Random Knitting Observations.

A funny thing has happened at my LYS.  This store is only a few blocks from me, and it is a longstanding member of the Fiber Establishment.  Venturing there used to be a rather forbidding experience.  The women who worked there – and there were only a couple, including the owner – were rather humorless.  It was intimidating for someone who didn’t know anything about yarn and only very slightly more about what to do with it to wander the store.  Help was rarely offered.  If sought, it was rather grudgingly given.

And it wasn’t just me.  After Ravelry took off, a group of local knitters formed on the site, and an entire discussion thread was devoted to “The [crabby LYS] Question.”  Pretty soon someone who worked at the store surfaced in the discussion.

Something like a miracle followed from there.  Instead of getting defensive and even more officious and crankier, they took the criticism to heart.  Suddenly, there are a bevy of very friendly women working in the LYS.  Some of them are young and hip, some just hip, some just want to be helpful, but the improvement and the difference in atmosphere are dramatic.  The hip workers are active on Ravelry and plugged in to the on-line knitting community.   I mentioned “Fetching” to one of them and she knew exactly what I was talking about and led me to the yarn. 

I walked into the store the other day and was amazed to find it positively teeming.  The atmosphere was friendly and vibrant, everyone was excited to talk about knitting, there was a colorwork class going on, and I was thrilled that this transformation had taken place given my earlier disappointment at having this renowned store within walking distance turn out to be such a scary place to visit.  Now, it’s a place where I would just go to hang out and knit, or see what’s new. 

I’m very excited about this.  I find that, other than on the blog and in e-mail with people who  also blog about knitting, I don’t have that many people to Talk Knitting with.  And I discovered rather quickly that part of the gestalt of knitting is Talking Knitting – talking about what we’re knitting, what we want to knit, what challenges we’re having, what yarn we have in  the stash, who posted some cool new FO in Ravelry or on their blog, the new IK or Knitty, etc. etc. 

What about ya’ll?  Have you been at this long enough that you no longer feel the need to Talk Knitting, or to fantasize about yarn and sweaters in conversation with fellow knitters?  Is this a Newer Knitter phenomenon?  Where do you get your Knitting Talk on? 

Please advise, and happy Tuesday, all!

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17 Comments

Filed under Knitting, Lifebits

17 responses to “Random Knitting Observations.

  1. I am not out of the talking phase, but have very few with whom to talk knitting. It’s fun and exciting and I am so happy about your LYS.

  2. Nope, I talk knitting to whoever will sit still long enough. I don’t tend to do so at my LYS because I just don’t get over there often enough, but how wonderful for you that your shop took the criticism in a good way and made positive changes! I certainly hope they see the effects in their bottom line, too.

  3. I’m lucky enough to have two LYS in my town, and one is the exact description of your former store. Can they talk to my store next?

  4. You never lose the need to talk knitting! Evah!
    Not when it’s a passion.
    It’s so fun to talk to people whose eyes don’t glaze over at the first mention of circular needles or sock yarn….

    I don’t have hang-out time at my LYS, unfortunately, and their hours aren’t conducive. But, though they have different vibes, they all have friendly owners and I feel very comfortable there.
    I have knitting friends at my church and we have started a knitting time on Wednesday evenings during some church activities. That’s a lot of fun; several of us have kids the same age, and one of us is older and very sassy!
    But the need to ‘talk knitting’ is part of the appeal of blogging and Ravelry, certainly, and also the fibery events I seem to find myself going to this year — being immersed in a crowd of people who ‘get it’ is just amazing!

    The transformation of your LYS is a great story. Glad it happened!

  5. Amy in StL

    I tend to be kind of hermity and haven’t really joined a new knitting group since moving back to St. Louis. I’ve only been knitting for about 5 years, so sometimes I kind of flounder when I’m trying to change a pattern. I usually just shower my non-knitting friends with knit talk. They tolerate me because they love me! I found a LYS here in STL that was really unfriendly too. I haven’t been back since they poo-pooed my love for bulky yarn.

  6. The new shop in town “GOT it” before they opened and it’s a fun place to hang. The other shop I frequent needs to learn, but it’s doubtful they will. I’ve been knitting for years and love to “talk knitting”. Tuesday is SnB, Sunday is, too and then there are the fun shops to hang in and on it goes. Talking knitting is a must for a knitter! 😉

  7. Amy

    How fortunate for the store that they had savvy employees and a willingness to change. Two local stores here closed this summer, both suffering from employee/owner-attitude problems, both widely talked about on the internet, and neither store made an effort to change. One blamed the economy. Odd–there are several stores with nicer staff that seem to be doing fine in spite of the economy.

  8. I’m totally condensing here… YEAH on the race! The training paid off.
    I love the way your LYS took things to heart. There was one near me in CA, that I have NO idea how they stay in business.

    Happy Tuesday Nora!
    xoxox

  9. I’m completely tickled to hear about your close lys taking the criticism to heart and doing something positive about it, makes all the difference in the world! There are 3 lys in town, one is Very Perky, one is more like a cross stitch/gift/with a little yarn thrown in, but the one I prefer… well, it used to be not such a friendly place, although I guess I didn’t mind so much, being a Not Perky type but they did a remix on ownership (3 now) and mercy, it’s a fun place to go and hang now! They’re all more my age so yeah, they can be cranky but we all know there’s good cranky and not so good cranky.

    I don’t think you ever lose the need/desire to Talk Knitting. Thank goodness.

  10. I always like to Talk about knitting. I have friends that I do that with and I also have the library knitting group but they aren’t exactly, errr, hip. I’m so glad that Ravelry worked for the good in your LYS.

  11. Is Marianne talking about me?! o.O

    I’m so glad that your LYS people took the hint and worked to be a better store. I think there are a lot of store owners who don’t realize that we all talk about what stores are friendly/helpful and which ones are not.

    I am very spoiled to have a fabulous yarn store not too far from home that has added a cafe. It’s been a lovely place to wander around in and now, it’s a place to hang out and meet up with friends.

  12. I’m so thrilled that the LYS did such a turnabout! How cool is that?

    I’ve been knitting since I was 7, yet I do not tire of talking about that or of spinning. I attend a weekly knitting group and it’s the highlight of my week. 🙂

  13. We have the best SnB group! Really. Everyone who visits says so. I don’t know what I would do without it. (You should come visit – you’d have a total blast!)

    I go twice a week, and there are other groups that I go to occasionally on other days. There are a bunch of different groups of knitters, so there’s knitting spots around the city pretty much every day, and sometimes several at the same time. It’s easy to find one that fits your personality. Like Margene said, our newest LYS is doing a fab job of catering to knitters, and lots of people go to the knitting sessions at the other LYSs in the area. We’re fortunate to have several really nice shops.

  14. Joy

    I don’t think we ever get over Talking Knitting – it’s a very important part of the whole process.

    There used to be a shop like that in my area – so much so that it was instantly recognizable when someone mentioned having a bad experience at a yarn shop. It’s long since been replaced by a new and much friendlier shop, plus there are several other very nice ones around – I just wish they were closer!

  15. No one around here to talk knitting except my daughters and they have lives to live. My closest yarn store is not a place that it conducive to sitting and talking. There is one a little further but it seems to have a clique of knitter/spinners who look at me funny when I come in and wander. It might just be me being self conscious. Conversation stops and it’s a little awkward. I have dreams of setting up my own little yarn place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable no matter how experienced they are. It’s nice to hear that your store was reactive to what was said. Good business sense on their part.

  16. I love to Talk Knitting. With Life lately, I haven’t been doing a lot of it, but when I do it is usually with family or friends acquired via blogging. The fiber festival was a great place for it, especially the ravelry party afterwards. I envy you with a Very Nice Yarn shop a few blocks away. 😀

  17. I never get over the knitting talk!
    I sometimes impose it on the unsuspecting 😉

    And I think it’s very cool that your LYS took the time and effort to change in response to the Ravelry thread. WONDERFUL!

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