What makes *a* LYS *my* LYS?

I’m picky.

That’s like saying fire is hot – completely obvious and very understated.

There are many, many local yarn shops in the Boston area, but I do not give the distinction of *my* local yarn shop to a single one. They all have their pluses and minuses, I guess. What about a yarn shop makes it deserve the possessive *my*? For me, it is tons of yarns to see and touch, an extensive pattern and knitting book library, a sense of organization and open space, ability to browse without feeling like I’m being watched, and friendly employees.

I suspect other knitters want more, but not me: a place to sit and knit (I have a very time-consuming job and a great Stitch ‘n Bitch on Sundays), good prices and large quantities of yarn in stock (I am very comfortable buying yarn online, as long as I’ve seen the color and felt it, so I just need to see and feel one ball), helpful advice (I have received some awful advice at LYSs before… besides, I have the Internets and Blogland for advice)… anything else?

One store is creeping up on my list of favorite LYSs even though I don’t think it quite qualifies to receive the *my* tag yet. The name of the store is Windsor Button, and they are really gearing up to be a great yarn shop. In my memory they have always carried yarn, but I understand it is a fairly new development. As all yarn shops, there are pluses and minuses. For me, the minuses are small: the warehouse feel of the store, they’re closed on Sundays, scarce and disorganized knitting library, and I can’t just walk there. I can think of some more serious minuses if I were to describe a store to another knitter, but they don’t affect me (for starters, it’s not really a yarn store in the classic sense). The pluses increase every time I visit.

During my latest visit, I noticed significant additions to Windsor Button’s yarn stash: they now carry a ton of Rowan yarns and Merino worsted weight Malabrigo. These yarns are housed in brand-new shelving units, too, it’s not like they’re cramming more yarn into the same amount of space! For the Lion Brand Cotton Ease junkies out there, yes, they have it. These are welcome additions to their other brands: Noro, Manos, Brown Sheep, Berroco, Debbie Bliss, Jaeger, Mountain Colors, KFI, Mango Moon, and Cascade, just to name a few. A complete selection of knitting and crocheting notions rounds out the yarn shop portion – heaven!

It’s a little odd to call Windsor Button a local yarn shop because, well, it’s a sewing store. And I love that about it! It’s one-stop shopping for me, I can get yarn and all my sewing supplies in one trip: buttons (of course), thread, needles, snaps, Velcro, fabric chalk and markers, rulers, zippers, ribbons, polyester for stuffed animals (batting?), beads, sewing machine goodies, fabric dye and glue… makes my head spin!

Enough blabber, how about a picture? Here’s what I got at Windsor Button today:

The balls of yarn are in there for no other purpose than to amuse a new blogger friend; you know who you are.

For my lace, I got a pair of Susan Bates straights and wafer-thin stitch markers, both of which promptly made their way inside the lace; I have no idea how that happened so quickly. The tips of the SB straights are as un-pointy as my Boyes, but they are a bit more tapered and the needles are lighter, so I like them better – yay! I also got a row counter for knitting in the round, locking stitch markers, tapestry needles with the big eyes, and a chalk wheel.

Why no yarn? Well, I have perfected saying “no” to myself if (1) I don’t have a project to shop for or (2) I haven’t compared prices online yet. I can say “no” especially easily if the situation is both (1) and (2).


Randomness #1

Hey everyone, look at the goodies my friend CatBookMom (an avid blog reader, but herself blogless) got for me:

Pink jeweled stitch markers in the shape of flip-flops, and a hot pink notions case from Stitch Café. In the pink card, she writes, “This may be just a bit of pink overload.” CBM, cows will fly on the day that pink overload becomes possible. Thank you for the goodies, you are very thoughtful and I’ve already started using the notions case!


Randomness #2

Experimentation.

Some folks from my knitting group got me this set of plastic vintage straights from the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival. Thank you guys! If you’re one of the three, close your browser window now and do not read any further. Really, do it. Do it now. Close… Alt + F4 on PC, Apple + W on Mac.

Because one of the needle tips is a little broken, I figured these would be the perfect candidates to try sanding down plastic needle tips. I know it works for wood needles, but let’s see if it will work for plastic ones. I got out my sand paper (Of course I have some, did you even have to ask? I go to Home Depot, too), and got to work.

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Before, during, after.

Yarn-splittingly sharp! Now I need a lace project to knit on US 2s to test them out; that sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

10 thoughts on “What makes *a* LYS *my* LYS?

  1. Karma

    Who would have known that you could sharpen plastic needle points? I would guess they would become rougher but what do I know? :P

  2. Carolyn

    That is just crazy that you could sharpen them! I have susan bates straights in various sizes…I don’t even touch them anymore…I am a circular freak now. Let me know if you love them…

  3. Athelas

    How funny you should mention Windsor Button–I just posted a ‘searching-for-yarn’ request on SnB and someone mentioned it. When I called, they were more helpful mentioning a replacement for the no-one-in-the-world-has-it yarn, more so than the 8 other very, very good LYS I had already called.

    I need to brave my way down there to check them out!

  4. Rose

    By telling me to close the browser and stop reading, you make me more interested in reading what you have to say. I don’t care what you do to them… they’re your needles. And if you were going to do something truly awful, like use them for a murder weapon or chopsticks, well, it would be funny to read about. I’m glad your experiment was successful. :)

  5. Colleen

    That is good to know. About Windsor Button, about five years ago their yarn selection was extremely limited, but the woman who manages that section must be a smart cookie because she’s getting some great stuff in the store while still keeping the old standbys.

  6. Stephanie

    Ah, the joys of sandpaper. It’s almost as useful as duck tape! I’m glad the sanding worked out for you – the perfect solution to your needle woes.

  7. Amy

    Friendly employees who understand that while today I may only buy one skein, someday I may buy a lot, or refer someone who buys a lot…I hate, hate, hate being treated like a low-class citizen because I’m not spending $100’s at a time. My favorite LYS–and I do have a favorite–is spectacularly kind to me even when I’m buying one $6 skein, while behind me in line is a woman with a shopping basket full of Colinette. Really, that happened.

  8. paula

    I still cannot get over those perfectly rolled balls! They really deserve their own picture. ;-)

    This post has totally made me cave on my resolve to not go to Windsor Button — despite hearing about all their great new yarn acquisitions — the next time I’m in the Financial District.

    Sigh!

    But, I’m in need of some notions replenishing, so…

  9. jackie

    hi! longtime lurker here. I think of Windsor button as my LYS because that’s where I learned to knit when I was unemployed in 2002. I love that they are adding more lines and was there the day the boxes of rowan started coming in. Woot! Anyway, I’m pretty sure you and I live blocks away from each other. If I ever saw you I’d like to think I’d say hi but I think I’d be too shy. Yes, I’m a (shy) loser!

  10. Susie

    The people that need to claim ownership of everything from local coffee shops,bookstores and even their mailmen really bug me. I think they always have the need to be the center of attention. Maybe it is just me but I think they seem to need to get their “self” from others, does that make sense?

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