Not everyone has access to the exact crochet supplies they want within a reasonable distance. And if we did, I bet all the addicted yarnies out there—myself included—would have emptied our bank accounts ages ago. And while I love going to seasonal fibre fairs both in my area and when travelling abroad, they can be both expensive and logistically difficult (especially if you buy as many things as I do). That leaves us with the wide world of the web.
While shopping online is convenient, it isn’t always easy. With countless companies selling products online, it can be hard to distinguish between the good ones and bad ones. And if you’re staring at Google’s search box by yourself, you may not know what search terms to use. Then when the results come up, what you may actually need could be buried deep in the search results list. The web is begging for a little curation.
Having purchased many crochet supplies online, I’ve compiled a list of various crochet, yarn, and needlework online retailers that I love on the permanent page, Where to Buy Crochet Supplies, in the Crochet Resources section of this site. I’ll update the list as I discover more suppliers, so let me know what your favourites are too. Please note that I’ve received no endorsements for posting any of the companies; they’re just my favs.
When you do decide to shop online, below are a few things to keep in mind.
Tips for Finding the Perfect Online Retailer for Your Yarnie Needs
- If possible, find one retailer that has everything you need for one project. You’ll reduce shipping costs, wait times and ensure that dye lots match.
- Check shipping rates and locations before adding to your cart. Don’t get caught up in the product pictures and spend hours before you discover they won’t ship outside the continental U.S.
- Read customer reviews. If you’re picking a yarn for your next project, find a site that has customers rank and report on fibre quality, color, durability, etc. Yarn.com is a great example.
- Check available customer service. If you tend to change your mind, want to ask questions before you buy or like to add additional items after placing an order, check that customer service by phone or instant chat is available.
- Ask about international duties in advance. If you live outside of the country where the company is located, check your country’s list of international duties to see if you will be charged. As a Canadian, I can say that, yes, the Government of Canada will charge duty on orders coming from the U.S. It’s annoying and it can be as much as 20% extra cost.
- Check that your products are in stock. Many online stores list the available stock for each item. If you’re antsy to get started, make sure they have it ready to ship.
Cons of Shopping Online
- Buying online doesn’t guarantee fair prices. Consider buying from both large and small retailers. Sometimes those without a flashy website will have the best prices and customer services.
- Can’t Touch This. You can’t touch yarn digitally, so the softness and drape of a yarn can only be guessed based on it’s general fibre content.
- Color Perception. All computer monitors display colors a little differently so you may be disappointed with the dye lot when seen in person.
- Lacks Community. Love that great fibre expert in your local yarn shop that knows everything and always has a friendly smile and helpful advice? Well, they’re not there to help.
Pros of Shopping Online
- Comparison Shopping is Easy. Once you’ve found a couple sites you like, bargain hunting is as simple as having a couple browser windows open.
- Boundless Selection. While bricks-and-mortar stores often don’t have niche products, online ones can put you in touch with obscure and custom-made items. Better yet, if you shop on community based sites like Etsy and Craftsy, you can be in direct contact with the manufacturer.
- Direct to Your Door. Enough said.
If you’ve got a great online shopping tip, please leave a reply below so we can all benefit. Thanks and happy shopping!