Some ten years ago, I found two skeins of gorgeous mohair boucle in the sale bin of my local yarn shop. They lived in my stash until 2002, when I decided a strand of boucle was just the thing to liven up mittens knit from an uneven bulky handspun yarn. They're my favorite mittens, and alas, I lost them when I moved in 2005.
I found them on Christmas Eve, while sorting during a last desperate attempt to find a missing Christmas stocking. Yippee for me! I also found a misplaced bag of bargain bin finds, odd skeins just waiting for the right flash of inspiration to occur. I put them with the rest of the stash so they wouldn't be lonely.
And then, because I apparently don't have enough of those odd skeins around, I fell victim a few days ago to serendipity...fate...or whatever. My son had an interview for an internship in a city three hours from the farm, and for various reasons I ended up along for the ride. I'd brought my laptop and notebooks with the intent of making some serious progress while he was touring the facility and being grilled by whoever's responsible for picking interns. I dropped him off at the interview site, drove a half block to a quickie mart for sustenance, and was just about to start to work when my daughter called on the cellphone.
'Hey, Mom, there's a yarn store really close.'
Aw-oh. Magic words. Sweet child of mine, she'd thought of her mother while browsing away her boredom. Two hours later, I'd added several sock yarn skeins, an interesting bamboo/wool blend yarn, and a gorgeous wool and soybean fiber yarn to the stash. Plus, I found two sweater patterns that are perfect for batches of stash yarn that have been patiently awaiting their final purposes. And...drum roll...a felted gloves pattern that looks simple enough for even me. The wonderful staff helped me solve a knitting problem. The customer choosing an aran sweater pattern inspired me to consider learning steeks. The crowded shop was packed, floor to ceiling with yarns to die for, patterns, books, supplies, and some of the most awesome buttons that I started thinking of sweaters to knit just so I'd have a venue for the buttons. Ah, life is good.
I truly love living way out here in the boonies, but I do miss the joys of a LYS, the warmth and camaraderie to be found in such places. If I were a better knitter, I might even consider opening my own LYS, but I'd be such a dud at helping customers fix problems and learn new and challenging techniques. So I'm stuck wishing someone else will open one near me and imagining what it would be like.
Who has the perfect local yarn store, and who else, like me, is stuck wishing? And what makes a local yarn store great?