Todays blog post will combine two things; a trip to a yarn shop on Thanksgiving weekend, and our annual LYS report that happens every January!
Diana Cripe is our moderator over in our Ravelry group. She and her husband took a little camping trip over the Thanksgiving weekend with some friends. Here is what she had to say…
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we stayed at Cape Disappointment State Park with friends. When we went to check in, I noticed the gal helping us was wearing what looked like hand knit fingerless gloves. When I asked if she knit them, she said she had, and that there was a great yarn shop in Ilwaco, just a short distance away.
On the Friday, my friend and I went for a visit. The store is called Purly Shell, and the owner, Heather, was very nice and let me take photos and ask her some questions. She is a spinner and has her own handspun in the shop. She has it displayed on the walls hanging in nets, which I thought was quite clever, as Ilwaco is a fishing town. The Christmas tree has a couple of Wingspan shawls that are draped like garland, also fun and creative. The business also carries brands that you would recognize as well as her specialty dyes.
I bought a beautiful hand dyed yarn from a Portland area dyer that she had. The color way I got is called University of Washington but the colors are more subdued than typical UW colors. I’m anxious to see how it knits up!
Now on to the 2016 LYS report. Every January I report on the yarn shops. Startups open, shops close, and shops certainly move around…but here is how the numbers shake out for 2016. We started 2016 with 1,089 yarn shops and finished 2016 with 1034 shops…that is a deficit of 55 yarn shops. When I started America’s Knitting in August of 2007 we had 1,445 yarn shops with a decline every year since. Having a discussion of why the LYS is in decline, takes on many forms — an over saturation of the market? — a decline in the craft? — a tightening economy where folks have less disposable income? You will have to give this some thought and decide for yourself as to why local yarn shops are on the decline.
One thing I do know, when you support small business of the local yarn shop, you are directly impacting families and communities. They are open for us daily with their commitment to the craft. They teach and build community through classes and open knit groups – you meet your friends at the local yarn shop. With a store front, you can see and touch the yarn, and see how it knits up into samples. With a local yarn shop you can be inspired!
America’s Knitting is a yarn shop registry with a heart! We humanize yarn shops, so they can be remembered through stories, pictures and people, not merely data! I help yarn shops tell their story. You can have 12 yarn shops in a major city and they are all different, because they are owned by different people with a different story.