Lisa’s List: Questions You Should Never Ask a Yarn Shop Owner
It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting on the couch in my friend Michele’s yarn shop. I’m knitting, some shoppers are browsing, and Michele moves around the bright store, talking to people, straightening things, answering the phone. Within the next two hours, various people drift in the front door, stand there looking confused, and are greeted by Michele. And I overhear some of the STRANGEST dialogue. Based on my experiences and the experiences of my yarn shop friends, THESE are the questions you should never ask a yarn shop owner. But if you work in a yarn shop and you DO get asked these questions, I’ve supplied you with scripts for each inquiry, so you’ll be all set for your next day on the job.
Questions You Should Never Ask a Yarn Shop Owner
1. WHERE’S THE BATHROOM? (from hurried person off the street who has no interest in yarn)
Reply: It’s in the back, but first you have to weave your own toilet paper on this rigid heddle loom. Let me demo it for you!
2. What do you DO here?
Reply: Debate Kierkegaard, mostly.
3. Omigosh, how cute?!! You just sit around knitting all day!
Reply: How cute? SUPER CUTE. Just like that Bangladeshi sweatshop sweater you’re wearing.
4. Can you make a Christmas stocking like this with my daughter’s name on it by next Friday?
(Pulls 1986 intarsia relic out of her tote and A CIGARETTE BUTT LANDS ON THE FLOOR AND YOU BOTH JUST STAND THERE STARING AT IT.)
Reply: We only do Festivus motifs. And cats.
5. I bought this yarn at Michael’s, but I don’t like the color. Do you have other colors? Can I exchange it?
Reply: Unfortunately for my healthcare options, we’re not part of the Michael’s corporation, but I would be happy to help you find yarn in a color you do like, and you can return the yarn to Michael’s.
6. I like this sweater, but I don’t look good in yellow. Do you have patterns for blue sweaters?
Reply: Sorta like not buying a house cuz you didn’t like the paint color in the dining room, am I right?
7. WHY IS THIS SO EXPENSIVE??
Reply: Because people keep destroying our bathroom and the costs are adding up.
8. How much is this hat? Oh, I don’t want to make one.
Reply: I’d be happy to sell you the finished hat, or take an order for one in another color, but it would be cheaper and more fulfilling if you knit it yourself. In this post-industrial trade-gap global economy, I really don’t think you’re prepared to pay what a handmade hat is actually worth.
9. Why is the bathroom door locked?
10. Where can I find this yarn online?
Reply: How does that make the sheep feel?
11. Do you have any leftover yarn you give away for free?
Reply: This is not a bagel shop at 3 pm.
12. Can you make a copy of this pattern?
Reply: Let me check with my contact at the Library of Congress.
13. Would this color look good on my husband?
Reply: He looked great in the red shorts I made him last weekend.
14. I’ve been knitting for 45 years and your pattern has SO many errors! It’s outrageous! Don’t you test knit every pattern you sell?
Reply: That’s a crochet pattern, hon.
15. I need some help with my project. (Looks you up and down). I’ve been knitting longer than you’ve been alive—is there someone here who can help me?
Reply: I moderate one of the Ravelry Main 6 and I CAN HANDLE ANYTHING.
16. I bought this yarn here and I knit this sweater for my dog and it shrank when I washed it! How could you sell me defective yarn??
Reply: Time for a smaller dog. Also, Google felting.
17. Can you start having crochet classes? I really want to learn.
Reply: You said that 6 months ago and again 3 months ago and you never signed up for the crochet classes and we canceled them.
18. What kind of yarn would Elvis like?
Reply: Listen, that’s so weird that I kind of like you. Let’s look at the suede ribbon, over here.
19. This place is so nice; I love being here. Can I move in?
Reply: I really appreciate that; I just wish you’d stop trashing the bathroom and would buy something once in a while.
This post goes out to all my friends who own and work, and have worked in, yarn shops. It is work that doesn’t pay much, but requires a lot of passion, patience, and knowledge. And it goes out to all of you who shop in yarn shops and who ask the questions—silly, difficult, honest, and everything in between. Of course you don’t know something until you ask, and when you’re new to the knitting world, yarn shops can be intimidating.
Yarn shop owners are there to serve you—try asking them one they HAVEN’T heard before 😉
What have you overheard going down at your LYS? Feel free to share in the comments!
You’re all pretty neat. Stay weird,
Just got back from binge shopping at your LYS?
Organize that stash!