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Yarn porn

January 26th, 2016 at 05:02 pm

I think back to the many yarns and fibers I sold these past 6 months.

When the weather was still warm, I would photograph them outside to take advantage of the natural light and what I think was a handsome backdrop: my stone staircase.

Naturally I wanted to make the yarns I was selling as attractive as possible. It got to the point where I felt like I was marketing "yarn porn."

Take a look at these gorgeous shots and see if you don't agree. You don't have to be a weaver to appreciate them.


These glittery yarns, which I made a point to sell right before Christmas, were some of my best sellers. If I'd known how popular they would be, I would have priced them higher. Of course, that's what I said about a lot of things. Frown


In addition to some very alluring photos, I also gave the colors some appealing names. This was butter yellow cotton. I would typically sell the cones for about $5 for small ones, $10 for medium-sized ones and $15 for large ones like this, which could weigh a pound or more. Depending on the fiber, they could retail for more than twice that amount.

I exhaustively researched prices for every yarn I sold. The goal was to determine the right price per ounce. Obviously I wanted to get as much as I could for them, but if they lingered on my shelving for weeks, well, I also need to get on with my life, too. I continuously adjusted my prices as needed to keep moving the merchandise!

I started out by checking retail yarn prices, then pricing mine at half that. But I found over time it was better to compare yarn prices on Etsy and then either meet those prices or slightly undercut them, because Etsy is where, I suspect, many buyers go to check prices before making an offer.


This was lipstick red cotton.


The afternoon sun created some interesting shadows with this Robin Hood green.


I called these the "fuzzy navels," because they are actually hairy. Most people don't know what to make of it. I still have a dozen of these things and I think I sold one. They are polyester, and most serious weavers are yarn snobs. They look down on synthetics. Who knew, right?


Here's another polyester that has gone unsold, despite my best efforts. I really kind of like the multi-color effect; it reminds me of the string they use to tie up your box of cake at the local bakery.


My gosh, I sold a lot of yarn cones. These are all gone, thankfully.


This roving (used by spinners) was also very hot, due to the unusual coloring. The people on these sites are very serious about their purchases, though, and they expect you to know the provenance of each yarn you sell, what breed lama/alpaca/goat, etc, its age, name and favorite snack. I'm exaggerating, of course, but only just a little.


I must say, this was a great shot in the late afternoon sun. This was "soft as a baby's bottom" roving, and it was easy to sell.


Some neutral wools...


This was the very first fiber I tried to sell, and I vastly underestimated how popular they would be. I went crazy trying to keep up with all the people saying they wanted this color or that color. I had about 50 of these cute little wool tubes from Frederick Fawcett of Boston, which has since gone out of business. I sold them for $5 a piece, a bargain, by all accounts.


This Tussah silk brought gasps of admiration, believe me. It is made by a certain type of caterpillar and I got a very good price for it.


This is not a natural fiber but I think it's a great color nonetheless. It finally sold, for a pittance.

I sure have learned a lot about fibers, not to mention, shipping via USPS and Paypal. Since most of what I sold did not have labels indicating quantity, I learned how to calculate "WPI," or "wraps per inch," which you can do easily with a pencil. Armed with that knowledge, I could then cite the yarn weight, wehether it was "fingerling," "worsted," "bulky" or "lace."


Most of these wool cones came from Plymouth Mills, one of the few mills that appears to still be in business. I know because I contacted them to try to determine if this fiber was in fact 100% wool. Thank God, for now I could make the claim it was wool and not have to worry about unhappy buyers. It really was important as far as trying to set a price on them. After I sent them an email, they confirmed they were indeed wool. I sold them 1, 2, 3 or more at a time, a very tedious process, until finally a few months back I met a woman online who wanted to buy all the wool cones I had remaining, about $400 worth. It was a lot of work to pack up 4 big boxes for her, but it helped me get through some of these yarn sales that much faster.


When I started, I had about 4 of these shelves filled with yarns, not to mention 2 folding tables and my dining room table. At this point I've sold probably 75% of my mother's stash so I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What I have left is the synthetic stuff, the acrylics, nylons and polyesters or the ones that have no labels. It's tough to sell something if you don't know what it is. There's a burn test you can do but it you have a blend, like a polyester/cotton mix, say, the results can be inconclusive so I don't rely on the burn test too much.

I've been selling yarns since I guess late May. Never really mentioned it here that much because you guys aren't fiber people, but this has taken up SO much of my spare time. I thought I'd share all these photos with you as it's been quite the journey. It kind of became a hobby for me and now I don't want to get rid of quite all my yarn photos. It will remind me of these upside down, emotional days.

I've also met a lot of very very nice middle-aged women who live locally and came to the house to buy. It's been a very interesting experience. I had no idea, starting out, these yarns were so valuable.

6 Responses to “Yarn porn”

  1. Petunia 100 Says:

    They are very pretty. I love your creativity, inventing names for the colors. But, I certainly wouldn't buy any roving without knowing the favorite snack of the goat/lama/alpaca which produced it. Wink

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Wow! I had no idea you had that much to sell!! Beautiful pictures and explanation.

  3. Carol Says:

    The yarns are gorgeous, especially set on the stone stone steps. I feel for you and how much of your life it has taken.

  4. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I love that one that looks like a big pouffy grey-haired ladies wig. Smile

  5. alice4now Says:

    Patient and FrugalTexan, When I saw that picture of the grey roving my first thought was "unicorn curls"!

    This is quite a collection, I hope to find a hobby that I'm as passionate about as your mother apparently was.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    I'm afraid I would be tempted to donate the synthetics and write it off. You've done such a lot of work, and obviously learned a lot in the process. I'm impressed!

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