You hear it every day. It’s so convenient to shop online. One click, you’re done. No need to get dressed or even roll out of bed. Buying yarn online from the comfort of your own home can seem like a no-brainer, however there are still plenty of terrific reasons to visit a bricks-and-mortar yarn shop, whether it’s in your local area…or some faraway vacation locale.
Here’s a few important reasons why you should buy from your local (or not-so-local) yarn shop?
- Get expert shopping and technical advice.
Probably the most important reason to befriend your LYS is for their expert advice. Most people who own or work in these shops are there for a very good reason. They know their stuff! They can steer you toward materials and patterns that are popular or that they’ve successfully used themselves. Usually, they can answer all your questions straight away. (And if you’ve ever had to wait for an online response, you know how the value of a prompt answer.) Equally significant, their technical skills are often superior to those of the average knitter or crocheter. And even if you consider your own skills to be beyond average, there’s always some new recently discovered tip or trick to add to your knitting arsenal. Keep an open mind, it could happen!
2. True colors and fiber content (a.k.a. the undeniable “TOUCH” factor).
As any fiber enthusiast will tell you, there’s no substitute for physically touching yarn. (We do however draw the line at rolling around in it though.) The last we’ve heard, a yarn’s true fiber content cannot be imagined or felt through a computer screen. Although you can shop online for a suitable yarn in terms of gauge, color and style, slight variations in fiber content can change the look, feel and drape of a finished garment dramatically. And as we all know, computer monitors often cannot display a yarn’s true color accurately. This presents a real dilemma when you need to match a color exactly. In this case, there’s no denying the advantage of seeing the yarn in person and in the proper light. As many of us have learned the hard way, there is no substitute for hands-on shopping.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a knitted yarn swatch or fully finished knitted garment must be worth far more. And sometimes when seasons change, these very garments are put up for sale at very reasonable prices. (Don’t let anyone tell you that you are “cheating” by buying a finished garment. Not true! Why not occasionally enjoy the fruits of someone else’s handiwork?)
4. Learn new techniques.
Yarn shops offer a full roster of instructional classes ranging from beginner to advanced and even expert levels. Classes may be taught by experienced staff or by visiting guest instructors of national renown. Many shops offer one-on-one private lessons that can be customized to your interests. And if finishing garments isn’t your thing, some shops charge a nominal fee to do the “dirty work” for you, and you still get to enjoy all the glory!
5. What’s new?
LYSs do an excellent job of sharing the latest trends with their shoppers. Trunk shows, yarn crawls and tastings, and other fun events forecast the latest in new yarns and knit and crochet patterns. And isn’t it exciting to be the first to see, sample and buy new materials?
6. Sales, Sales, Sales!
Not only do most LYSs offer regular sales, but they may also offer other discounts. Frequent buyer punch cards (cards that get marked for each purchase and can be redeemed for a discount) are a popular reward for regular customers.
7. Unique & local products.
More and more lately, the average LYS sources locally-made gift items that are unique to their area. Knitting needles, crochet hooks, stitch markers, pottery, stationery and herbal soaps, hand crafted by local artisans, may round out the shop’s more traditional offerings. Some shops even have custom dyed yarns with colorways that are exclusive to their particular shop. (Just be sure to purchase enough yarn to complete your project because once they’re gone, you won’t be finding them again. Ask us how we know.)
One of the best rewards of frequenting your LYS is meeting other creative folks. In addition to formal classes, many shops offer blocks of time and space for informal gathering where you can bring in your current WIP projects and chat with other like-minded individuals. Some shops offer private party space for both kids and adults. How about a Ladies’ Night Out with your new BFFs?
Lastly, a few shopping tips…
- Bring a shopping list
Even the smallest LYS can become a minefield of overwhelming and colorful distraction. A thoughtfully prepared written list ensures that you return home with the items needed. (Although what fun is it to not make that unexpected impulsive purchase?)
2. Tour first, grab later
Whenever visiting a new LYS, first stroll around to get a sense of the layout before shopping. Most shops are (hopefully) arranged in some particular order, usually with yarns of the same gauge, type, etc. together. And don’t overlook the tools section. Personally, I can’t seem to leave a shop without at least a few of the latest gadgets, i.e.: stitch markers, measuring tapes, tiny scissors, etc. And honestly, can you ever have too many?
3. Get aboard Social Media.
These days, most LYSs send out regular email newsletters on a weekly or monthly basis. These newsletters typically feature new products, list classes, announce special events and sales. Websites may not always include up-to-date info but are reliable for directions and shop hours.
To find your local yarn shop, see our handy store locator, https://knittingfever.com/store-locator
So, what are you waiting for? Get up, get dressed and get out there. A whole new world awaits you at your local yarn shop!