Six Easy Ways to Save Money on Yarn

By Thursday, March 05, 2015 ,

If you ask any fiber enthusiast, they will tell you that yarn is expensive. Especially if you are looking for the really high quality goods. Here are some of my favorite ways that you can save some cash when it comes to buying yarn:

1. Coupons

Duh. If you are going to JoAnn's or Michael's, a coupon is a no brainer. If you walk into one of these stores expecting to pay full price, then you need to get your head checked out. Seriously, these chain stores are great at running deals usually 25-40% off yarn but if they aren't running those, then use a 50% off coupon and save big! Another way to save big at JoAnn's is by using your student discount card which will save you another 10% regardless of it the item is on sale or if you are using a coupon!

2. Ravelry Will trade or sell search

This is the easiest way to find reduced price yarns, especially higher end ones. Users on Ravelry will stash yarn and have the option of listing the yarn as available to trade or sell. The user can determine the price of the yarn and shipping. While some yarn is listed for a few bucks under its retail value, there are others listed for WAY less than the retail cost. You have to be careful if you are looking for yarn this way though because some are only partial skeins. Also if you are making a big project, this probably isn't the way to go because you want your skeins to have matching dye lot numbers. Some sellers do sell their yarn in bulk though. If you are only buying one skein, make sure that the price plus shipping is LESS than what you would have paid for a skein brand new. 

3. Thrift Shops

Thrift shops receive all sorts of donations, including yarn! While not every thrift shop gets yarn regularly, most tend to get it from time to time. Whenever I am out, I always check out the home goods/craft section of the shop just in case. Most of time time the yarn is cheap acrylic but I have been able to find skeins of really nice yarn too. Another point in thrift shops is that you shouldn't be afraid to ask an employee if they get yarn donations often or if they know of another location that gets a lot of yarn. That way you know where to look. Some stores get a ton of yarn. I randomly stopped at a Salvation Army in a small town about 40 minutes away from my house on the way back home for a weekend last fall and to my delight, there were two massive tables full of yarn! TWO TABLES FULL OF YARN. I talked to an employee and I learned that this location is always getting yarn donated so they sell it all for $1.00 a skein. While there was a lot of low quality, acrylic yarn on the tables, there was also some really nice stuff. I left with 40 skeins that they gave me for $30 (75 cents a skein!) The skeins I got were really nice too-I'm talking wool, silk,  and linen blends. I was in pure bliss. If you're looking for yarn on the cheap, thrift stores are a great place to look but you have to check often because inventory changes daily.

4. Garage or Yard Sales

During the warmer months, you can see garage sale signs popping up almost every weekend. These are another hit or miss way to find yarn. While not everyone is a knitter or crocheter, you are bound to come across at least one garage or yard sale that has some yarn available. Unfortunately, most yarn I have came across at these sales has been the cheap acrylic kind. However, if you search long enough (or get lucky) you will come across some wooly yarn for a fraction of the retail price. 

5. Recycle yarn from your old or thrifted sweaters.

I posted this tutorial last year on how to take apart knit sweaters to reuse the yarn. This method requires a little time, usually not more than an hour per sweater but you still need to put in a little elbow grease. When I am going through my clothes during my closet cleaning, a lot of my sweaters tend to go towards unraveling for yarn. I am also always on the lookout for nice wool or linen blend sweaters that would make great yarn. This is an amazing way to save TONS of money on yarn because you can use an old sweater you no longer wear (free) or you can spend a few bucks (no more than 5) on a thrifted sweater. Either way this saves you big bucks and gives you a lot of yarn for your money. Plus you get the added benefit of being green. 

6. Try making your own.

This is something I have never done before but it is definitely on my bucket list of skills to learn. Making your own yarn is not only an enjoyable hobby but a great way to supply your knitting or crocheting hobby. Spinning wheels are expensive but you can invest in or make you own drop spindle for a fraction of the price. If you want to make lots of yarn, a spinning wheel is the way to go. So yes, the initial investment is big but the long run savings are considerable. Plus handspan yarn is totally customizable-you get to pick how it is dyed, how thick it is spun, how many plys, etc. I personally think that handspun yarn is some of the most gorgeous yarn out there. Not to mention that you can sell your handspun yarn if you don't want to use it yourself. I will say that selling handspan yarn does go for considerably less than it should for the amount of hours that go into it but as most spinners simply enjoy the hobby it tends to not be an issue as they are still making a big profit. If you are considering starting to make your own yarn, I would definitely suggest consulting an expert and trying out some wheels before you make the plunge. I would look for a local spinning guild (yes cities have these) or check out a locally owned yarn shop. Local shops tend to have connections to other fiber enthusiasts and should be able to point you in the right direction!

Which way do you think you can get the most yarn for your buck?