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Ask Thrift Stores for Odd Lot Yarns

Some of us can never get enough yarn. I enjoy knitting or crocheting in the evening. But if I bought all I wanted, I'd be in trouble. There's no room in my budget for more than a skein or two per month. Nice, but no blue ribbon. Fortunately I have a friend who enjoys dumpster diving. He was checking out the dumpster behind the thrift store and discovered that they were throwing away lots of yarn because it was not in complete skeins, was a trifle dirty, etc. He wanted to take it for me, but he hates it when they come out the back door and try to chase him off!


When he brought up the subject, I got an idea. I approached the manager of the thrift store and asked whether I could buy the odd lots at a reduced price. They wouldn't have to discard it, and I could sort through it to my heart's content. She said she would sell it to me for $6.00 for a large garbage bag full, or $3.00 for a smaller, white garbage bag full. She really stuffs those bags! I have bought as much as ten pounds of yarn in one bag. Most of these skeins are odd ones, but from time to time I get the same colors over and over again. Right now I have eight almost full skeins of black, and five of burgundy.

I like making the simplest, warmest kinds of afghans possible. My favorite is to just start with a skein and crochet back and forth until it is used up. Then I tie on another, coordinating color and keep on going. Some have more than 20 colors. Believe it or not, they have received admiring comments. It's probably the cheerful colors. My husband talked me out of a pastel afghan I made for myself! That one was knitted, and is very light weight, but the crocheted ones are heavier and warmer. Having one in your lap keeps you warmer. We find we are using less firewood because often we only need to wrap up. In the last six months or so, I have been able to donate four afghans, anonymously, to people at our church who are suffering from cancer. They have enough problems without being chilly, too. It makes me happy to have something useful to share, and it helps them, too.

The one problem with buying this yarn is that I now have six large bags sitting in my storage room. I am thinking that maybe some of my friends would like to go "shopping" and select some of the yarns for their own projects. I'll never catch up. It comes in too fast. So if you are a yarn-aholic, may I suggest you discuss this with the manager of your local thrift store? You may be happily surprised, and benefit them and your friends as well. In 2009 I may try to make afghans for the children for Christmas. But here's a warning: if you use yarn only for something like plastic canvas, you could get inundated! This is so much fun! I finally have all the yarn I want!

By Coreen from Rupert, ID

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November 19, 20080 found this helpful

You and I are just alike. I have been crocheting for about 49 years. I buy yarn at thrift shops still in skeins for about 1.00 for the 2.49 size from Walmart. I buy bags of it on CL, yard sales, etc.

Sometimes, I get nice afghans and unravel the yarn. The photo here is just some of over 30 balls of yarn that came from an afghan that only cost me 6.99!

If you know people who love to knit or crochet, find a cool basket, some free patterns on line, a hook or needles, and make a cool gift basket.

You go girl!!

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 20, 20080 found this helpful

I also do the same. I buy a lot at yard sales, etc. I rarely find any at thrift shops, though. I have tons of yarn already, but I just can't resist "adopting" more and giving it a good home.

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December 6, 20140 found this helpful

I love your suggestions. The thrift store where I buy my yarn sell all their yarn for 50 cents regardless of the size. I have gotten some large skeins that would have cost me about $7.00 in the store. I have also purchased my needles and accessories from the thrift store as well.

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