Knitting Moms - Favorite Kid-friendly stores

Today my DH had to do some research for his thesis at the National Archives, so I trotted out MapMuse and planned a yarn crawl in the area of College Park, MD. And I brought my three year old and six month old with me to four yarn shops.

When I go for a yarn crawl, I’m trying to get to know yarns that I don’t get to see at my home LYS. Yarns that are perhaps unique to that shop, from a local dyer, spinner. I want to look around at their notions, needles and patterns for anything that catches my eye as different from what I’ve seen stocked elsewhere. I don’t feel right looking at books, because I know I can buy them cheaper online. But if I’m on a trip and need a pattern from a book rightnow, I’ll buy it. The purpose of the yarn crawl for me is not to buy yarn for a specific project, or fill out my knitting library or needle collection, but instead to spend some money each place I go, and get a souvenir skein or something unique I haven’t seen before.
I had a mixed experience. The first one was closed (not all yarn shops open at 10am, as I had mistakenly assumed) the second was super nice with toys for my son to play with and had great goods that were unfortunately fairly similar to what’s stocked at my home LYS. I had fun looking around while action figures smashed each other up, then were picked up and put away when it was time to go, but I could only find one thing to buy.

The third place was not kid-friendly. I don’t want to get into specifics. But I felt we were not welcome.

The last place was awesome, and very well-organized, and helpful, without being too eager. Just right — we’re here if you need us. With TOYS! My son was very appreciative. And I was attracted to some glorious colors (easy-to-find) than will be some small project some day.

Instead of horror stories about bad experiences, I’d love to collect some recommendations for the LYS that your out-of-town friend with kids could lose herself in while not losing her sanity.

Where do you bring your kids?

I’m at a different stage of life now–I have 9 kids and the youngest is six. So, I don’t have a particular recommendation for small children.

But since you’re asking for good stories…The Whole Nine Yarns in Woodstock, GA is my closest LYS. My 11yo was 9 when we were learning to knit together. I’d never been in a yarn store, had no idea what to expect, but the lady in the store came to me and introduced herself, asked what we needed, was patient with my “I don’t have the foggiest clue” response, found that my daughter was knitting and not just hanging around, and took the time to point out some kid-friendly books/patterns, some yarn and things that we might find interesting, and then left us to explore.

We wandered around for quite some time, and when I finally chose a few things to buy and took them to the register, she remembered our names!

I have no idea how they are with small children (didn’t see toy baskets or anything), but I really appreciated that she treated my child with respect just like any other customer!

I took my 14 month old to a LYS on the upper east side in NY and it was NOT kid friendly!! He wasn’t touching anything and they just made me feel unwelcome. He was walking around with me because the stroller wouldn’t fit in the store but honestly he was being good! Oh well, the store was full of too expensive stuff anyway!