Monday, October 29, 2012

My First Fancy Yarns & Yarn Shop Experience

Well folks, it's official - I have purchased fancy yarn. And by fancy I mean "expensive" - that is, more expensive that I have ever bought before. I'm usually quite cheap, but I came across this fantastic hat on pinterest and knew I had to make it for my new nephew (who is about to make an appearance this week!). This will be his Thanksgiving uniform :) The problem with it is I never realized how hard it would be to find turkey colored yarn. If you think about it, turkey isn't brown but it's not orange or yellow either - it's like a golden orangey brown. Finally I looked up the pattern on Ravelry and looked at other people's projects they had made to see what type of yarn they used and 90% of them are made with Cascade 220.

For those of you like me who only really know yarns at places like Joann's and Hobby Lobby, Cascade is "fancy yarn" only in that it is more expensive than the cheap stuff. It's a super wash merino wool - this means it's super soft even though it's wool and it's been treated so it's completely washable. Basically it's perfect for baby items. I'm sure other yarn users out there are rolling there eyes that I think Cascade 220 is fancy, but we don't get a lot of nicer yarn like that in these here parts :) I had to go out specifically looking for it at the ONLY yarn shop in the area, Knit and Stitch Boutique in Cocoa Village. I went on my day off since they are only open at times when our store is also open so it was difficult to get over there.

Sorry if this is kind of a random story, but I just had to share. Now, I work in a family owned jewelry store so I'm really picky about the experience I get when I go into a new store. You always want customers to feel invited and welcome in your shop so that they can look around and buy something but also so that they want to come again - this is like retail marketing 101 here. Unfortunately my experience was not so inviting at this shop...

I walked in and there was a huge table surrounded by women knitting in the middle of the room. Obviously I had interrupted a class of some sort. The shop is small, which is no problem until you add in the enormous table that is taking up the only open space in the whole place. Also, the huge table is surrounded by HUGE chairs - seriously they were the big stuffed computer chairs with the tall backs and arms and wheels. A few of the ladies at the table asked what I needed and I asked where the Cascade is - yeah, it was on the wall right behind the ladies in the computer chairs. SO, I had to shove past 3 or 4 women in chairs (literally shove) and then crouch down to look through for my color which they didn't have. A lady noticed I was rifling through with no luck so she asked what color I needed and she said they had more merino super wash near the register. So then I shoved behind all the rest of the chairs on that side of the table (another 3 or 4) to get over by the register and then sift through 2 rubbermaid tubs full of Filatura Di Crosa yarn. After all that I was leaving with some damn yarn, and I found this color which I thought would be great.
I bought the turkey color and some white for the nubs at the top of the hat. These skeins were $10.50 each, which is the going rate so I was fine with that. So yeah, I got the yarn I needed so I should shut up right? Wrong. I'm not one to shut up especially in a situation like this. I had been really excited about finally making the pilgrimage to the 'fancy yarn store' and I had planned on looking around a bit and maybe purchasing something other than just what I went in for. Yeah, that wasn't happening. I felt like such a big inconvenience to begin with PLUS the place was so jam packed that I wouldn't have known where or what anything was without help and they were obviously all busy. I was in and out of there as fast as I could manage just so I didn't feel like I was bugging them anymore. I guess it's just because of my personal work experience, but it's common sense to not make the customer feel out of place and I haven't felt so much so in a long time. I can't say I won't ever go back there because it wasn't an offensive experience or anything, but my future visits will probably be only for similar situations when I can't find something specific at other places. And even then there is always the internet, so I don't see very many visits in my near future.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It was just very disappointing.
I not only got my turkey yarn on Thursday, I also received my other 'fancy yarn' from Craftsy in the mail :) It's so nice and soft and I love the color. I can't wait to knit up my Hope Shawlette :)

So, I have officially taken the big step into expensive yarns guys. I'm sure my husband would cringe to learn that, but I can't deny it feels so much nicer than the cheap acrylic stuff. Will I become a 'quality over quantity'  type yarn buyer? Yes and no. I can certainly see the benefits, but sometimes I just want the quick and cheap.

Have you had any experiences like mine in small shops? Do you think I'm nuts or are you with me here? Let me know what you think!

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