Monthly Yarn clubs--Yay or Nay?

So, it seems the thing everyone is using these days is a monthly/quarterly subscription service and yarn/fiber clubs are no exception! I find myself drooling over a couple of them in particular, partly due to the fact that cookies have tracked me looking at them and I find their ads showing up on every web page I go to–sometimes 3 ads from the same place! It’s getting more and more tempting, but some are obviously quite expensive. Also, I find myself having limited time to knit and crochet and wanting to use my stash and for those reasons, I’ve steadfastly resisted jumping on board. I’m still so old-school that I’ve not bought into Bluprint’s service, even though I was a Craftsy member, since I can still have access to all the classes I purchased before they switched to Bluprint. I just know that monthly charges here and there, no matter how small, are so easy to buy into; then add in all your Patreon podcasts and those all add up! (Again, I’ve not bought any patreon subscriptions either–just hate those small monthly things adding up!) I do get the reason people do the Patreon option as a business; their time is definitely worth something and they are creating helpful content, so totally understand it.

But I’m curious how many of you have tried one of these “clubs”, “crates”, etc. for any sort of service–knitting, crocheting, fiber for spinning, etc.? If so, was it worth what you spent?

@rkennell I think those yarn clubs can be quite attractive also. But for me personally, it wouldn’t work. I enjoy planning my next project from the very beginning. Choosing a pattern, then ordering supplies. Having yarn come in with no planned purpose isn’t something I’d do.

I feel the the same way about Blueprint. I have Craftsy classes but I will not buy the subscription. The only subscription I’ve purchased is Jane Stafford Online Guild for weaving. I absolutely love it and have learned so much! Honestly, I would prefer to buy dvds but that’s not how it’s done.

I think the success of “boxes” is a combination of the element of surprise, and getting a “gift” each month. Who doesn’t like to get presents? Couple that with the fact that it’s a gift for yourself, and you’ve got a win-win. No having to reciprocate, or thank someone if it’s not really something you like. I was drawn in by Darn Good Yarn at the start, the colors were so pretty, and at $10 it seemed like a good deal. The yarn IS pretty, but they only send you 50g, so it’s not really enough to do anything with. At least for me. I dropped them after a few months. I started Knitcrate shortly after, and have been very satisfied. I get TWO 100g skeins of yarn, ranging from sport to bulky, and a variety of fibers. They also include a pattern booklet, and a little extra each month. It lists for $24.95 and that includes shipping, but with coupon codes, points, etc. you can easily get it cheaper. They also offer members a chance to purchase extra skeins at a discount, and even have a “double down” coupon which makes it very affordable. Can you tell I like them? I’ve looked at a few others, and while I love the yarn they offer, and believe it’s well worth the price, I just can’t bring myself to spend upwards of $30 for a skein of mystery yarn. Knitcrate now lets you see the yarn each month, and if I don’t care for any of it I can just skip that month.
I’ve also tried a tea subscription, but don’t really drink enough to justify it. The good thing about most clubs these days is that you can try it, and if you don’t like it you can just quit.

PS: if my love of Knitcrate has inspired you to try it, please use my link. You’ll get to try it for $5, and if you subscribe, I’ll get a free box :slight_smile:

I think like you. I don’t buy yarn without knowing what it will be used for. I also wouldn’t like someone else choosing the color.

I’ve done various clubs and subscriptions and enjoyed most of them just because it’s fun to get yarn in the mail. That said, I have a lot of single skeins of fingering weight yarn from indie yarn subs that I now have to find projects for…same goes for just one or two skeins of DK or worsted that aren’t quite enough to work for the projects I want to make. For me it just isn’t worth it to do subscriptions anymore (plus I’m trying to knit down my sizeable stash.)

One thing I’ve found is that many clubs tend to be what I consider overpriced. Not that they are expensive (because that’s relative to one’s own budget), but that you can end up paying more than you would if you just bought the yarn at a shop or ordered that yarn online. At least I’ve found that to be true with many of the indie clubs/smaller dyer clubs. There seems to be a bit of a markup for “club colorways”. The thing is that I’ve been part of at least 3 clubs or subs where it has been only a very short time until the dyer then decided the colorway was no longer exclusive to the club and I could have purchased the same or very similar colorway for less. The other thing I’ve found is that clubs that have items besides yarn in the box tend to put a pretty huge markup on those extras. One club I used to subscribe to was $55/month and it was rare to get yarn that sold for more than $25 in the box. They were counting the included pattern at $10 or more and then there was the occasional “goody”, but not always. It wasn’t worth it to me because I rarely used the patterns and most were super super basic and definitely not something I’d pay $10 for.

If you are itching to try a subscription, I’d suggest finding one that’s easy to cancel OR signing up for a short term club vs. an ongoing subscription. Lots of indie dyers offer clubs ranging from 3 to 6 months and some even have clubs where you can sign up a month at a time. Simply Socks Yarn Company ( periodically offers short term clubs. You can check their site for announcements -they aren’t all fingering weight clubs if you prefer heavier yarns. I think that was one of my favorite short term clubs because it was only 3 months and I loved all of the yarns that came. Jimmy Beans has several clubs available. While they are ongoing clubs, JBW is easy to work with and it’s easy to cancel when you feel done.

I’m not a fan of the yarn clubs, most of them are wool based and I have a skin sensitivity to even the smallest amount of wool. I love the concept of getting a surprise along with a beautiful pattern to match the yarn.

Thanks, @Reneelmt - I have looked at Knitcrate and I won’t deny that the fact they let you see the yarn ahead of time and then let you opt out if you want to is a huge “pro” checkmark for me. If I decide to try it out, I will use your link; I love that referral option. Also, it’s good to hear they have other discounts and such, esp. if you want a larger amount for a project than what they ship in the monthly crate. Definitely would be among my considerations if I decide to try it out!

Thanks, @knitterlady13 for your insight about the different yarns. I agree with you that often the indie-dyers clubs seem to be priced higher than what I would normally pay for. And I don’t want a bunch of just single skeins that I have no idea what I will use them for; I want to knit something besides socks and if all I have is sock yarn, I’m going to feel that I need to make more socks! (I do love a good pair of handknit socks, though!)

I love your suggestion of picking out a short-term option and giving it a try. I agree with you that $55 a month seems a bit steep, esp. if you’re only getting $25 of yarn! And if it’s not your normal choice of color/type of yarn, then you’re kinda’ out of luck! Although I do agree it’s sometimes good to try something different than your usual, I find my time to knit is somewhat limited (I have a part-time job and am busy with other activities) and I want to make sure I totally love what I have if I’m going to spend time working with it!

That would be hard, if you’re sensitive to wool! I don’t have too much of an issue with that, thankfully. But I’m glad you mentioned it in case anyone else reading this has a wool sensitivity.

I like to think I’m that way about yarn as well and I often do that when planning to make something like a baby blanket or a gift for someone, etc, but I have to admit to falling prey to the siren call of a yarn shop or a fiber show–something about seeing all that lovely fiber in 1 place and actually feeling the squishyness of it tends to make my brain go to mush and lose my sense of practicality! I will say I think I did fairly well at the fiber show with my daughter last spring, although I still haven’t spun the fiber I bought there! So that’s why I’m trying to stay out of yarn shops for now and 2020 is my year to knit from stash. I think so far the only thing I’ve bought is some cotton I want to try out for some more dishcloths, but then, it is only February… :stuck_out_tongue:

I definitely understand the temptation of the lovely yarns. Last year I almost purchased an advent calendar just because it seemed fun to open a little gift everyday until Christmas. But once I thought it through, I knew that yarn would sit for quite awhile until I could figure out what to do with it. Good luck with your 2020 goal in using up your stash!

Thanks, @Kathy7661 – I think my main motivation is the fact that I did a severe decluttering of our house last year (the main floor–we plan to do the basement later this month). I really love the “less is more” theory and my yarn stash did not escape the scrutiny! I got rid of some, boxed some up to sell, and then kept only what I was absolutely in love with or had enough of to make a project with. So, I am trying to be very careful about restocking my stash and I don’t want to just buy it because it looks pretty or feels heavenly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drooled over yarn/fiber online and even looked at patterns to go with them, then got realistic with myself and walked away from them. I’ve decided that my best course of action is to wait at least a day or two (or longer if it’s a big item) and see if I still really am drawn to something before buying it (yarn and other stuff!) and that has saved me not only money but also clutter!!

I don’t want to go back to where I was before decluttering, even though I didn’t consider myself a hoarder before. It’s just that when you live in the same house for 25 years, stuff adds up, esp. with kids, different hobbies, etc. Now that we are empty-nesters, we don’t need a lot of the stuff we had anyway! Also, going through my in-law’s home last year after they both passed was enough to motivate me to get this done now so our kids don’t have to some day and yarn/fiber is no exception!

They always do look very nice but I’ve never purchased one. If I’m going to buy yarn I want to see and feel it. That being said, never say never!

LOL–yes, yarn/fiber have a way of getting us where we least expect it!

We’re in the same situation as you. We’ve lived in our house for 22 years and have been empty nested for many years. Over the last few years we’ve really “cleaned” house. You’re absolutely right, we shouldn’t leave all this for our kids to do.

I know this is an old topic but I just have to say that I enjoyed the Interlacements subscription (indie dyer). The business is in my area and I already am a fan of her yarn. I joined for a year when my LYS closed.
She sends a full size skein plus some goodies and the price is a little less than the average price of a skein. I liked having enough for a hat or scarf every time and some of it I just stashed but that’s fun to have when a magazine comes with a pattern I want to try. I think it trained me to resist impulse buying random items at the yarn stores.

Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for sharing this. She certainly has some beautiful colorways! I love that rayon yarn–it would be a fun one to weave with, I think.

I participate in a yarn club from McMullin yarn company. Full size skeins dyed with a theme. The year I started it was a literary theme, this year the colors are inspired by the artwork in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I get a full skein of (usually fingering weight) sometimes dk weight. There was an option for two skeins, but I mostly do hats and socks so this is good for me. I don’t remember the exact cost but for a 12 month subscription was about $30 a month. This is what I would normally expect to pay for hand dyed yarns. I’ve been happy with it, and since I have no LYS it is nice to get yarn in the mail.

That would be a fun club to join! Thanks for sharing!