Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Question From Reader: Yarn on the Cheap

Kenzie from punkymonkeymissions wrote:

"I just learned to crochet and decided to start doing it for missions and to make stuff for the homeless. Do you have any ideas how I can get yarn for cheap? My mom will only buy me 1 or 2 skeins a week and I ran out of my own money. Here is my blog if you want to see my scarves"
Dear Kenzie,
Thank you for visiting my blog; it's always nice to meet a reader! ... and especially one with a big heart for their local community like yourself! :)

Being on a tight budget myself, I know it can become costly to purchase yarn for our charitable projects. Fortunately, I do know of ways you can get yarn cheaply, and possibly even for free!
  1. Visit you local dollar/discount stores. Often times they'll have yarn for just a buck a skein. I was just at my local Christmas Tree store last week and even they had some for just a dollar!
  2. Join a local group, such as a CGOA Chapter. As a group that crochets for charity you can write to local yarn companies asking for "seconds" -- this is yarn is "not quite right" due to dye lot/quality control issues. Tell them of your charity and they might send you some yarn for free.
  3. Check your local paper for Estate sales. Many crocheters (and knitters) have WAY more yarn than they can use in a lifetime. This leaves family members finding it stored in many various locations in the home. When the family believe they found it all, often times they'll have a sale. (one of the founders of my Chapter recently passed away; her husband has been finding yarn everywhere--including in kitchen cabinets!)
  4. See if there is a "Freecycle" Yahoo group for your area. If there is, join the group and post that you are looking for yarn to create items for charity. Many of these freecycle groups will let you repost your request after X number of months. If a reader has yarn to give, they'll send you an email.
  5. Check the website CraigsList. I'm not a big user of the site, but do know many who have scored yarn there.
  6. Have you seen the auctions on eBay? There was a time I scored 250 pounds of chenille for a song... You might find also find bargains for yarn on Amazon. You never know, so it's worth checking repeatedly.
  7. Are you a member of the Ravelry.com community? If so, check around, as there is bound to be someone who is looking to dee-stash for a good cause.
  8. Sometimes yarn companies have a Free Yarn Giveaway ... at the moment Caron International Yarns is giving away a skein of their dreamy NaturallyCaron.com Country yarn ... go here for details; the offer will be available as long as supplies last.

Readers, do you have other ideas on where to obtain yarn on the cheap -- or possibly free? If so, please share! There may be other crocheters (and knitters) out there that want to help their local community by donating crocheted/knitted goodies too but are on a shoe-string budget. :)


robynlicious said...

I use google reader to keep up with the blogs that I read. I also use it to keep up with a few searches on craigslist I saved using an RSS feed. Here's what I did:

1. In my local cl (Chicago), I clicked on the main heading for "For Sale"

2. In the search box, I put "yarn" and chose "all for sale/wanted"

3. The url it'll give you is long, but if you copy it, you can add it to Google Reader (or whatever blog reader you use). Or you can also use that url as a bookmark, and a number will show up next it letting you know there's a post. For an example, here's mine: http://chicago.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=yarn&catAbbreviation=sss&minAsk=min&maxAsk=max

4. Whenever there is a post selling or wanting yarn, it'll show up in your reader. People give/sell yarn daily. Some of the posts are unrelated, but you won't miss out on the yarn posts you're looking for.

I also have searches saved for "spinning wheel", and a saved search for "weaving loom" scored me a table loom at an estate sale for $30! My boyfriend saves cl searches for things like tires or a specific sofa he wanted (scored a used $2,400 Room and Board sofa for $1,200).

You can use this trick on any website that offers RSS feeds. In the past I had a saved feed for a certain seller on eBay. Using RSS feeds can make searching for and monitoring particular items so much easier.

Darlene said...

Don't forget your local thrift shops,i.e. Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.

Vicki said...

Another great source is "word of mouth." Talk about your charitable crocheting; let people know you're open to accepting yarn donations. You just never know who will have yarn they want to pass on to someone who needs it. I know, it happened to me..

Anonymous said...

Our local news found out that I have been crocheting scarves for the homeless shelters in our area and ran a story and I've received some yarn donations since then. Thank you for posting my comment! Here is the link to my story if you want to see it.