Thursday, May 31, 2007

Musing on Yarn Stores and Other Thoughts

My titles sound a bit like titles of Panic! At the Disco songs....

So, I'm down in South FL visiting my dad. He's been working down here, so Mom and I brought Jacob (my brother) and Adam (my nephew) aka the two hyenas to visit. I wasn't wanting to come, but yarn crawls were promised, and crawl we did!

Details and pictures of the yarns later, but for now some musings on stores.

We went to three places, The Knit and Stitch in Cocoa, Stitchworm in St. Petersburg and Knit 'n' Knibble in Tampa.

Some had better stock than others; Stitchworm didn't have Noro which I was after, but they did have some nice pretty yarn.

One thing that struck me in all of them was something I've seen in all Florida yarn stores. Older proprietors and customers (in general, although some young employees), all of whom sit around at a table talking. Very nice, but people in browsing aren't brought into the conversation which could seem a little stand-off-ish. At the same time, I don't like it when a proprietor shoves yarn in my face. I know what I like, and I don't need you to tell me without me asking a question.

The locations of stores is also interesting to me. In Atlanta Why Knot Knit is in a little house smushed up between wearhouses, and Knitch is in a conberted firehouse. Both unique, charming and adding to the display of wonderful yarns. In Florida they're mostly in strip centers, even my LYS, which isn't bad, just more generic leading to a fairly generic feel inside.

Not all the stores can support the designer yarns, understood, although one yarn store in FL that I didn't go to, but saw online seemed to have mostly Lion Brand. Fiber snob I may be, but, seriously? Notsomuch.

Overall, though, most stores have basically the same thing, so it really is the display and the atmosphere that makes or breaks a store. Knit 'n' Knibble (which, unfortuately, I continually read as Knit 'n' Kibble) is really good as far as selection, lots of Cascade, Noro and so on. Their idea is good, coffee and such, but I wouldn't so much say that have a café as they serve coffee, similarly to Knitch. Not bad, though.

I think, though, my favorite store would have to be the Knit and Stitch, because while they are small they are very nice, entertained the hynenas while my mom and I were shopping and were just generally a good store.

A lot of Florida yarn stores don't have websites, which makes it difficult to decide which to visit. They seem to be the only Florida enterprise not aimed specifically at tourists....

I need to review A History of Hand Knitting, but before I do that; I read a fantastic book that my dad bought me at Barnes and Noble last night entitled When I Was a Soldier

It's a memoir of a girl, Valèrie Zenatti, who was born in France but lives in Israel from the age of thirteen and is thus drafted into the army. The book very expertly juxtaposes her pre-army life with her experiences in the service. I saw myself and my friends in her, and had to imagine what our pampered, in college selves would do were we forced into military service. Not fare well, I think.

The book is very well written, jumping between diary entries and narrative, but all first person. It is well-translated from the French. My one complaint is that the end comes fast, but overall it's a very well written book. Definitely worth the read and a good reminder that the American way isn't the only way people grow up.

Mkay, massive picture post when I get home!


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