Last year, after taking an amazingly lucious trip to my LYS (Local Yarn shop) I asked a question on my Facebook page: “How often do you get to your Local Yarn Shop?”
I asked because as I spoke to the owner (and having spoken to another owner at another shop) I realized they were very weary of how trends were going.
Needless to say the answers I got back were quite disappointing.
Basically, although my page is filled with yarn lovers, not many got to their local yarn shop. Some go minimally and some don’t even have local yarn shops to visit. It made me sad.
Sad to know that where there were no shops, they didn’t survive, and where there are shops, they’re a labor of love or simply struggling.
Traditionally, the local yarn shop was not just a place to buy yarn! The LYS was a place to gather with other yarn lovers and make friends. It was a place to learn about the yarn arts.
It was a social hangout, a library, a sanctuary.
The local yarn shop was a local social club to discover, learn, and grow your yarn art skills. . . but it’s faded.
It’s faded because the price of yarn has increased.
It’s faded because big box stores offer lesser brand yarns at prices more people can afford.
It’s faded because the local yarn shop stopped living up to its place in the community.
It’s faded because the local yarn shop became simply a place to buy yarn.
It’s faded because instead of offering a sanctuary, the LYS is trying to compete with big box stores.
They must aspire to more.
We must aspire to more. Yes, they can do more. They can evolve with the changing landscape and deliver more than just yarn and a few classes. They can give yarn lovers a real reason to choose to come to their doorstep.
They need to be more creative. But there are some things we can do too.
Those of us in the yarn arts need to go support to our local yarn shops or they won’t be there when we want and need them.
If we want options beyond big box stores, we need to support our local yarn shops.
I am aware of the cost of yarn, however, there are low-cost options at the local yarn shop too.
I am aware of the speed and ease of a Michael’s, Joann or Hobby Lobby.
But, I’m also aware that if I don’t tell my local yarn shop owner what I’d like to see, they won’t know.
I’m also aware that if they truly become extinct, premium yarn prices will keep rising.
I’m also aware that losing the local yarn shop cannot be an option.
We can’t let the cost of yarn drive the yarn industry underground. If the the local yarn shop doesn’t survive we’ll be left with lesser yarns in big box stores where the personnel know nothing about yardage, gauge or texture. They’ll only know in which direction to point us to find yarn.
We, you and I, can make a difference for the local yarn shops that are also small businesses and that need our support.
Here’s a really cool site I found that can help you find your Local Yarn Shop(s) Knitmap. Use it, talk to others in your area.
I agree that there do need to be some changes in the yarn industry, but letting the local yarn shops disappear isn’t one.