A Yarn Buying Trend – or – Is the Slope Truly that Slippery?

I recently toured A.C.Moore, JoAnns and Michaels with a 40% coupon in hand, searching for red violet yarn for my granny’s border. I eventually got a skein of “Berry” (Red Heart Soft). On the same day, I bought five skeins of “Light Celery” (TLC). It is the perfect color for a future charity project, still in its planning stages, and was clearance priced at only 97¢ per six-ounce skein. Please understand, I have no problem with the fact that I bought those two special-need yarns.

What does concern me is what I did next! Armed with a fistful of new 40% off coupons and a list of charity yarn colors I wanted, I soon headed to JoAnns again. The key word is “wanted”; I didn’t need more charity yarn. Anyone with at least eighteen boxes of charity yarn cannot truthfully say they need more yarn! I knew I could successfully design many charity afghans with the yarn I already owned.

I didn’t go CrAzY, by any means! Why, I didn’t even use all my coupons; although I must admit that was because of the limited RHSS color choices at my local JoAnns. (There was no teal, country blue, deep purple, olive-green, etc., etc.) I gave the rest of my coupons to three women in the parking lot who were going to share the coupons of one flier among them. By the size of their smiles, I’d say I made their day!

Still, I did buy nine skeins of Red Heart Super Saver (RHSS) for $1.74 per seven ounce skein.

What comes next? Will I be tempted to go for the high-priced acrylics the next time I have 40% coupons? One day, will I find myself buying RHSS on sale with only a 20% discount? Will this unexpected buying trend eventually cause me to seek machine washable yarns at the LYS? I could laugh out loud at this escalation of perturbing questions; after all, I spent less than $20 total!

But the price I paid, even at 40% off, was much higher than what I usually pay for my charity yarns. I’m used to thinking about price per pound of yarn, so the price of the “Berry” border yarn was $5.55 per pound, the RHSS $3.98, and the “Light Celery” $3.36. Let’s compare those numbers to the average price I paid in thrift stores during the last six months, for acrylic yarns in skeins, only $1.93 per pound, (almost 15 pounds purchased for $28.65) and when still in afghan form, down to 99¢ per pound. (almost 31 pounds for $30.65)

Whether you think of me as incredibly cheap, frugal, or smart is dependent on your personal point of view. What I know for sure is that the thrifty yarn buying habit I’ve developed has made shopping for charity acrylics in the big box craft stores a very rare occasion for me, having made only two yarn runs in six months. I don’t suppose this will change, even with the arrival of many more coupons, unless, well, I hesitate to say this, even in a whisper… unless a shortage of acrylic yarn should develop at the thrifts! gasp.

Then I would have to explain to a very disappointed Emily why I was bringing home so much boring new yarn! New yarn doesn’t carry the wonderful cachet of thrift yarn, the subtle scents carried from its earlier life or lives, a valuable perk to my feline quality control staff.


Feeling rather shocked by the sudden realization that I’ve purchased over 45 pounds of charity yarn in the last six months, I had to write out a little story problem for myself. If I’m making a ripple per week and each ripple weighs one and a half pounds, how long does it take for me to use 45 pounds of charity yarn? Answer: Thirty weeks!! (45 lbs. ÷ 1.5 lb. afghan/week = 30 weeks) This is not helping me feel better!

But six months have passed in the meantime, (or half a year, 52 weeks ÷ 2 = 26) that’s 26 weeks worth of yarn used. Phew!! This means I’ve only built up an extra four-week cushion of charity yarn stash. (30 weeks yarn purchased – 26 weeks used = 4 weeks extra yarn) Why, that’s not such a big deal after all, amounting to only six more pounds of stash!

Ahhh, but I must remember to add-on the nine new skeins of RHSS, which makes it ten pounds, or six weeks, and the four pounds of acrylic yarn donations brings it to fourteen pounds, or an extra nine week cushion. I haven’t tallied any of the baby weight yarns yet, either… so, although it seems to be one of insidious accumulation of charity stash, and not of sharply increasing cost, there is a slippery yarn slope, after all!

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2 Responses to A Yarn Buying Trend – or – Is the Slope Truly that Slippery?

  1. Beth says:

    How MUCH yarn!!! 45 pounds! My miniature schnauzer doesn’t weigh that much. I think it’s just great! Your comments prove that one uses math skills while working with yarn. That should impress my husband, Mr. LOGICAL!!! Gonna nickname you The Rainbow Girl, for all the colors of yarns you have. Have fun and take care!!

    • Linda says:

      Let Mr. Logical listen in on your thought process the next time you’re trying to substitute a yarn of a different weight into any clothing or accessory pattern; that’ll prove to him beyond any doubt that math is required!! LOL.

      Here’s a link to an old photo of my charity yarn rainbow. My stash turns over pretty quickly; I wonder how little of that yarn is still here?

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