Knitting freak

After just one short session at the knitting shop, where I took my “Little Sister” last weekend as her birthday gift, I am well on my way to being a knitting freak. And I mean freak, as in a manic and maniacally charged up OCD person who gets something in her head and can’t let it go, as opposed to the “weirdo” definition. Although, come to think of it, those definitions are a lot closer to being the same thing than I’d previously realized.

So anyway, the nice gentleman working at the store got us fitted up with needles and showed us how to cast on and to knit. And it came back to me like I’d never stopped, and I haven’t actually picked up knitting needles in almost 40 years. That’s a long time to hold a muscle memory. But I was so addicted, and so fast, that it was all I could do not to grab the needles out of the poor girl’s hand when what she needed was a little patience. She quickly loved it too (although maybe not with the bug-eyed intensity of her “Big Sister”), and promptly went home and kept knitting her scarf, only to text me a few hours later that she had “messed up” and tried to start over, but forgot how to cast on.

No worries. I’ll get over to her place ASAP to get her going again, since we’re having a contest to see who will finish her scarf first, and what I want is for us both to finish before we go back to the store to learn to cast off  and whatever else needs doing before they can actually be worn.

My question, readers, is this: now that I’ve barely started a scarf and already have a list a mile long of all the people I want to knit scarves and hats for, where can I find yarn that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Because the yarn at the yarn store is drool-worthy, but a little outside my comfort zone price-wise. Especially if I’m really going to start making all the stuff I’ve got planned.

Maybe my mania will wear off, perhaps before the first scarf is complete. But I don’t think so. The pursuit has a combo that is particularly irresistible to me, in that it uses both the mind and the body. I’m imagining my little fingers performing the knit stitch wherever I am, much the same way I imagine I’m typing even when I’m not.

So give me your best tips and ideas on where to find discount, used, or any other kind of reasonably priced yarn in the Comments section. If there is such a thing. Thanks! And I’ll take a picture with my Little Sister soon as long as she doesn’t mind.

Comments

    • Angela says

      Thanks Susan. I’ll have to get to know a few more thrift stores, the two I go to carry only clothes. And freecycle is a great idea! I imagine there are people who went gung ho and then gave up knitting or lost interest.

    • says

      The problem I have with buying yarn at the thrift store, is there’s never enough for a decent project. I mean, I suppose you could do something small, like maybe a hat? But I always need at least 2 skeins for a decent scarf and there aren’t enough at thrift stores.
      Although I did give away a partially finished crocheted blanket on Freecycle that my husband wasn’t going to finish (and I don’t crochet!)

    • Angela says

      Jane, That’s so funny. I was just introduced to pinterest yesterday. I think I could waste a lot of time on that site. :)
      Thanks so much for commenting, and sharing that!

    • Angela says

      Jeanne, I just signed up! Thanks! And I saw a sale on their website this week so I’ll go take a look. I plan on buying at least 50/50 from my local yarn shop, but I can’t afford to buy it all there.

      thanks for your comment.

  1. Jenn H says

    Ah, the great yarn dilemma. It is important to support your local yarn shop because they can help you if you have problems w/ a pattern & keeping them afloat is good karma but it unless you are independently wealthy it is hard to buy all your yarn from them. If the exact color or feel is important to me or it is for a small project I will usually go to my LYS (that’s knitter shorthand for Local Yarn Shop).

    For things where it is not as important, the interwebs is your friend. Check out http://www.knitpicks.com. They have good prices & quality.

    Also, you should check out https://www.ravelry.com. That is an amazing resource for patterns, yarn, and all other info fiber related.

    Thrift stores will sometimes carry yarn in w/ the housewares stuff. You can also learn to unravel sweaters from thrift stores & “harvest” the yarn for future projects. There is a ton of info on the web about it but here is one tutorial
    http://www.handspunartyarn.com/p/how-to-unravel-sweater-to-recycle-yarn.

    • Angela says

      Jenn H- Thanks so much! What terrific ideas! I can’t wait to check out those links, and thanks for the tutorial as well. I’ll start looking for yarn and sweaters in thrift shops too.

  2. kim_n21 says

    I totally agree about supporting local yarn stores, but 1) I usually can’t afford it and 2) I’ve been living places where there aren’t really any in reasonable driving distance. Therefore, I second the KnitPicks suggestion- that’s where a lot of my yarn comes from. Good quality (some of their lines are clones of more pricy brands, sort of like buying generic stuff at the grocery) and fairly inexpensive. I also love KnitPicks needles, particularly the metal ones. They are fast and pointy and the circular needles have a really good cable that doesn’t get twisty like some others I’ve tried (some people have had issues with the cable joins coming apart, but I’ve never had a problem). If you’re buying a large quantity of yarn (like for a sweater or an afghan), you might check out Webs (www.yarn.com), because they often offer quantity discounts. Webs also has good close-outs, too. Also Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s both carry reasonably priced yarn of reasonable quality (although, they also carry some crappy yarn as well, so you have to be selective sometimes). You can usually pick up the accessories (yarn needles, point protectors, etc) for pretty inexpensively there as well. You can swap or buy yarn from people on Ravelry as well- check out people’s stashes. If they’re willing to sell or trade something, it will usually be marked. People will post in forums when they have stash to sell as well. There are also yarn sellers on Etsy, but I don’t know if that’s an affordable suggestion or not, since I haven’t bought any yarn on there.

    Good luck! Have fun!

  3. Julie Stewart says

    Isn’t it funny how crazy you can get once you get those needles back in your hands? lol You do get totally obsessed by it all. I still consider myself a novice, but have been making lots of scarves. try this one, c/o 20 stitches, then knit 8, turn, and knit back, then knit 6, turn and knit back, then knit 4, turn and knit back, then knit the 20 straight across. then repeat. makes a cool, ruffly scarf. I love it, cause I can remember the pattern! I just have a walmart here to get my supplies, but they seem to be getting more of a variety. I’d ck yard sales and thrift stores too. never know what you may find. good luck on all your new adventures, hope you keep us posted on what you’re making! keep those needles clicking! :)

    • Angela says

      Julie- Yes, it is funny! I was surprised at how quickly I was craving the yarn and needles in my hands. That ruffly scarf sounds perfect for a teenage girl- I will definitely try it. Thanks for the idea!

      And I’m going to check yard sales and estate sales for people who take up knitting and then quit.

      I will post photos of anything I finish, no matter how imperfect it is! Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Marie-Josée says

    I have no suggestions with respect to your yarn inquiry, but I’m so happy you are getting such a kick out of knitting!

  5. says

    I would definitely check FREECYCLE . . . I’m guessing lots of folks who stopped knitting have leftover yarn to clear out.

    It’s been years since I knitted ~ I had fun knitting a scarf, a vest for my husband, and a soft fluffy turquoise sweater for me. I donated my yarn and knitting needles to Goodwill when I decided to switch hobbies. So you might try there.

    • Angela says

      Nancy- Yes, I’m sure you’re right about freecycle. I am definitely going to check it out.

      A soft fluffy turquoise sweater sounds beautiful, and ambitious too!

      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Angela says

    Thanks readers, for all your terrific ideas! You always come through! I’ll keep you informed of my knitting progress and hopefully have some photos at some point.

  7. says

    Congratulations on tackling knitting. It was on my list of things to do/learn. I tried and don’t like it. The yarn feels funny in my fingers. I love that people knit though. I like to watch in amazement.

  8. Jora says

    Yarn. Sigh of joy.

    Okay. Where to find inexpensive yarn?

    Knitpicks — maybe — they just raised their prices. (Some went up dramatically, from $3 to $5/skein).

    Unraveling thrift store sweaters — again, maybe. Read a few tutorials to learn how to select candidate sweaters. I find that a ball winder helps tremendously here.

    Other online sources: elann and colourmart. Of the two, I prefer the colourmart because the yarn is knitting mill remainers, and because they have free worldwide shipping.

    Good hunting.

  9. Debbie O'Neal says

    Hi – just reading your blog and found you are now knitting – yahoo. I am a knitter too so here is another great website/online store in my area that carries the really, really nice stuff – at super prices! Get on their mailing list and you will get emails with the sales and prices, single skein or by the bag. Have fun!

    http://www.littleknits.com

    Debbie

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