How to Shop for Quality Yarns Online
Buying quality yarn online for your next project is easier than you might think. Once you know what to look for and where to look for it, you’ll easily add those must-haves, that you can’t get at your local yarn store, to your yarn-stash.
In this article we’ll give you all the tips you need to make buying quality yarn online a cinch, starting with what you need to do before you choose or buy the yarn.
Before you start looking for yarn online
Because there is such a great variety of yarns online to choose from, it’s best to have a good idea what you’re looking for before you go online and start browsing.
What are you going to make?
First, ask yourself if you already know what you’re going to make – for example, do you already have a pattern, or do you need to shop for that as well?
If you already have a pattern, you’ll know:
- What type of yarn you’ll need
- What weight of yarn you’ll need
- Which colors you have in mind for your project.
Tip: If you already own some of the yarn that you’d like to use, you can make a swatch to see if your gauge is correct for the pattern before you buy more of it.
When you know what the yarn should be made of – wool, cotton, bamboo, synthetics, etc. – you’ll also be able to narrow down the places that you can look for yarn for your project.
For example, if you need a pure cotton yarn, you won’t look at indie dyers or manufacturers who specialize in dyeing only wool. However, those that work with a variety of fibers can be browsed.
The same goes for deciding to use natural fibers instead of synthetics. In this case, you won’t be looking at synthetic yarns, but will narrow your focus to natural yarns and yarn blends.
What is your budget?
Establishing what your budget is beforehand, can help you not to spend too much money when you do go to buy yarn (which, let’s face it, is all too easy to do!). This will also narrow down the places and manufacturers or indie dyers where you can look for yarn.
When you go online to buy the yarn
Now that you have a good idea of the yarn that you’ll need for your project, you can head online to do some research.
Do your research
First, do some research to find the best site where you can get exactly the yarn that you want and the quantity that you need – for example a sweater-quantity of yarn, enough for a blanket, or just a skein for some socks or mittens.
At this time, you can also check how much shipping will cost you and how long the yarn will take to reach you. This is quite important if you’re working towards a deadline and want to use yarn that is specifically dyed for you by an indie dyer, for example.
If you’re still unsure, ask for advice from others
If you’re doing yarn substitution, asking what others have used is always a good idea. You can also ask other yarnies what they think of a specific yarn or brand of yarn if this is the first time that you’re thinking of buying it. They’ll be able to tell you more about the texture and what it’s like to work with, for example. Other yarnies may also know of a better substitution yarn that you could try for your pattern.
The same goes for whether the advertised color is really the color that you receive or whether the color on the website is a bit off.
Be on the lookout for discounts
One of the great things about shopping online is that you can look around for sales or clearance stock or look for yarn that is being discounted because of a knit or crochet along that is taking place.
You’ll also often find certain types of yarn being put on sale online according to the season. While summer yarns are being discounted slightly, winter yarns may be placed in clearance and you can find some great deals on yarns you would otherwise not have been able to afford on the budget that you set aside.
If you knit or crochet toys (and do amigurumi), you may find that the summer sales on cotton and bamboo yarns are perfect for stocking up on the colors that you use often.
- Make sure that you also buy any needles, hooks, interchangeable knitting needle cables, and notions that you need at the same time as you buy the yarn. This will help you to save on shipping as well as let you start your project right away.
- Don’t just buy yarn to fill your yarn stash with – even if it is a very good price. Rather shop around for quality yarns that you know that you will use in the future.
Use trusted, secured sites when you buy your yarn
Finally, when you buy your yarn, make sure that you only buy from trusted and secured sites. Sites like Etsy, Love Crafts, KnitPicks, and Amazon are safe to buy from, as well as other large retailers.
The indie dyers that we know of – for example those on Shopify – also make sure that they have safeguards in place so that you can shop safely. Still, it’s always good to double check a site’s security before you check out.
Do you have any other tips for us? Tell us in the comments or over on our Facebook Group!