What exactly do you get in a yarn advent calendar?

Yarn advent calendars can often be spotted for sale any time in the year from Spring through to Autumn. Have you ever wondered why that is, and what you might get in a yarn advent calendar?

In this blog post I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my previous years yarn advent calendars, so you can see exactly what you can expect to find in one, and how I create them for you.

Each indie dyer’s yarn advent may be a little different, so this is a guide to the kind of yarn quantities and types you may find. 

Each year I try to give something a little different to the last year, not only in colourways, but also in the yarn bases, quantities and suggestions for use. That way, if you’re still coveting your previous advent yarns in your stash box, you won’t double up on the same.

(By the way – I always think you shouldn’t worry if your yarn stash is growing faster than you can make projects – that’s normal for most crafters! In the meantime, wool is a great insulator, so you’re basically insulating your home and cutting down on heating costs!)

what exactly do you get in a yarn advent calendar

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What is a yarn advent calendar?

Yarn advent calendars work in a very similar way to traditional Christmas advent calendars and make great alternative advent treats for your knitting and crochet friends. They come in many different forms though and you will find it depends entirely on the independent yarn brand, or indie dyer, as to how they want to make theirs up.

For example, some boxes are designed for the 12 days of Christmas and might contain half skeins (50g of yarn) and/or mini skeins. Some boxes are designed with 24 mini skeins, so you have a little treat every morning leading up to the big day.

Most yarn advents contain 4ply yarn as it’s useful for many different types of project. You may also occasionally find DK weight yarn options.

This year, my advent is based on the traditional definiton of the 4 Advent Sundays preceding Christmas Day. The advent contains 4 full skeins (100grams of yarn), with the idea of them being opened one per week. Of course it’s totally up to you as to how well you can resist the temptation to open them!

For Christmas 2020, I produced a yarn advent calendar that included 24 cute mini skeins of assorted 4ply merino-blend yarn bases, including sparkle and high-twist yarns. These were a mixture of my best selling colourways, with some exclusives.

For Christmas 2021, I chose several pictures of winter events around Cornwall to base the colourways on. The Advent included the pictures and organised the mini skeins into 4 sets of 6 gradient colours. 

Each mini skein was individually wrapped in and numbered for each day.

A yarn advent may also contain extra little treats to open along the way, and you may have the option to add an extra skein of yarn for Christmas Day.

Yarns from the 2021 Yarn Advent

Why is it available early in the year?

For the yarn dyer creating a yarn advent calendar is a huge undertaking! Yarn bases and quantities need to be identified, inspiration determined, colourways planned, packaging worked out and sourced, then yarns dyed and the whole advent packed and posted to arrive in time for the start of December.

That all takes several months, alongside a dyer’s regular stocking of yarns and exhibiting at shows, so work has to start early in the year. 

You will often see pre-orders available when the colourways are going to be exclusive to the yarn advent calendar. I like to go for this option, so my customers are getting a truly exclusive product, which won’t be available at any other time, making it even more special.

Of course if I’m dyeing exclusive colourways I need to know how many to dye, as I won’t be selling them elsewhere afterwards. That’s why you see slots available as pre-orders earlier in the year, so I know how many of each limited edition colourway to dye for the advent orders.

How I create a yarn advent calendar

I usually start work around early Summer with my initial design notes. This gives me plenty of opportunity (and time) to create something just as special each year. It allows me the creative space to be inspired, not just in how each skein should look, but how you might use all of the advent calendar yarn together (if you wanted to). For me, the joy of the yarn advent isn’t just about receiving new yarn throughout December. It’s  also about the journey you take with your yarn over those festive days, and the joy you get from the projects you make with it.

After I’ve decided on the yarn bases and colourways, I create the pre-order listings. These are open for a limited time, after which I know how many yarns I need to hand dye. 

Production can also start as early as July, because whilst I limit the amount of boxes I have available, the process of work needs to fit alongside my other production work. Hand dyeing the multiple colourways takes many sessions, over multiple days and weeks. What initially seems like a simple project actually becomes months of work. Then of course there is the wrapping and labelling of each skein, and putting them together into each individual advent box – that takes hours!

This is why I made the ultimate decision to limit the number of advent boxes I have available, so that I can take the time needed to create your exclusive yarn advent calendar. I want you to feel like you are receiving a fabulous festive gift!

Where to buy my yarn advent calendar

This year the yarn advent calendars will be available exclusively from me via my website (UK orders only) or my Etsy shop (UK and international orders). The yarn advent calendars are not available via my high street yarn stockists.

If you are interested in more news about my yarn advent calendar and other yarn and pattern news, make sure to sign up to my newsletter.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Steph x

What exactly do you get in a yarn advent calendar?