I hope everyone made it through yesterday and are happy, content and well fed. As you can tell by today’s blog title I hope to bring something near and dear to my heart into focus today. I’m sure many of you have read the “well-intended but not meant to harm” LYS theme started by a knitting author about knitting with yarn you have in your home. Let me start this by saying I think we all should live within our means and certainly not leave kids unfed, have utilities shut off or bills unpaid in order to support our “habits”. But I feel the need to start a campaign to support the business that feeds my heart very well and that is my Local Yarn Shop. Mine happens to be Gourmet Yarn Company in Oklahoma City. I know most knitters have their own favorites and since we all don’t live in the same town those can vary. With that in mind, I am worried that this Knit from your St*ash thing is going to do some harm to those shops. I have many moments where I’m fondling some gorgeous skein of yarn in my hand when I have that little voice in my head that says: you do not need it. And there are many times when I resist that temptation. But there are also many times where I NEED that skein of yarn just to soothe my soul. I may never knit anything from it and I gave myself that permission a long time ago-to buy for the sake of being able to touch whenever I want. And that’s ok. With that in mind I want to remind everyone of something our LYS’s provide to us besides yarn, knitting patterns and accessories. My LYS has given me a community of like-minded people. I have made more friends and met more knitting people in the past 2 years than I met in the 5 previous years (living in OKC). I cannot begin to tell you how this has nourished my soul. I’ve made several friendships that I’m sure will fade with time but I’ve also made many that I believe will last a lifetime. Knitting is more than just a craft. Knitting is a passion, a livelihood(and I don’t mean money making), a source of conversation, a means of education, and socialization of which I’ve never had before in my life. My LYS provides the roof over which all of this takes place. The LYS can only survive if the customer-base supports it. Yes, we all know we can find bargains on the internet. And most of the internet shops can only afford to sell at those cheaper prices because that business owner does not have to rent shop space, pay utilities on that space and employee good knowledgable people to help customers. I’m not downing these internet businesses but I want to explain why that skein of yarn may cost 75 cents more than what you can buy online. I love walking thru the door to have Sandy or Susan (Sara Susan as Terri has named her) greet me like the Cheers staff greeted Norm as he walked in. I love it that Margaret laughs at me as I trot across the back to get to the potty in time because she knows it’s a long drive from far Southeast Norman to Northwest OKC. I love seeing all the other knitters who come into the shop to knit, get help, or show off their newly knitted item. They always give me inspiration. I love the conversations that go on while we sit and knit and chit chat with each other. My LYS also hosts a monthly knit-in where a large group of us can gather, swap knowledge, see inspirational knitting, share recipes and eat some good food. In fact, I don’t know of any other shop in this area that creates such an inviting and welcoming environment so that people can just come and sit and knit. Some shops are set up to buy only. Some are struggling as newborns and do not have that space. And some would just “rather not”. That’s why I love GY so much. Margaret is not only there to sell us yarn but she has created a welcoming environment so that we will come in and knit and chit chat and feel AT HOME while doing so. So when you are shopping on the net wanting to buy some yarn you’ve never been able to touch, never been able to see (except from the unreliable picture on a monitor screen), remember that when you are buying that cheaper yarn that you may well get what you pay for….cheaper yarn. For me, I’ll spend my knitting dollars where I get more bang for my buck. And that bang includes all the other “stuff” I need and crave besides yarn, needles and patterns. I hope you’ll do the same.