The Ideal Local Yarn Shop

September 6, 2009 by admin

Opening a Local Yarn Shop(LYS) of my own has been on my mind and in my heart. I’ve dreamt about it for quite some time. Lately, I feel the dream tugging, tugging. tugging… OPEN OPEN OPEN. When something pulls that hard, I think it should be paid some attention. Several signs have been put in my path telling me this is something I should seriously look into and soon!

I’ve made steps towards making this dream a reality. I attended a great conference through the Crochet Guild of America. I’ve sold several pat
tern designs to two different nation wide yarn companies. I finally signed up to sell my own hand made items at a craft fair. I’ve made wonderful con
nections with professionals through blogs and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. And, I have visited about 20 different yarn shops around the US and Canada and even Spain.
Perhaps the most helpful tool I have used to find information has simply been speaking to yarn shop owners and friends who knit and crochet. When ever I meet someone who has the slightest idea of how to own, shop in, or appreciate a yarn shop, I tell them I’m looking to open one of my own. I ask millions of questions, and have gotten some great advice. The advice that
seems most prevalent is “IT’S VERY DIFFICULT!”
So, I figure, GREAT! I’m am never afraid of a challenge! Nothing about pursuing a career in musical theatre is easy. However, with the help of some very supportive people, I have had a career in musical theatre. After getting my Equity card, I worked as a singing waiter for a little over a year, and then I started booking work… consistently. I have worked successfully as an actor for four years now. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I’ve loved (almost) every second of the journey. But, I can’t help but notice my passions are pulling me in a different direction. I know I will never want to stop performing completely, I just might want to change my focus. I find when I’m on the road, nothing makes me happier or helps me to feel more at home than when I step into a Local Yarn Shop.
Now, what am I accomplishing with this post?
I’ve been to LYSs of over the country and I’ve started to get a feel for what I want in a shop of my own. As of now, it’s all a bunch of mumbo jumbo floating around in my head and heart. Today I’m going to begin a list of everything I hope my shop will embody. I’d LOVE feed back and comments on what type of a shop you most enjoy. What turns you on about your favorite LYS? What turns you off? You’ve never been in a yarn shop?? Tell me what makes you happiest about your favorite independently owned clothing shop, paint store, shoe store, coffee shop. Anything that makes you happy (or unhappy) about a small retail shop will help.
Here’s my list and I’ll continue updating as I discover or rediscover ideas that will help describe my ideal LYS.
Clean organized shelves
Organize yarn by weight and then color then fiber
Enough, but not too much yarn – lots to choose from but not so
much that it is overwhelming
Clearly labeled prices (this is a big one for me)
Encourage cross crafting (knitting, crocheting, felting, using yarn with glue or playdough if it works)

Greet each customer as they come in the door in a jovial relaxed encouraging manner
Offer project and technique classes
Offer one on one and group classes
Offer some classes that span over a few weeks and some that are completed in just one day so that people who travel for work still have an opportunity to take class
Craft and coffee nights
Afternoon crafting tea
Men’s night

Family crafting groups
Handmade items for sale
Cute Reusable Bags (this is from Persones Llanes in Barcelona, Spain)
Projects (or knit AND crocheted swatches) made out of most types of yarn
Happy felted items around shop, but not too many so that it’s cluttered
Coffee and snacks
Kids play area
Comfy Chairs and tables for hanging in the shop
Easily accessible swift and winder
Offer to wind more than one type of yarn together for multi yarn projects like at this shop
Interesting notions, buttons, and beads
Skacel and Lantern Moon needles/hooks
Tunisian hooks maybe by ChaioGoo
Machines for felting (this might not happen right away)
Some sort of mascot that greets shoppers at the door (this guy is at Knitch in Atlanta)
What are your thoughts?


  1. I refuse to wear a mascot costume and greet people at the door!

  2. On Men's night you should wear a fake mustache.

  3. Molly Made says:

    OOOOOOO Good Idea! i hadn't thought of that! I'll start looking!

  4. Tamsyn says:

    You should just go for it, sounds great :) I would say the main draw back is cash!! I would stock so much more yarn in my shop but I only have a limited budget. I would say go to every trade show, most of all find things other yarn shops don't have, and always always keep researching. Your shop sounds like just the sort of relaxed place people would want to go and spend time.
    One other thing would be to back it up with a website so you are not just relying on passing trade.
    Good luck :)

  5. Jen says:

    I'm so excited for you!! A couple thoughts about my LYS that immediately come to mind: I love that it has a really comfortable but clean/orderly feel – great wooden floors and lots of natural light. I don't like that the majority of the yarns in there are so ridiculously expensive that I just get discouraged and start combing the internet for what I want, that stopping in there on a busy day makes me feel super claustrophobic and I just walk out, and too many people + halogen lights that aren't on a super tall ceiling make it really WARM. My local place is Alamitos Bay Yarn Company (

    And with regard to JD's suggestion – these are some fun ones I found when researching some work stuff the other day. :-{D

  6. Ashley says:

    I have two pet peeves about yarn stores:

    1. The attitude I get for not being a full-time knitter/crocheter. I'm sure with your shop this would never happen, but a note for all.. attitude has got to go!

    2. I wish more “textile” shops had a better selection of “textiles.” A yarn shop is great, & so is a fabric store, but what about those people who embroider & cross-stitch? I find that these sections are itty-bitty in fabric stores, and non- existent in yarn stores. I think embroidery floss is way closer to yarn than fabric is. Even though it's a different craft, I still feel a part of the knitter/crocheter community. This is something that constantly disappointments me in my local textile shop.

    Other than that, you know I'll be a regular at your yarn store.. even if you don't carry embroidery goods!


  7. jocelyn says:

    Your list sounds like the perfect LYS! Could you change your mind and open your shop in my hometown??!

  8. Molly Made says:

    Thanks so much!
    Tamsyn –
    Your shop looks so great! I wish I was closer so I could stop by. And yes… clearly CASH is my biggest fear. I'm working on that too. : ) ooooo and I didn't mention a website, but YES good point! I'd could write another blog just on what type of website I would want to accompany my shop.
    First of all – about JD's comment. He tricked me! My comment is actually in response to his first comment, but before I clicked send he snuck in the mustache comment ! If you have any ideas for Sheep Costumes… I'd like to fit him for one. hee hee.
    The price of yarn in the shop is another thing I'd like to watch out for. I definitely want to have a range of prices. I'd like a few really nice yarns, but also yarn that I myself could afford. Natural Lighting is also a good point. I'll be in cali next week… we should plan a lys date!

    Ash –
    Duh on that attitude thing! So out of control in some shops. Argh! As for embroidery and such, that's a great idea. I worry cause I don't know much about needlepoint. But, having a small section would a nice. I mean, I did go to the Embroidery Guild Museum in Louisville KY. I'll have to bring you in for classes! If you are ever in Kansas City, MO there is a yarn shop with a giant needlepoint room. Here's the site,

    Jocelyn –
    I plan on getting you out to California as often as possible once this thing happens!! Thank you for being such a yarn faerie!

  9. Simone says:

    Sounds like a lovely shop! I second the attitude thing. I like the online vibe of Flying Fingers. I've never been in their brick & mortar store, but my online ordering experience with them has been quite personal. So happy to see you at Crafts in Chelsea. Should be a blast. If you have a product picture add it to the facebook event

    aka groundsel

  10. I hope that you make it a reality because I can't wait to visit the store you described…it sounds like a blast!

  11. Molly Made says:

    Thanks so much Pat! I loved your interview on Crafty Pod! I can't wait to explore your blog. And… I'd love to talk to you about your products once this dream becomes a reality! Expect an email from me : )