Why is Yarn So Expensive?

At times, knitting and crochet can feel like an expensive hobby.

There are the different tools you need like needles, hooks, scissors, and rulers.

But for the most part those are one-time expenses. 

The real cost comes from all of the yarn that is bought.

But not all yarn costs the same. Luxury yarns come with a hefty price tag, whereas synthetics like acrylic are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Often when you're starting a new project you don't want a low-quality yarn, because it may result in a low quality finished piece.

Sometimes there's a tradeoff between buying quality yarn and price.

In this post, we're going to cover what makes yarn so expensive, what the most expensive and cheapest yarns are, and give some ideas on how you can save money on yarn for your next project.

What Makes Yarn So Expensive?

One of the main factors that influences how expensive a yarn is, is how that yarn is produced. 

The process of producing yarn factors in a few costs that will affect the final store price of the yarn.

The factors include:

  1. Harvest raw material
  2. Production of the yarn
  3. Transporting and storing the yarn

Harvesting Raw Material

harvested wool

The raw material that the yarn is made of greatly influences its cost.

Yarn made from animal fibers tend to be more expensive than other material because the hair has to be grown and harvested which takes a lot of time and effort.

Fibers like wool, merino wool, alpaca wool, angora wool, mohair, and cashmere all come from animals such as sheep, rabbits, alpacas, and goats.

This is what makes these materials so expensive.

Yarn can also be made from plant fibers like cotton, linen, and bamboo.

This also takes time to grow and harvest, but generally its less expensive to produce than material using animal fiber.

There is also yarn made from synthetic material which means different chemistry and processes are used to produce these fibers. 

This includes things like tencel, acrylic, polyester, and nylon. These tend to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum for yarn prices.

Production of Yarn

Yarn production

After the raw material is harvested, it is prepared to turn into yarn.

Depending on the type of yarn this can involve various treatments and washings before the material is ready to actually be turned into fiber strands that make up the yarn.

The fiber strands are then spun into different yarn weights and thicknesses and dyed various colors for the end product.

All of these steps can influence the cost of the yarn. 

Transport and Storage


Finally, after the yarn is produced there is transport and storage costs involved with getting the yarn to the online retailer or store that the yarn is bought from.

Yarn and the raw materials used to produce the yarn come from many different areas of the world.

All of the shipping and storage to get the yarn to the end retailer and even to the end customer includes different costs that have to be reflected in the final price. 

What are the Most Expensive Yarns?

Yarns that are produced from animal fibers tend to be the most expensive yarn.

Any kind of wool tends to be on the more costly side so anything like merino, cashmere, mohair alpaca etc.

Silk also tends to be more expensive than yarn made from other kinds of fiber.

The most expensive yarn in the world is considered Vicuna wool which comes South America.

So, if you're trying to save money on yarn, it might be better to stay away from animal fibers. 

What are the Cheapest Yarns?

Synthetic yarns tend to be the cheapest.

They are often less costly to produce which is why they are cheaper.

Acrylic is considered to be the cheapest yarn. 

However, it's not always best to just choose the cheapest yarn you can.

Depending on the project, a synthetic yarn might not be a good choice, because it could result in a low-quality piece.

If you are looking to buy a more affordable yarn, that is still decent quality, you might consider a blended yarn that is a bland of natural fiber and a synthetic.

Blended yarns still tend to be somewhat affordable without having the negatives of a 100% synthetic yarn. 

How to Save Money on Yarn

Buy in Bulk

Some yarn retailers will give deep discounts when you buy yarn in bulk. 

We have a built-in bulk discount on our yarn.

Our yarn discount structure is:

  • 2-5 Packs of Yarn - 5% off
  • 6-10 Packs of Yarn - 10% off
  • 11-16 Packs of Yarn - 15% off
  • 17+ Packs of yarn - 20% off

You can check out our yarn selection here.

This can be a great way to save money on yarn. 

Plan Your Projects

Having a plan for your project before you buy the yarn is also a good idea and helps towards making more conservative purchases.

If you already have an idea of your project and pattern before getting your yarn, this can help it so you don't end up with excess, which definitely helps the budget out. 

Try Thrifting for Yarn

You can try thrifting for yarn at various at secondhand stores.

You can also check out Craigslist, FB marketplace, and other second hand spots where you might come across a good deal.

The only drawback with buying secondhand yarn is that you will likely have a lot less of a color selection than buying at a retailer.


There are many costs involved with the end prices that you are charged when buying yarn.

But the hobby of knitting and crocheting is only as expensive as you make it. 

If you are always using high end luxury yarn for your work, then it will definitely be expensive.

But if you are smart with how you purchase your yarn, plan your projects, and use affordable yarns, it doesn't have to break the bank.



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