Today we started the day with coffee on the porch. The water birds are returning to the lake. We had lots of water birds flying in this morning and we love keeping track of the birds we see. This morning we saw several pairs of Hooded Mergansers and we heard Canada Geese and Loons. The lake is alive again.
When you’re in the knitting business, and you work in an independent yarn shop, Local Yarn Shop Day is a big deal. LYS day is an opportunity to celebrate the small, family-owned brick and mortar shops. I read somewhere today that there were as many as 10,000 local yarn shops ten (twenty?) years ago and there are only 1,000 remaining.
Many of the shops remaining have gone to online only. Big box stores can buy in huge numbers thus making prices lower and they typically carry only commercial yarns that are inexpensive. LYSs carries some inexpensive yarns, too, but your LYS has value well beyond the big box or online stores and it’s high time we start singing their praises.
Your LYS may charge a little bit more but they employ local families who live near you and may have children in the schools, they eat in restaurants, they go to doctors and they pay taxes. The people who own and work in your LYS are “your people.”
Your LYS employees are ready, willing and able to offer you pattern support, help you with knitting/crocheting problems, help you match a yarn to a pattern or even find a pattern that is within your ability. Your LYS staff loves yarn and they’re a great resource for fiber lovers. They’ve likely tried the needles that you need to buy, they know how the yarns knit up, they understand why some yarns aren’t a good idea for that colorwork pattern and they love to talk about yarn!
A LYS will stand behind the products that they sell. When I lived in Florida I didn’t have a LYS and I ordered some needles online. What a mess. I’ll never do it again. The person selling the needles wouldn’t take them back despite an inaccurate listing. I was stuck with them. That’s a mistake I don’t need to make twice. Local Yarn shops will often take broken needles back because they know their suppliers will also stand behind their products. Try that at a big box craft store.
Your LYS will help you find the right needles and accessories for your project. Are you knitting a child’s cardigan or a lace shawl? Do you have arthritis? Did you know that square needles are better for you? Those of us who work in a LYS know lots of tips and tricks to make your knitting or crocheting or weaving or rug hooking a better experience.
Will you pay a little bit more for your yarn at your LYS? Yup. Small businesses can’t possibly compete with big box stores. But your LYS will learn your name and say “hello” and be happy to see you when you come in. They’ll special order yarn for you. They’ll also check to make sure that the yarn you’re buying is from the same dye lot.
Local Yarn Shops are very special places where communities are built and I hope that if you need to purchase yarn that you’ll consider buying at a brick and mortar store. The remaining brick and mortar stores need your business.