Yarn Craft Supplies on Taobao

So as my real life friends know,  I buy almost everything online. Mostly just because I’m incredibly lazy, but also because I like having a larger variety of choices available. In terms of yarn and knitting supplies, this means I shop on Taobao a lot!

(For those of you outside of China: Taobao is a local retail platform similar to eBay – or so I have been told – and it is huge! In my opinion, if you can’t find something on Taobao, it likely isn’t available in China!)

So recently I have gotten a lot of requests for referrals to good Taobao vendors, so I thought I’d put together a list of my go-to vendors for my supplies:


Acrylic Yarn

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 14.17.09

This is my go to yarn for when I need some soft and fun acrylic yarn for baby knits etc. For CNY 15,00 you get a cylindrical plastic container that contains two skeins if 125g each. Please note though that shipping is only free, if you buy at least two containers.  (It says free shipping even if you just select one, but he will contact you to let you know that, actually it isn’t free. I fell for that once and it wasn’t a big deal for me, but if you have problems communicating in Chinese or you have a Chinese friend buy it for you it could be a bit of a hassle, so I’m just letting you know!)

His yarn comes in a huge variety of colors and although personally I have been able to buy any color I wanted, recently one of my friends had the issue that not everything was in stock. Not sure if that was a one-off issue or what…

Price: CNY 15,00 for 150g

Shipping: free for orders of more than 1

Pros:

  • 2x 125g skeins (as opposed to the usual 50g skeins you get)
  • Lots of color choices
  • Cheap (free shipping when buying more than one container)I
  • Super soft
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Not super high-end (I heard that in the long-term items knit with this yarn can get a bit of a frizzy look, though I haven’t gotten to that point yet)
  • Occasionally you can get skeins that have up to 8 knots in them, though that is on the extreme end

Cotton Yarn

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 14.50.10

This soft cotton yarn comes in a huge variety of colors and is really nice to work with. I have bought from this vendor so many times already.

In fact I used this yarn for the lace shawls that I knitted for my 2 brides maids and myself 2 years ago!

The only thing I don’t like is the fact that the yarn is wound onto a carton cylinder, so I can’t use the yarn from the centre.

Price: CNY 4,80 for 50g

Shipping: CNY 5,00 to Beijing, CNY 6,00 to Shanghai

Pros:

  • Soft cotton
  • Large color choice
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • No center pull possible
  • Occasional quality issues

Cotton Yarn

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 14.54.42

As much as I liked the cotton above, I was looking for something that had a bit more “shine” to it, and bought this cotton (only once). I really liked the way it looked. I used it for a lace project and it had a very elegant look to it. The color choices are really good too. The only thing I didn’t like was that it wasn’t as soft as I had hoped.

Price: CNY 6,66 for 50g

Shipping: CNY 8,00 to Beijing, CNY 6 to Shanghai

Pros:

  • Shiny look
  • Large color selection
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • A bit scratchy in feel

Thick milk cotton

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 15.32.01

Ok, first off, I have no clue what milk cotton is! Frankly, I just like this yarn because it is super soft and thick. The color choices are good, but not as varied as the two other ones above.

It’s a great yarn for thicker baby blankets or a nice scarf or cowl for a quick hand knitted gift!

Price: CNY 6,50 for 100g

Shipping: free

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Decent color choices

Cons:

  • None that I can think of…

Sock Yarn

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 17.23.12

Ok, so I have never actually bought from this vendor before. The vendor I have used for this yarn in the past doesn’t carry it anymore, unfortunately.

The reason I still wanted to include this was that it is very hard to find sock yarn in China due to the fact that yarn labels are quite unreliable here. Oh, and sock knitting seems to not be a thing… 😦

In any case, this is a decent sock yarn, but don’t expect the same durability that you would get from German sock yarn or anything!!

Price: CNY 8,80

Shipping: CNY 8,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros: 

  • It’s sock yarn!
  • Fun variegated color options
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Not the same durability as you would get from German sock yarn
  • No plain color options
  • Unproven vendor!!

Metal needle set

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 00.34.50

This is a nice basic needle set. I have the circular needle set of 43 cm, but the also carry the 65 cm and 80 cm sets. They also have double-pointed needle sets – either 36 cm or 25 cm. Make sure you chose the right one!

Quality of the needles is quite decent. I haven’t had any issues with them, to be honest. The cables are a bit on the stiff side though.

The sizes are obviously Chinese sizes, which should correspond to the UK sizing, I have been told. Each set comes with a needle gauge. So from there you should be able to look up how the size corresponds to the US sizing or mm sizing! 🙂

Price: CNY 21,78

Shipping: Free

Pros:

  • Good selection of basic needle sets (metal)
  • Cheap
  • Decent quality

Cons:

  • Slightly stiff stiff cables
  • Chinese sizing

 

Addi Circular Needles

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.45.16

For a bit fancier needles, you could buy these addi needles (no idea, if they really are addi!). The same vendor carries a host of other ones, so be sure to browse through their shop.

These are the particular ones that I have bought and I really like them, because they have a longer cable and the cable is very flexible but do not kink very easily (as opposed to the Chinese circular needles that either have a metal wire core or are made of less flexible material that may still give you a hard time, especially if you are using the magic loop technique).

Note: Chosing the right needle seems a bit daunting at first when you see the way the vendor has set up the shop – basically it is a code consisting of four different numbers. I assume the first two numbers correspond to the type of needle, likely material of the needle and cable and/or the type of needle tip. They are all the same for each one in the shop, so you can ignore that part. The same goes for the second number, which is the length of the cable. So you just focus on the last number which is the needle size in mm.

Price: CNY 36,00 – 81,00 depending on which needle size you are going for.

Shipping: free to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros:

  • High quality
  • Longer than Chinese standard cables available
  • Flexible cable

Cons: 

  • Expensive
  • Online shop not as easy to navigate

Crochet Needle set

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 00.38.04

A basic metal crochet needle set. Sizes are in mm. They are great quality and come in a nice looking case! Nothing much else to say. They are great!

Price: CNY 27,55

Shipping: CNY 5,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Cheap
  • Nice looking case

Cons:

  • None that I can think of

Large Crochet Needles

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 00.32.26

For larger crochet needles, I have bought from this vendor before. Though they were not for me, my friend really liked them, so I guess they are A-OK! 😉

You can get sizes 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 12mm and 14mm in various different materials (seems mostly plastic or acrylic). You can also just get the whole set.

Price: CNY 4,95 – 7,92 for a single needle (depending on size) and CNY 39,60 for a set of 8

Shipping: CNY 12,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros/ Cons: Honestly, they’re crochet needles – it’s not that complicated 😉


Even Larger Crochet Needles

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 00.37.52

These are more expensive, but they carry even larger sizes (up to 20mm). Again, I’ve only bought these for a friend, who loved them! Again, I’m not sure, if they really are addi… I have no experience with the real deal so I’m in no position to judge…

Price: CNY 19,80 – 43,20 (depending on size)

Shipping: CNY 8,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros/ Cons: Again, let’s not overcomplicate things!


Notions set

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 00.43.02

Just in case you are looking for a basic set of notions: this is the one I have bought before (I lost my notions bag for a few months – but that’s a story for another time…).

Nothing super high quality, but it’s cheap enough and it will get you started.

Warning: If you measure in inches, please note that Chinese inches are not the same as U.S. inches!!! (Again, I’ll tell you how I found out another time…)

Price: CNY 26,60 – 30,40 depending if you want the box or not

Shipping: CNY 8,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros: 

  • One stop shop notions
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Low quality

Stuffing

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 00.50.35

Making stuffed toys? Well then you’re gonna need stuffing.

This vendor sells two different kinds of stuffings and I tend to get the more expensive one as I have found it to be more even in quality, though I am not really sure it matters. Apparently this one is “PP Cotton”, whatever that is supposed to be. To be honest it doesn’t feel like cotton to me, but I have not tried the burn test, so I am not sure.

Price: CNY 3,99 or 6,50 depending on which kind of stuffing

Shipping: CNY 6,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros/ Cons: Seriously, it’s just stuffing…


Styrofoam Balls

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 00.58.12

We have used these for making knitted Christmas balls with the Beijing Guild. They are great quality and come in sizes ranging from 1,5cm to 100cm!

Price: CNY 0,01 – 500,00 depending on size

Shipping: CNY 6,00 to Beijing and Shanghai

Pros:

  • Huge size range
  • Great quality

Cons:

  • None that I can think of

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of these vendors, so this is just meant as sharing my experience. Prices or items or shipping may change anytime, I have no control over that…

Do you have any favourite Taobao stores for your yarn crafts? Why not share in the comments below?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: