • knitting needles
  • crochet hooks
  • needlework patterns
  • eBooks
  • other books
  • tools
  • tutorials

In the yarn section, there are hundreds of colors to choose from, and they are very beautiful. They also have:

  1. Pattern Kits - choose a pattern, customize what colors of yarn you want, and save 20% on yarn!
  2. Learning How to Knit Kits
  3. Project Kits - bundles of yarn, equipment needed, books, tools, and more!
  4. Crochet Kits
  5. Sampler Kits - these save you money and gives you a chance to try out some colors to see if you want to buy more.

6. Hand Me Downs (Inheritance or Gifts from Relatives or Friends)

Sometimes the best yarn collections start as a gift from a loved one!
Sometimes the best yarn collections start as a gift from a loved one! | Source

This is how I began my yarn collection. My great aunt passed away and loved all kinds of crafts, so I was given her huge yarn collection. Of course, I did weed through it to make sure that I could actually use what was given to me. I then organized it so that I could find the color I needed when I needed it.

Always show appreciation when someone gives you something for free, even if they don't really care about the yarn anymore. It is the thought that counts and you are now supplying your craft closet or room with free merchandise so that is something to be thankful for.

Another benefit of receiving yarn from someone special is that when you use the yarn, you can think about them fondly. You can also appreciate the gift they have given you as you create beautiful projects.

7. Craigslist

I have had much success in building my yarn collection with Craigslist.
I have had much success in building my yarn collection with Craigslist. | Source

My Experience: Buying yarn on Craigslist goes the same way as selling. I recently bought about 90 full brand new skeins of yarn (my favorite brands and colors too!) or only $45. Of course, I had to put together huge batches I will need to sell on Craigslist now, because I don’t have room for the new yarn and the old yarn, but it will sell fast!

Sell the yarn you do not think you will use or ones you do not like onto Craigslist. Knitters view yarn like catnip. When I have sold some of my unused yarn, I have gotten responses right away, and the yarn sells super fast!

Little Helpful Tips

Don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions to a buyer to ensure you aren't wasting your gas driving to view the yarn! Always take a friend, let someone know where you will be and for how long, or meet in a public place. Read more online about how to be safe when shopping on Craigslist!

The Best Way to Search Craigslist

Finding yarn or knitting supplies on Craigslist is super easy. Here are some tips:

  • Search for the keywords "knitting" and in a different search "yarn" (or try crafts - use your imagination)
  • Stay within a location you are comfortable to drive (think about the cost of gas) and always be safe when meeting someone you do not know!
  • Examine the merchandise before handing over any cash. Does it smell like smoke or moth balls? Is there animal hair everywhere? Is it just scraps that you can't use? Did the picture/s misrepresent the product? Are there bugs or cobwebs?
  • Use your best judgement when it comes to price, but my recommendation is to not spend more than $1.00 per full skein of yarn. I would consider a small to medium ball of yarn as half of a skein.

8. Hobby Lobby Craft Store

One of my favorite stores to shop around for knitting supplies and general household decor!
One of my favorite stores to shop around for knitting supplies and general household decor! | Source

Hobby Lobby will have yarn you can use! They have a huge variety - anything from fancy yarn, baby yarn, to cheap worsted weight yarn. Don't forget to pull up the Hobby Lobby app or website on the Internet when checking out. Then, click on the "coupon" and you will save 40% off a regular priced item. If you have multiple regular priced items, you can just do separate transactions in order to get the 40% discount more than once.

Another great feature about Hobby Lobby's app or website is their weekly sale pamphlet. They often have a section of their store at 50% off. In the needlework section, they typically have a sale on certain items each week. Keep in mind that you will not receive the coupon AND the weekly discount. Begin looking at the savings each week to get a better idea of what is for sale when and learn how you can save money at this great store!

9. Michael’s Craft Store

Another great store to buy your knitting supplies!
Another great store to buy your knitting supplies! | Source

This is a great nationwide store, but I have not found that they have as much of a variety in yarn or knitting supplies as Hobby Lobby or Walmart does. I wouldn't prefer this store over the others, but if it is the closest to your home, give it a try.

Like Hobby Lobby, watch for sales, keep an eye out for new merchandise and more of a variety in their needlework department, and even consider making suggestions to the manager about what knitters would really appreciate in terms of knitting supplies. Perhaps they will begin carrying more items that are helpful to you and your needs.

10. Local Yarn Store

Go visit any local yarn or needlework shops to find a wide variety of knitting yarn or supplies!
Go visit any local yarn or needlework shops to find a wide variety of knitting yarn or supplies! | Source

Where do you shop for yarn?

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My Local Yarn Shop

The local yarn company we have here in Oklahoma is called The Gourmet Yarn Company, LLC. They have a great blog that you can read. They also offer ways to connect with other local knitters with knitting, weaving, and crocheting classes. The store also offers group and private sessions.

The online part of the store contains special deals, and you can sign up for their local newsletter. They are also on Ravelry, a huge knitting and crocheting community. One special feature of this particular store is their annual retreats and that they teach Master Kumihimo Skills!

Some of their classes are available for just $5/session like their Wild Card class which helps knitters with any projects they are currently working on. The beginning weaving class, on the other hand, costs $55/session plus the cost of yarn. So, as you can see, with this local yarn shop, the cost depends on the class you wish to use.

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    • theflirtyknitter profile image
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      Michele Kelsey 20 months ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      I am glad that you found this article to be useful. Shopping for yarn is a necessity for anyone in the needlepoint world. It is so awesome when you find a great deal on yarn! Hobby Lobby and Michael's Craft Store often have sales weekly or monthly, but if you closely keep an eye on Craigslist and eBay you can find someone selling things for an estate sale at a fraction of what it's worth. I have found my best deals that way! It sounds like we are quite like minded! :) Thanks for sharing! Michele Kelsey (theflirtyknitter)

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 20 months ago from Alberta, Canada

      Great resource article for yarn. I am a crocheter more than a knitter, and I like to visit our local second-hand store. I have found several great deals on yarn and crochet cotton. I am a spinner, so do make my own yarn from sheep wool and alpaca fiber, but sometimes the more economical acrylics are the best choice for a project. Michaels, Walmart and a local department store also get my business.