What If They Disappeared?

What if you couldn’t get in?

I live in a town near a city that’s big enough to have a football team.  We have a Triple A baseball team, a zoo, several event venues, a convention center, hundreds of restaurants, and a humongous ocean at our doorstep. There are several JoAnns and Michaels, and a ton of Goodwills (close to a dozen) and a mega-mall that has every retailer I can think of except for Macy’s and Nordstroms.  There are probably fifty theaters close enough to patronize, even though they all show the exact same movies.

I’d prefer to be a country girl, but I admit to finding the conveniences of living in a town near a city some of the best of both worlds.

My KnitPicks catalogue arrived today.  This always gets me excited and often I can’t help myself and order things I don’t need.  But the other day I was in one of the three small needlework shops that are within a radius of about 60 miles from here, and I had a little panic attack wondering what this area would be like if this shop went out of business… or if either of the other two went belly up.  And it was at that moment I decided having the option to hang out at my local yarn shop was more important to me than saving a dollar or two a skein online. I also did a little on-the-spot math with shipping costs.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love my catalogues.  I love saving money.  But I love going to yarn shops and needlepoint studios and quilt shops that are charming and smell good, and have things I’ve never even seen on the Internet.

I ask that you think for one moment how diminished your life might be if every bricks and mortar yarn shop was driven from our cities and towns because they could not compete with catalogue or Internet prices.  Food for thought.


About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
This entry was posted in A Day In My Life, Knitting, Textile Art, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What If They Disappeared?

  1. vanesseva says:

    I recently found a yarn shop that’s 45 minutes away and it was a total pleasure to feel all of the textures…as well as a person there who actually knew what they were doing and could help with suggestions! I honestly believe though that there will be a turnaround…that the individual shops will come back because I know the younger crowd(my daughter is 24) adores the small shops…the individual butcher, baker, boutiques…the mass stores have lost their appeal….a long time ago!

    • whimseytopia says:

      What a nice thing to wake up to. Thank you for reading my blog.

      I agree with you. I don’t know where you live, but I’m in Western North Carolina, and I’m seeing a resurgence in “boutique” shops; those shops that by their very nature of welcoming and acumen MAKE you want to patronize them. You’re the example with driving 45 minutes (that’s a lot of gas and time) to shop in that store. In reality, these are not simple stores, but rather pleasant experiences that make our lives more enjoyable. I’ve done the math, and including the gas and usually higher prices, it’s still worth it, don’t you think?

      Thanks again for writing. I’m on my way now to your blog…which I hope you have. Patsye

  2. Pingback: The Shops Are Closing! | whimseytopia

  3. cubbyholes says:

    I agree with feeling the yarn first. Some of the look so beautiful, but then I would touch them and just knew it wasn’t for me. Not much to be done about it though. I will probably tend to keep to brands I’ve tried alread or felt already at our, now gone, lys. Plus if I ever can get to the new meeting place, I’ll get to see and feel what others are doing and that will help me learn new yarns that I will like. I’ll take lots of notes. LOL.

    • That’s a good idea I haven’t thought of. I do know several others who are knitting beautiful things, yet I rarely ask them about their yarns. Keeping a notebook on what you like when you see it gives you a heads-up next time you go to buy. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I have to travel 26 miles, one way, to get my yarn fix! I don’t like to order a lot of things online, and I’ve never considered buying yarn online. I’m very much a texture person and I have to physically touch everything before I buy.

    • Your LYS is lucky to have you as a loyal customer. I have a dream about owning a yarn shop, but one that is in front of my country house so I could stay home and work at the same time. I met a woman in Maine a summer ago who did just that. She raised sheep, had someone shear them, card and spin the wool, and then bring it back to her where she dyed the yarns and prepared them for market. Her little shop was adorable, and I bought a lot of yarn there. We were friends before I left. What a nice life she has. Patsye

  5. maureenc says:

    I live some 45km north of our state capital in Queensland,,Australia.

    Since the early 80’s i have been a dedicated quilter,Crazy Quilter, Embroiderer/stitcher, and in recent years, a fabric and fibre (wannabe) artist.

    In my local area I have (make that “had”) a couple of (traditional) quilt shops, a couple of needlework shops and several scrap booking/paper craft shops!

    Since a company (SPOTLIGHT) appeared on the Australian horizon, the number of patchwork/quilting shops; Needlework; Knitting yarn businesses has virtually disappeared.
    AND expertise , practical and personal advice is no longer available……

    September 8, I went on a two week’s vacation. I came home—
    . and went to visit my local paper/scrap booking shop—-I LOVED this shop, because I found ideas there I could convert to quilting and fabric and fibre postcards.
    They had closed and silently stolen away…….(sad face).

    I have always tried to support local business…….for obvious reasons.
    But now, it appears that I will need do more purchasing on the internet!
    I LIKE to SEE things in real life: FEEL them!
    SMELL them.
    The International mail costs are getting prohibitive, I guess that very soon I will need work on my stash and “make do” rather than purchasing what I think (that) I need

    • There’s actually more to this is we think about it. Many of the needlework magazines have had an article or two about the disappearance of quality needleworkers. Who tats any more? Certain types of lacemakers are all but extinct (where is it? the Balkans?) and no one wants to learn. If this is a cycle and the pendulum is going to swing back to “our” side, I wish it would hurry up.
      I’ve been looking for a quilting group where people quilt the same quilt by hand. Then they donate it for auction and send the money to a charity of their choice. Churches used to provide this venue, but no longer. Truly Maureen, I’m writing to you in Australia because we’ve connected over a shared interest, but there are pitiful few ladies in my neighborhood who give a rat’s bottom over needlework or art. I sound so maudlin, but the real casualty here may be these art forms themselves. Thanks for commenting. It helps when I know I’m not alone in my concern about these things. Patsye

  6. cubbyholes says:

    I live in a tiny town with none of those things you mentioned although we did have a LYS. The owner is fairly elderly and just 2 months ago retired, closing her shop. Now we have to drive 45 mins to get yarn and its still not the really special, quality yarns that Emily sold. Almost everything she sold we have to mail order now, so I can feel your pain. More importantly though… the best place in town to sit, have a cuppa, knit/crochet/craft du jour is now gone. They meet at another place but I have a hard time getting there when they are having their get togethers. I miss our LYS!

    • You know, I knew in my heart I would get responses like these. It’s the small-town shop that will disappear first – HAS disappeared already. I wonder if WE realize that WE are contributing to this every time we shop online or go to JoAnns. I wish I had the money to buy Emily’s place; I’d move there in a minute. And what’s really interesting about yarn specifically is I have never understood why anyone would take the time and trouble to knit something with an inferior yarn, something that would pill easily, or something that would give the project an expiration date because the fibers wouldn’t hold up or keep their color. And except for some generic wool that you can dye yourself at JoAnns, they don’t carry such things.

      Perhaps this is a cycle? Remember the butchers and bakers? Well, there’s a butcher in town, I heard. I haven’t been there. And who hasn’t seen all these cupcake places. NYC still has a ton of bakeries. Maybe this is just the way of it. Maybe these shops will come back. Maybe the Internet will crash and burn and we (you and I and all our Internet friends) won’t be able to find each other. We should be exchanging addresses….

  7. I prefer to buy local whenever I can. Shipping costs, though necessary, seem like a waste to me. If I can’t get the item locally, I have to be absolutely positively sure I want/need it to justify the shipping and perhaps, the return shipping charges.

    I am fortunate to have a local yarn shop, craft shop (which is totally disorganized) and a Joann’s within 10 miles. The rest of civilization is at least 75 miles north, south, east, and west of here. Sometimes I HAVE to order from a catalog but prefer to touch, feel, see, and smell the item first.

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