Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to Shop for Yarn

A lot of people have asked me, “Deb, how do I shop for yarn?” The first thing I say is, “How would I know? I nag Alex relentlessly until he gives me whatever I want.”

The truth is that there are many different ways to shop for yarn. Yarnmarket offers three:
1. In person at our luxurious showroom in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, Ohio;
2. Online (preferably while in your pajamas and sipping hot cocoa); or
3. By telephone using our free 888 number. (Of course, if you’re in Manchester, England or Tours, France the free phone number won’t work and you should immediately return to Shopping Method 2. Or, if you’re adventurous and have always wanted to see corn fields in the heartland of America, you’ll enjoy Shopping Method 1. )

We long for human companionship.
Our Yarnmarket Showroom is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. Or whenever you want, as long as you give us a call first so we can be here. We’re thinking of opening up a couple of Saturdays each month. Let me know if you like this idea. Sure, I usually clean the house on Saturday but if I open up the Showroom instead, Alex will be the one scrubbing the bathrooms. I figure it’s a win for me.

If you haven’t been to our Showroom, and most people haven’t, it’s a lovely little area with comfortable seating, one sample of everything we sell, and a computer so you can look online before wandering out into our massive warehouse complex. We like people to check online before they venture out there because once they start looking at our thousands and thousands of bins, they never want to leave. Last week we had to send out a search party to find wandering knitters who’d disappeared on us. It took four bloodhounds and a rescue helicopter to locate them…high on a shelf in the nethermost corners of the complex where we keep the Windy Valley Qiviut tucked away.

There are advantages and disadvantages to shopping in person. The advantages are that you can touch the yarn, see the colors against your skin, and get that electrical jolt of delight when you fill a shopping bag right to the brim. The disadvantages are that you have to put on clothes (as a public service more than anything else), get into your car and find Pickerington, Ohio. This isn’t a problem for people who live in nearby Reynoldsburg, Ohio but can be a bit of a pain for knitters in Manhattan. Not only do they have to abandon the squalor of their 5th Avenue penthouse for our luxurious Holiday Inn Express, but they also have to drive through Zanesville, birthplace of Zane Grey, the cowboy novel writer. I can’t tell you how many times Manhattan knitters have gotten as far as the Zane Grey Museum and said, “Let’s not go any farther. Nothing in the world can top this. Not even Yarnmarket in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington.”

This is why we suggest Manhattanites shop online.

Our special place in cyberspace.
Now, as all of you know, when you shop online you don’t get to touch the yarn, hold it against your skin and breathlessly gasp, “Ahhhh…” And you don’t get to see the glorious colors in person. But you do get to sit there in your jammies* and flit from page to page to page like a bumblebee pollinating flowers while you examine hundreds of yarns in thousands of colors without having to lift a finger. (Okay…you have to lift a few fingers, but nothing else.) You get to save lots of money on gas, and you don’t have to be nice to anybody. That’s especially important on those days when you wake up, look at your beloved lying in bed beside you in his crappy, faded old T-shirt and sagging flannel pajama bottoms and think, “I gave up David Bowie for that?!”

Anyway, there are advantages and disadvantages to shopping online. Now, if you want to eliminate the disadvantages of not seeing the colors in person, you might want to calibrate your computer so the colors you do see are real. A good friend of Yarnmarket gave us a link to this handy little tool that will help you ensure your monitor is displaying the right colors.

Many thanks to Shel B. Small for allowing us to make it available to Yarnmartians throughout the world.

As for touching the yarns, well…what can I say? Until Microsoft develops TouchSoft 1.0, Software for the Almost Human Experience, you have to imagine it. Maybe we should come up with an index for the feel. Four clouds for Cashmere, Three Clouds for Merino, No Clouds for Burlap. That sort of thing. Whaddya think? Or maybe you could just e-mail us and ask us to describe it and we could write back, “What’s Qiviut like? Well, imagine strapping yourself naked to the underbelly of a musk ox. Ahhhhh…”

Feelings…nothing more than feelings…Now, we know that some of you (and we won’t name names) like to visit your LSY to touch the yarn and then shop online for the lowest prices. Well, it sure would be nice if you’d actually purchase something from your LSY when you visit. When you’re “just browsing” they’re not making a dime even though they’re paying for rent, staff and yarn. I mean, you can browse all you want online and it doesn’t cost anybody a dime, but when you browse in a shop and then purchase elsewhere, you might be forgetting that the yarn shop owner really does need to make a living and if she doesn’t make a living, you’ll soon have no place to browse.

And please -- never, ever, ever rip-off a yarn store owner. I’m not going to go into any detail about what’s going on, but we’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s becoming a serious problem. Yarn must be in its original, perfect condition in order to be sold…and if you do anything to that ball of yarn, you’ve just cost the LSY owner some money. And you don’t want to do that, do you? You’re a nice, good, honest person. (We are convinced that Yarnmarket shoppers are the nicest people in the world and they’d never want to hurt anybody. Sure, call us naïve, but only once have we been victim of a major felony. How many yarn stores do you know that can brag about that?!)

*Notice the reference to jammies? Judging by the hours you’re shopping, I have to assume that a lot of you work at companies that have, “Come in Your Jammies Days.” I’ve always wanted a job in a place like that. Alex makes me wear clothes to the shop. And it seems the older I get, the more clothes he wants me to wear.

Can you hear me now?
Lots of people like to shop by telephone. That’s the great thing about cell phones. You can be in the doctor’s office, sitting in that cold, little room all by yourself, alone and semi-naked in that paper gown, shivering while you wait for the doctor to come in and poke you with pointy things. Suddenly, you can exclaim, “Hey, I think I’ll phone Yarnmarket and buy yarn to knit something warm to cover my semi-nakedness.”

That’s why we have an 888 number for free in the United States. 888-996-9276. If you want to call from overseas, you’ll need to dial 1-614-861-7223.

We get lots of phone calls every day from happy knitters in doctor’s offices around the world. Sometimes they have questions about yarns or patterns. Sometimes they’re looking for a particular dye lot. And sometimes they’re just lonely and want someone to talk to because they’ve finished reading all the pamphlets about diseases they hope their doctor doesn’t know how to diagnose.

We have operators standing by (sitting, really) to answer your calls anytime you want to speak to us. As long as that any time is between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday. After that, you’d have to call Alex’s cell phone.

So there you have it. There are fifty ways to leave your lover and three ways to shop at Yarnmarket: in person, online, and by telephone.

If you’d like to touch a yarn before you buy it, give us a call. We can always send you a little piece of it so you can feel it. Okay?

No comments: