Like so many days yesterday was one of those days devoted to transporting kids. The difference was that I wasn't driving across town. I had to schlep 40 miles one way. I was discussing this with my sister - the lost knitting time, my sore back, the million and one things at home that weren't going to get done - when she asked if there were any yarn stores along the way.
Brilliant. Now why hadn't I thought of that? Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Of course there were yarn stores along the way and one in particular that I had been meaning to check out.
After I had deposited said kids I made a swing by Knit Purl.
This is a comfy, well-stocked yarn store. They have an extensive selection of yarn with something for everyone. The walls are lined with samples - plenty of inspiration. And they have a nice selection of knitting bags, an overflowing sale basket, patterns, knitting books, oodles of needles and accessories. I could have been swallowed up for days.
When I was there, there was a lively group gathered around the table chatting about this and that. What a lovely sense of community. I enjoyed my time there and my discussion with Nancy, the owner.
My visit to Knit Purl turned my thoughts to the state of local yarn stores. My immediate area has seen the loss of two stores. For an area this size we don't have many yarn stores. And I've heard of well established yarn stores in other cities and towns closing their doors. I understand some of the reasons - high overhead, online competition - but there's a real loss of community when a store shuts down.
I was envious of those women at Knit Purl gathered in such a cozy setting, knitting row after row, sharing stories, offering advice about this or that project. Knitters have been gathering together for centuries. Today many gather in online venues. There are many advantages to internet forums - you can share ideas with others across the country or across the globe. I'll be the first to admit that the internet has revolutionized knitting. But there is an element of intimacy and shared experiences that can't be duplicated electronically.
The challenge is to maintain those connections in the face of an ever changing retail environment. I encourage everyone to shop their local yarn store. Don't take it for granted or you may wake up one day to find it closed.
In an attempt to practice what I preach these goodies came home with me.
The calendar says spring and to mark the occasion we are running another contest. Leave a comment and a plug for your local yarn store. The winner, chosen at random, will receive a $25 Dye Dreams gift certificate. The contest will close on Sunday, March 28.