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Favorite place to buy yarn?

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Here's a bit of a question thread/rant :-)

I recently moved to the city from suburbs several states away. Over the last 10 years my husband and I have moved many times, I guess maybe 6 different states. I have always been able to go to joann fabrics, and before my kids were born starting 3 years ago, I was an asst manager at one.

 

My store was one of the big box joanns, really huge, large variety of everything. We had about 4 aisles of yarn, plus the width of those aisles of the back wall as well, so it was always a great selection.

 

The best part was joanns let's you use multiple coupons and competitors coupons, and price matches. So I could go there with my joanns flyer with a couple coupons, the text they send with a coupon, the coupons from the joanns app, the coupons from the michaels app etc and they took em all.

 

So last week I went to michaels here where I live now, because there literally no joanns! I asked them if they take competitors coupons and the girl said yes, I proceed to do my shopping, get my apps and such all ready, and get in the huge line. I wait for 45 mins shovelling rice cakes and granola into my angry toddlers, and then at 5 he register the sales clerk says I can only use 1 coupon.

 

I was livid, going thru the line 8 times is out of the question, I'd be there til they close, with my screaming kids. I chose 1 skein and left.

 

So I go home and look online, and Google seemed to think michaels site had the best price on the yarn, so I look it up, and their price was great, as good as my coypons, but I would have to buy 3 skeins of each one!

 

I have looked in the little yarn and craft specialty shops, but they just don't have the prices I'm used to from the big box shops? What does everyone here do when there's no joanns? I've never seen a hobby lobby, but I hear they are great as well, but just not located by me? Should I drive 4 hours to joanns? Tbh it might be just as fast as this terrible michaels.

 

Most sites even if they have good prices change way too much shipping, I've mailed many things and one skein of yarn doesn't cost 12 bux shipping.

 

I have amazon prime, but they would only let me order yarn as an add on to a bigger order.

 

Also a side rant about michaels, their shopping carts require a quarter to remove from the corral, and they refused to break a dollar for me without standing in line and buying something, I had to go borrow a Burlington cart.

 

I really need to find a better store.

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Sorry for the typos, using my phone doesn't allow me to edit i guess. I should have proofread before hitting post. I would rage at me for all the ? In wrong places, and typos.

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Michael's is my least favorite of the big box stores for cheap yarn.  I am lucky that I live within a mile of AC Moore, JoAnn's and Michael's.  Hobby Lobby is in the next town over, but I've never been there.  I also have local yarn shops nearby for the more expensive yarn.

 

AC Moore is the best, in my opinion.  They carry a lot of the Premier brand, which I love.  They only allow 1 coupon per customer, per day and it can be a competitor coupon.  They also do price matching.  So, in that regard they are like Michael's.  What makes them tops for me is their rewards and gift card programs.  In 2015, I got $50 worth of free merchandise from their rewards program.  Plus they regularly offer a free $10 gift card, when you purchase a $50 gift card.  I always use their rewards card and gift cards when shopping there.  Also, if you have your kids with you, then you can use 1 coupon per person... you + 2 kids = 3 coupons.  (You might want to ask Michael's if you can use 1 coupon per person.)

 

JoAnn's is my second option.  I love their coupon stacking policy, but their yarn selection in the store near me stinks.  It's also 4 aisles and the back the width of those aisles, but they carry a lot of yarn that I'd never use, like team colors.  I go to them for other things, when I can't find it at AC Moore or if AC Moore has what I want on sale.

 

The only thing about Michael's that I like is their store brand yarn, Loops and Threads.  I've found colors there that I can't find in other brands.

 

Whether or not you continue to shop at Michael's is a matter of convenience.  With toddlers, I imagine that it isn't convenient to go there often.  That's what I do with AC Moore.  I drive by there 6 days a week when I take my son to work, so it's super convenient for me to collect yarn 1 skein at a time.  For you, it's a good thing that JoAnn's allows their coupons for online shopping and they quite often offer free shipping.  Knitpicks.com is an online store worth checking out, too. 

 

ETA:  Look to see if your local Walmart has a yarn section.  They take competitor coupons and do price matching, too.  Plus their prices are usually slightly better than the big box stores.

Edited by redrosesdz

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Wow, I've never had to rent a cart at Michaels.  They must have had a huge issue with cart returns.

 

Like Redrosesdz, AC Moore is my favorite of the brick and mortar stores.  I find they have the largest selection and the lowest prices.  We don't have a Hobby Lobby close to home.  I've never seen our stores allow coupon stacking, even JoAnn's although everyone tells me it happens everywhere else.  I was just there last week and they'd only take one.  I wasn't in the mood to fight it as the one was a pretty good deal for me.

 

I have been shopping more at Michaels recently because there is one in the town next to me.  A.C. Moore and JoAnn's are more of a weekend outing unless I'm out doing other things and combine a trip.

 

I do shop at JoAnn's online and look for the free shipping or $2.99 shipping coupons.  Sometimes the sales are worth the shipping even if I don't get free shipping.  For me I consider two things. 

 

First, I don't have the freedom to get out weekly, let alone a couple times a week to the yarn stores, so sometimes even paying shipping is worth getting the yarn when I want it.

 

Secondly, I can't always get what I want even on standard brands the stores carry, let alone the lighter weight yarns they don't carry that I have to order from other places anyways.  So, if I want a specific color ordering online sometimes is worth the hassle.  I use Caron Pounders for many of my doll projects because I can make lots of outfits and it is easier on my hands than Red Heart Super Saver.  The cost is comparable.  However, it is hit or miss when I'm at the stores if I can get the colors I want.  I've come to realize certain colors have to be ordered online if I want them.  I still will pick up the colors when they are on sale in the stores if I see them, but I order the ones I need online to have them when I want them when I can get a good online deal.

 

For worsted acrylic weight stuff I tend to order from Knitting Warehouse or JoAnn's.  As mentioned for lighter yarns I need for some of my doll projects, I use Knit Picks. 

 

Sometimes it is worth paying the shipping to guarantee you get what you want without having to go into the stores only to find they don't have it or it isn't a price you want to pay.

 

As for the local yarn shops you are looking at higher quality yarns there and the prices reflect the quality of the yarn.  For the items I make, shopping there doesn't make much sense.  Acrylic yarn is washable and can take the wear and abuse of little hands better than some of the higher quality natural yarns you find at those stores.  They are beautiful and great for many projects.  It just isn't worth the investment for vast majority of stuff I make.  It is interesting to go through and look at what they carry from time to time.  However, it just isn't practical for the types of crochet I generally make.

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if you like Joann's but don't want to pay a lot for shipping, sign up for their emails and you will know when they have specials on shipping or even free shipping.  Like Bailey said that can be a great deal.

 

Personally I find that the Local Yarn Shop brands of acrylic yarn like Berroco Comfort, Plymouth Encore, JC Brett Marble, are great for things I want to make like afghans, accessories that need to be machine washed/dried.  If you go to the small LYSs, and look for acrylics, you may find some new yarns at prices not that much more than the big-box craft stores.  Sometimes the skeins are bigger, and sometimes the quality and color selection is enough  to justify the somewhat higher price.  these can be ordered online too.  

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You k ow I totally forgot about ac moore, I'll have to see if there's one nearby. I do know there's no walmart :-) probably because there's like 5 targets. I'll also check out those online shops.

 

I get the joanns emails, it just seems free shipping is never at a time when I have money to spend haha. Living less than a mile from a big box joanns spoiled me, I could just pop over whenever.

 

I have heard at joanns where they don't stack coupons, and I trained at a store where they were strict with only 3, but the lines were never terrible so you could go thru again and they didn't care. I have to say from personal experience in the one I worked at, the front end lead was usually the deciding factor. Sometimes you just get miserable people would would rather argue with customers than just make them happy and let them thru. And those people will usually go by the letter of the book. But on Saturdays the store manager and I were always on the front end, and we always took the path of least resistance. Sometimes miserable people just feel better bringing others down to their level.

 

If your joanns gives you a hard time, go on the website and email customer service, every email gets forwarded to the district manager and the store manager of the affected store. If it isn't resolved the district manager will get directly involved. I know even at that level sometimes you get a terrible person, but for the most part they don't want to hear about what they consider petty nonsense. My dm would say things like "the 75 cents isn't coming out of your pocket, why do you care, just do it and get them out and move on to the next person."

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if you like Joann's but don't want to pay a lot for shipping, sign up for their emails and you will know when they have specials on shipping or even free shipping.  Like Bailey said that can be a great deal.

 

Personally I find that the Local Yarn Shop brands of acrylic yarn like Berroco Comfort, Plymouth Encore, JC Brett Marble, are great for things I want to make like afghans, accessories that need to be machine washed/dried.  If you go to the small LYSs, and look for acrylics, you may find some new yarns at prices not that much more than the big-box craft stores.  Sometimes the skeins are bigger, and sometimes the quality and color selection is enough  to justify the somewhat higher price.  these can be ordered online too.  

I ordered Plymouth online for a gift for a human and it was nice quality, but more than I ever pay for box store acrylic.  It was worth it to make the gift nice again for a human, but not for most of what I make for projects.  I do sometimes end up with a pattern that has used a specific color combo I can't get in box store acrylic and for fun I buy the yarn if I can find it, but for the most part it just isn't cost efficient for the types of projects I do.  I can appreciate it is better quality, it just means I'd make less buying the higher quality and frankly, the kids don't notice the difference in the outfits I make with the better quality yarns/threads and the stuff I make with the cheaper stuff.  Oddly sometimes they like the cheapest stuff best. 

 

It really depends on what you want to make and how much you are willing to spend.  I like box store acrylics for the most part.  I really haven't had an issue working with them.  I have afghans that are frequently washed over 5 years old and get heavy wear made from Pounders that are doing well, still quite soft. They were affordable to make because of the yarn I chose.  Had I picked the more expensive LYS yarns I likely would never have attempted the project due to cost. 

 

However, I have friends that won't knit anything unless the yarn comes from an LYS store or website.  I respect that.  It doesn't have to be a them or us kind of situation, you just have to know what works for you, your budget, and the projects you want to make.  I have no interest in changing my habits, I also have no desire to change theirs either.  I can afford my habits, they seem to afford theirs, we are all good.

Edited by Bailey4

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I can agree with the cost of specialty shops. I would love to support the small proprietors, but really I'm on a limited budget. I mean I would love to go to the butcher and make filet mignon for lunch, but instead it'll have to be hot dogs, and my kids love it just the same. It's the same with the things I make them. And even the cheap rougher yarns, I can use fabric softener to make it less abrasive and with kids and dogs, honestly it's likely to get torn or lost and the nicer yarns would have been wasted.

 

I have found that the annies attic kits and theres another i order from on occasion, but forget the nane, that have yarn and pattern often give better yarn at a more reasonable price, but once you own the pattern from the first purchase you don't need the kit any more.

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Mary Maxim and Herschners both offer kits of different kinds. 

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Yes Mary maxim that's what I was thinking of, I moved a few months ago, so "junk mail" has to find me again hehe.

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I ordered Plymouth online for a gift for a human and it was nice quality, but more than I ever pay for box store acrylic.  It was worth it to make the gift nice again for a human, but not for most of what I make for projects.  I do sometimes end up with a pattern that has used a specific color combo I can't get in box store acrylic and for fun I buy the yarn if I can find it, but for the most part it just isn't cost efficient for the types of projects I do.  I can appreciate it is better quality, it just means I'd make less buying the higher quality and frankly, the kids don't notice the difference in the outfits I make with the better quality yarns/threads and the stuff I make with the cheaper stuff.  Oddly sometimes they like the cheapest stuff best. 

 

It really depends on what you want to make and how much you are willing to spend.  I like box store acrylics for the most part.  I really haven't had an issue working with them.  I have afghans that are frequently washed over 5 years old and get heavy wear made from Pounders that are doing well, still quite soft. They were affordable to make because of the yarn I chose.  Had I picked the more expensive LYS yarns I likely would never have attempted the project due to cost. 

 

However, I have friends that won't knit anything unless the yarn comes from an LYS store or website.  I respect that.  It doesn't have to be a them or us kind of situation, you just have to know what works for you, your budget, and the projects you want to make.  I have no interest in changing my habits, I also have no desire to change theirs either.  I can afford my habits, they seem to afford theirs, we are all good.

 

Bailey, i have to admit that pretty much everything I make is intended for a human!  ;)

 

I definitely agree with you, it is all about personal choice :hook

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Responding to the thread as a whole---

Definitely we all have different taste and priorities, and one's budget for each project will vary.  I personally think that LYS are a really important part of the crafting community, so I like to point out that LYS yarn can be a good choice for crocheting.  With the thread title being "favorite place to buy yarn", well, my very favorite place to buy yarn is one of my 2 L*YS that understand and value crochet.  I've discovered some great yarns there that I never would have tried out had I not seen them in person.  

 

I think that a lot of people reading the thread may never have been to an LYS and looked for acrylics, so i just like to take the opportunity to mention that LYS yarn can be mid-priced and easy-care and is not all high-end, delicate stuff.    

 

(*local being in this case within an hour drive 'cause I live in a rural area---so yeah i do order online frequently too. )

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Bailey, i have to admit that pretty much everything I make is intended for a human!  ;)

 

I definitely agree with you, it is all about personal choice :hook

 

Well most of my charity work is doll's clothes for kids, but the kid's don't wear them, they play with them, thus the doll's aren't human.  Therefore the feel of the yarn against your skin as you wear it all day isn't as much of an issue.  I try to avoid abrasive yarns that would bother kids as they hold/change the doll, but other than that most acrylics seem to work.  I had one pattern that called for a rather nasty specialty yarn and I suspect the child never played with the outfit.  My hands were not happy when I was done making the overalls.

 

I've made myself shawls using ILTY and Caron SS and loved them.  In fact I just came in from outside after donning the ILTY one instead of grabbing my coat.  It is soft, durable, and takes lots of wear and tear.  However, I know people in local groups I've joined that wouldn't think of wearing/making anything that wasn't an LYS type yarn.  As I said each to their own.  I do what works for me.  There are some acrylic yarns I wouldn't wear, but I've also felt some of the LYS yarns people make sweaters, socks, and other items with and my skin crawls at the touch.  (That is after the item is made, not just during because there can be a difference when it is washed, etc.  People sometimes bring their finished items to show during meetings.)

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Oh, doll clothes!  Yeah I have not made very many doll clothes but have used yarn for them that I wouldn't use for people clothing.  Somehow given the word humans, I assumed you were making pet clothes, or beds.  lol

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Responding to the thread as a whole---

Definitely we all have different taste and priorities, and one's budget for each project will vary.  I personally think that LYS are a really important part of the crafting community, so I like to point out that LYS yarn can be a good choice for crocheting.  With the thread title being "favorite place to buy yarn", well, my very favorite place to buy yarn is one of my 2 L*YS that understand and value crochet.  I've discovered some great yarns there that I never would have tried out had I not seen them in person.  

 

I think that a lot of people reading the thread may never have been to an LYS and looked for acrylics, so i just like to take the opportunity to mention that LYS yarn can be mid-priced and easy-care and is not all high-end, delicate stuff.    

 

(*local being in this case within an hour drive 'cause I live in a rural area---so yeah i do order online frequently too. )

I tried a few years ago to hit up the LYS stores for my lighter weight yarns since the box stores don't carry them and frankly I turned to ordering online because the response I got was rather condescending and rude.  I went in knowing I was going to pay more and fully expected the prices to be higher, however, I didn't expect people to be rude.

 

First I've yet to find one that isn't 100% focused on knitters.  I get it knitters buy more.  However, I'm not asking for a specialty crochet section.  I don't even need books on crochet, I can get those online.  How about just not having an attitude towards those who do crochet?  I don't want to knit, I don't like knitting, I crochet.  It's not a disease, it's a hobby.  One that could provide your business with some cash.  Stop the attitude and I might actually stop buying my specialty yarns online.  It's nice when you don't have to wait a week to get the yarn. 

 

An example, I needed fingering weight yarn, a term that is fairly common online.  Nobody knew what I was asking for and kept referring me to sock yarn because that was what all the knitters love, according to the 3 stores I visited.  There was no such thing as fingering weight yarn.  You have sock yarn and baby yarn.  I ended up buying sock yarn until I discovered better online options for shopping.  As a matter of fact I started a campaign to use up the stuff I'd bought and never used from that experience for last year's donation.  Oddly enough when I started searching online I found great FINGERING yarn at a much better price than the useless sock yarn.  Funny how the "experts" didn't know it existed.  Fast forward to a conference I was at last fall and the same yarn stores still have no idea what fingering yarn is and still think I'm clueless asking about it.

 

Then there was the attitude and negative commentary about making doll's clothes.  Why would they care what I was making?  Hey folks my cash is just as good as the other people's money and since it's hard for me to find this stuff locally, if you are pleasant about helping me find it, I'll be back because I can get it today, I don't have to pay shipping, and it's fun to buy yarn in person when the service is good.  DH and I support several local businesses regurally because the service is wonderful, even if the prices are more expensive.  It can be worth it to pay more if you get more.  However, I'm not paying more to have people act as if I should be grateful they are willing to serve me at all.

 

I'm a huge fan of doing business with local business owners.  However, I've yet to find an LYS that has been at all worth my time and effort.  I shop online and get what I need in the lighter weight yarns from Knit Picks and when I have to Webs. 

Edited by Bailey4

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Oh, doll clothes!  Yeah I have not made very many doll clothes but have used yarn for them that I wouldn't use for people clothing.  Somehow given the word humans, I assumed you were making pet clothes, or beds.  lol

My dogs not huge fans of yarn.  They've become fleece addicts.  Thankfully my Mom has them outfitted with blankets and now pillows.

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I too live quite a ways from any big box stores; 55 miles from a small JoAnn and 120 miles from the city with a Super Joann, Hobby Lobby and Michael's and LYS's. There's a LYS in town I love, but, reserve it for specialty projects because they are pricey on everything. The owner is a sweetie and does promote crochet besides knitting, spinning, etc.

I restrict my immediate yarn needs to the local WalMart which carries a very small amount of name brand yarns. I've ordered from KnitPicks, not for a very long time though. They do run sales frequently and have reasonable shipping rates.

Also, Mary Maxim and Herrschner'. As I'm not a very patient person waiting for craft supplies, and a week or so for delivery is not my preference, I'll drive out of town if I can. But that's a plus for being retired.

Edited by ReniC

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That's a shame that some LYS cater only to knitters.  My favorite LYS is where 2 of my yarn groups meet, so I'm there twice every week.  They definitely don't shun crocheters.  In fact, the new owner hired a crochet teacher so that they can offer more than knitting classes. 

 

My problem with buying there is the price.  When comparing the skein size, the majority of their skeins are the same size as the average worsted acrylic, like LB's Vanna's Choice.  The price difference is an average of $20/skein compared to $5/skein (or $2.50 because of coupons.)  I know that the quality is better, but that's a HUGE difference to me. 

 

One of these days I'm going to learn how to knit.  I got a "learn to knit" book as a Christmas present this year.  Knitting uses a lot less yarn than crocheting, so maybe if I like knitting and can get OK at it, I'll break down and buy some expensive yarn.  Until then it's way out of my budget.  I support them in other ways, like verbal advertising, buying notions, making things for their charity work, etc. 

Edited by redrosesdz

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I'm glad you found a crochet friendly LYS. From a strictly financial sense it makes no sense being rude to any potential customer whether you share their crafting interests or not. You don't have to invest a great deal of money in additional product you might not sell to become educated on what your customers might want.

 

If I was going to run an LYS I'd have to become much more knowledgeable about knitting. Otherwise I'd likely lose potential knitting customers.

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Well, knitting sometimes uses somewhat less yarn, but depends on the stitches you are comparing.  I've seen claims that crochet takes 3 times more yarn...no it doesn't, if you are comparing 'plain' stitches in the same yarn and the same size tool.  

 

Here is a little experiment I did, all samples were with 6 yards of the same yarn, the same size hook and needle (5mm).  I kept the width as close to the same as possible; you can see there isn't THAT much difference.  Top to bottom: SC, DC, garter, stockinette.

 

But, it's a nice skill to have for your crafty toolbox!

 

Edit, didn't mean to derail the 'where to buy yarn' topic.  But I have heard a lot of people complain about knit-snooty people and LYSs...It's all yarny, I don't get it.

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Edited by Granny Square
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I usually stick with Wal Mart cause its close to me and the yarn is less expensive. If there wasn't RHSS yarn I wouldn't be able to afford to crochet! I do want to try Caron SS sometime but haven't yet. If there is a color that I need I will go to our closest Hobby Lobby. But I don't even know of any other stores around me that carry yarn.

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I took a knitting class at joanns several years ago, and it just didn't grab me like crocheting. Idk, it isn't learning something new or out of my comfort zone, it was just kind of clunky for me. I'm so strongly right handed, having something that needs left hand dexterity going on is hard to get right.

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Well, knitting sometimes uses somewhat less yarn, but depends on the stitches you are comparing.  I've seen claims that crochet takes 3 times more yarn...no it doesn't, if you are comparing 'plain' stitches in the same yarn and the same size tool.  

 

Here is a little experiment I did, all samples were with 6 yards of the same yarn, the same size hook and needle (5mm).  I kept the width as close to the same as possible; you can see there isn't THAT much difference.  Top to bottom: SC, DC, garter, stockinette.

 

But, it's a nice skill to have for your crafty toolbox!

 

Edit, didn't mean to derail the 'where to buy yarn' topic.  But I have heard a lot of people complain about knit-snooty people and LYSs...It's all yarny, I don't get it.

 

Hi Granny Square!

 

Normally, you're teaching me.  Today I think it's my turn.  Over a short distance, like 6 yards, there won't be much difference in size.  But, over a longer distance, like 600 yards (2-4 skeins), the difference is compounded significantly.  Make it 1200 yards (afghan size) and the difference is even more significant.  No one does a project with just 6 yards, unless it's for a doll or an applique.

 

Here's an analogy.  Stack 6 pennies and 6 dimes.  Put them next to each other.  There's not much difference in their height.  Now imagine stacking 600 pennies and 600 dimes.  The height difference is quite a bit.  The same goes for width, length, thickness, etc.

 

If you do tall stitches in crochet, you'll use less yarn, but you'll have a less dense fabric, right?  So, the only real comparison is SC or Tunisian SS to knitting.  The biggest difference between crocheting and knitting is in thickness.  By the nature of the stitches, crochet stitches are thicker than knitted stitches, which is why crocheting uses more yarn for the same size project.

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