I've been a member of MF for a couple of months, but just discovered this board. I am a *serious* yarnie and have been reading past posts, wanting to post replies, but feeling maybe I shouldn't because they're all old, so I thought I'd post one sort of in reply to many and sort of as an intro.First of all, I am a certified crochet teacher (yes, there are such things and the whole weekend of classes cost a foolish $21 through the Craft Yarn Council), contract crocheter and other similar things. If anyone has any crochet-ish questions of any sort, I'd be happy to help (Maureen, you said you were having trouble with a pattern, tho that was in January, I think--let me know if I can try to answer them). I also learned to knit last year and love it just as much as crocheting, just don't have all those years of experience --yet!Someone posted about yarn stores in Paris, which made me want to share www.woolworks.org with you all. There are a ton of wonderful free patterns --knitting patterns, though--on that site, as well as probably the most incredible yarn store listing that exists. It is compiled from the input of those using the website and so there are stores listed all over the world. Feel free to add any you don't see.As to yarn stashes... I have a roomful of yarn. No kidding. I am on a yarn diet at the moment, but there are, of course exceptions!Foolish yarn buying: thrift stores, estate sales and eBay if you don't mind pre-owned yarn. There are incredible bargains to be had. Example: I never pay more than $5/skein for 70-100% angora yarn, most of it new from eBay. And even a small trim of it raises the value of what I've made, if I want to sell or gift it. I can't begin to describe the destressing powers of knitting or crocheting with angora--really! Similar effects can be had with cashmere and alpaca (which I think is just as wonderful as cashmere for much less price).I also have a strong preference for natural fibers (as do some others I saw posting here) and agree with other posters that it is quite Foolish to spend the extra $ to use them, as the finished item is usually better and it is much more enjoyable to work with them. Think of all the destressing spa visits you won't have to pay for!Foolish online places to shop include: - eBay of course. Go wild--search on your favorite yarn--you never know. I have gotten new-from-the-manufacturer bags of name brand yarn at half price and less here. You need patience and to know what you'e looking at.- www.elann.com always has lots of discounted yarns. They are often discontinued, so if you see it and like it you'd better get it and get enough, but they often go as much as 70% off.- www.yarn.com is WEBS in Northampton MA. If you can go in person, do. They have, no kidding, an airplane hangar sized warehouse that you're allowed to roam and shop from. Lots of cones (yarn this way is generally meant for weavers but is fine for whatever you want to use it for and is cheaper and there are fewer ends to weave in when you're finished). They have a generous discount policy, both online and in person. They have *every* type of yarn imagineable and they seem to do well on volume, so they can keep prices waaaay down. In person, don't miss their annual post-Chrismas sale.- www.knitpicks.com -- they have a special intro offer to a different yarn each week or month or so and you can't beat that price if you like the color! I hear their customer service is also extremely good. They also have a branch in the US and one in Canada, so both countries are equally well served,no duty to pay or customs declarations, etc.- www.yarnexpress.com, www.onefineyarn.com are two other online places that work on discounting yarn as much as they can.My last piece of yarnie wisdom for today is: get involved with groups of like minded people. Check national organizations for local chapters (www.crochet.org for instance), check the stitch'n'bitch website for local groups. I am the lucky storer of the stash for my local group and the yarn I get to fondle is just incredible! No, it's not mine, but I learn so much about different yarns that I can much more easily shop online and know what I'm getting. We also just hooked up (pun intended) with a local alpaca farm to make scarves for them to sell. The yarn comes from their animals. We will get credit and and a small sum for making them but best of all--we get to play with alpaca yarn and it doesn't cost a penny! (Contract crocheting and designing is good for this, too--you rarely make minimum wage, but you get to play with incredible yarns).This is my first post and so I hope I haven't broken any rules here, that my post is not too long, that I have enabled, in a Foolish way, my fellow yarnaholics and that if anyone has any questions or anything that I can help with that they'll let me know.Best regards,Altobarb
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