I am going to Portland for 5 days later this month, and have spent a bunch of time this evening checking out all the amazing yarn stores, like Knit Purl, Happy Knits, Twisted, and more – and I cannot even begin to say how excited I am. I feel like a little kid anticipating Christmas. Gorgeous yarn! In gorgeous stores! I’m all atwitter, I am.
I mean, it’s still true that I absolutely don’t need more yarn. But I so rarely get to see yarn in person before buying it these days, I know saying I’m not going to buy anything is completely unrealistic. I’m still working out my purchasing plan, but so far I’m thinking I’ll allow myself to buy
- yarn that is local to the area and not super widely distributed/easy to get elsewhere (for instance, while I adore almost all Madelinetosh yarn, it’s easy to order Madtosh online from a bunch of places, especially when I don’t have a specific product in mind and am not trying to hunt down a specific colorway or something), with the exception of
- yarn that’s on sale/better priced than I can find online (I know this could still lead me to spend more than I should, but I have such a weakness for a sale), as long as it is
- yarn that I can wear reasonably often around here (ruling out things like bulky alpaca or Icelandic lopi, no matter how gorgeous) and
- yarn for which I can identify 1-2 projects that I could complete and would actually wear (so trying to avoid the single “souvenir” skein that then sits lonely in my stash while I cast on sweater after sweater), and
- comes in under some amorphous total “reasonable” cost I am reluctant to define (I know, bad sign) and hope I’ll know when I feel it.
I read an interesting post somewhere in the last few months – by a yarn shop owner? former owner? I can’t remember – which basically said that if everyone who came into a yarn shop and said “what a wonderful shop” actually bought something when they came in, even something small, more of these stores would be able to stay in business; that people don’t realize how close to the margins some stores operate. For some reason, this really made an impression on me – perhaps because I tend to think that if I’m not going to make a substantial purpose, I shouldn’t “bother” them. While I can’t afford to buy sweater quantities (or even less) of yarn from every store I visit, I’d like at least to buy little souvenirs from each one, like stitch markers or greeting cards or notions or the like. Because going through these stores on this trip is intended to be as much about the experience of being in places filled with items I love, run by people who also love those things, as it is about actually accumulating stuff to haul home. I admit that at heart it will be a shopping trip; but it’s also a kind of pilgrimage, and worth commemorating, in little ways.