Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Great expectations

Firstly, a big thanks for all the comments from the last post. I have now got over the maudlin period and am back to being my usual shouty argumentative self - hurray!

I have been knitting socks for the last few weeks and very little else - pictures will appear soon, but I've lost the thingummy doofus that links the camera to the laptop. So in the absence of pixtures I shall regale you with my thoughts on yarn shops. Yesterday I was on a training course in Beeston and so thought I should check out Yarn. This is a shop that I've read a great deal about on other blogs and in knitting magazines and it seems to be universally raved about, so my expectations were high. The shop itself was crammed with yarn and patterns and whilst it was too small to swing a cat in, you could have probably managed to whirl a guinea pig around your head without causing too much damage (to the shop at least - Mr Snuffles may well be traumatised by his impromptu fairground ride). On the face of it, there was a great deal of promise in the shop, and so I was a happy little critter.

However, I do feel that there were several areas that I felt the shop let itself down in. Firstly, not all the needles and notions are easily accessible, and you have to specifically ask for certain items as they are out of the customers reach. For shoppers like me, who enjoy picking things up, having a look and a think and then maybe putting them back again, this isn't a good thing. Secondly, the counter with the till has yarn stacked in front of it. It made it difficult to browse these if anyone was paying, and also felt as though you were being watched by the woman behind the till. Thirdly, and most crucially, the woman herself was courteous, but that was all. I didn't feel especially welcomed or as though I could ask for help or advice.

Overall, I just felt a bit let down. It's always a risk when you have your hopes raised that you may be let down, but I think my expectations were so high because of my LYS. When you're used to a shop where the kettle is always on, the owner keeps baby wipes to clean little people's sticky fingers and crayons to keep the newly cleaned fingers occupied, customers laugh and chat with each other, advice is plentiful and friendly and you're positively encouraged to squeeze and sniff yarn then most other places will pale by comparison.

I hope I just caught the lady in Yarn on a bad day, and that normally the atmosphere is far friendlier, but it did bring it home to me that I am damned lucky to have such a great LYS on my doorstep.

Oh, and a quick point - I seem to be getting more and more questions in the comments, so if you ask me anything then I'll answer you in the comments rather than in the next post :)


Blogger Bronte said...

Your own LYS sounds like the most perfect yarn shop ever. :-)

I think if any place has a certain reputation, we go there with a pre-formed idea of how our visit will be, and anything less is disappointing.

In that instance, it's possibly because you're not a regular, your experience wasn't the same as someone who goes in there all the time. Not how it should be, but it's often what happens.

And now I'm off to snitch on you to the RSPCA... :-(

11:53 pm  
Blogger Kai said...

I agree with the bunny... your LYS sounds like pure perfection...

JL is Reading is too big and always busy to be personable, but there is a lovely lady that works there that is really knowledgeable and wonderfully chatty... you just have to find her first!

Pre-formed ideas are really hard to live up to sometimes... and you're always likely to be disappointed. Cynical?? Me?? No... :)

Glad to see your back.

12:02 pm  
Blogger Kendra said...

Your LYS sounds perfect. I wish I had somewhere like that near me. I often daydream about running a yarn shop. What a great job that must be!

8:03 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

I hope your kids never want to look after the school guinea pig during the summer holidays :|

11:17 pm  
Blogger modelwidow said...

What a wonderful sounding LYS you have, (I`m green with envy) I should think after that anywhere would be a let down.
But... is there nothing to confess, I mean even if it wasn`t a patch on your LYS, did you escape empty handed?

8:25 pm  
Blogger TutleyMutley said...

ditto what they all the other commenters said - what a great LYS you have! (where is it?)

11:03 am  
Blogger acrylik said...

What a wonderful LYS you have! It's a shame that all shops can't be like that. We have a great one too, but unfortunately it's a market stall so only appears on Saturdays, but the owner is so helpful and friendly.

11:44 am  
Blogger dreamcatcher said...

What a fabby LYS you have! Have to say the lady in ours is friendly once she's seen you a few times, they just don't carry a lot of the yummy yarns you can get online. Did you end up with any new stash from yarn though? :-D

2:23 pm  
Blogger Christina said...

Lucky you having such a nice LYS. And glad you're feeling more shouty!!! :)

9:05 pm  
Blogger Queen Frogger said...

I am jealous of your LYS! We don't have one here! I know what you mean about having to touch stuff in a shop, I am the same and it can be intimidating if you have to ask and are watched.
RE: Gathering Int. I used more than the amount of yarn as I did it an inch longer. I hope you don't run out . x

8:42 pm  
Blogger Catknit said...

Good to see you're back on form, your LYS sounds wonderful and its a shame that more shops don't take their view. Yarn Stores are becomming more and more rare now and everyone who comes through the door should be given the same treatment regardless of how familiar they are-unless they're a smelly tramp who wants to pee on the yarn-there's an awful lot of yarn snobbery out there and LYS owners really can't afford to take part in that if they want to stay in business (ooh that turned into a bit of a rant- didn't mean to-sorry)

8:52 pm  
Blogger Frankie said...

The shop sounds lovely. But I think people expect different things from shops. I don't think you'd find a place like that in London. Down here we really are stand-offish towards strangers, mostly because we are scared of them. I'd like to be the sort of person who goes to the shops for a chat, but I'm used to the minimal-eye-contact, "just looking thanks" way of shopping so sadly I'd probably feel more comfortable in Yarn!

11:36 am  
Blogger Fiona said...

I think it's awings and roundabouts with shops. Some - "Wool" in Stockport - encourage you to loiter and the staff enjoy showing off new stock. Others - which won't be named here - seem to view customers as a positive nuisance!

1:45 pm  
Blogger Seahorse said...

Your LYS sounds great.

Here's a q. I'm thinking (you know, just maybe) about making Lorelei from Rowan 40. I Googled for WIPs/blog entries and you were about the only one! Did you ever get the yarns and/or start it? I'm guessing you'd have mentioned if you did but thought I'd ask anyway!

6:36 pm  
Blogger Fi said...


I am horribly jealous of your LYS!

Ours is OK, and reasonablt friendly, but still last night my friend and I had a long phone fantasy last night about opening just such a place as Yarn down here in Oxfordshire (but then we are both from the north, perhaps Frankie is right, we're just programmed to natter!!).

11:02 am  
Blogger Rain said...

Your LYS sounds wonderful.

1:12 pm  
Anonymous angie Cox said...

I live in Reading too and that lady is chatty for short times and as long as you are buying lots of yarn. I find it a complete let down .The second L.Y.S needs a cafe type club in our town too ,not the stuffy one at the library . The no 2 L.Y.S has lots of lovely ladies but the yarn is not so good. John Lewis could do an enormous amount in Reading , stocking Noro ,Louisa Harding etc and putting in a couch to let husbands sit . They seem to care more about filling the area with exercise machines.

12:57 pm  
Anonymous angie Cox said...

apologies my typing got chopped up so this might make sense or not !

12:59 pm  
Anonymous pieprincess said...

update, update!!!

are you hibernating badger??


pp xx

7:37 am  

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