When I lived in RI, there was a plethora of choices for purchasing yarn, being in the birthplace of the textile manufacturing industry, but then we retired to NC where my business has continued to grow. As my business has increased so has my desire for fine yarns. This area is very limited in the types of fibers I prefer to use. In addition, because I sell my work, I can't afford to buy yarn at retail prices. There ARE yarn stores locally, and they carry some wonderful yarns, but they are pricey and limited for my type of knitting, crocheting, felting. And so....the search began!
I WILL pour through any online store that has sales, bargain prices, discontinued yarns or colors, or specials. I receive emails from my favorites and also follow the suggestions of online friends. I WILL stop at yarn stores in my travels North (VA, RI, MA, NH) or South (SC, GA, FL), and I WILL visit all my favorites. But most of the time, I am home when I need something special.
I don't "run out" of yarn (OMG!!! my stash is almost ominous!). Most of my work utilizes multiple yarns and fibers in one item; rarely do I make something from one yarn only. And most of my work makes use of any type of yarn (except superwash). I go for color and texture, combining fibers to work together for interesting effect. But occasionally, I WANT something in particular, often discontinued yarns that I know and covet. That usually begins my search.
The first place I look is Ravelry. Many obsessive knitters (like me!) photograph their stash (not me!), and many are willing to sell or trade. So if I want a particular yarn or type/color of yarn, I begin there, scouring the pages of desired yarn. I contact those who are willing to sell the yarn I want. Many list their requested prices and shipping charges and everyone takes PayPal. And sometimes, of course ;) I find other yarn! I try to limit myself to the need of the moment (rather than the "want!") I have met only wonderful people (aren't knitters always that way?), never been stiffed, and always get what I want!
Next I go to eBay and Etsy. I do the same thing there, looking for specific yarns, but I often end up in the vendors' stores to see what else they have. I might find hand-dyed or painted treasures. No point paying shipping for just one skein of yarn, right?
OK, and THEN I start going through my favorite online links. I've signed up for emails from several of the clearing houses, so I know when they're having specials and sales. Here are my favorites:
- DBNY (Discontinued Brand Name Yarn) - They buy out yarn stores and offer deep discounts on selected manufacturers' yarns. Sign up for their mailing list - well worth it! Watch for their Sunday specials, when they often take an additional 15% off.
- Designer Yarn Sale - Be on their mailing list too - great sales every day and an occasional warehouse sale that can't be beat!
- WEBS - Beware of their shipping charges! Outrageous, but their yarns in the Closeout section and Grandpa's Garage Sale are worth looking at and sometimes even buying. I hear that their store in Northhampton MA is fabulous, but only if you can get there.
- Elann - lots of great yarns, mostly discontinued, as well as their own brand of excellent quality yarn.
- Got Yarn - lots of great yarns with sometimes good prices.
And that's it for starters. There are many more - but those are the basics. I never stop looking for yarn - bought some in France in the atelier of a weaver, some vintage yarn from the truck of a flea marketer (I isolated it and then stored it in the freezer for a week when I got it home), and from a vendor at a local street market. It was all great fun! I also have access to the creator of hand-dyed ribbons, but I need to check with her to see if she'd like me to publicize her offerings.
So enjoy the treasure hunt, for that is what it truly is - to me at least, and I venture to say, to every major knitter I know! Happy Hunting!