Where to Find Upcycled Yarn and Save Money - Wear and Woven

Where to Find Upcycled Yarn and Save Money

Fiber waste is a big issue in the textile industry, including the yarn world. One way to prevent it is for weavers and fiber artists to use upcycled yarn, yarn that other artists don’t want anymore, or mill ends and surplus from textile companies.

(Mill ends are the extra yarn left over when a textile manufacturer is done with a certain product line.) 

Often you can get upcycled yarns at a fraction of their original cost. Always a nice plus when buying yarn!

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Where to find upcycled yarn

Thrift stores 

Thrift stores can be a bit hit or miss for craft supplies like yarn. You might find some great yarn, or you might find some yarn that isn’t in good condition and should have just been tossed. That being said, if you keep looking you just might find some really great fiber available. 

Recycled art supplies organizations

Check your area to see if there are any non-profits or art organizations that recycle craft supplies. In Houston where I live, we have a store called Texas Art Asylum where artists can donate unwanted art supplies. It's then sold to the public at a discounted rate. Basically a thrift store for art supplies.

Since this isn’t a chain of thrift stores like Goodwill you’ll have to search locally within your area to find if there is a similar organization near you.

Image by Bianca Marie Arreola

Destash sales on Etsy or eBay

Another great way to find upcycled yarn is through a destash sale. If you search “destash sale” on Etsy or eBay you’ll find weavers and other fiber artists downsizing their yarn stashes by selling the surplus online. This is a great way to find really unique yarns.

Estate sales

Estate sales are a bit hit and miss like thrift stores, with the exception that you can search online to see if there are any estate sales that are listed as having yarn or fiber supplies. Many times when yarn lovers pass away their loved ones aren’t sure what to do with their fiber art supplies so they will offer them for sale. This is a great way to carry on another fiber artist's legacy and find some upcycled yarn.

Image by Tanes Ngamson via Getty Images

Old Mill Yarn 

Old Mill Yarn was originally a fiber mill where they made their own yarn. Now they purchase mill ends and surplus yarns from textile manufacturers. They wind the giant factory-size yarn cones down into smaller cone sizes for individual fiber artists (that’s you). Because they purchase mill ends they have good quality, unique yarns that they can offer at a discounted price. Definitely check them out.

R&M Yarns LLC 

R&M Yarns sells 20% regular stocked yarn and 80% upcycled yarn. One of the nice things about purchasing mill ends is that you can end up with some really nice yarn at a fraction of the cost. R&M has a great selection and they sell weaving and fiber art equipment as well.

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Local textile manufacturers 

Many times local textile manufacturers will have surplus yarn or supplies from products they are no longer producing. 

Look online to see if there are any in your area. If so you can reach out to them via email to see if they have any surplus supplies they are willing to donate or sell at a discount. 

My weaving guild was contacted by a carpet manufacturer who was trying to donate yarn to fiber artists rather than have it go to a landfill, so there are options out there. 

You just might have to look for them. Even if they don’t have anything available at the time they may suggest you check back in later in their production year. 

Why upcycle yarn?

Purchasing upcycled yarn where possible is a great way to contribute to a more ecologically responsible textile future. It can also help save you money in your yarn budget, so its really a win-win!

Want to see more of my favorite weaving resources? Check them out here

Want to learn how to weave? Check out these blog posts

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