Are You an LYS Friendly Crocheter?

I thought I’d write this editorial as a counter point to the first issue’s column on being a crochet-friendly LYS. There are basically two kinds of yarn shops for crocheters, the first being the shops that look down on crochet with the second being those shops that support crochet but can’t afford to keep a large amount of supplies in stock. I love shopping at all the yarn shops in the Salt Lake City area, but if I don’t purchase crochet hooks and books or their lovely yarn, then what incentive do they have to continue providing those items for me? If the shop carries crochet magazines and books, shouldn’t I buy them there rather than at the local big book shop or online?

If I need cheap yarn, whether it is for a crochet or knit project, then I’ll go to stores that sell them, like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, JoAnns, Robert’s Crafts, and WalMart. And, yes, we all buy cheap yarn, crocheters and knitters alike (don’t try to deny it), but the independent LYS provides us with so much more. Yarns made with high quality wools, silk, bamboo, and milk fiber to name a few. They often have gorgeous hand-dyed yarns that you definitely won’t find at a mass market craft store and when possible, they’ll special order that scrumptious yarn you just have to have. They provide classes or that little bit of help you need to get past a small problem that is blocking you. Many have ladies (and sometimes gentlemen) that gather during the day for companionship and to get some crocheting or knitting done.

Many LYSs support local crafters by carrying their hand-dyed yarn or notions, for example, two stores in my area carry my row counter bracelets and stitch markers. One store purchased them outright, while the other sells them on consignment. If they don’t sell, then we’ve both lost income and opportunity.

So, how can you, as a crocheter support your LYS?

  1. If the store carries crochet hooks, supplies, patterns, and books, spend a few dollars more every so often to purchase the item there instead of online or at a big book store. You can’t always spend more, but when you can, spend it there.
  2. Let the owner know you appreciate finding what you need for your crochet projects.
  3. Don’t ask if they carry the cheaper yarns. While we all use these brands for many things, it just isn’t practical for the LYS to carry them. They take space away from the more delightful yarns that you can’t find anywhere else in town and they’ll cost you more for very little payback.
  4. If the store doesn’t carry crochet supplies (or has very little stock), ask politely why, and understand when they tell you that when they carry such supplies, no one purchases them. Let them know that you are willing to purchase crochet supplies and books from them when possible. Find out if they’ll special order that crochet book you’ve been wanting or that hand turned crochet hook you’ve been drooling over.

And, the same goes for supporting crochet designers online and with published books. If you don’t purchase the patterns they’ve designed with finer designs and using more expensive yarns, then what incentive do they have to continue designing them? I’ve read several posts at Ravelry from designers that have different patterns available and they find that the patterns that use or work with cheap acrylics sell better. The fancier patterns, like shawls and other clothing, just don’t sell as well and it is discouraging.

As much as we may complain that local yarn stores don’t support crochet, we really have to admit that we have helped to bring this about and are helping to prolong it as long as we continue to purchase cheap yarns and patterns. While a few crocheters have started to design and purchase more expensive patterns and the yarn to make them, they can’t do it alone.