Yarn clubs and yarn subscription boxes have become quite popular over the past few years. The idea of having a new box full of yarny goodness delivered to your door each month seems to be very appealing and honestly, I totally get it! Who wouldn't want THAT?!
But how to choose the one subscription out of all the options, which best fits your needs and wishes? The selection of clubs and subscriptions is so vast, that it can sometimes seem overwhelming and make the choice extremely hard. Well, I am here today to (hopefully) help and provide some advice in hopes of narrowing it down to the one box which will make you the happiest!
What to consider when choosing a subscription?
The best way to choose what to get out of a group of similar items is to compare them! So I found it is easiest for me to make a list of all the different criteria I want to take into consideration and then take notes regarding each of the possible options. Here are the criteria I think are most important to consider when it comes to yarn subscriptions , but of course when you make your own list you can add or substract what is more or less relevant to you.
1.Value for money
Perhaps the most important variable is what you get and how much you paid for it, or in other words - do you get your money's worth? Does the subscription you are currently looking into offer a good deal? In order to find that out, you must do a little research and look at what was included in the boxes in the past.
Some websites will actually have pictures, videos or blog posts showing off boxes from previous months, in which case the research is very easy - simply look and see if you will be willing to pay the prices of the subscription in return for the content showed.
In case the website itself does not supply a review of past editions, do a short web search for reviews of the subscription you are currently looking into. Many subscriptions are being reviewed by different bloggers or unboxed on YouTube videos. These videos can be very helpful, as they often let you have a closer look at the items in the subscription boxes. Do you like the kind of yarns which were included? Do you like the colors? Are there any extras? Are there also pattern suggestions or actual written patterns included as well? Answering these questions will help you determine if the content of the boxes is worth the price of the subscription. If you look at several past editions and like what you see, then perhaps this specific club is worth more looking into. If you don't, then maybe this one is not for you. It is as simple as that!
2.Variations and add-ons
Some yarn subscriptions let you choose out of a selection of options such as how many skeins of yarn you want in each box, or what sort of colors would your like your yarns to be. Sometimes you'll even have an option to choose what fiber or yarn weight you prefer. Of course, the more you can personalize your subscription, the higher the possibility that you will like what's inside. Since most subscription clubs don't let you see what's in your box ahead of time, knowing the general direction might make it easier for those of you who don't do very well with surprises...
Another thing you should look into are add-ons. Sometimes, there will be an option to add another skein of yarn to your box. Sometimes you can add on different accessories like a crochet hook or stitch markers. Of course, add-ons (as their name suggests) are an addition to the existing box, and therefore will alternate the price of the monthly subscription. It makes sense, of course, that if a box normally comes with just one skein of yarn, adding another one (or more) will raise the overall price. But in cases the subscription doesn't come with suggestions for patterns, getting more of the yarn might be an option that's worth looking into. In that case, having more of the yarn will make it easier for you to choose a future project for it.
3.Delivery times and frequency
Another important detail to pay attention to in today's world - what is the delivery method and approximate delivery time? Are the boxes shipped with or without tracking? Is it even a box at all? Maybe they ship in mailer bags? Each one of these details will determine how long it takes from the moment it leaves the company until it reaches your door.
Of course, not all of us care if it takes longer to arrive, but knowing how long it normally takes will make it easier to spot when a delivery is lost, for example. In addition, it is worth knowing if your delivery is a domestic or international one, with everything that has been going on in the past few years in regards to customs, duties and taxes...
The frequency of deliveries might also be an important variable in your choice between different subscriptions. Some subscription clubs are monthly, while others ship every other month, quarterly or every 4 or 6 months. This very often also effects the price of the subscription as well as the frequency of charges on your bank account.
A subscription which doesn't ship every single month might be a good idea for those of you finding it hard to keep up and use the yarns you receive each time.
4.Canecllation and costumer service/support
This is a very important point, which many people sometimes forget about , or perhaps just don't really like thinking about, but what happens when we have a problem or need to cancel the subscription? Is it as simple as clicking a button on the website? If so, is that button easy to find? We all know how these things can go - companies are very quick in taking your money, but when it comes to refunding it or simply stop a monthly charge, things can get complicated, and we really don't want THAT.
Costumer service is another extremely important aspect that's mostly overlooked until the moment you actually need it, and then, if it isn't good, it's already too late... Looking up reviews about the company might help you there. I personally like to go and look on the BAD reviews, and see what are some issues people had, which were not well resolved by the company. Of course, other people's reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, but reading them might give you an idea of what are some issues that might occur and the frequency of them occurring among subscribers of that specific yarn club.
A neat trick, which I found very helpful, is to write the costumer service with a specific question BEFORE subscribing. It can be something very small like "I am often out of the house and would like my boxes to always be left at my neighbor's" or something of the sort. This will give you a general idea of how the costumer service handles issues and how quick they are to respond.
Finally, after looking at all the "dry facts", you should consider your own personal preferences and will they be fulfilled with that specific subscription. If, for example, there are certain fibers you can not work with or simply prefer not to, or maybe there are certain fibers you prefer to get more than others. Same goes for yarn weights or the kind of patterns you are more drawn towards. After doing your research you should know what kinds of yarns are often included in the boxes and what kind of patterns are offered with them, so you can make an educated estimate of whether or not your preferred fibers, colors, yarn weights and patterns are often included in them. Of course, the more often your favorites appear in the boxes, the happier you will be upon receiving them.
After carefully considering all the variables you will have a more clear view of each of the different yarn subscription clubs, and hopefully will have an easier time choosing the one that is most right for you.
If you need some inspiration, here is a selection of different yarn subscription clubs, which I had already tried out and can personally recommend taking a look at:
2.Darn Good Yarn
6.Little Box Of Crochet
9.Lauren Aston Designs
11.For The Love Of Yarn
12.Little Bishes Stitches Get 15% off using the code: JHOOKLBS
16.Dyer Wolf Yarn Co.
17.Kelly's Knit Club (Alpaca Direct)
19.The Knitting Goddess
20.Craft House Magic