It’s turning into a crafty kinda week over here on the blog. First we have some Perler Bead stop motion, then we have my tapestry crochet dice bag, today we’re going to have more crafty stuff, and on Friday I’ll be sharing the final result of my first Kool-Aid Yarn Dying attempt (it’s looking pretty good thus far).

Today, though, I thought I’d share a two places I’ve found on the ‘net to buy some craft stuff. Amazon is always a good resource because they’re often inexpensive and offer free shipping on a lot of their stuff, but they don’t have everything, and they don’t always have things at the best price so knowing your prices or shopping around is essential before buying there. There’s also your local craft stores who will have many of your basic needs. Big box stores will have a decent selection of tools and materials, and you local specialty shops can fill in the blanks (albeit often at an higher price). However, hidden around on the internet are a few places that offer both good selection, good products, and good prices.

The first of the two I’ll mention today is Smiley’s Yarns. I’ve mentioned them a few times before, but they always deserve another mention. Their online catalogue is somewhat limited, but it’s always turning over with new products and colors. The prices are outstanding, often being 30-50% below what you’re likely to see in your local stores. Their prices range from 1.49 to 3.99 per skein, with skein sizes ranging between the standard 50 gram skeins of the natural fiber yarns to 200 grams for some of the Red Heart or Lion Brand yarns.

Currently available at Smiley's: Filatura Lanarota Kaledoscope yarn. A 100% wool hand-dyed yarn. It's on my wish list.

They have a wide variety of fiber types, though usually a limited selection of each. You can get acrylics, wool, alpaca, silk, and cotton on a pretty regular basis there. The un-dyed wool I used for the Kool-Aid project I did Tuesday night was from Smiley’s too (Filatura Lanarota Rich Wool Color #1 or #8). It was $1.99 per 50 gram skein. The only real drawback to Smiley’s is that you have to order at least $50 in yarn, but shipping is free, so if you’ve got a big project (or set of projects) that you’re buying for, it’s pretty easy to put $50 of yarn in the cart.

The next place is SupplyCaptin. Their main focus is military and survival gear, so not terribly useful for crafting. However, they have a very good selection of paracord in both solid and “camouflage” colors.

SupplyCaptain's selection of "camouflage" 550 paracord.

Their prices are decent, $48 for a 1000′ spool and $7 for a 100′ hank, though their shipping is kinda steep. You can get a better deal on paracord if you hunt around for free shipping, but SupplyCaptain has a great reputation in the rope-craft forums as providing some of the best quality 550 paracord for your money. If you pay rock-bottom prices for paracord you apparently tend to get rock-bottom quality as well. Since many of the guys on these forums have been doing paracord craft for upwards of 20 years, I’ve decided to take their word on that.

If you have a favorite online craft store, feel free to let me know about it in the comments.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?