My local yarn store went out of business while I was in North Dakota. I had been going to The Yarn Shop since we moved away from Akron. The shop always had what I wanted and gave me ideas for new projects. I went there in June to get yarn for a baby blanket.
Only other avid knitters and crocheters understand what it means to lose your local yarn store. It is so easy these days to order yarn online and have it delivered to your door. But you lose being able to feel the yarns and get inspiration from seeing the projects displayed. And, if we only order online, all the local shops will go out of business. The Yarn Shop at Kenny Centre had a huge selection of yarn at all price points. I could buy one-of-a-kind hand-dyed skeins or get inexpensive washable yarns.
When I shared my grief about losing my local yarn store in a place where I knew people would understand, “Addicted to Knitting” group on Facebook, other members suggested places to try instead. I made a list of these places, which include local yarn stores all over the United States. After all, I travel all over the United States, so I have opportunities to check many of them out. I decided to visit as many of them as I could and always to buy yarn when I visited to support these local stores. I have written about many of the yarn shops I have visited.
But I still need a local yarn store here in the Columbus area. After all, Columbus is a big city and should be able to support at least one good yarn shop. Consequently I have been exploring some of the recommended shops that are closer to home. So far the results have been less than impressive. Mom and I did a Columbus yarn crawl about ten years ago. We visited three great shops in the Columbus area and that is when I found The Yarn Shop, which was the best of them.
One of those three stores closed shortly after we visited. A second, Knitting Temptations in downtown Dublin had great yarn, especially lots of scarlet and gray to appeal to Ohio State knitters. But there was a lot of fancy and high-priced yarn and not a lot of the everyday stuff I use. Knitting Temptations closed at the beginning of Covid-19. Most of their business was walk-in, and they couldn’t survive without that business.
Knitting Temptations recently reopened on Lane Avenue in the CoHatch building. I was hopeful that this could become my new local yarn store because the old store had a lot of yarn. The CoHatch building seemed an unlikely home for it. CoHatch is a group of shared working spaces in Ohio. You “rent” an cubicle for a day, a month, or by the year. The cubicles are small and look out into a shared space where you can have group meetings or classes. A yarn shop in a shared office building?
When I entered the CoHatch building I climbed the stairs to the second floor and saw a knitted shawl displayed in the hall. I headed in that direction and found one of the tiny office cubicles with bins of yarn. I walked in and walked back out, looking for the rest of the store.
A woman sitting in the shared space asked if she could help me. I told her I was looking for Knitting Temptations and she said I had found it. She said the store was refocused for classes and the owner was really only buying yarn for special orders or for the classes. If I needed something specific they would be happy to order it for me. I can order things online for myself – that isn’t why I go to a yarn store. The visit was very disappointing and I don’t think I will be heading back there.
I also tried visiting the 614 Knit Studio. Their website looked promising and they also have spinning and weaving classes. I started subscribing to their newsletter which is published regularly and highlights lots of different yarns.
When I arrived at the shop, the door was locked. A sign explained that there was a dog on the premises and I should knock to be let in. So I knocked and was let in. The dog, a large English Pointer, stayed behind the desk while I looked around. The owner of the shop and her newsletter editor were in the store. I started talking to them, asking about the shop and the classes. They were very friendly.
But the shop was very small and didn’t have a big selection of yarn. I needed some yarn for another baby blanket but they didn’t have anything in the right colors. I like to use Plymouth Encore for my baby blankets – it is soft and washes well – and the shop owner said that they don’t carry any yarn with any amount of acrylic in it. Acrylic is one of the things that makes yarn good for baby blankets because it helps it hold up to washing.
When I asked about the lack of yarn in the shop, the owner told me that they were having trouble getting yarn in because of delays in shipping. She could order anything I wanted and she showed me several yarns that she could order and have delivered to me within the week. But, again, if I wanted to order yarn I would do it myself.
The dog stayed behind the desk while I was there. Most shop dogs are friendly and come out to greet people. I didn’t really notice the dog until I leaned on the counter to look at a yarn. The dog suddenly stood up on its hind legs with its front paws on the counter and started growling at me. The shop owner told me the dog didn’t like people leaning on the counter. Okay. I can understand having a guard dog in the area of town where the shop is, but it seemed a bad idea to have the dogs scaring customers. I left shortly after that and am not particularly interested in going back.
I finally bought the yarn I need for the baby blanket at the Joann Fabric Store at Polaris. Joann’s has been expanding their yarn selection in recent years, perhaps in response to more local yarn shops closing. They have a huge selection, but they are mostly acrylics and acrylic blends. This is fine for a baby blanket but not so much for the other things I like to knit. I did noticed that they had a small selection of 100% cotton, 100% wool, and 100% bamboo yarns. That’s a step in the right direction. But I don’t really want a big chain store to be my local yarn store.
I still have several more stores in the Columbus area to try. Maybe I will find a shop almost as good as The Yarn Shop. Maybe I will just have to buy my knitting yarn when I am out of the Columbus area. Or maybe something wonderful will open up soon. You can be sure that I will be more intentional about supporting a better store when I find it.