My Quest for Free-Range Yarn*

I’ve gotten the feeling from listening to my readers that the thrift store yarn pickings in my area are better than the national average. Some of you have told me that you never find yarn, that it’s overpriced or that the yarn you do see is simply nasty mildewed stained yuck. All these tales made me curious of what I’d find if I went further afield, so when the opportunity recently arose I grabbed a ride with DH to Framingham, Massachusetts, about an hour north of us. On-line I’d found a Savers store just a few minutes from his destination.

At first I thought the store didn’t have a crafts/yarn display, because things were laid out a little differently than what I’m used to. But then a Savers employee (associate?) pointed it out to me, straight across the store on the opposite wall. When he said he remembered having seen some yarn the previous week, I wasn’t expecting much. Notice the ‘Needlepoint” sign above the display.

Not very attractive, but I’m not so easily put off. I was thorough, looking at each bag  hanging on the wall and handling every item in the wire bins below.

I try to leave a display looking at least as good as when I arrived, if not better. I’m handling every piece anyway and it’s simply easier to keep track of what I’ve already seen if I organize as I go.

Although there’s actually less yarn after my rummage, it looks like more, doesn’t it?

There were no full skeins of RHSS or any easily recognized fine wools, mostly vintage and unlabeled yarns, but there were still some good deals.  I think the best, price-wise, of the yarns I wasn’t interested in buying, were a bag with two new balls of Fun Fur for 99¢ and two $1.99 bags that each held a full skein of Lion Brand Homespun (reg. retail $6.50) along with a couple partial skeins of other acrylics. Those would probably been marked $1.99 and $2.99, respectively, at my Savers.

Here’s the yarn that I did buy: Bag One – three partial skeins of acrylic weighing fifteen ounces, the equivalent of two skeins of RHSS, for $1.99 and Bag Two – five ounces of Burgundy RHSS for 50¢. Certainly not enough to qualify as a haul, but that’s okay. I only need to replace twenty-four ounces per week to maintain my charity stash and you already know that I sometimes come home with much more than that! It all averages out over time.

I ‘m very happy about my fabric finds from just across the aisle. Yes, only two pieces, but what fantastic prices on such wonderful material! This two yard floral piece was only 99¢. I’m not sure of its fiber content, a blend of some kind I think. Possibly it’s hand-dyed. See how the back is the very same color as the front?

That’s very different from the tiger print, which is almost white on the back, obviously machine-printed. It says Cranston Print Works 100% cotton on its edge, a name I recognize as a very nice quality quilt fabric. I got three yards for $1.99.

Unfortunately we were there on a Monday, so no Senior discount (20% on Tues.). At the checkout I assumed they’d want to scan our member card, just like they do at grocery stores, but the clerk told me it wasn’t necessary; there were no member deals that day. However, she did mention that members could get 30% off purchases from several departments (including bed & bath = yarn & fabric) on Thursday, the 24th, by showing their card.

Ah-HA!! A light bulb moment… I suddenly understood why I’ve never done particularly well at Savers’ 50% off holiday sales, which are open to all shoppers, not just members. The next one, on Memorial Day, the 28th, will come just four days after the members’ 30% sale! I would think that a store’s inventory will always be depleted during a 50% sale because of the hordes of members buying at the preceding 30% event. But no sour grapes as I’m a member now too. Besides, this is all part of the fun of the hunt for free-range yarn!*

Next time we’ll see how things went at my local Savers’ 30% sale.

*Free-range Yarn: Yarn that’s been allowed to roam outside the confines of normal yarn outlets (local yarn stores and big box craft stores).

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12 Responses to My Quest for Free-Range Yarn*

  1. You are awesome, and you crack me up! First, you organized the yarn wall, and it looks MUCH better. I bet you would’ve changed the sign, too, if you could have!

    What I really wanted to talk about was “Free Range Yarn”. When I first read that I thought, “Hm, I wonder what Linda is up to now? Is Free Range Yarn like Free Range Eggs? Is it yarn that comes from Free Range Sheep? Now, what would that be about? Aren’t sheep kind of free range as it is?”.

    Then, I clicked and started reading which led me to forget all about the free range stuff as I was going along with you on your adventure. When I got to the picture of the fabulous yarn you scored I realized just what you meant and TOTALLY CRACKED UP!!!!!!! And then, you put that definition at the bottom?! Oh, my goodness me! I just love you!

    I have to tell you that I’m tempted to vacation near you just to go to this Savers store. We have thrift stores in my city, but like others have told you I have found no yarn. I work on Saturdays so no yard sale-ing for me. There is a flea market I’ve been meaning to look into, though.

    Free Range Yarn….. ROFL!

    • You’ve got me laughing so much, I woke up Emily, our cat, from her nap! She is not pleased with us. lol

      Nah, I wouldn’t change somebody else’s sign. I just roll my eyes and draw everyone’s attention to it on my blog! I think whoever made it probably meant needlework or needlecrafts. But then again, who knows. I once saw a toilet tissue commercial with an animated character ‘quilting’ the tissue with knitting needles! Think of all the people who would have seen that before it hit the airwaves… and they all thought it was fine. Tsk, tsk.

      My DH came up with ‘free-range yarn! He can be a pretty funny guy. 🙂

      What Fun!! We could meet and do a thrift store crawl! There are two Sal’s, a GoodWill, four community shops and a Savers within a 20 mile radius. I’d even be a good hostess and let you have first dibs on all yarn. LOL. We could thrift on Friday and tag sale on Saturday. Every April there’s the all-town tag sale, which can be amazing! (I went to CT Sheep & Wool instead this year.)

      I’ve never gotten yarn at our flea market, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t at yours. Somebody must be donating/selling yarn from their stash somewhere in your area!! The trick is in finding it. lol! Have you tried watching for yarn on Craig’s List?

      • LOL! Yes, I think we would have a total blast!

        I haven’t tried Craigslist in a while. I’m more of a spur of the moment, I think I need yarn NOW type of gal. I’ve also found that working with stiff acrylics such as Red Heart seriously aggravates the arthritis. Plus, one time I was using Red Heart to made a scarf, and it gave me a blister! Holy Moly!

        However, being “on the hunt” with you would be SO cool!

        I’m in the 50 states charity group on Ravelry, and this month they are making chemo hats for Illinois. I’ve only made baby hats and a semi-successful hat for my cousin. The moderator said she picked up some “Cotton Supreme” in black to help fill the male void there seems to be. I thought, “Hm. Wonder what that is?” And in Linda mode I clicked and clicked to find out. First, I found out that Cotton Supreme is a super soft cotton/acrylic blend. Then, with another click I brought up “local sources”. I’m going to go to my local source this afternoon! Maybe, I’ll be able to give you an AdventureAlong like you do for me! 🙂

      • I’ve never used Craigslist myself. The thrifts are so convenient I haven’t bothered, but I’ve heard tales of amazing hauls from others!

        I use so much Red Heart simply because it and vintage acrylics are so plentiful, both in the yarn that’s given to me for charity use and in the thrifts! I’ve noticed that some of its colors are much harsher feeling than others and some ‘squeak’ and drag on my hook, but I’ve not gotten any blisters… yet! lol.

        “I clicked and clicked” LOL! – DH loves how tenacious I can be. I know that the ‘magic box’ holds the answer… I just have to ask the correct question!!

        Ooooh, ‘super soft cotton/acrylic’ sounds so yummy, perfect for chemo hats. (definitely, not a project for RHSS). Yes, I’d love to go along with you on ‘the hunt’ for ‘Cotton Supreme’! 🙂

  2. cmv1021 says:

    LOL I love it! Free range yarn!! 🙂

    Karen and Linda, don’t forget to invite me along on your yarn shopping vacation! LOL

    Linda, it looks like the KMart warehouse dumped all their old yarn off at Savers…I have found the Sayelle from KMart EVERYWHERE! Still ridiculously priced of course..lol.

    • Maybe I’ve found a new vocation… Thrift shop tour coordinator and escort! 🙂

      So tell us more! Just how much KMart yarn are we talking about here? More than you could hold in your arms?
      I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it if the price was right… and the colors decent.
      Is that “ridiculously priced”… as in ridiculously high? or ridiculously low? At Savers you just never know!! LOL.

      • It could become a conference! LOL!

        In Local News today there seemed to be a group of women zooming around from thrift shop to thrift shop. When asked about it, one bargain hunter with a wild gleam in her eyes replied, “Get outta my way, Dude!,” and began chanting, “Free Range Yarn! Free Range Yarn!”

      • ROFL!! — Don’t get between me and my yarn!!

      • cmv1021 says:

        LOL Let me know when you start taking reservations for tours!! 🙂

        It was more KMart yarn than I can hold in my arms…but each skein (4oz) was priced at $1.99!!!!! Not my kind of Savers find!! LOL It was at the Warwick, RI Savers. I haven’t been back there in a couple of weeks so I don’t know how much of it is left….but at those prices I’m thinking none of it has moved!

      • $1.99!! Choke.
        I suppose someone would be tempted if they saw just the right color for a project they were working on, but other than that, who would buy it??!!??!

        My Savers ‘usually’ prices yarn at half-off regular retail – like RHSS is often bagged 2 skeins for $2.99. With an additional 20 or 30% discount it’s quite nice. I’d be so upset if I started seeing prices like Sayelle for $1.99!

  3. Bobbi says:

    I took some yarn to my local Good Will and I thought about you. I could just see this “Local Linda” squeeling with delight finding some treasures! LOL! PS…I have seen some yarn but not much.

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