That old song by the Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star, has been running through my head lately. I’ve been thinking about how our society has changed and the price it’s paid for those changes.
It was the local yarn shop tour last week, and I visited 15 of the 28 shops on the list. I spent hours in the car, some with friends and some on my own, following the nav trying to find these little gems tucked away in strip malls, neighborhoods, and industrial parks.
You might be saying, now Kim, you can just go online and have any yarn you want delivered. While for the most part, that’s true, but then I’d be missing out on so much. I know the local shop I work for, Quintessential Knits, offers yarns handspun especially for us in our own little town. The owner features local dyers and spinners from Portland to Bellingham. These specialty yarns don’t have a huge online presence.
But it’s not just fancy yarns, it’s the comradery and fellowship of knitters, crocheters, and spinners—all artists in their own right. On the tour, the shops share their creativity with original patterns. Some were over-the-top and amazing, and some were simple and accessible.
While I can google an unknown term or stitch pattern and click on a youtube video that will explain everything to me. The lady on the video won’t compliment me on my yarn choice, laugh at my jokes, or ask about my project. So while it’s very helpful, it’s not very human.
One of the customers stopping by our shop last week had driven four hours, straight from work, to start on the tour. When she told me all this, I mentioned the large shop in her home town. She responded that shop was really big, but it had no soul. These little yarn shops have character, charm, and soul in spades.
One of the shops on the tour featured yarn made in Seattle with colorways named for women scientists. I picked up Madame Curie in vibrant red, because we can all use a little color in our lives.
I made my last stop across from a fabric store I’ve shopped at for years. It’s been the source of curtains, Christmas pj’s, Halloween costumes, and countless home dec projects. As I made my way to the front of the store to pick up some pillow forms, I saw a huge banner: Going out of Business. While I was happy for the deep discount on some outdoor fabric, I was sad to think of it closing. I couldn’t help but think of all the creativity this store has fostered over the years.
Sure you can order tons of beautiful fabric online in the comfort of your own home, but you don’t get to see the true color and the hand of the fabric on a monitor. In the name of savings and convenience, we’re losing some of our individuality.
I hope these little mom and pop shops won’t become a thing of the past.
Do you have a favorite, locally-owned place you like to shop at?