Buying Yarn On eBay

Hi Guys! Another new member here. I've spent the past week having fun reading all your posts. I have a question about buying yarn on eBay. I bid on an auction yesterday and was outbid by another member, but then I received a "second chance" offer to buy the yarn for my highest bid. With shipping, the price per skein came out to about $2 which seemed like a good deal for 100% wool, so I accepeted the offer. I seemed like the offer came too quickly for the winner to have defaulted on the purchase. Is this just a way for yarn companies to move stock - by offering it to everyone who comes close to the retail price? Should I be wary of such offers?

Also, how do you know what the yarn will be like if you buy on-line? Do you go to your LYS and feel your favorites and then go buy it cheeper on-line? I would feel pretty guilty doing that. Do you order a 50 g ball and then order more if you like it?

Thanks in advance for you help!

YarnGuy716's picture

Buying online is like a mail-order bride, don't know what you'll get until it arrives. LOL... Basically go with what has a good reputation, or recommended by others who have used it. With eBay you want to be sure that it wasn't exposed to pet hair or smoke. It helps to look up what brand that's being offered to see what it retails for. Getting 100% wool for $2.00 a skein sounds good, but if it's Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks , you can get that direct from them for $1.79 per skein. So the best advice is research what you are looking to buy.

Stephen's picture

My advice for eBay is to be really careful about the brand. I bought some yarn through eBay that was labelled as 100% wool (incl on the ball band) but a brand I didn't recognise. It turned out to be acrylic. I should have known at the start from the smell and feel of it but the horrible truth didn't become clear till I tried felting my MWK knitalong slippers.

crmartin's picture

I have purchased some yarn on ebay and not had any problems. I purchase the majority of my yarn online as there is no lys anywhere near where I live. I frequently check out reviews when available on Ravelry or



Parrot's picture

Hi. I have ordered yarn on eBay when I first started knitting. Half of the orders were not what I expected and the yarn is still sitting around. The others were very nice, but were also name brands and fiber content that I was familiar with. The problem with one order was that I was one ball short for completing my project and then couldn't get anymore. For the past couple of years, I now only buy yarns at my LYS. The little bit extra that I pay is justified by the assistance and help I get from the shop owner. Since I'm a regular customer there, she is more than happy to help with any problems, questions, teaching techniques, and more. I have also saved more over time since she has given me several skeins of yarn for free . . some retailing for $12 and more. I also quickly learned that to see the exact colors, sometimes in daylight instead of artificial light, makes a huge difference, as well as feeling the texture of the fibers. It has also been a huge help to see the samples the owner has knitted up so I can get a better idea of what the yarn looks like knitted up in various stitches.

If you have a LYS and like it, I can't express enough how important it is to support your local merchants. I have worked in retail for many years, including owning my own business. It is very unfair to the local shopkeeps to buy your goods somewhere else because you "got a good deal", and then expect your local folks to help you with all of your questions, problems, etc. Some places may be "cheaper", but you ultimately pay the price for lack of service.

I hope this helps you.


Asbjörn's picture

The closest LYS to me is by no means local so I too have to find alternate means of obtaining fibers (beyond Wal-Mart's isle of spun plastic). There are reputable companies online that have 100% wool (and more) for spectacular prices. Knitpicks for example has their Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Highland Wool) in 51 colors for $1.99US per 50gm ball, and if your order is over $50US shipping is free. Patternworks and Elann are also good spots for less expensive yarns with good fiber contents. Webs is another reputable company with an extensive selection of sale priced fibers, some at extraordinary discounts. I suppose the sight unseen aspect of buying something as tactile as knitting fibers online makes it difficult but sticking with reputable companies helps as you can always return something if you are dissatisfied. It helps to learn the qualities of certain fibers and you can always look at opinions at Yarndex as well as reviews/projects using the yarn in question at Ravelry


Thinman's picture

Thanks for all the leads.....I'll be sure to check them out in the future. I can see how one's stash can grow quickly and outpace the project list!

grandcarriage's picture

Knitpicks, mentioned above, is a wonderful company with excellent prices and is highly recommended.

As per buying yarn on E-bay. I've have pretty good luck... A couple of times the yarn was not what was expected, but it was more realistic to resell it at a yarn swap or on e-bay itself then to fuss with trying to send it back for a partial refund from the seller. My only stipulations on yarn from e-bay:

Smokefree house. (I don't require pet free, but if it comes smelling like cat or damaged in ANY way, I WILL send it back with some stern comments to the seller). Whenever I have yarn sent that I've bought from a private seller, I stick it in a plastic bag and put it in my freezer for a week, just in case of wool-moths... This is supposed to kill any moths/eggs that might be in the wool. I have too big a stash to risk infiltration of moths.

There are a number of yarn clearing houses that work through e-bay. Nothing wrong with dealing with them: Their business relies on customer approval. I've happily bought from several. Good luck, have fun, nice profile picture, BTW.

grandcarriage's picture

Good point: I forgot to use Ravelry as an index on yarns~see what others thought of various yarns. Excellent suggestion.

Aaronknits's picture

I usually only buy yarn online if it's something I've used before and am familiar with. I have made a few "blind buys" including a couple on eBay which have been good experiences. I haven't used Knitpicks yet but I hear great things about them from folks who have.

smitty's picture

I've never even thought of buying any yarn online on ebay or anywhere else really. We have a very small LYS here, which I've only visited once. I've been buying from our local Stedmans store as they have quite a huge selection of yarns - one full wall of just yarn. But, I'm a 'cotton' guy myself. I was using only Acrylic when I first started, as I had never heard of 'cotton yarn'. I've never tried working with 'wool'. Stedmans has a very nice color selection of cottons, so they've been my ' yarn shop' for some time now. I must visit our LYS soon again though, to support the young gal. I'm on a 'Tuke frenzy' right now, so wouldn't mind talking to the owner about some easy patterns. At the moment I'm inventing my own. But, I've never even thought about bidding on yarns on ebay. I pay 1.69 per cotton skein, which I think is reasonable. I really like the feel of cotton, so have stuck with it for quite awhile now.

albert's picture

Two things: What is a "tuke"?, and why don't you give wool yarn a spin sometime (pardon the pun)- for historic reasons if nothing else? I cannot imagine not having wool yarn available to me despite the variety of other natural fibers.

YarnGuy716's picture

LOL... "tuke" is a Canadian term for hat/watchcap/beanie. One of those things that you know when you live in a city on the Canadian border.


I have bought on ebay in my yarn tramp days (ok..I guess I still am one). Anyway...I bought a couple of cones of wool...but it is a scratchy wool...advertised for knitting but it must have been for upholstery or carpet! I learned. I also bought some other wool that said worsted weight but it appears more like DK weight. So I am a bit jaded.

For my two cents...if you like quantity, I like Sarah's Yarns online. You can buy cones. For me....she is service oriented and the quality has been good.

potterdc's picture

Hi Bill,

Last year, around this time, I was caught stash-less at a time when I desperately needed stash. The Best Beloved had taken a fall on the ice and was in a cast for 6 months so we were both spending winter evenings and weekends at home watching Netflix in front of the fire. Cozy, but I had no yarn! I went on eBay and ordered a package of this and a package of that. When it arrived I followed Grandcarriage's advice and stuck it in the freezer for a week, and began to knit. If I liked it, I went back to the seller and dropped them a line. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they all had more, and I did in fact purchase more of all the yarn I liked. I still have some of that stash, and would have no qualms trying eBay again.

Jonathan in DC

Think less, enjoy it more.

Think less, enjoy it more.