Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My LYS Bites The Dust

I posted about my LYS back in November. I'd spent a few truly idyllic, soul-restoring hours in the shop with the owner, her wonderful dog Misha, and that oddly comforting sense that washes over you when you're surrounded by yarn and books and all the tools of our knitting trade. I'd never really been comfortable in that store before. To be honest, I only dashed in and out on the few times I'd visited and never felt that it was a place I wanted to be for any longer than necessary. (One day I'll tell you about my disastrous adventure in spinning.)

Anyway, that visit in November was wonderful and I'd actually been thinking about treating myself to another long visit when I finish this book (I prefer shopping on the internet; I'm more careful on the internet, more demanding, and generally more satisfied with my purchases) when I clicked on their website and found out THE STORE CLOSED!

Yep. My LYS is no more. They're going on-line with their products and will be offering classes at one of the local farms somewhere down the line. (It's definitely a bad time for leisure activities in Princeton: my LYS closed and Micawber Books is in the process of shutting down.) (Nancy, yes! Micawber!) All my plans to maybe, possibly become an outgoing, social knitter went down the drain.

Am I the only one who doesn't really feel comfortable in her LYS? I don't care how nice the store is, how welcoming the personnel, how terrific the prices: I'm counting the seconds until I'm out of there. I invariably choose the wrong yarns, buy the wrong amounts, forget why I was there in the first place, then go racing for the door the second I sign my name to the charge receipt.

Sit me down at the computer with all the time in the world to browse Elann and WEBS and I will wander the virtual aisles forever and a day. Thinking. Planning. Filling my shopping cart (then emptying) over and over again until I've finally settled on exactly the right thing. I spend less, get more, and am usually delighted.

I'm thinking it's the same Loner Gene that turned me into a misanthropic, cave-dwelling, night-stalking writer who hides from daylight and prays for snowstorms.

Really. It's a good thing I'm not allowed out into polite society very often. I'm sounding weird even to me . . . and I've known myself a loooong time.

Obligatory Update on the Top Down Sweater: I didn't knit all weekend. I was on a writing roll (okay, maybe not a roll exactly but I was at least sitting at the laptop with very good intentions) and banned myself from touching the needles. I managed a few inches today and am maybe 10 rounds away from doing the ribbing on the body. After that there's the neckline ribbing and then Sleeve Island X 2.

And the questions for tonight are:

1. Do you have a LYS you love and support or are you a web grrl too?
2. What's on your needles right this second?


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Barbara, how sad about your LYS! I had read about Micawber Books. The Princeton U-Store is also going out of the book business which I find downright disgraceful. Some weird arrangement is being made where a new bookstore will take Micawber's and the U-Store's place. As you can tell, I'm very fuzzy on the details.

I love my LYS: Modern Yarn in Montclair. It's owned by two ladies from my hometown and has a gorgeous display of stunning yarns. They take endless amounts of time to answer my questions (see my Feb. 1 blog) and never make me feel inadequate, even when I clearly am. I always run into friendly fellow knitters there and we genuinely admire each other's projects. It's inspiring.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm a web girl! In fact, I'm wondering if we are long-lost sisters. I haven't been in my local yarn shop since April of last year.

On my needles right now -- Slayer socks (I'm also a geek) and the Maltese Shawl from Victorian Knitting Today.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Lola LB said...

Yes, I know exactly what you mean about LYS where you don't really feel comfortable in. We're blessed to have an abundance of yarn stores here in the DC metro area. I don't feel entirely comfortable at the LYS that is in the other direction from my home. I used to visit Yarns International very often and adopted it as my LYS, even though this meant spending 45 minutes driving over there on the Beltway. But they've closed their store front. There was The Yarn Shop which was my first LYS and I felt really comfortable there, even though at the time I was more into cross stitching. Of course, it's long since closed, having shut down back in the late 80s or early 90s (can't remember).

I do think I've found one that I can be comfortable with, which opened last week. I like that they have a good range of yarn that are suitable for traditional knitting and open to ordering for me what they don't carry.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

I love my local LYS, Knitcraft in Independence, MO. Lovely, helpful people, lots of great yarns and a big round table where knitters sometimes just plop down to knit and converse.

OTN right now is the baby blankie for my friend. Instead of the feather and fan pattern I'd planned, I'm doing more of an eyelet grrly look.

9:07 AM  
Blogger LaurieKnits said...

:) I think we must be twins. One LYS near me has a very friendly staff but I always feel awkward and out of place when I shop there, almost as if I don't belong. I never know what to buy, even when I have a list I can't seem to find what I need and do my best to get out of there as quickly as I can. I figured it was because I'm a new knitter but it's probably the loner thing. I do so much better when I can shop on the web without pressure.

I'm almost finished with the Wicked sweater for the Sexy Knitters KAL and it fits! Next up I'll be knitting a hat for myself.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Nancy, the one that closed was Glenmarle Woolworks -- they used to be more on the outskirts of town if I remember right. There's another one right in town (on Chambers off Nassau Street) but it's in Palmer Square and I don't have to tell you that parking is a true pain in the butt. That one's Pins & Needles (I think) and seems to be be half knitting and half needlepoint. How I would have loved a store like that in my crazed/obsessive/manic needlepointing days! I heard a rumor about a store opening in Branchburg but haven't checked it out. LYS(plural) can't provide the inventory a web-based store can provide but that whole hands-on/atmosphere/camaradie thing (when it's right) is undeniably seductive.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I can SO spell C A M A R A D E R I E. Really I can.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Laurieknits: what's with that whole uncomfortable/don't fit in feeling anyway? It's every bit as terrifying as going to a cocktail party where the music is loud, the place is crowded, and you not only don't know anyone but you're dressed all wrong and it's a really bad hair day.

I swear to you that my hands stop operating like normal hands the second I walk into a yarn shop or sit down to knit in front of strangers. One of those better in theory than reality situations.

Besides, if anyone ever saw me wrestling with the first row of ANYTHING . . .

12:17 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

I'd rather shop on the web too, Barbara. I can never find what I'm looking for in my LYS, or I'm simply overwhelmed by all the choices. Plus, living in the hinterlands as I do, the "local" yarn store is an hour's drive away.

4:07 PM  

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