On a recent web crawl – yes, time is my friend of late – I found this post on Twisted Knitter: http://www.twistedknitter.prettyposies.com/2008/02/subversive_patons_classic_meri.html. Janet raises a great point – why do some knitters and crocheters refuse to cross the threshold of a LYS. The comments are also very interesting. The topic is alive and well on Knit Purl Gurl: http://knitpurlgurl.blogspot.com/2009/02/advice-to-local-yarn-shops.html.
I came by knitting honestly and through a big box. Like Janet, I’m a cross-over customer. I browse Michaels, Zellers, and to a lesser extent the local Walmart. It’s actually a lazy hunt for Patons SWS. I knitted my SWS stash to the last nub. For some reason it’s disappeared entirely from the community. Next step will be the internet, but I’m still on the look-out locally. This usually means I walk out empty-handed but I am on a cotton kick at the moment, so that works too. I saw on a recent visit that Michaels is revamping the yarn department for this Spring. There’s certainly room for improvement… it’s shoved against a wall.
Now if the good knitting/ big label yarns were stocked at a LYS, I probably would save the big box trips for emergencies. I like me some variety, and would pay a shade more to the LYS. I am seeing far too many small businesses of all stripes close in our community now.
After some hemming & hawing I made the big step of going into a LYS. I’ve had only good experiences & I’m the type who wants to be left alone for the most part. The first shop was Margaret’s Yarn Boutique. She in no way made me feel odd about having been to Walmart first. She helped, and I was happy to follow her advice. It’s generally been hard for me to get to LYSes because of work/ life issues with their business hours. I’m also no stranger to anxiety – I typically took an inordinate amount of time to try out new shops. My worry was really that the cluelessness was bound to show.
It’s all good now, and if someone is on the verge of going local, I’d say try it. I learned my lesson when a local Jamaican restaurant went out of business. Managing finances seemed to be a problem for them but we could have gone more often. As things stand, no more hard-dough bread hot out of the ovens! My experience – for what it’s worth – is that these ladies (never encountered male sales help in LYSdom) don’t psych anyone out. It’s okay to browse quietly, and they won’t make you feel like a dummy. Then again, Canadians are said to be polite…
The good karma can’t hurt either. I for one would love a bricks & mortar with a willing customer-base!