Where to buy unusual yarns for knitting
Here are the best places to find that unusual yarn for knittingSometimes you want to break out of your regular old worsted weight routine and play with something different – some different textures and colors and maybe even functions. Sometimes you have a specific project which needs just the right yarn, but you can’t find it at your usual craft haunts. Here are some ideas for where to look for that elusive perfect and unique ball of fuzzy happiness.
To the Internet!
The internet, of course, has everything. It’s great for browsing, and also great for hunting down something very specific. A good online craft store will offer a wide variety of interesting yarns for just about every purpose. Here you can find things like wispy eyelash yarn for something truly frou-frou to that fantastic scrubby yarn you need to make your own washcloths and scrubbers.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to selection on the World Wide Web. You can even sometimes find handspun yarns and yarns made from recycled or natural fibers that may be hard to get in your hometown. Want a great colorful yarn made from recycled sari silk? To the internet! Whatever it is, you can find it here.
Farmers Markets & Craft Fairs
If you want to get up close and personal with your yarn, farmers’ markets and craft fairs are the place to be. Here there is a good chance you might find someone in the act of spinning fresh yarn before your very eyes, and that the fibers will be locally sourced (like from a nearby alpaca or sheep ranch). This is also a good place to find yarns that are hand-dyed and one of a kind. And when you shop at a local market like this, you know you are supporting someone who has put their heart and soul into their product.
You can ask questions and “talk shop” and really get to know everything about the product you’re buying, from the history to the functionality to any specific quirks and special care this spun bit of textile might require to maintain its unique qualities. Plus, there is nothing like talking to someone about their craft and passion. This experience alone is worth the trip.
Brick & Mortar
You’re looking for something in particular, with a certain functionality or physical makeup, but you really need to see it in real life, touch it, feel it, hold it up to a bit of your work in progress to see if the colors work together. This is the one fatal flaw of the internet. Some things just can’t be done virtually.
So, when you need that sparkly yarn with a bit of give in it in just the right shade of blue, there’s nothing doing but you’ll have to get yourself down to the nearest craft store to hunt it down.
Here again, there are real live people to ask questions of and let you know if they have something in stock (or if they can get it quick, if you found the right yarn in the wrong color). Plus, walking through the aisles of yarns--all those amazing colors, those great textures, the pure warm fuzziness of it all--is an adventure in itself. Being surrounded by all those balls of wondrous potential can inspire your next project in a way a thumbnail picture never could.
This is a great way to use the internet, too. Find the website of your favorite brick-and-mortar store, and bookmark it to stay on top of monthly specials and new product offerings. You can also easily place an order for your favorite products without making a trip to the actual store - once you are familiar with yarn brands and varieties, you can stock up online when there are savings. Follow their social media accounts and sign up for email alerts.
And, if it’s a store close by that you think you might frequent in the future, this is a great way to make connections. Local craft stores often host classes, have discount cards for their regular shoppers, and can be invaluable resources when you’re working on something and run into a snag. They’re kind of like the librarians of the craft world – your local craft retailer can be your very best friend when you’re on a quest for the only yarn that can complete your little knitted heart.