Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First, the knitting. Realizing the hat I made for baby Theo was overly Femme for a studly baby boy, (lavender, really what was I thinking?) I've begun a new one. I love love love the sock yarns. And since I have predictable taste, my leftovers all match up nicely.

I'm also chugging away on the Tree Jacket. No longer angry at it, I was done with the body again in no time. Only some sleeves left and I'll be wearing it around by next week! And it looks like I'll be knitting another one too, since my sister saw it and tried it on. Her birthday's next month. Only fair, since I sent my Drops Jacket off to my other sister when she admired that one - can't do for one and not the other!

Now the knitting questions --

1. If your LYS was only open one late night a week, would that affect your decision to go there vs other spots? Do you do a lot of your buying or browsing during the week after work?

2. Same thing with classes - if they were offered primarily on mornings and weekends, is that a bummer for you or not?

3. What's something you'd LOVE to see at your LYS that you might not too often?

4. What's the one thing that makes you travel to a LYS not near you - special yarn, accessories, book selection, atmosphere, owner personality, a coffee shop across the st, other shops nearby to poke around in -- ? anything specific that lures you a longer distance than necessary?

I know we all browse and lurk and don't comment (myself included) but if you have any feedback, it would be SOOO appreciated! I know I'm fairly transparent at this point, so for those of you who weren't at Knitsmiths, Carol and I are in discussion to buy a yarn store - there's still a lot to work out, but the above might help us with a few big Qs we've been throwing around - I'll probably also stick 'em on Ravelry soon, but I figure I'll start here -since I can barely keep my mouth shut as it is, and am dying to talk this to death and think about it all the time and have to contain myself all the time with the knitting muggles who really couldn't be bothered with one more word out of me related to anything string like!

Anyways, anyone? thanks!


Sarah Jackson said...

How exciting!

1. Having 1 late night is important has been important to me, historically, although less so now that my kids are in school and I'm not in an office.

2. I prefer weekend classes.

3. Big comfy chairs and a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, not just for the regulars.

4. I'll travel for a specific yarn, for atmosphere, or just for a broad yarn selection, including some that are hard to find. My house is in the yarn Bermuda Triangle, with any good yarn store being at least 10 miles away. I drive to the one that is 20 miles away because I love the selection, I like the owner, and I love the big comfy chairs. I'll go to the other one for specific yarn that only they carry, but if I want to browse and dream and drop cash, I'll drive further for the better overall experience.

Hope that helps!

Luise said...

What a nice idea to ponder. I know nothing about the economics of LYS, but I do know that you want to have special things that can't be found online. First and most important is personality, attitude. A friendly atmosphere, a comfy area for knitting, and an interesting selection seem essential. Good classes on wkends would help. One store in Boston tries to stock only indie yarns; another carries a fair selection of individual patterns. Living in Cambridge, I have a fair choice of LYS but nowhere that I really love to go. Odd hours don't help; you want to be open as often and long as possible. Maybe carry a broad sampling of popular yarns, with the ability to obtain quantity quickly as needed (thereby reducing your need for a huge inventory). Interesting accessories could be a real draw. A space that's large enough with reasonable parking would be a dream. Good luck.

sue said...

I drive to a yarn store which is about 40 minutes drive away due to the fact that they sell books, yarn and speciality items that my local yarn stores dont sell. They also have items knitted so you can have actually see the garment, the size, and how the yarn knits up too which always inspires to cast on for another new project.

Kate said...

1. If my LYS could open until 6pm instead of 5pm I would be able to stop there after work, I wouldn't need one late night. Sunday hours are nice but I understand we all need time to ourselves.
2. Weekend classes are best, I'm tired after work.
3. A wider variety of yarns, I can't get Rowan yarns anywhere near me.
4. I visit stores when I am away from home to see what they carry that I can't get at my LYS. Discounts (like Webs) and special yarns would make me drive further than my LYS.

I think what makes a yarn store great are the people. If the staff is friendly and helpful to all that enter people will come back. No one likes to feel like an outsider.

Mini said...

1. I would love to have an LYS open one night late. This way, I wouldn't feel rushed to buy and weekends are well, arent' the weekends busy enough?

2. I hate that all the good stuff is during the week, during the day. I feel like yelling "stay at home moms are not the only ones who want classes/techniques/special trunk shows!"

3. I don't see enough weekend/late night classes. I also don't see enough people encouraged to sit and knit. I love the idea of a swatching station: if you are planning on a large purchase, you can swatch to see what your gauge would be.

4. I like the idea of other shops nearby--- someplace yummy to have lunch with friends... special events at far-away LYS will make me take a trip.

BTW: i live in Newton and I have to say, a new yarn shop nearby would be great!

colleen said...


And really, one especially late night per week isn't necessarily the thing. If you had two later nights (like say 6:30) I could stop there on my way home from work. Weeknights are for quick, focused purchases. Weekends are for the browsing and kibitzing.

jenn said...

1. I like evening hours because that means I can go yarn shopping without the kids (who are never welcomed at any yarn store, no matter how well-behaved they are).

2. Ditto for classes--weekend classes are OK, but my weekends are often taken up with soccer games and stuff like that, so evening classes would be preferable.

3. Charity knit-ins, like a weekly knit-in for preemie hats or afghans for Afghans squares, would really give me the warm fuzzies about a yarn store.

4. I would travel anywhere for a welcoming atmosphere. Some places are really awesome, with pleasant but not hovering staff, baskets to carry yarn in, lots of chitchat and knitting help, and nice FREE in-house patterns that showcase the latest yarns in small amounts (not that I ever buy yarn in small amounts!). Other places make you feel like you interrupted their knitting and are imposing on them to ring up your $150 purchase....not cool.

Product-wise, I'd go a long extra distance to find roving and spindles and other spinning supplies.

Oh, and one last thing? The BEST part of any knitting store would be a "whatever works for you" attitude--I've been to stores where they sneered at crochet, tried to make newbies knit a first hat on DPNs, or refused to sell straight needles at all (ONLY circular needles, and ONLY the slick Addi Turbos). It's just wrong for a store owner to foist her biases off on her customers...people are happiest knitting in the manner and with the supplies that, well, make them happiest!

cassie said...

Now that we have the hat we're ready for discharge. I'll send discharge photos so Theo can be a new model on the blog...he's very photogenic. Thanks for being such a wonderful auntie.

jessie said...

I would love to see more spinning supplies at my LYS.

Because of family obligations, it's hard for me to get to the LYS after hours or on weekends. I have never made it, for instance, to the Sunday afternoon knit-in. Actually, weekday mornings about 8:30 (right after drop-off for school) would be something a mom with school-age kids might be able to swing. Singles and people without young children probably wouldn't like that, though!

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Jackie said...

How exciting for you!! I bought a shop a little over a year ago - if you want to pick my brain, drop me an email! It's been a crazy year, but well worth it.

Anonymous said...

I just thought of one last thing....a good checkout system is a must. I can't tell you how many stores I visit that still write the orders up on old carbon paper invoices and add them up with a calculator. Yikes! It makes the checkout process last forever, which is fine if you have the extra time, but awful if you just pop in to pick up a necessity.


tracy said...

I'm all about the attitude and atmosphere. I will drive further for a store where I am welcome. There's something about yarn shops and quilt shops run by snooty ladies. Ugh. I like a late night, really anything beyond 5 is nice, it doesn't have to be super late. I really like Sundays. My favorite shop isn't open on Sundays, and I will go to the place close to me that I only kinda like on Sundays if I have to. But here's what I really like. A good selection. A lot of the new shops that have opened around me are carrying every single color of a certain yarn or two, but only a couple of yarns. I think they only owrk with one distributor. My fave shop carries a handful of colors of a ton of different yarns. I like that better. She'll order anything off of color cards for you. (I think this should come with a discount, by the way, since you're ordering it for a sure sale with minimal effort on your part, but that's just my opinion. She doesn't do that.) As for classes, I teach at my favorite shop and I teach a project class. We meet weekly and everyone brings their own project. My group has been meeting for over two years with the majority of the students being there that whole time. I rarely have openings. There are several classes like this offered at various times during the week. And finally, although I really could keep going, a table to plop down at and knit whenever I want. My husband used to go to the bar periodically and watch ESPN. Going to the knit shop is lovingly referred to as "watching ESPN." I can go, sit for a few, chat, offer help to someone or get some myself. It's wonderful.

Good luck!

Jeanette said...

Hi, I'm kind of new to the blog thing. Found your blog through Wendy Bernard's blog; so far I love reading it! Check out mine sometime. :)

1. Personally, I don't ever go to yarn shops at night. It's not that I wouldn't want to, it's that I live in my lovely little pedestrian bubble in the Bay Area. No car! Since I'm limited to where my feet, bike, or the bus can take me, I rarely venture way out at night. If I did still have my car, though, I would probably rather go to a yarn shop on a Thursday night than do anything else. (Thursday is Friday for us college kids)

2. I would actually prefer if more yarn shops around here had classes and tutorials and knitting circles more during the day (consider my answer to question 1). Night-time ones are fun, and I'm sure I'll appreciate them when I enter the workforce and have to work 'til 5, but for now I'd like to be able to do stuff on weekdays when I don't have class.

3. A bigger, better, more colorful supply of cotton yarns. I feel like the yarn shops around here get a little snooty about cotton--wool and cashmere are the high fashion yarns and cotton (acrylic is too unspeakable to grace the shelves of my lyses) is just poor-man's yarn. I don't agree! While wool is great for hats and stuff, I prefer to knit actual garments out of fiber I might actually wear. Only problem is the shops around here have such a meager selection of cotton yarn that I have to resort to browsing cottons online. Online shopping really can't give you the inspiration that holding a real life ball of gorgeous yarn can. So, ideally, I would walk into a store stocked with every color (even ones that MIGHT NOT APPEAL TO EVERYONE.) and every gauge cotton yarn. And hand-dyes!

4. The number one motivator to go out of my way to an lys (or not so l ys) is the stock of that particular yarn shop. If they carry something I can't get elsewhere, it's a done deal that I'll go there. Second is something I only recently realized mattered to me-- life of the shop. By this I mean attitude of the clerks, ladies shopping and knitting. If a shop has a warm, friendly come-knit-here vibe I'd gladly venture out of my way to go there (my closest YS is pretentious... and I try to avoid it now).