For years now, I’ve watched people on social media gleefully opening up little packages of yarn each day during Advent. I had never ordered a yarn advent calendar before this year, but finally, I decided this was the year to give it a try.
What really tipped me over the edge was seeing the beautiful inspiration photos from my friend Taralynn at Playful Day Yarns. This year’s collection was inspired by dried flowers, and I knew it belonged in my home, too.
And now that the holiday season is over and we’re well into the new year, I thought it might be fun to do a little debrief after enjoying my first yarn advent experience.
About My Yarn Advent Calendar
I ordered a traditional yarn advent calendar, which meant that my package came with 24 mini skeins folded up into 24 little numbered packages. I couldn’t see the skeins before I opened them, and I only opened one skein each day. Each mini skein was a 20-gram skein, which came out to about 80 yards per skein or a total yardage of nearly 2000 yards of hand-dyed yarns. All the skeins are fingering weight yarn.
I also ordered non-superwash yarn for this year‘s advent calendar. Over the last year or so, I’ve become more interested in working with non-superwash yarn, both for environmental and for textural reasons. While I still use a lot of superwash yarn, especially superwash merino in my sock designs, I wanted to try experimenting with more non-superwash, and this seems like a great way to do that.
My yarn advent also came with a small basket to hold all of the skeins and a little neckerchief hand-dyed by Taralynn herself. I feel very whimsical and fancy when I use them.
Things I Liked About My Yarn Advent Calendar
I won’t hide the ball here: I absolutely loved my yarn advent experience. Because I have an elementary schooler, we turned it into a special event each day. My little one would find that day’s package, open it up, peek inside, and give me an excited report before she pulled it out and showed me. It became a fun way for us to have a special experience together each morning.
I also loved that this was a way for me to try some yarn colors I might not otherwise order on their own. For example, I don’t tend to use a lot of purples or greens, even though I think they’re really pretty. Having some mini skeins in those colors will be helpful.
The color coordination between the mini skeins is also delightful. I love when collections fit together, and a themed yarn advent is a great way to build a small collection of yarn that all blends.
Finally, I loved having a little treat each day. The truth is, little treats really motivate me. This helped me get up early enough to be ready to go and open the Advent package before we left for the day.
Things I’d Change About My Yarn Advent Calendar
I know I have a header here for things I would change about my advent calendar experience, but honestly, there’s nothing I’d change. I kept trying to think of something, and nothing came up.
There are some caveats, though, that might help you decide whether a yarn advent calendar is right for you. For one, you will end up with a lot of yarn. Like I mentioned, mine gave me nearly 2,000 yards of yarn. It’s good to have a plan for those skeins.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like surprises, even low stakes ones, then this also might not be the best option for you. Yarn advent calendars are, by their very nature, full of little surprises. You won’t know ahead of time what yarn you’ll get, and you’ll need to be comfortable with that.
Finally, there’s the elephant in the room: cost. Yarn advent calendars can be a significant investment. There were years where this would not have been feasible with my budget. Depending on the size of the option you choose, you could be looking at anywhere from $120 USD to $300 USD, or even more. This makes sense when you think about it (the dyer is dyeing, skeining, and labeling dozens of mini skeins per order, so it’s very labor intensive), but it might still be more of an expense than some budgets have room for.
Tips for Getting the Best Yarn Advent Calendar Experience
If you’re a knitter on the Internet, you may have seen some stories of yarn advent calendars gone wrong. Shipping delays, collections that aren’t cohesive or representative of the dyer’s work, or even complete radio silence from the dyer are all unfortunate scenarios that have happened in the past. With that in mind, here are a few tips I would share with anybody thinking of ordering their own yarn advent calendar.
First, I would only order a yarn advent from an indie dyer whose work I know really well. In fact, I’d made several orders of Taralynn’s yarn throughout the years before I decided to commit to a yarn advent. Over the last four or more years, I have watched her roll out countless collections, and I’ve loved every single one of them. My experience knitting with her yarn has also been good, as has my experience with pre-ordering from her and seeing how she sticks to timelines and communicates well. All of that made me comfortable buying yarn sight unseen and trusting that she would send me something beautiful on time.
Next, if I had never done a yarn advent and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to commit to it, I might try a mini advent. Some yarn dyers will do yarn advents where you open one full skein on each of the four Advent Sundays (so four full sized skeins instead of 24 minis). Others will do a 12 Days of Christmas, where you open your first bag on Christmas Day and go through January 5, the day before the Epiphany. That’s the traditional end of the Christmas season.
Finally, it’s good to remember that there’s no wrong way to enjoy your yarn advent. Just like with the classic calendars so many receive as children that have little chocolate pieces inside them, you can diligently open one skein of yarn each day, save them all until Christmas, or open the mall as soon as they arrive. It’s your yarn advent calendar. You get to choose how you enjoy it.
And if you’re wondering what to make with all these little cuties, never fear! I have lots of ideas for new patterns that use several different colors in small amounts. Keep your eye out for more soon.