Best Places to Buy Luxury Yarn Cheap
A mix of website-only, big box, and small physical-only stores that sell great priced yarn that isn't that acrylic crap from the perspective of a New Englander.
The luxury! I can barely stand just how amazing is their yarn selection, the yarn quality, and excellent array of colors to choose from! Where else can you get 400 yards of alpaca lace from less than $10? Not too many places that I've ever been able to find! This store is online only. No free pickup option here, but if you order over $50 worth the shipping is free anyway.
There's also a wish list function, and when you sign up for their emails they don't spam you, only occasionally send messages about really great sales.
Halcyon Yarn has both one physical building and an excellent online presence. The thoroughness of their online information is astounding, and in some cases a little overwhelming. Their selection in terms of kinds, colors, and weights is excellent, and much stronger than most other stores, for weavers in particular. Their pricing is reasonable, although definitely not cheap/basement bargain bin prices, not by a long shot. Their silk yarn selection great, but oh boy I hope you've saved up for some of that stuff!
I have been to their store, and their staff is very friendly and helpful. The store itself is well laid out, clean, and well lit.
This site has more of a focus on the acrylic end, but if you select to browse by fiber type there are options for cotton, wool, cashmere, and silk. The prices are good, but the layout and the organization of the site could use a little work. However, you can't do much better in terms of price where you shop somewhere with "warehouse" in the name!
This place almost exclusively deals in big name brands like Lion and Pattons. Don't expect any small, unique, or artisan runs of anything.
Ok, when you have "cheap" in the title of a yarn store list, you know you're going to see Joann's eventually, even if "luxury" is also in the title! Believe or not, Joann's has recently, finally, stepped away from storing only big heart and other acrylic only brands and started selling some very nice and respectable wool and bamboo-blend yarns.
And, of course, while you're there you can pick up many, many other kinds of other craft supplies. They also recently, FINALLY, re-vamped their website, and it is significantly better! While still no amazon, the search and browse functions are definitely improved. You can sign up for emails from them, but FYI, they will send you email just about every single day.
I know, I know, you must be thinking I'm crazy! But you would not BELIEVE the crazy sales you can get on eBay, on amazing luxury yarns. Every once in a while you'll catch someone trying to "de-stash", and selling hundreds upon hundreds of dollars’ worth of yarn for pennies. I once got 10,000 yards of one lot of alpaca DK-weight for less than $40. I couldn't believe my luck, and honestly I had thought it was going to be once those "too good to be true, so it's not true" sort of situations, but when the huge box of yarn arrived it was exactly as described.
As a bonus, if something arrives and it's NOT as described, eBay has a very strong commitment to 100% customer satisfaction and will help you solve your problems if any arise.
WEBS, both a physical store in Western Mass and a fairly averge website, is a great place for an amazing selection, stronger on the "luxury" side and a little less so on the "cheap" side. While a single ball might be a bit more expensive, if you're buying in bulk there is a really handy discount when you're buying more than a certain number of balls (that number can be different depending on what you're buying.)
Their selection is also very strong for weavers and spinners.
Also, if you can get to their store, you can pick up your online orders for free, all ready to go.
Another site-only place to shop that is mostly focused on the cheap acrylic stuff, but again, like Joann's, you can find a selection of good wool, cotton, and bamboo. You also just CANnot beat their color selection and ease of browsing.
This is an online only again, as far as the US is concerned. The site is a bit hard to navigate, and it can be a pain to browse, but the pricing is amazing, and this is all luxury yarn, all the time.
Shipping is included in the prices you see, which when it comes to international shipping is just amazing. Another down side, though, is you need to know what their sizing notations are and understand very advanced weaving notation (e.g. 2/56NM, which supposedly tells you the weight, thickness, and length, but I've still yet to completely wrap my head around how this works.)
I have never, ever found cashmere as cheap and quality as I've seen it on this site. Be sure to buy enough of what you want, because not only will you have trouble matching lots, they almost always just sell out of what they have and then you can only get replacements that are similar but not exactly the same as what you originally got.
Fabric Place Basement
This is another big box that isn't well known for luxury yarn, but it has them. Because it's big box, you can shop on their website and in their stores, and while you're there you can shop their truly wonderful selection of fabric. Their yarn selection is smaller than most of the other places I have listed here, but I love, love, love their clearance section! Talk about good, cheap yarn!
Otherwise they have a very good selection of luxury yarns, they don't really stock the junk, and as a result, if you're not digging through the clearance bin, you're not getting much of a deal. That's understandable, though, they're really in it for the fabric.
Pulling out the big guns here! Yes, Amazon has yarn, and yes, it's reasonably priced, and yes, they have an ok selection that has been getting better by the day. Even better than that, if you have their prime shipping you can get even one ball of yarn delivered to you, for free, in two days!
Right now their selection is still a bit weak, especially because if they're only selling it through a third party then the prime shipping doesn't count. Still, if you're looking for bargains, here's another great site to try!
If you google "cheap yarn" you'll find it, but from all the shopping around I've done, these are my top picks. Which one is best depends on your needs.
If price is your bottom line, I'd probably tell you to put in the time to trawl eBay. If selection is your concern, then maybe WEBS or KnitPicks would be best for you, especially if you like to spin or weave. If ease of delivery and returns is your concern, then big box stores like Joanne's, Amazon, and Fabric Place Basement would be best.