Knitcentric

Young mother, and avid knitter working her way through life, one pair of socks at a time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buying Yarn Online

Living overseas has made yarn buying hard. Not impossible, I do have a reasonable stash, and nothing my husband says will convince me otherwise. However I miss out on the most important part of yarn shopping. I no longer get to feel the yarn before I have purchased it. I am no longer positive about the color of my yarn before it arrives. I can read reviews of yarns, examine yarn specs, and compare pictures for color, but I am still unsure of what I will get. There is something missing when I shop for yarn now. I've never had the cute little yarn shop where I know the owner, and they have my devotion to their store, and their store alone. But I miss the seduction of the chase.

There is something about walking into a yarn store, and looking around at all of the different yarns. Maybe having a project in mind, maybe just waiting for something to call out to you. As you go along, you can stop and feel the different wools. You can compare colors, and sometimes even dyelots. You see right away when there are little odd colored flecks in the yarn. And sometimes, sometimes you walk by and a yarn just grabs you. You see the yarn out of the corner of your eye, and it pulls you over. You look at the gorgous color, and somehow you can't help but reach out and touch it. You find yourself caressing this yarn, and feeling the softness in your hands, running the yarn across your cheek and imagining the cozy, warm sweater this would make. It's not hard to imagine the yarn running through your fingers as you knit the sweater. As you stand there caressing this yarn you can almost feel the finished sweater brushing against your skin as you wear it on a cold day.

In the end you are helpless in the face of this yarn. It doesn't seem to matter how much the yarn costs. Your life savings, your house, your husband. You know you have found the perfect yarn, and it will be worth whatever the costs. I do not doubt the yarn shop seduces.

Online yarn stores are much like online dating. You can read the profile, look at the picture, and still be deeply disapointed. Somehow it doesn't look the same in person, and rubs you the wrong way. While it is possible to find the yarn of your dreams online, it takes longer, and feels less personal somehow. After a while of searching you end up with a large stash of yarn you will never use, but can't get rid of.

Of course that doesn't mean online yarn shopping is pointless, but it does take a little research. Always read customer reviews and yardage very carefully. Understand that the color might be off by several shades, but if you hate what you end up with, there is always Ebay.

If you sell yarn online, make sure you put every possible bit of information possible. If you can put a picture of the sheep it came from, do it. Assume the shopper wants to pretend they made the yarn, and show as much sheep to hank as possible. And for God's sake make it possible to ship to APO boxes. We're still US shipping rates, and we have been moved around the world, at someone else's whim. Take pity on us, or yarn shopping can be limited.

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