I divide yarn into three basic categories in my mind: indie yarn, small business yarn and big box yarn. Indie yarn is dyed and / or spun by a 1-2 person business. It’s usually one-of-a-kind yarn and is often sold on sites like Etsy. Candy Skein is an example of indie yarn. Small business yarn is yarn from small companies that you might be able to find in your LYS but probably not in a big store. Malabrigo and Lorna’s Laces are small business yarns. The big box yarn is the yarn you can buy at Michael’s and JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby.

Sometimes I think of myself as a yarn snob because the truth is I’d rather buy indie and small business yarn. There are several reasons for this including:

  • I love one of a kind yarn.
  • I love soft luxury yarn.
  • I like supporting small business.
  • It’s actually easier for me to get these types of yarn. We have more than half a dozen LYS here. We don’t have big box stores. And really I prefer to shop online and it’s just as easy to shop indie.
  • I pretty much never go in big box stores of any kind. Why would I start with yarn?
That said, I’ve actually used quite a bit of big box yarn. I’ve gotten some at Michael’s. I actually think it’s really fun to shop there because you can get so much for so little. I’ve gotten lots secondhand from our local art thrift store and Listia and yard sales. I’ve been given some from people. And actually, when it comes down to it, I’m not a yarn snob because I’m totally happy to use this yarn as well. Sure I may shop indie but there’s been plenty of big box yarn I’ve liked as well.
The top ten list for me of big box yarn is:
  1. Patons Silk Bamboo Yarn. My number one favorite go-to yarn.
  2. Caron Simply Soft. It truly is soft and easy to work with and super affordable.
  3. Patons Bohemian Yarn. A nice option for soft bulky weight yarn.
  4. Patons Grace. Apparently the yarn brand I like most is Patons.
  5. Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool. I know people have mixed reviews but I love this stuff.
  6. Lion Brand FUN yarn. Nice basic yarn with intense color.
  7. Bernat Baby Jacquards Yarn. I adored the color details on this yarn.
  8. Red Heart Shimmer. I think this one is soft and I like the glitter of it.
  9. Lily Sugar n Cream. I don’t work much with cotton yarn but I wanted to include one. This is the one I’d pick.
  10. Vanna’s Glamour Yarn. I actually haven’t tried this one yet but I have it sitting here and I think it’ll be fun to work with. We’ll see.

Do you agree that with my distinction between indie, small business and big box yarn?


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. megsminions Reply

    I actually love Michael’s Impeccable brand yarn for all of my Amigurumis. Soft and durable. Hold shape very well.

  2. icrochetinoh Reply

    I agree with how you defined the yarn. It makes sense. I like caron too. Vannas is nice & my favorite cotton yarn is I love this cotton sold at Hobby Lobby. Its the softest cotton I’ve ever come across. I enjoy using cotton yarns.

  3. icrochetinoh Reply

    I agree with your assessment above. I like the caron listed above esp. For certain hats. I like their pound yarns for afghams and squares 4 exchanges. My favorite cotton, however, is I love this cotton sold @ Hobby Lobby. It’s the softest cotton I have ever come across. I use different ones(incl. Lily & cream) b/c of the cost of the one I like the most.

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