It’s not enough for a yarn store, either brick and mortar or online, to carry yarn; they must also support and carry supplies for those who use their yarn – both crocheters and knitters. For years, crocheters have lamented that their local yarn stores (LYS) haven’t supported their craft. They hear comments like, “Oh, crocheters only use acrylics” or “We don’t have anything you’d like here, but there’s a Michaels down the road.” Then there are the places where, once they learn you crochet, their faces fall, and they either ignore you or try to hurry you away from their store. These stores also have mostly knitting supplies, and if they have any crochet supplies at all, tuck them away in a bin at the very bottom of a shelf or thrown haphazardly into buckets. Okay, so we still make granny squares, but that doesn’t mean we don’t spend money on expensive yarns and supplies. So, LYS owners, belly up to the hook ’cause we’re fighting back!
Crocheters are tired of being treated like second class crafters, being pushed to learn to knit (although many of us can knit but prefer crochet), ignored in stores, and generally made to feel not welcome. They are telling fellow crocheters which shops and online stores are crochet friendly and which refuse to support crochet. If the store barely supports, won’t support, or treats crochet as a crime perpetrated on yarn, then we don’t shop there. Crocheters spend hundreds of dollars at a time, just like any knitter, so we believe that it is time to show our support for those stores that welcome us with open arms.
There is a thread in the Crochet Liberation Front forum at Ravelry where folks can list crochet friendly shops. The shops are then added to a group page where all can see and find these stores no matter where they live or happen to be visiting. There is also a website with the same list for those who have yet to discover the joys of Ravelry.com http://www.crochetliberationfront.com/crochetfriendly.html)
As an LYS owner, what can you do to support and welcome the ever growing customer base that crochets? For this, I turned to the Crochet Friendly LYS thread at the CLF where Laurie Wheeler listed the basic criteria for what crochet friendly means (summarized a bit):
- Crochet Friendly starts with customer service, but Friendly is a rather distinct word. Supplies are awesome, but friendly and accommodating are golden. Lack of customer service is beyond annoying. If we are ignored or the staff turns cold once they see that we have hooks in our hand or assumes that we knit when just buying yarn, then why should we drop a wad of cash in your store? Respect our craft!
- We understand that it costs money to have stock, but it’s nice to see an equal measure or representation of supplies for various fiber arts. When there is a wall of needles and a tiny portion of that wall holds the hooks and sundries, then that is poor supply. If there are only certain sizes, such as those used mostly by knitters for dropped stitches and P and Q hooks for afghans, that’s not a big point winner, unless you have an equally poor selection of needles. The same goes for magazines and pattern books. We’re asking for parity. It’s hard to spend money when what you want isn’t there.
- A decent range of yarn – doesn’t have to be the swankiest – but a nice mix of good standard yarns, not just a whole bunch of sock yarn and some worsted acrylic, or heavy on the ribbon and novelties.
- Some thread, any thread is cool! More thread, lots of thread is great.
- Basic crochet classes are nice, more advanced classes are even better. Listing these classes at the front of the store or in your ad is better than in the back corner of the back page of a magazine with a bland explanation.
- Samples of the available yarn in crochet, as well as in knit.
- When a crochet customer comes in, ask what you can do to be more crochet friendly, instead of immediately becoming defensive and claiming it’s the crocheter’s bad attitude that is the problem. This will definitely get you extra points.
If you’d like to read more of how to be more crochet friendly, take a look at the What makes a store crochet friendly? thread at the CLF forum.
Now, for those shops who already support crochet and do what they can to help crocheters find what they need, treat us with respect, have classes, and do what they can to carry supplies for us, we thank you!