Blacker Yarns, a company that sells only 100 per cent British yarns and patterns, is launching a Knit a Gift Club with a choice of three or six kits.
Each kit will include a choice of two patterns and the Blacker yarn to complete either of the projects. Blacker Yarns will send out a parcel every two months, therefore the six kit membership will keep knitters going for a full year.
A three kit membership costs £67 and the six kit subscription will set you back £134. Those subscribing to the six kit subscription will also receive a free bonus kit: the pattern and yarn to complete a pair of fingerless mitts.
What marks this subscription out from others I've seen is that Blacker has published in advance the projects that subscribers will be able to choose from. There's a great variety (not just gloves, hats and scarves!) of items on offer, enabling potential subscribers to decide whether the up front cost is worth it for them.
What has put me off mystery yarn clubs in the past is not knowing whether I will use or like the designs on offer. Schemes such as mystery blanket clubs, where subscribers receive the pattern and yarn to knit a few squares each month, are popular with knitters who like a shot in the dark. For me it's too much of a monetary and time commitment unless I know in advance what the finished result will be!
This year I plumped to buy Toft Alpaca's 2014 year of yarn package in the post-Christmas sale. Sadly now out of the sale, this package offers seven one-ball projects for £140 including postage. It was like Christmas again when the first package arrived last week. The yarn is Toft's new aran yarn, Ulysses, with four patterns across the full spectrum of skill range to support it. I'm going to knit the simple teddy bear for a friend's new baby, but the other patterns, a cowl, headband and beret, are equally enticing and I'll file them for later when I want to knit something with my yarn stash.
So it's a thumbs up for Toft's package and I'm extremely tempted by Blacker Yarn's offering. For me, the key for yarn companies to entice new customers is to give them a foresight of what they'll be knitting for the next year.