Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Tale of Two LYS

Text heavy ramblings ahead... be warned!

I'm probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to not supporting my LYS. The problem I end up with is that I don't usually find the yarn that I want at a price that I think is competitive with what I can find online. I know, this is going to make it harder for LYS owners to make a living, and then where would I go to fondle yarn IRL? So I should make a conscious effort to go and show my support. So, in keeping with this theme, I dedicate an entire post to my LYS.

Starting it off on a good theme, I had the chance to meet up with Knittin' Mom Chrissy, Sknitty Jillian, and Chewy Spaghetti Khris over the weekend. If you've been keeping up with Chrissy, she was in town to take her kids to Disneyland, support Bill in his relay marathon, and of course, meet up with some fellow knitbloggers. I'm late to the posting party and wasn't a very good blogger having left my camera at home, so go check out Chrissy, Khris and Jillian's posts for more details. I'll leave it at this: We didn't get into any accidents on the 110 this time, we did manage to take the scenic route to Unwind in Burbank (which apparently includes the wrong freeway), we all found out that Jillian would make an excellent LYS employee as we all ended up with yarn in the end, and knitbloggers in general must be more advanced knitters than the general population.

Both LYS we visited on Saturday were quite nice, so Jillian is really good at picking out good spots to take people on yarn crawls. Closer to me, I am a devotee of A Mano Yarn in Venice. They have a reasonable selection of yarn at good prices, all kinds of needles and cute buttons and bag handles to finish your kntiting projects, and LOTS of books and back issues of magazines for inspiration. Best of all, they have a very helpful staff that will let you fondle for as long as you want uninterrupted, but they also give great advice when you need it.

Maybe I should get down to why I gave this post its title. I told a story on Saturday about my LYS that people felt should be posted far and wide. Or at least as far as my little realm of readers. A couple of weeks ago, I was charged with finding yarn by my co-workers for a blanket that several of us were to give to another co-worker as a surprise. The recipient has a small child already so I set out to my LYS in search of something nice (it's a gift and we're splitting it 4 ways after all) but still reasonably easy to care for.

I walked into A Mano as my first stop and set forth my question: what would be good for a baby blanket if you want it to be easy care and fairly soft? The staff there suggested 5 different yarns that were all machine washable and dryable as long as you don't leave it in the dryer until it's beaten to death. I happily took pictures of several color schemes and was on my way.

I walked into another LYS that is actually closer to my house, but I tend not to go there very often because I've always had sticker shock when I set foot in the door. I wanted to give it another try in the off chance that they might have a better color selection. I set forth the same criteria and the response was, "Well, if your recipient truly appreciates hand knit gifts, then she won't mind hand washing the blanket." I pressed on saying that I'd really like to give her the option to just throw it in the washing machine for convenience. The clerk's response was, "If you really want easy care, then what you should get is acrylic. And we don't sell that here." Nevermind that two of the yarns that I was suggested at A Mano were on the shelves (for a dollar more a ball). She didn't quite say Please Leave, but she may as well have.

I decided to turn around the next day and go back to A Mano and spend $100 on yarn for one project.

Anyway, the point of the story is that I highly recommend A Mano as my favorite yarn shop on the west side of LA. If you're ever in Santa Monica or Venice, stop by there and say hi to the nice ladies!

And now for my gratuitous photo of the post. I present you with two squares for the baby blanket. Three left to go for me! Yes, I know, sort of boring looking at really large swatches, but it all has to start somewhere. I would show you the back, except that they look exactly the same.

BTW, the yarn I ended up choosing is Mission Falls 1824 wool. A Mano doesn't carry 1824 cotton, but I'm sure that I'd have thought about it if they did since it's supposed to be great stuff. The wool version has a very high squishy factor, in fact, I got a gauge closer to 1520 the first time because I thought the yarn was so elastic. After adjusting the tension, I was right on the labelled gauge with the recommended needle size. Nice fabric in the end, and machine washable and dryable, so I highly recommend it!