How to Budget for Yarn Purchases

Do you budget for yarn – or does your yarn spending feel out of control at times? Have you put yourself on a yarn diet only to break it after a month? Whether you’re on a limited income, or you’re just ready to cut back on your yarn spending, this post will guide you through some helpful tips so you can get that yarn spending under control.

 

Budget for yarn - Tips on how to stop spending and get spending and get that yarn stash under control.

 

Budget for Yarn Purchases

 

 

If you budget for yarn, kudos to you! But if you’re an impulse yarn shopper (like me) you can end up with a small yarn shop in your basement (like me!) Here are some examples and how they can be avoided.

Scenario 1

 

It’s getting close to Christmas. You “run” to the craft store and buy a ton of yarn because one trip will save you time. You rationalize this by saying you’ll just return whatever you don’t use. Here’s the problem with this scenario. Chances are you’re not going to return the unused yarn….trust me, I know!

Once you’ve spent some time getting prepared for your holiday gift making and you have your to-make list created, then you can start to work on the budgeting process. If you can plan what you’re making ahead of time then you’ll be able to save more than if you just wing it with each gift. Here’s an example: If you’re know you’re going to make scarves for 4 people on your list, consider the following.

Ways to Save

  • Same pattern – Only buy one scarf pattern and use different colors for each recipient. Different color(s) can give something a completely different look.
  • Same yarn – If you are making a scarf for one person and a pair of mittens for the next you may be able to share skeins. If the hat needs 1.5 skeins and and the mittens need half a skein you could use the same yarn and only buy 2 skeins instead of 3.

 

 

Scenario 2

 

You’re working on a project and you run out of the yarn you’re using. Again, you “run” to the craft store for another one. While you’re there you just have to wander the yarn aisles to look at what else they may have (because it’s changed so much in the past week! LOL). While perusing you notice there’s a yarn you’ve never used on sale. You decide to buy 5 skeins because it’s pretty and you’ll find a use for it. Or maybe you just buy one skein so you can test it out and see if you like it. Either way, the majority of the time it ends up sitting in a bucket for a very long time before you find a use for it.

Ways to Save

  • Make a shopping list – Before you leave your house make a list – both brand and color – of the yarn you will be purchasing.
  • Don’t look around – As tempting as it is to browse, don’t do it. It’s temptation and you will ultimately find yourself making a purchase you weren’t planning on making.
  • Purchase online – Don’t even go into the stores. Wait for free shipping coupons and buy your yarn online. You’re less likely to make unplanned purchases.

 

 

Budget for Yarn – Just do it!

 

Either scenario is ultimately a battle of your willpower, but you can do it! With a bit of intentional planning you will end up with far less yarn laying around at the end of the year.

If you have that small yarn store in your basement, and just buy new yarn for projects instead of using what you already have, here are 4 Easy Steps to help you organize your yarn stash.

 

Happy Crocheting!

Read More

My Top 5 Yarns Dream List Roundup

Do you every build dream lists? Things you’d love to buy someday. I have one many of those kinds of lists. One of them is a dream board of yarns I would someday love to design patterns with. I decided to pick my top 5 yarns and make it into a Friday Five roundup to share with all my yarn loving friends.

 

My Top 5 Craftsy Yarns Dream List Roundup - Wish list for yarns I would love to design with this year.

 

My Top 5 Yarns
Craftsy Dream List

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love!

 

It was hard to narrow it down to just 5….so hard! I love yarn and my “someday” list is long. So I added some guidelines to make it easier to pick just 5. I picked 5 companies I have never purchased any yarn from before. then I picked 1 skein/hank from each of those companies. My goal is to design something with each of these yarns this year.


Cascade Ultra Pima
 (1) – I am starting to work with cotton again, and this just sounds like exactly what I’ve always wanted in my cotton yarn.

Rowan Truesilk (2) – It has sheen, and it’s silk. Sounds & looks amazing!

Cloudborn Highland Worsted Semi Solids (3) – Semi solids….just the thought makes me smile. Just a hint of color change to peak my interest.

Artyarns Exclusive Milano Fade (4) – All I can think of when I see this is, I wish I had found this before I designed my Gray Skies Gradient Shawl…

Madelinetosh Tosh DK (5) – I’ve done tech editing for quiet a few patterns that have used this yarn, and every time I get my hands on a project that has used it all I can think is….Someday I’m going to try this yarn!

 

Do you have a dream board or wish list of yarn? What kind of yarn would you love to purchase and try?

Be on the lookout for more Craftsy favorites because I have online classes and kits to share in the coming weeks.

 

Happy Crocheting!

Read More

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns

Most of us use every day, “over the counter” yarns for our projects. I personally love craft stores – the yarn section in particular. But every once in a while I have the urge to splurge. That’s when I go to a LYS (that isn’t so local). My favorite LYS is Patternworks in NH – which is about 3 hrs from here.

I thought it would be fun to dream for a change. So I did some research to find out, if money were no object, what is the most expensive yarn money could buy? You might be surprised at the fiber content of some of these.

I compared everything in yards (weight just varies too much) and then I converted all the yards as close to 200 yds as I could come so it was easy to see the price differences.

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns

 


The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns - #1 Vicuna

Vicuna by Jacques Cartier (link is to Paradise Fibers which is a supplier)

Price: $299.75 for 218 yds.

Fiber content & Description: A relative of the llama, “Vicuna is one of two wild South American camelids which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes.”

Note: From all my research, Vicuna is considered the world’s most expensive yarn.

 

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns - Cloud

Cloud Super Chunky Merino Wool by Manoush

Price: $32 for 30 yds (doing the math to even it out that’s $224 for 210 yards)

Fiber Content & Description: Super chunky, Super soft – 100% superior merino wool is “volumes of chunky superfine merino wool fibers that have been spun together to resemble fluffy clouds.”

 

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns - Pudgy

Pudgy by Manoush

Price: $198 for 200 yds.

Fiber Content & Description: Huge Super Chunky & Super Bulky 100% Merino Wool -” spun with volumes of superior merino wool fibers.”

 

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns - Qiviut

Qiviut

Price: $108 for 217.5 yds

Fiber content & Description: Muskox also called qiviut (kiv-ee-ute) in the Eskimo language, is considered one of the warmest and most luxurious fibers in the world.

 

 

The 5 Most Expensive Luxury Yarns

Koigu Kersti Cashmere

Price: $259.99 for 570 yds (or $104 for 228 yds).

Fiber Content & Description: 100% cashmere – the ultimate in color, softness and luxury.

 

Would you add any of these to your dream list?

 

Happy Crocheting!

Read More

Organize Your Yarn Stash in 4 Easy Steps

Are you overwhelmed by your yarn stash? Do you feel like you have yarn everywhere? Do you find yourself buying more yarn for your next project because you have no idea where you put the yarn you think you could use? Block off a day (or two or three if you have a larger stash) and we can work through this together.

**Disclaimer** – I have been hoarding collecting yarn for about 15 years. Please be kind and try not to judge my pictures. I’m trying to get better and it took a lot for me to be honest and put myself out there with these photos so that maybe I can help someone else. 

 

How to Organize Your Yarn Stash in 4 Easy Steps

 

I’ve been overwhelmed for a long time. At the end of 2011 I set out to Organize My Yarn Stash and then proceeded to put myself on a Yarn Diet. That didn’t go so well because 10 months later I wrote the post Yarn Diet….FAIL! I think every year since I have posted that I’m not buying any new yarn. I realized that 2015 was the first year I stuck to my yarn diet – about 85% of the time. (Re-reading those posts I’ve also realized my blogging has evolved and I’ve come a long way.)

While I haven’t had 100% success, most of the yarn I did purchase was specifically for orders. 2015 was the closest I have come to succeeding, so I took a long hard look at what got me there. First you need discipline, but that’s a whole other blog post. What I’m going to cover is how to get your yarn stash organized in such a way that it will make sense. When you do that, you’ll easily be able to know what you already have, or find what I was looking for.

 

How to Organize Your Yarn Stash

in 4 Easy Steps

 

Last fall my hubby went on a fishing trip with a friend for a week. I decided that was the perfect time to re-organize my stash once and for all, in such a way that I would be able to find what I needed, when I needed it. I had a week, so I embarked on a mission. I knew I needed more than one day to do it right, so I buckled down for 3 days and set out to surprise him when he returned. You will need 1-3 days depending on the amount of yarn hiding in your house.

  • Gather and put all your yarn in one place – Yes, you read that right. Pull out every skein, hank, and ball of yarn you can find. I would even recommend pulling UFO’s out and putting them in the pile as well. By putting it all in one spot you will have a better idea of how much you really own (you might even be scared like I was). You can see from the pics below that some of mine was in buckets from the last time I tried to do this.

 

Organize Your Yarn Stash in 4 Easy Steps

 

  • Sort it into 3 sections. You will need to decided what you want to keep, what you can donate, and if there is anything you want to sell. When I did this I donated a 40 gal. garbage bag to a charity group and I gave a humongous box to a friend that was in need of some yarn.
  • Organize to make it easy to find later. Decide how best to organize your stash. How you would look for it? What makes the most sense to you? (color, weight, brand) Do you search for colors and not necessarily care if you use different brands? Do you look for a specific weight yarn and then begin searching for colors that would look good together? Do you usually know what brand yarn you want and then decided on color and/or weight? Do this according to what makes the most sense to you. Whichever way you choose, you will then need to sort all the yarn based on the option you’ve chosen.
  • Label each clear bucket for storage. – I’m going to recommend clear buckets for this. It’s easy to see what’s inside and they stack neatly on top of each other. Then buy some labels (or use masking tape) and label your buckets the way you sorted them. I decided to separate mine by weight. I ended up having enough worsted weight that I also sorted those by brand. (Example: Some of my buckets are labeled #4 Hobby Lobby, or #4 Red Heart). If you have a lot you may even want to stack them based on weight/color, etc.

 

How to Organize Your Yarn Stash in 4 Easy Steps

 

TIP: It’s ideal if you can go through your stash once a year. If you’re good about keeping it neat and organized you can skip step 1.

 

The whole point of this is to be able to find it later. If you don’t sort it and label it in a way that makes sense to you, it will just end up all over the place or unorganized again (like it did for me so many other times). What is your best yarn stash organization tip?

 

Happy Crocheting!

 

 

Read More

5 Tips for Choosing a Yarn Substitution

Let’s face it. We’ve all seen the perfect pattern. It looks amazing in the photo and you just need to make that! Once you choose the pattern, you may go searching for the yarn that was recommended only to find:

a) you may not have a LYS (Local Yarn Shop), or they may not carry the yarn you’re looking for; b) maybe you can’t afford the specific yarn that is recommended at this time.

5 Tips for Yarn Substitution

Have no fear! You can substitute the yarn for something more local, or cost effective. Below are a few things you will want to take into consideration before just buying a different yarn.

  • Yarn Weight – What is the weight of the yarn that the project calls for?

Almost all yarns are now categorized by a weight number from #1 – #6 (and I just saw a sneak peek of a #7 coming out!). I believe worsted weight#4 is the most commonly used, but #3 is used for many baby items, shawls, etc; while #5 and #6 are bulky and great for seasonal items. Keeping to the same weight that is called for will be a good beginning point for finding an alternative replacement, but keep in mind brands may very slightly. For more information on making sure you have enough yarn for your project, or help reading a yarn label, please read my article Tips for Substituting Yarn. Also, PlanetJune did an excellent article about size variations even in the same weight yarns. Click here to read her article: Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison.

  • Gauge – What is the yarn’s gauge?

The gauge of the yarn determines how many stitches and rows fit into a 4″ square. Many yarn labels will give you this information. You will want to stick to a yarn that has the same gauge as the gauge given for the project. NOTE: You will want to double check your personal gauge before beginning your project to make sure your gauge matches the designers. For more information on why gauge is important, please read my post: Is Crochet Gauge Important?

  • Fiber Content – What is the yarn’s fiber content? Wool? Acrylic? Cotton?

Depending on the project you may be able to use a different fiber yarn but consider the following. How will the fabric drape if you use something different? (ex: there is a big difference in the way something silk drapes vs. the way something wool drapes) You also need to consider the recipient. Do they have a wool or acrylic allergy?

  • Color – Are you sticking with the color used in the sample project? Or did you have another color in mind?

What about switching a solid color to a variegated? Many times this is fine, but pay attention to the stitches used. Shells, cables, or textured stitches will generally lose their visual appeal when you use a variegated yarn. Work up a swatch to see what the end result will look like before making the entire project.

  • Texture – Consider what the finished project will look like with a different texture yarn.

There are so many yarn options now that this one may be hard. There are ribbon, loopy, fur, chenille, and so many more. Try to visualize what your project will look like with a different texture yarn. Also, think of the recipient. (Ex: you won’t want to use a fur yarn for a baby blanket because babies put things in their mouth and they could choke on the fur that comes loose.)

All these will play a part in how your finished project will look. Many times substituting with a different yarn is fine, but it may change the finished look of the project. Always do a sample swatch to make sure you will be happy with the results.

Happy Crocheting!

 

Read More

Tips for Substituting Yarn

Have you ever seen a crochet pattern and fell in love with the photo? Shortly after you realize either a) you can’t find the yarn locally, or b) you can’t afford that particular yarn? Here are some tips to help you when substituting yarn so that you can still create a project that looks like the one in the photograph.

1) Yarn weight – A good rule of thumb is to stick with the same weight yarn that the pattern calls for. Especially if you are making a garment!

2) Gauge – After choosing a yarn, even if it is within the same weight category, swatch out the pattern and make sure the gauge will match the designer’s gauge. Adjust your hook accordingly, and make sure your yarn will give you the results you’re looking for.

3) Yardage – Calculate the yardage needed from the supplies list, then make sure you buy the same amount of yards in your new choice of yarn. NOTE: Just because you use the same yarn called for in the pattern, does not necessarily mean you will get the same amount of yards. Below is a photo I took using the same yarn I had used on a project before, only this time I purchased a different color. Needless to say I had to go back and purchase more skeins.

 Substituting Yarn

Left Label: Bernat Softee Chunky #6 – 3.5 oz. 108 yds.

Middle Label: Lion Brand Hometown USA #6 – 5 oz. 81 yds. (color: Oakland Black)

Right Label: Lion Brand Hometown USA #6 – 4 oz. 64 yds. (color: Neon Pink)

While all 3 skeins were #6 Super Bulky, the label on the left was the smallest with only 3.5 ounces, but it had the longest yardage! The right 2 labels were the same yarn, but different colors had different amounts.

Check these 3 things before starting your project to avoid issues arising half way through, or worse yet when you’re almost done! For more information on using a differnt brand yarn, read my 5 Tips for Choosing a Yarn Substitution.

Happy Crocheting!

Read More