There are literally thousands of different yarns on the market. From fine cashmere threads from Italy to recycled Sari silk ribbon from India, the choices can be overwhelming.
This is a list of my favorite yarns and suppliers, including sources for everyday yarn, mill ends, and luxury yarns. This list is completely subjective, based on my personal tastes and preferences.
Everyday Studio Yarns
For everyday studio yarns that are readily available, I recommend Maurice Brassard. Brassard yarns are available in a variety of textures and colors, and are sold in 8 ounce tubes. The color card is reasonably priced and worth purchasing. My preferred online resource for Maurice Brassard yarns is The Woolery.
Maurice Brassard 8/2 Unmercerized Cotton - This is a high quality cotton yarn that is available in dozens of colors. It works beautifully in warps. It is sold on an 8 ounce tube, which is a good size for a personal studio.
Maurice Brassard 8/2 Cottolin - Another beautiful yarn from Maurice Brassard. This cottolin is 60% cotton / 40% linen. It is stronger than the 8/2 unmercerized cotton, and the linen gives the yarn a slightly rough, less processed appearance.
Maurice Brassard Cotton Boucle - This is a beautiful cotton boucle. It is available in dozens of colors. I suggest using it in multiple thread weaving to add texture and create subtle color changes. The Woolery website does not show the correct image, please refer to the color card.
Cotton Chenille - Beautiful yarn, light and soft. While rayon chenille has a beautiful sheen, it is also heavier than cotton. This yarn is available in dozens of colors.
Halcyon Yarn is a retail/online shop that offers a huge selection of weaving yarns, including yarns on mini cones. While mini cones are more expensive per pound, they are more manageable in a personal studio. If you have limited space, or just need a small amount of yarn for your project, consider mini cones. Remember to check the yardage; you might be pleasantly surprised by how much yarn actually fits on one of those little cones.
Mill ends are left over from commercial production. Please do not assume they are seconds. Mill ends may become available to the public for a number of reasons, including a mismatched dye lot, excess production, or the cancellation of an order. Mill ends are unique yarns because they were created to the specifications of the client. Mill ends are difficult to find the U.S., but here are some resources.
Made in America Yarns is one of the few remaining mills in the U.S. Located in Pennsylvania, they sell mill ends at deeply discounted prices. They have an online stop with no minimum order. Best of all, most of the yarns are on cones!
Silk City Yarns offers a limited selection of high-quality mill ends on cones. The company is based in New Jersey.
Habu Textiles sells outstanding yarns and fibers, mostly sourced from Japan and Southeast Asia. Habu was headquartered in New York City for many years, before relocating to Colorado, and now Portland, Oregon. Needless to say, a visit to their showroom was pure joy.
Habu yarns are beautiful and well worth the price. A quick tip: Habu offers hundreds of yarns, many of which are not available through your local yarn shop. For the best selection, shop Habu directly through their online shop.
Ito Yarns are imported from Japan. Many Ito yarns are sold on cones. Unfortunately, Ito does not have an online shop. While you might find this brand at your local yarn store, it has been my experience that few stores carry the full line. So when it comes to ITO yarns, save yourself some time and shop online.
Quality Discount Yarns
The yarn business is a tough business. Every year, hundreds of small yarn shops either transfer ownership or close their doors forever. That's where Discontinued Brand Name Yarn comes in. DBNY is a yarn liquidation company. They specialize in selling dead stock yarns and related supplies at deeply discounted prices.
Yarns they sell include: discontinued colors, excess dye lots, production mill ends, and personal destash. They are always listing new yarns, and their inventory turns over quickly, so if you see something you like, grab it. Don't forget to use their daily discount code.