LYS vs. Big Chains

I have a tendency to go to Michael’s or AC Moore for my yarn, needles, and notions purchases. I would like to go to the LYS more often, and that got me wondering…

Do you prefer your LYS or a big chain like Michael’s?

What draws you in to one over the other?

What characteristics do you look for in the LYS vs big chain store? (In other words, what would your perfect store be like?)

My LYS has hand-painted yarns, silk and , generally upper scale stuff. More expensive too, though. The chain near me have more ordinary things, not much for a really special item.

I always look at the yarn at Michaels and ACMoore, but I generally don’t buy there anymore. My LYS is OK, but high priced and they often don’t have much of one color or dye lot.

My ideal shop would be one that contains all the sale yarns that are on the internet at any one time. Wishful thinking.:teehee:

We have 1 yarn store here in town with limited selection, plus Hobby Lobby, Hancock and Walmart. My tastes, both in yarn and price, run more to the less expensive, mostly acrylic yarns anyway. I don’t really care for Noro or Cascade, and Brown Sheep’s too much for my wallet. If I want to splurge and get something nicer I go online to knitpicks and others. I did get a bunch of SWS when I had the chance to get some at Michaels on an out of state visit, and purchased some more online.

Personally I really like the stuff at LYS, but there isn’t one in the city I just moved to. It’s tragic really…There’s a Mary Maxim not too far away, and they have a good selection, but it’s mostly ordinary stuff, which is great if you’re buying lots of yarn for an afghan or something. I went to a knitting fair a couple of weeks ago and bought lots of really special (and expensive) yarn. I haven’t bought online, but only because I don’t trust the pictures of the colours! I know I’ll have to give in sometime, the stuff online is too tempting!

I’ve recently become addicted to sock knitting and Michaels and AC Moore don’t have any yarn for socks so I had to travel to the LYS to get some yarn. I also ordered on line.


i go to my LYS at times but I have noticed yarn is more expensive there than on the internet. I enjoy seeking out the sales and online store closures for good deals. If the color doesn’t end up quite right for the project I bought it for I can easily find a different project. For notions and needles I will use a chain most times. Yarn is always returnable.

i worked at one of the big chains for two and a half years. that’s why i have a fairly large stash of acrylic to go through. it wasn’t until after i quit a year ago that i found out there is a difference between acrylic and [I]real [/I]yarn. over the last year i have discovered two wonderful LYSs. one is somewhat small with a limited selection, but the other one is an entire two story house full of yarn (from floor to ceiling). both have average prices - basically what you would pay on most any website. i feel so lucky to have two great shops that are only a 30 minute drive from my house.

when it comes to the perfect lys, selection and price are extremely important, but so are friendliness and willingness to help when it comes to the staff. wow. it sounds like i have the perfect LYSs. :teehee:

I’ve never been in a LYS so really have no frame of reference. I have bought all my yarns at the big chains stores or over the net.

We have a couple of LYS’s that aren’t really local to me. I do go occassionally with my friend and will even sometimes purchase something. Besides the prices, it’s a little overwhelming to me - too many colors, too many choices, just too much. Having a couple of aisles at Michaels or ACMoore is enough for me at one time, though I’m sometimes disappointed in the choices. And then there’s the internet where I can look and take in a little at a time.

I have to admit, though, that I would probably feel differently about it if the LYS was in my town and I go at my convenience and just check out one section at a time. Sooooo . . . if anyone wants to open a LYS in Dover, DE, let me know when you open! :smiley:

We have a few shops in this area… Customer service & being welcomed and appreciated keeps me coming back… the big box stores do not have quality yarns for the most part and if I’m investing a valuable resource; my time I want it to look good and last for a very long time… So the quality of the yarn means a great deal…

I prefer the LYS for all the reasons mentioned before and the fact that I have a wider variety of needles, in all kinds of sizes and types to choose from at the LYS than at the chain store.

I have two Hobby Lobbies that are about 15 miles apart from each other. I live halfway between both. When I go into either of them, they look the same inside and, for the most part, they carry the same exact merchandise, down to the colors of the yarn on the shelves.

When I go into either one of my LYS’s, I feel like I’m walking into some place unique. There are things I can get at one LYS that the other LYS doesn’t carry and there are things they both carry. Even though you can get a lot of the yarn they sell online or at other stores, I feel like I’ve gotten something unique when I walk out of there.

I prefer my LYSes, where I work and where I live. There is an AC Moore right near my house where I go if I want Sugar n’ Creme, or some superwash Moda Dea, but that is all I buy there.
The people and service at the LYS make the difference. One of them has an entire upstairs of sale yarn.

Otherwise it is LYS all the way (and internet sales) and KnitPicks. I find there is no reason to use yarns I am not fond of (anything other than “natural” fibers) because I simply do not knit fast enough to exceed my budget by buying nice yarn.

If I had more time to knit then it would be different, but KnitPicks is so affordable, I can afford nice yarn on my public servant salary.

I love the higher end yarns my LYS carries, their expert and always friendly advice and their accessories that are the same price (or in some cases less) than the big chains. But I also like the yarns like Cotton Ease and Sugar N Cream the chains carry, so I guess my response is I like them both but for different reasons.

All depends on what type of yarn I am hunting for…If I am going to make a baby item I go to Michael’s for something soft and washable. If I am making felted slippers (yeah can’t wait to start) or other wool/alpaca item then I hit the LYS. I prefer the LYS because the owners knit and host a knitting night. They are always willing to answer question and let me sort through their single skein/discontinued skein box and then give me a discount on those. If I want a pattern they will help me find it…

My absolute favorite though is fiber festivals. I am currently saving my pennies for our Fall Fiber Festival in a couple of weeks. There you get to meet the person who raised the alpaca and painted the yarn. If I were more industrious than I am I could buy a raw fleece to card, spin, and dye for myself.

Definately my LYS. There are no big chain craft stores in my area, but I have been in one and all they had was cheap acrylics. My LYS is smaller, with [I]tons[/I] of different brands, in many different colors. But, what I like about it is that there are couches/chairs set up in the center of the store where all the customers can just sit and knit. It’s just a cozy atmosphere with no novelty yarns or stuff like that.

If I am looking for a nice acrylic, I go to my local Joann’s.

If I am looking for a nice wool, silk/wool, angora, alpaca, soy, soy/silk, etc…I go to either of my two fav LYS…or my fav Ebay Yarn Shops.

There’s something for everyone no matter where ya go.
I’ll bet most knitters do the same. I visit the shop or online shop that has the best price for what I want.

However, I feel extra special good :angelgrin: when I have supported my LYS’s. I don’t want them to go out of business! We need their presence in our community! I appreciate their investment into the yarn so that I can come by and view what’s new and innovative!