Our Favorite Inexpensive Yarns for Knitters on a Budget
Among my family and friends, I’m well known for my, shall we say, frugal nature. I reuse plastic baggies, I’ve been wearing the same shoes to the gym for the past three years, and I’ll spend days contemplating even the smallest purchases. So when I started knitting, I knew I’d need to find a way to enjoy my new hobby while staying true to my thrifty roots. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by yarn experts who were more than happy to share their favorite high-quality but inexpensive yarn choices. If you, too, are thrifty by nature, read on to learn about our favorite budget-friendly yarns!
Meghan Babin, former Interweave Knits Editor
Meghan’s favorite go-to frugal yarn is Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool, a 100% merino wool that’s sourced and spun in the United States. “It’s snuggly soft, the stitch definition is divine, and at about $13 per 250-yarn skein, it makes sweater knitting affordable as well as luxurious. In fact, I just made the Lumi Tunic from knit.wear Fall/Winter 2017 (in black) in Shepherd’s Wool Worsted. I’m not sure why this yarn isn’t more popular—the color range is fantastic.”
Sara Dudek, Interweave Crochet & Wool Studio Editor
Sara couldn’t pick just one favorite inexpensive yarn! For her lightweight projects, she loves Knit Picks Comfy Fingering and Comfy Sport because both “drape really nicely for garments, you get a lot for your money, and the cotton-acrylic blend makes it easy to take care of.” Her go-to bulky yarns are Patons Classic Wool Roving and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, both of which are very soft and affordable and come in great colors.
Allison Korleski, Brand Editor, Interweave
Another Interweaver who couldn’t pick just one! Allison loves Berroco Ultra Alpaca because it’s inexpensive ($7 for a 144-yard skein of sportweight and $13 for a 215-yard skein of worsted), comes in a multitude of colors (a “bajillion,” Allison says), and is a “good all-purpose yarn that is super easy to find.” She also loves Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, a wool/silk/nylon blend that costs $10 for a 192-yard skein. The fiber content means it’s “drapey rather than boingy,” so it’s great for stockinette and open stitch work.
Allison also very wisely noted that the ultimate frugal yarn is stash yarn!
Elizabeth Prose, Assistant Editor, Spin Off & PieceWork
Elizabeth loves Harrisville Designs Highland and Shetland yarns for her knitting projects. These reliable, high-quality, 100% virgin-wool yarns are extremely durable and come in at a very reasonable $9.20 per 217-yard skein (Shetland) and $12.40 per 100-gram skein (Highland).
Elizabeth is also a spinner, and she noted that “processing and spinning my own yarn from a fleece is cost effective if you don’t include my time.” So true!
Anne Merrow, Editorial Director, Yarn & Fiber
Speaking of spinning, Anne said her favorite frugal yarn is also her handspun. I’ll let her explain: “In theory, handspun yarn isn’t expensive; you can buy good raw fleece for $10-$30 per pound, so a sweater for $25-$75. And it would be the best yarn you’ve ever worked with—just the grist you want, as soft or sleek as you like, with terrific provenance. All you need is a little time and practice to prepare and spin it. Strictly speaking, you don’t need fancy tools, just a dog comb and a drop spindle, though most people want more.”
Laura Hulslander, Associate Editor, Knitting, & Joni Coniglio, Senior Project Editor
Our in-house knitting experts love Cascade 220, an incredibly reliable workhorse yarn. They both lauded the plentiful color choices and reasonable price point. Laura said that among its many other great qualities, Cascade 220 is “soft enough to wear next to your skin, but durable enough that it doesn’t pill if you look at it funny.”
Laura also said that a great way to get a lot of yarn without breaking the bank is to buy an inexpensive sweater at a thrift store, take it apart, and use the yarn for a new project. For tips on how to do this, read this article from our friends at Handwoven, or check out #3 in Laura’s blog on salvaging thrift-store sweaters.
Sarah Rothberg, former Knitting Assistant Editor
At around $20 per 223-yard skein, Woolfolk Tynd is the priciest on our frugal yarns list, but Sarah says it’s well worth the cost! “I know I seem like a huge yarn snob, but this yarn is as close to cashmere as I will probably ever get. It’s lightweight and incredibly soft, squishy, and warm. It’s my favorite yarn and I am trying really hard not to use it for every project. I think the price of this yarn is an unbelievable bargain considering how awesome it is.”
My personal favorite inexpensive but awesome yarn is Plymouth Yarn Tuscan Aire. I’m currently knitting the Killarney Tunic in this fabulous yarn, and I absolutely love it. At $8.50 per 163-yard skein, it’s a great choice for both garments and accessories.
What’s your go-to inexpensive yarn? Let me know in the comments!
Happy frugal knitting,
Posted March, 2018; updated March 14, 2019.
Use your affordable yarn to knit or crochet some great patterns!