Yarn is like a drug.
It’s addicting; once you start, you can’t stop.
You get what you pay for, often in ounces.
When you don’t have any, you’ll start to experience withdrawals.
It’s very expensive, and people spend exorbitant amounts of money on it.
You can smoke it.
As a yarn junkie, I am very familiar with these signs of addiction. My fiance is as well; he’s still rather unhappy with the two large tubs of yarn I have…and the numerous bags…and the basket in my closet…and the balls in my underwear drawer…and, well, you get the idea.
Unfortunately, yarn buying is not terribly convenient in these parts. Wool isn’t popular when it’s 100 degrees. Go figure. Because of this, you need to know your options when the withdrawals begin to hit.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, I ventured out with my best friend and handy dandy yarn carrier Paige to relieve some of those withdrawal side effects and bring you a list of my usual stops when trying to get a fiber fix.
First stop, the Big Box Store.
These stores carry a wide selection of basic yarns and popular brands, such as Red Heart, Lion Brand and Patons. While their prices are low, sometimes the choices can be limited for the more experienced knitter. The knitter also has to deal with the rest of the store, which contains craft supplies of every genre, creepy children’s toys and even the odd resident knitter who sets up camp in the needle aisle.
Second stop, Colors 91711 in Claremont.
This is an individually owned business located in the hipster-college-student-and-granola-crunching-hiker-filled-heaven known as the Claremont Village, one of my favorite places to spend time. Colors is small but boasts a wide variety of more obscure yarn, like Madelinetosh or Berroco. It also has the highest BFP, ball fondling potential, which is important for those of us handsy folk who need to feel every skein of yarn before we buy it.
Although the small staff is friendly and always encouraging passersby to sit and knit, the much higher prices than the box stores can be slightly hard to swallow on a college student’s budget. I can’t always seem to justify $20 for a pile of hair from a sheep’s butt. This is why I come here only on special occasions, coupled with the fact that it’s the farthest away, so I always make an adventure of it, which means a stop at Yogurtland afterwards.
My third and final stop is online shopping, which almost always takes place on KnitPicks.com.
Online shopping can be hard since there is no BFP here, but the prices are considerably lower. The product range is also wide, especially when it comes to color choices, which is helpful when looking for the perfect shade to knit a stuffed Admiral Ackbar.
KnitPicks has fast shipping and great reviews from knitters across the world, so I tend to shop here the most. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help if I’m getting the shakes from a lack of yarn, so I try to buy online only when I’ve done some planning or when insomnia leads to impulse buying.
After four hours, my stomach’s full, my wallet’s empty and my withdrawals have subsided.
I am a happy, yarned-up ginger.
All photos by Alex Walper.