Tuesday, April 26, 2005


The title of my post does not refer to the past few days, which I spent visiting my sister and her family. Those were anything but ho-hum. A household filled with four adults, five children under ten, two dogs, one cat, one guinea pig, and one hamster can rarely be described as ho-hum. Rather, the title refers to two other things.

The first: while on vacation, I did indeed manage to find a yarn store to visit. And it was completely uninspiring.

To understand the true import of this, you should know that "uninspiring" is a word that I have never used in reference to a yarn store. Ever. I can be inspired by the simplest of things. But visiting this store just made me feel blah. To begin with, when I first entered the store I was met by an entire table that was filled with balls of novelty yarns. They weren't in baskets, or cleverly laid out; they were just set out on a table. And on my other side was a rack filled with scarves made from those novelty yarns.

Now, before some of you get your knickers in a twist, I am not against novelty yarns, or the knitting or wearing of scarves made with the stuff. I have seen one or two that I even like. And I "get" that lots of newbie knitters seem to be drawn to eyelash yarn strings (and sealing wax and other fancy stuff), and the store owner is trying to draw them into her store. Fine. But let's at least display the yarn in an attractive manner, shall we?

Okay. So moving beyond the novelty yarns, there just wasn't much else of note. Oh, the shelves were full, and there were a few decent basics in stock: some Paton's (go see Norma if you don't know how to pronounce it), some baby yarns, some of the Berocco stock. And there were a few lovely (and lonely) skeins of various Fiesta Yarns hanging about, displayed near some simple shawls. But it was all boring. Not only were there no artisanal and/or hand-dyed or hand-painted yarns (although I happen to know that there is a great wholesaler nearby), there wasn't even a good selection of basic cottons to be found. There were a few sock yarns, but not particularly interesting ones, and no knit socks on display. And no samples of lace knitting. I spent the whole time I was in the shop (all of ten minutes) thinking about how I would do it differently if it were my store, entertaining fantasies about which yarn lines I would choose and what sample items I would knit to go with them. And I bought nothing at all (although I wanted to gather up armfuls of yarn just to move them to a happier place).

It was all so sad.

The second ho-hum of my week: the new Interweave Knits.
Yeah, I know that it's hard to come up with a whole magazine's worth of summer patterns. And it's not the editor's fault that I don't wear a lot of knit tanks, and that the shrug I am already knitting will result in my having one too many shrugs in my wardrobe. But not a single pattern in this issue really called to me. Now, that's probably a good thing, as I have far too many projects in the works already. But not a single pattern? Blah.

So, readers: what makes yarn stores or magazines inspiring for you? What lines of yarn would you carry in your store?