I was recently chatting with my blogging buddy and fellow knitter, Kate, from Oh Katie Joy when she asked if I’d heard of a certain new yarn club. I won’t spill the beans on what club she was talking about, you’ll have to check out her site for that info and you should because it’s a gooooood one, but I told her that I’ve had yarn clubs on the brain lately and was thinking about doing a round up before the holidays. When she mentioned that her own gift guide would go up this week, I gladly accepted her suggestion that we both post for Friday. I tend to get plenty of ideas for the blog but lack follow through, so I appreciate any little nudges that keep me moving along. My (perhaps overly detailed) roundup is below and Kate’s is available here. At least four items from her list have already jumped onto my own, so it’s well worth the visit!
If you have a knitter on your gift list this year and are struggling to find the perfect gift, if you are a knitter yourself and aren’t sure what to ask for, may I suggest one of these yarn clubs? Sadly, I haven’t yet tried one myself but they always pop back up on my radar this time of year. Buying a hobby specific gift can be tough, especially because your recipient knows their personal craft preferences better than anyone, but I think any of these are a total slam dunk. I’ve subscribed to a few makeup subscription boxes over the years and they are always fun to receive, fun to open, and I love trying out new things I wouldn’t otherwise buy. If we’re comparing my love for makeup and my love for yarn, makeup is like a 1 to yarn’s 10. Short of a total yarn shopping spree (hey, we can all dream?) there’s nothing I’d love more than to receive one of these in my stocking.
Yarnbox – Yarnbox was the first club to cross my path and the one that opened my eyes to the whole notion of a monthly yarn subscription. I see that they’ve grown the club to include Classic ($39.95/month), Luxe ($69.95/month) and Sock (coming soon!) options. As with most clubs, discounts are offered when paying for multiple months in advance. I ran through a test purchase and see that you can indicate knit vs. crochet, needle size (nothing too big, nothing too small, I can handle them all), favorite color and hue (muted, vibrant, no preference) and, perhaps most important for me, least favorite color. This option is a standout from the clubs that I’ve researched and I love the option of firmly indicating a color I don’t want to receive. If you give this as a gift subscriotion, your recipient can change all these options later.
If Yarnbox is active on social media, I haven’t stumbled across them yet in my social circles. For me, this is the biggest drawback. I dug around for reviews on all these clubs and haven’t yet seen many details about Yarnbox. Do they favor big brands or indie dyers? How much do you receive? What kinds of patterns are included? Is it different every month? For the sake of trying to do a legit job on this post, I just checked out their Facebook page and see they recently sent out skeins from Neighborhood Fiber Co. I would love (loooooove) to get a surprise shipment of this in the mail, so that sort of puts my reservations at ease.
Fiberista Club - Fiberista Club crossed my path thanks to Instagram and is what prompted me to start obsessing over yarn clubs again. This is a new club, but they’re killing in on their instagram. Like Yarnbox, you can subscribe monthly or receive discounts by purchasing multiple months in advance. Unlike Yarnbox, they segment their boxes into Yarn and Spinning. Their needle sizes are more clearly segmented than Yarnbox (Lace to DK, Worsted to Chunky, All sizes) which I appreciate and it makes me feel – whether true or not – that I’m getting supplies from actual knitters who understand the craft. Colors are separated into Warm, Cool, Neutral, and All Colors. Once you chose a color set, you can indicate hue as well (soft, vibrant, all hues). For me, this is both a huge perk and a complication… as my knitting and yarn taste has developed, I’ve definitely expanded my color choices. Among cool colors, I love green, blue, and indigo, I do not love purple. Among warm colors, I love yellow, orange, pinks, I very much dislike reds. In general I love vibrant colors but don’t like rainbow and would worry that “all colors” + “vibrant” means I’m getting rainbow hued sock yarn. I’m sure I’m just being paranoid and realize this is a failure of my preferences, not Fiberista Club’s setup, but I can see how it would be difficult to cull these options when you’re gifting a subscription. My takeaway? Were I to subscribe myself, I’d be brave and just respect the process and select more inclusive options rather than trying to micromanage what I receive. All colors, all hues for me!
While this isn’t a negative of Fiberista Club specifically, this is a good place for one of my reservations. So far on social media Fiberista Club has posted giveaways for Brooklyn Tweed Loft, Dream in Color Classy Worsted, and Madeline Tosh Merino Light. I love all these options and I’m going to assume they’re a pretty good indicator of the type of yarn they’ll be sending monthly. However, the monthly cost is roughly equivalent to purchasing any of these two skeins directly. Were I more responsible, I could just budget for two “nice” skeins of yarn once a month and probably have a similar cash outlay. The club sends two patterns and a bonus every month, so that does push the “value” a bit beyond just the yarn itself. If you’re looking at a club as some sort of “savings”, I think you’d be disappointed. If you, like me, are looking at a club as a fun way to get surprises in the mail and curb the desire to constantly stash more yarn, I think you’d be thrilled. If you are doing it as a gift, surely your recipient would love any of the above yarns!
Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Color – Unlike the monthly boxes above, Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Color Club is a one-time purchase for an entire year of yarn. Packages are sent every other month and there is no control over what weights and colors hit your mail box. Tanis Fiber Arts describes this best, “The Club features a wide variety of yarn weights and fiber contents. Expect to receive anything from lace weight to aran weight yarn. Six different bases will be highlighted throughout the year. The Club also features six exclusive colourways! Light or dark, neutrals or neons, there are no rules. The Club colourways are designed to be inspiring!”
I’d argue in this case you’re buying into a club with pedigree. I’ve long admired Tanis Fiber Arts yarns, though I haven’t yet purchased any myself. A look at previous years clubs are available on the site and I think they’re all really lovely. Like… really really gorgeous. Though some of the colors shown aren’t exactly in my wheelhouse, I wouldn’t complain about receiving any of them. The club cost divided by six shipments results in a per shipment cost right in line with the two clubs listed above. I personally don’t love that shipments only go out once every two months but that’s really the only drawback I can identify.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Club – Blue Moon Fiber is another brand that I’ve followed but I didn’t know about their Socks That Rock club until recently. This club is most similar to Tanis Fiber Arts. A one-time purchase gets you a year of yarn, delivered once every two months. Like the name suggests, the club is centered around their Socks That Rock yarn. For the 10th Anniversary, the yarns are exclusive colorways that will not be made available to the public. If you or your knitter love socks, this could be the perfect club choice. I’m a big fan of sock yarns because you are guaranteed enough yardage to complete a project. If the yarn doesn’t strike your fancy for socks, there are plenty of shawlette patterns designed specifically for sock yarn.
For me, the only drawback of the club is that I’m just not sure how wild the colors may be. The club offers one final warning of, “Before purchasing, please take a minute to consider very carefully about whether or not a Sock Club that chooses the yarn, pattern, and color is right for you. We promise to challenge your color boundaries and expand your sock knitting horizons.” I love the idea of this club and know plenty of knitters that it would be perfect for (ahem, my Mom), but I think the total lack of control scares me just a little bit too much.
If you absolutely force me to pick one right now, no more contemplation allowed, I’m torn between Fiberista Club and Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Color. I’ll give the slight edge to Fiberista Club because I like interacting with them on social media and I’d personally prefer to receive something every month rather than every other. Bottom line, though? You can’t go wrong. If your favorite knitter is in need of a gift but isn’t offering helpful suggestions, pick yo self up one of these and you’re guaranteed success!