Sorry for that title. I was listening to Meghan Trainor’s “All about that Bass” and for some reason yarn just got stuck in my head (as it typically does).
In my never-ending quest to find new and awesome yarns, designers and notions for my passion for knitting, I purchased a one month yarn subscription from Yarnbox.
Yarnbox was one of the first yarn subscription sites I found when I began considering a yarn subscription back in 2014. It was inexpensive and offered only yarn. A no-frills solution to the craving for yarn. I put off buying this subscription for awhile though because I wasn’t sure if this was the best subscription for me.
One of the attractive features of Yarnbox is that they do what they say: It’s yarn and nothing else. The yarn is from indie dyers and independent yarn companies. You don’t get the extras that you get with Knitcrate or Poststitch (probably two of Yarnbox’s biggest competitors). However, they do give you a link where you can download the selected knit and crochet pattern for that month’s yarn selection.
You can choose one of three (or you can get them all) subscription types:
Yarnbox Classic – Full size skeins of luxury yarns, enough to make one of the patterns stored in your yarnbox library (on site available for download) and coupon codes for additional patterns to purchase. $36.95 /month plus shipping.
Yarnbox Luxe – High end luxury yarns plus high end tools and pattern options. $69.95 / month plus shipping.
Yarnbox Socks – One to two skeins of hand dyed sock yarn and exclusive pattern $19.95 / month plus shipping.
Each box is recurring and you can cancel at any time. Full details about shipping and pricing are found on the Yarnbox website.
When you sign up you are asked some questions about your preferences. They ask what your yarn weight preferences are, what color you like, if you like bright colors, muted tones, what color you don’t like (or to never send), plus your preferred craft; knitting or crochet.
I chose Yarnbox Classic with yarn weights that weren’t too small (such as fingering, dk, or lace) and chose purple as my preferred color choice (this means I’d get yarn colors in purple or violet colorways) and nothing too bright.
Off the bat I was unhappy with Yarnbox. It took almost a full month for me to receive my yarn. I think it ended up just shy of four weeks once it shipped. At first I attributed this to being in Alaska and everything taking longer to get here but then I asked other Yarnbox subscribers about the shipping and that’s the norm. Yarnbox shipping is extremely slow. Apparently Classic boxes don’t ship until the 15th of the month. When I ordered my box that information wasn’t on the site (and it now is). However, you are billed on the first of the month even though your yarn doesn’t ship until two weeks later.
Here’s the rub with the shipping: I ordered the box for October. It didn’t arrive until the beginning of November. If you want to cancel your subscription you have to do it before the first of the month but my issue was I hadn’t even gotten my first box before being billed for the next one so how would I know if I wanted to cancel the subscription? If you have zero patience and are prone to stalking post office tracking, be prepared, you could wind up very frustrated.
My yarn arrived the first week of November. The yarn is hand dyed merino, single ply worsted weight, 175 yards Three skeins, two colored “lilac” and one “natural”. The yarn is called Andy’s Merino II (named from the sheep it came from) by Farmhouse Yarns, a small farm in Connecticut. The yarn sells for $18 per skein and the total cost of the box with pattern(s) would retail at roughly $65.
The lilac felt stiff and coarse and very dark, almost black looking. The yarn also had a scent to it that I thought might be the dye. I later discovered that was all likely from the vat dye process of the yarn and not being rinsed fully. Because this was my first experience with hand dyed yarns like this, I took to the Ravelry group discussing the monthly box to learn more.
After reading about some subscribers’ experiences with the yarn and it needing to be soaked (I was concerned about bleeding), I decided to soak my yarn in soak wash. I was really shocked at how purple the water was after a soak so I decided to soak it a second time in a water/vinegar mix in order to “set” the color.
I did ask about this and was told that this isn’t the norm with hand dyed yarn; you shouldn’t need to soak/rinse it before you’re able to use it. Once I soaked the yarn it did soften up a bit and it lightened. However, it’s very difficult to get a true idea of the color through the pictures. You can visit the yarnbox blog to see some of the other colorways that were sent out.
As I mentioned earlier, box also contained a postcard with yarn and pattern information. I didn’t care for either of the patterns at all but since I only know how to knit, that was the only pattern that really concerned me. The pattern is a brioche hat knit pattern and it really reminds me of something from the 1970s. I mean no disrespect towards the designer but I knew right away this was a pattern I wouldn’t be using.
In the end I opted for a simple fingerless mitt pattern that I used before with great success. So far I’ve knit up one mitt but the gloves will be for my daughter. The natural yarn is quite a bit softer than the lilac (even after the double soaking) so that’s why I opted to make the gloves in the natural. Since there’s only one skein of the natural I’m hoping I can squeeze two gloves out of it.
I ended up canceling the Yarnbox subscription. I was not as impressed with it as I’d hoped I would be. About a week after I cancelled it, I was charged a $3.00 holding fee but was able to get that refunded quickly. Between the slow shipping and the quality of the yarn I couldn’t keeping this subscription going. After I finish the fingerless mitts for my daughter I have no idea what I’ll do with the rest of the lilac. I still have a whole skein that I haven’t rinsed or soaked.
I do like that they try to get an idea of what you like when you subscribe. You can change that information at any time during your subscription and I considered it but again, this is yarn, one of my absolute favorite obsessions, and I didn’t want to take the chance that I’d have two bad boxes in a row.
Admittedly I almost decided against posting this review because I hoped it would’ve been more positive. Everyone raved about Yarnbox when I was researching yarn subscription boxes so I felt it was important to share that not everyone is 100 percent satisfied. I even held off and waited until I wasn’t so emotionally attached to the experience but I like to maintain my standards of honesty in reviews, especially when I pay for the product (not that I’m not honest when the product is sent – I absolutely am).
I hope you found the review helpful! Feel free to ask me any questions (or even ideas on what to do with a skein and a half of lilac yarn)!