The other day I wrote about how I thought Berocco was a top yarn company site. I loved their offerings in patterns, tutorials and fashion trends. Their marketing department deserves a good pat on the back. So I opened up the conversation to my twitter followers. I wanted to know: what do they think are the best yarn sites on the web.
I was hoping to hear more about specific brands, but they were more concerned about online yarn shops. Check out the sites they mentioned along with my thoughts on each one. Shops were evaluated for their web presence only and not for the ordering and delivery of product.
|Elann.com||Initially this Canadian company was the go-to website for discontinued and discounted yarns, Elann has grown to include their own brand of yarns. At this point they also carry patterns and even Namaste handbags.||Simple What's new button allows you to view the latest additions to their collection, their prices are very competitive, you can buy sample cards of the Elann brand yarns. Their information and help pages are extensive, indicating excellent customer service.||Their main web site color is brown and unappealing. The cool features such as chat, swap and sneak peek, while featured on the main page don't stand out enough to encourage further clicking.||B+ -a great little yarn shop site with lots of great information, but aesthetically it needs a little help.|
|Knitpicks.com||Knitpicks is everyone's favorite cost effective yarn company. They are always innovating new notions and providing top quality yarns at a reasonable price||Home page is engaging with slideshow, and buttons to encourage futher exploration of the site. Each section of the catalog has it's own tab for easy access. Right side navigation have calls to action for special deals and activities.||The blog isn't the easiest thing to find, it would be great if it had a front page link. In, fact there needs to be more information about their community offerings on the front page. They have great tutorials that aren't even mentioned.||A- -Excellent site with decent site architecture, knitterly offerings, opportunities for social networking and all done in an aesthetically pleasing way that engages knitters.|
|Lionbrand.com||Many people learn to knit with Lion Brand Yarn. They make affordable cotton, wool and acrylic blends available at most large-chain craft stores and they've been around for a long time.||Lots of great projects available for many types of knitters. Yarn is displayed in multiple ways. The photos are professionally done, the navigation is clean and design is unobtrusive.||They make you register to even view their patterns. This is a major stumbling block for me. It gives Lion Brand a more corporate feel than any other yarn site. It makes me feel unwelcome and it's a little unhospitable especially when there's so much competition out there.||C -Forcing potential customers to register is a major deterrent and leaves me with a negative feeling. This is unfortunate as I enjoy their products and would like to use them more.|
|JimmyBeansWool.com||The Reno, NV based yarn retailer has one of the best yarn-shop based sites on the web. They have sponsored knitting pattern competitions, have an engaging e-newsletter and it looks like they've done a little remodeling of their website.||They give you a lot of different places to start, almost too many, there's no focus. There are plenty of deals to be found on the site and the store offers exclusive lorna's laces colorways, free patterns, blog and instructional articles.||JBW could benefit from some graphical buttons. There's too much text on the site. The featured yarn modules don't have widespread appeal. The yarn search could do more to encourage exploration.||B+ A more-than-adequate site that has excellent tools, but could use some graphical tweaking to become more aesthetically engaging to the web surfing knitter.|
|ColourMart.com||A site that supports a variety of currencies, one can find cashmere on the cone and tons of lace knitting. There's little information about the company behind the yarn and few ways to get additional information||A new and different way to get yarns unavailable anywhere else and get good prices on cashmere||This is a bare bones site with little in the way of free patterns, tutorials, or information||C -The site is functional and offers a good service. Honestly they stand out by keeping it simple, but could probably reach out to more cusotmers by providing more information.|
|Yarn.com (Webs)||Long the king of online yarn shopping for knitters and weavers alike, Webs offers a discount for quantity.||The overall site design is clean and professional and allows the yarns to stand out on their own. They offer content for both knitters and weavers. They provide books, patterns, kits and excellent sales.||Their discount is for quantity and thus you can do your pocketbook some serious damage whenever you visit.||A -Simple, but well designed Yarn.com's website allows you to find the yarn you're looking for without sacrificing the desire to explore and the discounts keep you coming back.|