Sunday 19 July 2009

I have a question

I put this question in the last post but didn't get any answers so I'm putting it in again and hoping for some feedback. I know you were out in your garden or away for the weekend or barbequing or something. But I am really curious about the answer. I have my own opinion, based solely on my own buying criteria and I'm wondering if you can validate my suspicions.

Question: If you had several knitting stores in your area (say within an hours travelling time) which carried more or less the same type of yarns, why would you shop at one store as opposed to another? Is it the convenience of location, the store's staff, the selection of yarns, price point, the service after your purchase? Each of us probably likes a different shopping experience but what makes you go back and back and back to the same store?

If you don't have the option of several stores in your area, imagine that you did.

Back to the knitting. I finished my King's Knight sock in the Fibre-Isle Bison ( and it's lovely.
This is the woman's version ( with finer sock yarn. You can use the same pattern for both, using the same numbers with the finer sock wool will give you a sock with a narrower 8" circumference around the foot instead of the men's 9" foot.

Yikes, a change of 1 stitch per inch can make quite a difference. You would think that the blue men's sock was faster to knit but no . . . it's the largest men's size so actually took longer. Big feet. I started a second sock sample ( Toe Up Lacey Legs.

I love knitting this pattern. You get a lot for your lace work here. Time to get back to it.



  1. Deb, you asked for it, here it is:
    If getting to the local store were the same I would shop according to the following: (location is important but not the main reason.)

    1. Staff – knitting knowledge is important and taking time and having the patience to talk knitting kook language really counts.
    2. Yarns – a good variety of colour and yarn weights, also a good variety of needle sizes and length; both circular and double points.
    3. Price point is important but not the deciding factor, as long as it is within a comfortable range.
    4. Buttons mean a lot to me as it is getting harder to find buttons that accent the knitted garment.
    5. Service after purchase, not so important as long as the store has a welcoming venue and space to network with others.

  2. Hmmmm....I tink my decision would be based on different things at different times. If I were in a hurry to get in & out quickly, I'd choose the one closest to me or closest to where I was going to be on a particular day. Service and staff are important, too. Both shops closest to me will happily order stuff for me. One has the big yarn company color swatch books and is happy to pull those out & let you order from there (with, say, the Malabrigo, it can be colors you don't normally see). The shopowner closest to my house once was even willing to let me take yarn and come back later to pay for it b/c I'd forgotten my wallet (sadly, I had my credit card number memorized, so I paid that way). If a store is noticeably more expensive than others, I'd have to have a pretty compelling reason to shop there (like, they're the only ones in the area who carry a particular yarn).

  3. I definitely do agree that the staff plays a big role in where I do my yarn shopping. I also like to try new stores. A couple years ago I drove from Lakefield to Orillia to try your store. It took me ages to find it and then you were closed on a Saturday. I was sure disappointed. Hours of operation are important too.

  4. Yes, it varies by my needs. But overall, easy for me to get to is important. Yarn selection and price are high on the list and pleasant, knowledgable (about the yarn) staff are very close behind. I haven't needed service after my purchases or help with my knitting questions so that's low on the list for me.

  5. I want the variety of yarns and colours, and the fact the prices are LABELLED so you don't have to ask every time. Staff is important too. More important than proximity. I would rank service up with staff. My yarn shop understands that sometimes I just come in to look and get ideas, and are totally understanding.


    Okay - I rarely walk out without buying something, but that's besides the point.

  6. For me, the feel of the shop is important, and that means friendly staff that will help if asked, but not hover too much if I'm thinking/browsing. I like a shop that will give me a hand if I'm having a problem with a project, too. I agree with Momma Bear Knits about having buttons available! It's hard to find good buttons, and baby and kid ones that are fun. Having the yarns that I see in the magazines and online is a great plus. My lys does! samm

  7. Well, I only have 2 stores in my area. I visit one for most things, it's closer. But, if I need a pattern or book, I go to the other store. I like them both for different reasons.

  8. I've lived in Washington, DC in close proximity to several fabulous stores and studio farms, as well as in Ottawa where I have access to local stores and ones in the U.S.(only 1 hour away), so I guess I've had lots of yarn-buying experience over the years. Friendly, non-snooty staff is the most important thing to me, assuming the same types of yarns are available. Second, I love stores that carry a full range of colours within a yarn type. Lots of owners select only a few colours from each line, usually ones that I'm not interested in. Third, I like stores that generally keep enough balls or skeins to make a large sweater. I can't tell you how often a store owner has told me she only has 4 balls left, when I need 7. Fourth, price matters. For instance, I would rather knit with Brown Sheep yarns than with Rowan yarns. I knit too much to be able to afford $200 sweaters and there's a lot of good quality yarn out there at good prices (hint: it's usually not imported from the EU).I've been spoilt in the button department. I probably have a lifetime supply from years of attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, so buttons aren't a priority for me.

  9. What a great question! While I don't have a great many stores in my area (only 1) I don't frequent it as much as I like too. Reason-I have 4 children so getting out of the house is not a really good option at this point. And to be honest, I do not think little ones belong in a knitting store-- maybe if it is just a quick run but not for a long period of time.
    To answer your question, Service is a very big point for me-- more so than money. If the customer service is poor than I won't go back-- no matter how well priced the fibers are.
    Also, if I blend well with"the locals" and I could feel comfortable sitting down to knit for fellow knitters that would be the ultimate decision for me-- no matter the price of the yarn. I would love a place I could feel comfortable in.


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