If like me, you are mildly addicted to crochet, or knitting, then sourcing your yarn secondhand, can be a great way to indulge your passion more sustainably.
Here are some tips and pointers for where to find pre-loved yarn.
A mooch around your local charity shops may well yield a good haul of second-hand yarn.
If you hit lucky you will bag some full balls, complete with labels, so that you know exactly what your yarn is and how to care for it’s been made into something.
But sometimes, there will be part balls of yarn, and this can make it a little more difficult to know it it will be suitable for the projects you have in mind.
I tend to snap up whatever I can find, and then adapt my projects to suit the yarn I have!
Sometimes people are de-stashing or just getting rid of some bits and bobs that they no longer use, and if you get lucky, you can bag yourself some cheap yarn!
Vintage fairs and Flea Markets
I’m not sure if I was just really lucky but I managed to find two big bags of yarn, all with labels still on, at a recent visit to a Vintage fair. You will often find stalls with vintage fabric, and knitting needles as well, so make sure you take plenty of cash…!
If you are lucky, you may find that there are actual yarn swaps near to you.
Charlie Button Knit Kits organise regular yarn swaps in Oxford. The last one was in May, and was so popular, they had to expand from three apple crates, to three trestle tables, to accomodate all the yarn that was bought along to swap!
The Sheep Shop in Cambridge have a regular Yarn Swap Day so if you are anywhere local, then mark the date in your diary!
And if you aren’t near Oxford or Cambridge, why not start one up yourself with a group of yarn-y friends, or with your local knit and natter group?
As with secondhand fabric, there is pre-loved yarn available on eBay, but there is also a LOT of new yarn on there too.
Just make sure you tick the ‘Used’ box in the search facility on the left hand side, to ensure you don’t end up ‘accidentally’ buying new yarn when you don’t want to.
Preloved is an online site for all things preloved often has yarn listed.
Some of the charity shops have cottoned on to listing any yarn they get donated, so it’s worth a quick search!
Gumtree is an online classified site and is another great place to look for all things secondhand, and a qick search for ‘yarn’ revealed some good stash potential!
Ravelry is an online knitting and crochet community, that is free to join, and an amazing resource for all things yarn related.
There are lots of groups and forums on there, and doing a quick search for “yarn swap” and got lots of suggestions.
Be warned-this could be dangerous…!
There are a number of yarn sale and swap sites on Facebook. If you type “Yarn Swap” into the Facebook search bar, you get something like this:
And if you type in “Yarn for sale” you get this:
So take a look, and see what is out there that takes your fancy!
And don’t forget the Make Do and Mend-able Pre-loved Craft Stuff group, where you can find, sell, and swap all kinds of craft supplies, including yarn!
Not somewhere you would automatically think to look, but there are yarn fanatics on Instagram, who sometimes de-stash and list their ‘excess’ yarn on Instagram.
Search for #yarndestash and see what you can find!
Old Woolly Jumpers
If you want to got the whole hog with Making Do and Mending, then either take a look in your own wardrobe, or raid the charity shops for old woolly jumpers, so you “Unpick and Knit (or crochet) again”.
If you like the idea of this, but haven’t the faintest clue where to start, then I can highly recommend Joanne’s Unpick and Knit Again chapter in my Back to Basics e-book! Joanne (aka Not So Granny) walks you through each step, including what to look out for when looking for suitable jumpers, and how to ‘de-crinkle’ your yarn once it’s unravelled!
Photo credit: Joanne Scrace, Not So Granny
I hope this is helpful.
Just don’t blame me if your stash expands….!