Tuesday, December 26, 2006


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?


Blogger Fran Baker said...

Laura: I have a terrific yarn store: Knitcraft in Independence, MO. It's not a large store, but they have a great selection of yarns and there's always stuff in the sale bin. Plus, I earn $10 off every other month or so because I've bought so much "stash stuff."

You're not that far from me. Pick a day to come this way; I'll treat for lunch and then we'll stop in at Knitcraft.

P.S. Those mitts look warm!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Love those mittens, Laura! No wonder you missed them.

My LYS is Modern Yarn in Montclair, NJ. The ladies who own it live in my hometown (next door to Montclair) and roped (or would that be yarned?) me in with a knitting demo at our local women's club. I went on a whim and rediscovered the joy of knitting. (Barbara had been working on me even before that which is probably why I went to the demo.)

Modern Yarn has lovely clean aesthetics which appeal to me: a whole wall of open bins filled with the most glorious colors and textures of yarn. They have fascinating finished projects in the window and along another wall to awe and inspire me. And they have books and needles and fun tee-shirts.

Of course, the great thing is that everyone there will answer any questions that I have without making me feel inadequate. I just found out that one of the yarn ladies shares my passion for ice hockey; she used to play goalie for a men's team in Japan!

7:37 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Oh, one more thing about Knitcraft. Like Nancy's store, they have numerous finished products made from the yarns they sell. But all of the finished socks, scarves, sweaters, hats, purses, etc. have "Not for Sale" tags on them. When I asked why, the owner told me it's because they donate all those things to the nearby women's shelter. I love these people for that.

8:55 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Fran - I'll take you up on the yarn store afternoon next time I'm back in the city. (I've moved 3 hours south to the boonies but get back once a month if I can schedule a farmsitter.)

10:00 PM  

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