I shop online... a lot. If I could shop online for groceries with a service that didn't cost an arm and a leg, I would. Everything else, I pretty much do shop for online... from kitchen gadgets to garbage cans, I get it online. This especially means yarn.
This week I made the big decision to stop using my main standby, Knit Picks. Their prices are going up to those comparable with other yarn lines, and while I understand the reason behind it, I've found that their actual quality does not justify having the same prices as other yarns. Over the past five years I've had bad experiences with loose dye (color coming off on your hands, needles, and stitch markers), excessive broken/knotted ends in the middle of a skein, sock yarn that mats and felts under light use... well, you get the picture. Add to that the fact that they drop colors frequently, have very little in the way of novelty or boucle yarns, and in general have color palettes that are muddy and drab, and I find I have very little reason to shop there any longer. A good, clearly easy to use shopping cart system is not going to make up for all that.
I have tried YarnMarket in the past. They have an excellent selection, although they're missing a few yarns I'd like to try, but they are rather expensive. A friend recently recommended Jimmy Beans Wool, and though I have yet to try them, they seem to meet my criteria for a pleasant shopping experience... easy to find specific yarns whether you're looking by weight, brand, or price, a decent checkout system, and site security. I've even ordered yarn from Fabric.com, as they have had excellent closeout prices on discontinued yarns. I recently got some very nice linen yarn for almost $2 a skein.
This week, I decided to go for a small order of Noro yarn on Webs, at yarn.com. They were having a fabulous sale price on a laceweight Noro Kirameki (Nylon, wool, and cashmere) I'd been dying to try, but held off because the only other place I could find it was YarnMarket, and it was hideously expensive. It was going for nearly half off, and comes in a nearly 500 yard skein. I'm also trying Chirimen (cotton, silk, and a smidge of wool) which is a DK weight.
If their Noro Taiyo ever goes on sale, look out. I loooove that stuff. As long as Noro doesn't put Mohair in it, I like it. Otherwise, too scratchy. (Although I may finally have an explanation for why I find Noro with mohair so icky while everyone else seems to like it, but that's for another post.)