The Spinner’s Guide to Black Friday

The big-box store is not the place to be on Black Friday. Here are five things you should do instead of shop on Black Friday.

Anne Merrow Nov 24, 2019 - 4 min read

The Spinner’s Guide to Black Friday Primary Image


No matter what the ads have been telling you, the lines outside the big-box store are not the place to be on Black Friday. Unless your fiber & yarn store is open, here are 5 things you should do instead of shop on Black Friday.

1. Find color in your cooking scraps! Turn food waste into natural dye.

Black Friday

Dinner, or dyestuff? Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Getty Images/James Ross, Getty Images/S847, Getty Images/Tom Merton, and Getty Images/greenlin

Surprise! The waste from many Thanksgiving foods—including pomegranate skins, onionskins, walnut hulls, and green carrot tops—make excellent natural dyes. You might be surprised: Pomegranate skins yield greenish color, and carrot tops make a bright yellow. Save these from the trash or compost pile, read up on how to dye with natural dyes, and prepare a dyebath. The most popular mordant used these days is something else you might find in your kitchen, alum (for pickling), though you’ll save money by buying it from a dye source.

2. Plan your handmade holiday gifts.

While the rest of your house is sleeping off a food coma or shivering in line, use the peace and quiet to fill out your holiday gift-knitting calendar. With a month left, don’t overcommit—and choose materials you enjoy so this will be a treat for you, too.


3. Air Your Stash.

Spin Stash Braids

Braids. Photo by Debbie Held.

It’s so easy for years to go past without some yarn and fiber ever seeing the light of day. If you have a long weekend, lock everyone out of your craft space and spread everything out. Destash what no longer speaks to you, delight in forgotten treasures, and look closely for signs of insect damage. Bonus: When you’re done, you can put everything back in a more organized—and compact— arrangement. That brings us to . . .

4. Make your wish list.

Moment of Zen-Satisfaction

Illustration by Ann Swanson.

A gift that supports your fiber habit just keeps on giving: It supports the makers who bring you delightful supplies. It makes you happy. Your happiness spreads to the people around you. And if they’re very, very lucky, they might receive something handmade. It’s a virtuous yarn circle. And now that you’ve made a little room, there’s room for a special braid of fiber or skein of yarn. Pattern downloads and videos take no space at all. You don’t really want any more plastic geegaws, do you?

5. Eat pie for breakfast.

black friday

By the time other people get home with black eyes, exhaustion, and a 100-inch TV, you can enjoy a meal of leftovers, stake out the most comfortable spot on the couch, and spin, knit, crochet, or weave to your heart’s content.

—Anne Merrow

Originally opublished November 16, 2018. Updated November 26, 2019.