Poor quality gift yarn...

Ok, it happened again. My friends know I knit, and when it comes time to give a gift, sometimes they give me yarn. These friends got me a few balls of thin, synthetic yarn. You know the kind, like 99cents for a massive ball. Its a sweet gesture of course, and the colors are really nice, but frankly.... the yarn sucks. This isn't the first time I've gotten such yarn from unknowing friends, and its somewhere collecting dust under the couch... What do you all do when you get this kind of yarn as a gift? They're already asking me what I'm going to knit with it.... in a way I feel obligated but can't imagine putting that yarn on needles...


Aaronknits's picture

I would try to find someone who might use it for something. But if that doesn't work tell them that you appreciate the thought and to pass along the good karma you turned it into a gift to benefit the less fortunate. Then just throw it into the nearest fire and don't tell them that burning it really was the best thing that could be done with it.

Gutten Abend Kilgore!!
I heize Kurt Wieser. and that is about as far as my highschool "deutsch" goes...sorry. I live in Cleveland Ohio, USA, which may not be the most popular place in the world these days (and I hope you know there are many of us who agree) but anyway, my partner and I were just howling with laughter reading your blog about unworthy gift yarn. Thank you for your frequent and fun comments (ie: I hate knitting for other people article) you give to us as gifts.

Tell them you are knitting for the elderly....and donate to a senior citizen home. If they want to see something, buy better yarn and tell them it is it.

I hate lying but...I hate to hurt well-meaning feelings. Maybe go shopping with them some time and point out stuff you really like and tell them to remember next holiday...and tell them you won't buy any til then.

MasonM's picture

I'm sure a nursing home or other worthy place would appreciate the donation. Perhaps you know a local art teacher who could make use of it?

Remember, it's the thought that counts.


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste

I think it's a wonderful gift. You just don't see the potential "what I wanna be" in the yarn. There are hundreds of Premmie babies out there that need hats, little Onesies, etc. Contact your local women's hospital or general hospital. There are all sorts of Native American Indian reservations that would love to receive garments for the kids. There is a wonderful group of people that knit for Mongolian children on the Steppes providing them with socks, sweaters, hats, etc.
Artificial, manmade yarns are perfect for toddlers, newborns, the old and infirm and, of course, the needy. So put that stuff to good use and give back part of your good fortune, Kilgore. It's wonderfully motivating to know that you're knitting for someone you don't know and for someone that really needs it and will appreciate it.

~Mike in Tampa
Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

I like this summary

Asbjörn's picture

Me too. I know there are a lot of prison knitting groups as well (men and women), as well as state-run nursing home knitting groups that would appreciate the yarn if you really have no intention of using it.
On the other hand, I too received a pile (well, about 5 little skeins) of Lion Brand "Fancy Fur" from my mom. I checked out the site to see what patterns I could use it for and they were ghastly (toy-breed dog sweaters that my dogs would laugh at, shrugs (I don't know anyone who would wear a shrug), and some other garish creations). They did have rugs you could make which I thought were kinda funky but they used a whopping 17 skeins of the stuff! And it's not inexpensive either, buying 12 more balls of the stuff is not how I want to spend any potential stash money. Apart from making some boring one skein/all knit scarves I really have no idea what I am going to do with it. I'll hang on to it and see what comes up. Has anyone used this Fancy Fur to make anything cool? I was thinking an open, lacy-type shawl for my mom would be nice, but the shawls they had on the site were a worsted or bulky-type yarn in combination with the Fancy Fur (an "eyelash" yarn).


Use it to try "new moves" with. For example, a few rows of the so-called scarf. With "extra" yarn you cast on, try a few rows, decide how you like the prospect of doing said project, then throw it away and start over with the "real" yarn you want to use for the project. What to tell the friends: "I started making this project with your yarn, but then decided this project would look better with this yarn instead." Other than that, the charity projects already suggested make a lot of sense, or use the yarn to teach other folks to knit.


kylewilliam's picture

I agree with the comments here - knitting for others is the best feeling -and if it's cold where you are, knitting scarves can be a good way to "use up" the yarn you don't love... maybe pair it with some wool you like - and knit with 2 yarns together - so that it's not terribly acrylic, but it's still used.... I have had the fantasy (for years) of knitting up a bunch of scarves, driving to the homeless area of town and passing them out to folks - but I have yet to actually do it - I knit some for charity and just donate it to shelters or other local programs...

And I'm sure you could mention to your friends (somehow) that if they'd like to get you something related to your craft, a gift card is an awesome gesture - so that you can buy yarn for something you have planned - or refer them to a website online (I like amazon.com) and create a gift list there so that they know what you want.... my partner and I did this for Christmas this year and it worked out pretty well - we go online from time to time, and "shop" - I never look at my list and he bought lots of goodies on there for me.... it's all reference material/etc. that I asked for, so it's not needed immediately...

I hope that helps - Kyle



myser10's picture

I keep that yarn in my stash, you never know when it would come in handy as a stitch holder or to try out a new project. That yarn is also useful for making busy-work afghans. I've also used poor yarn to make waterbottle holders, and other things that get beat up in use, so I don't care about what kind of yarn I used.

murfpapa's picture

My ex-wife used several kinds of yarn and a really large hook to make a throw-rug type doormat which held up quite well despite its inherent ugliness. This, in turn, got me interested in crocheting in addition to the knitting that I already knew the basics of. Placemats are another use, and I've used really garish colors to tie up the plants in the garden that needed staking. Throwing scraps outside for birds to use for nest-building. Toys for kids that need to hold up to rough use and repeated washings and "pins" of crocheted/knitted flowers, animals and funny faces for older kids to wear. An old lady that has since passed on used to make the cutest animal faces out of plastic canvas around Christmas. These were squares that had 2 sides laces together and the opposite sides of one square and another square laced together so you could squeeze the sides so the mouth would open revealing candies and other treats. (Damn, I just remembered that....I could have used those for stocking stuffers this year!!!!!) Tokens on keychains out of plastic canvas, too. (I still love the argyle one that I made for myself). In fact, if there are kids around (relatives, neighbors or you can pick up a few cheap at the local discount store) cheap acrylic yarn is ideal for teaching them the basics of the string arts. Even the ugliest acrylic yarn has feelings and a need to be wanted somewhere by someone for something.

RareSteek's picture

I know that lots of the older ladies at my church knit scarfs, tuques, mittens etc. for a local homeless shelter.



BuduR's picture

I'm always getting a cheap icky yarn from friends or people who find out I knit and have a stash of yarn thier miserly aunt Hilda bought when yarn was first invented. I usually keep a few skeins to make baby hats to donate, and donate the rest, I donate to senior centers, and prisons. If asked what I will do with the yarn I tell them in my best excited voice that it's perfect for my charity knitting and I was running low! thank you so much! I truely believe in it's the thought that counts when it comes to gifts. they thought of me, and tried to get me something they thought I would like, that's good enough for me, and I have yet to have someone insulted by me donating what I make with the yarn.

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

I've been given nasty yarn in the past and I used it for making baby blankets, children's sweaters, hats, scarves and any other things that various charities were in need of. I can't say I was overly thrilled when I started knitting with it, but I had a great deal of satisfaction seeing the FOs before I handed them over to the Red Cross or whoever. Yarn that can be washed over and over is wonderful for schemes like this. Be grateful you got a gift, and get knitting.

KilgoreTrout's picture

Thanks so much for all the quick responses, guys! And that in less than 24hours, I guess we're all on christmas break, or something like it :)
I really appreciate the suggestions. I agree, knitting for babies and charity is the perfect thing to do with the yarn. This is a bit in conflict with my other problem (refer to previous post about knitting for other people) but I must admit knitting baby socks is really fun, and I have several pregnant friends at the moment.
In addition, I certainly have to put my foot in my mouth on this one. The yarn isn't as bad as I previously thought. I only looked at the materials on one of the skeins and, thinking they were all the same brand, I thought all of them were %100 acrylic. But on closer inspection, I saw that the two big skeins are only %80 acrylic and %20 wool. This does make a considerable difference. Silly, ungrateful me!!! They really were quite thoughtful, so the next project will be with this yarn, wether its swatches or baby clothes....

If wishes and buts were clusters and nutes we'd all have a bowl of granola.

grandcarriage's picture

Life is far too short to knit on crapola yarn. Each stitch will be a trial. I suggest donating it to the art program at a school or childcare programme. Kids love yarn, art programs are usually underfunded.

OR, you could just be honest, and tell your friends that although you really appreciate the thought, the yarn doesn't really suit, and perhaps if they still have the receipt, you could go get something fabulous that you'll really enjoy.

One of my best friends bought another knitter incredible $25/sk hand dyed, handspun merino. He asked me after the fact, "Is this good yarn?" I told him, in knitting terms, he bought his friend a Mercedes roadster...Yes, it was good. You need my friends, I guess.

albert's picture

Look, don't kid yourself, you hate this yarn. So after careful consideration I have come up with several options for dealing with your dilemma:

1. Knit up a scarf in garter stitch on REALLY BIG needles and add REALLY LONG tassles. This will still be painful, but at least it will be quick.

2. Rub red food coloring on your hands and tell your friends that you had an allergic reaction to the yarn, and isn't it a shame that you won't be able to use it after all.

3. Lose your "friends".

BuduR's picture

roflmao Albert, 2 is my favorite option. You have potential to be pure evilness, I love it!

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

Hmmm. Must be my mood this morning, but Albert's #2 suggestion makes me chuckle and see a potential antidote for a variety of well intended, but dubious gifts. I rather like the suggestion! As a thought, if at all possible between now and your next gift-receiving window of opportunity, you might try to work in a trip to a LYS with the gifters and casually show them what YOU find valuable in a yarn. In the meantime....the red dye is pretty amusing!

crmartin's picture

If they're male friends, you could knit them willie warmers with it. ;-)