Buying Yarn From Goodwill

Where do you buy your yarn? I have a few favorite online shops (Brooklyn Tweed, Quince and Co., and Modern Daily Knitting), and of course it’s always nice to support local yarn shops. I’ve also seen yarn in thrift stores before, but it was never quite what I was looking for. Thrift stores tend to be hit or miss on most items, but especially for yarn since it depends completely on what donations they have received. I recently learned of a way around this: Goodwill has online auctions!

You can find auctions for all kinds of goods at Right at the top of the page you can search for whatever you’re looking for, and you get a list of current auctions. If you search for yarn, there are typically at least 20 auctions going on at a time, from Goodwill branches all over the U.S. Most of these auctions are for bulk quantities of yarn, and they tend to be a grab bag of different yarns. The majority I’ve seen consist mostly of low-cost acrylic yarns. Some lots include high-quality yarns made from natural fibers, which I strongly prefer. Whatever you’re looking for, you have the opportunity to get a great deal on a large quantity of yarn.

I think you know where this is going. Yes, I bid on an auction, and I won! My auction was titled “Assorted Cashmerino Aran Silk and More Yarn Skeins”. Hmm, ok, I am familiar with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. So I browsed the pictures for the auction to see what else was included. I could make out a few skeins of Baby Cashmerino, a couple balls of KnitPicks sock yarn, 17 balls of Rowan Silk Aran (which I looked up and discovered is discontinued), a bunch of balls with no label, and the best part: at least 7 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter!The Shelter was enough to convince me to bid. I won the auction at $142, which seemed reasonable for the Shelter and Silk Aran alone. Read on to see what was in the box!

Here’s what the box looked like when I opened it up. Mmm, look at all that yarn!

First, there were five balls of Baby Cashmerino.

Next there were two balls of KnitPicks Felici Sport. These would make some nice socks. (And it’s machine washable!)

Then an assortment of unlabeled, partially used balls. I have no idea what these are, but the way they are wound makes me think they could be Rowan. I wonder what project they were used for!

These are definitely Rowan. As I guessed from the auction pictures, there are 17 balls of Silk Aran. This will be enough for a great project…maybe a sweater?

And finally, I was thrilled to discover that there were actually 11 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter! This is enough to make a gorgeous cardigan I have had my eye on for a while. And this much Shelter by itself would cost more than I paid for the whole lot of yarn.

Overall I think Goodwill can be a great place to buy yarn, if you know what you’re looking for. It also helps to be patient, because new auctions are added all the time. Have you ever bought yarn from an auction? I would love to see what you found.

2 thoughts on “Buying Yarn From Goodwill

  1. Lori says:

    i recently found this sight as well. My only peeve is not winning and not knowing how to win. I went from highest bidder to losing and the yarn I wanted was hand dyed and other assorted. i will be trying to figure out what I did wrong because it sold for only a couple dollars more than my original bid…. 😦


    • anna says:

      I shop Goodwill all the time. You lost because Goodwill accepts dollar increments bids. And unlike many sites, the auction ends when the time is up not as long as there is an active bidder. I’ve found the best way to win on is to wait until the final minutes and place a very high bid. That way time will run out on the other biddders who are placing their bid by dollar increments. I no longer bid on yarn at the site because the competition is too great and I find I end up spending more total on the yarn and shipping and handling than if I had made a store purchase. Esp since goodwill is donated yard and you never know how clean it is. I have received yarn that smelled of smoke and I was never able to rid the fibers of the smell.


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