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LilyBeth
Gabber Extraordinaire

378 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  11:30:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit LilyBeth's Homepage Send LilyBeth a Private Message
Here's my question. I have a local LYS with a charming owner, great yarns and good supplies. I go there often. However, I simply can't afford to buy most of my yarn there. For sweater-size projects, I've used either Lion Brand or, recently, Knit Picks.

I still buy needles there, and the occasional scarf or sock yarn. When she had some Noro Cash Iroha on clearance, I bought three hanks. But what's the etiquette on discussing projects made with yarn that I didn't buy from her shop?

I don't want to offend her, and I would love to buy more yarn from her--I just can't! Is it inappropriate to tell her about projects or even ask questions if it isn't her yarn? What's the proper behavior here?

Gina70
Chatty Knitter

114 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  11:53:36 AM  Show Profile Send Gina70 a Private Message
LilyBeth,

Perhaps asking her about her policy is best. My LYS only provides help with a pattern if you bought the yarn there. Another nearby shop, charges for help. In otherwords, each shop likely has its own policy.

Good luck.

Gina
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azknitter
Honorary Angel

5539 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  12:25:22 PM  Show Profile Send azknitter a Private Message
Are you "discussing" your project or asking for help with it?

She shouldn't be offended if you're just chatting with her and not keeping her from customers or other duties.

Asking for help with a project you bought elsewhere is a definite no-no, at least I think so.

I think sometimes we all ask too much of LYS's. There are zillions of us and only a few of them. It's a wonder they don't all pull their hair out sometimes.

Trish
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blwinteler
Permanent Resident

USA
3145 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  12:48:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit blwinteler's Homepage  Send blwinteler a Yahoo! Message Send blwinteler a Private Message
I had a whole lot of chunky and thick and thin yarn that I had gotten at a few different places on clearance or sale. I wanted to make a shawl or something, so I found my LYS and went in to ask for general advice on making a shawl, explaining that I got what I could afford. The woman told me she didn't know much about knitting, particularly shawls, but directed me to check the ball band to find the recommended needle size (I had the yarn in my car, so I checked at that time) and to work from there. I ended up spending $12 on size 15 circs, bamboo. Clover I think. It was more money than I really should have spent, but reading that what I did was really inappropriate (this was when I had barely started knitting, so I really didn't know much better), I feel better about making that purchase. Then I paid something for the help (though she wasn't very helpful, not knowing a whole lot. She wasn't the usual person. I have since had much better experiences there and think the shop is wonderful, despite that I have only made one tiny purchase there since. I plan on going over there this weekend and buying some roving).

Take care!
Brandy

My finished projects

Seen on a church marquee: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape.
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  12:52:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
Well, I'm a firm believer in the idea that customer service might not get you a huge sale that minute, but it will likely get you repeat business, which is far more important in the long run. (Ask any owner, which do they want, one $120 purchase, or someone who spends $12 every two weeks forevermore...)

I do think it's good that you bought something, and I think someone who goes in and never buys anything but just wants free advice should be discouraged, but I don't think it's unfair to get advice for a project if you didn't buy all the supplies there. It's a tough call, and I don't envy the yarn shops for having to make it.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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chellethinques
Permanent Resident

USA
1431 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  2:15:46 PM  Show Profile Send chellethinques a Private Message
My favorite LYS has twice weekly sit-n-knit sessions, and they tell you freely to bring whatever you are knitting and the master knitter/teacher/goddess will circulate and help as many people as much as possible. I've seen people working on all kinds of things there - Marco's merino, Yarn Barn kits, and cheap WalMart acrylic. I've never seen the teacher *not* help anyone, and since I personally have never left a session without buying something, even if it's just a $4 pattern, it must be good for business. :) They usually demonstrate a quick technique, like fun fur flip flops, or how to make jogless color changes on in-the-round stripes, which probably also helps business. That's when I bring in "foreign" problems, but I'm also careful to make a purchase if I do, and to make my question a quick one. Actually, there are so many other talented knitters there, they often help us newbies before the "real" teacher gets around. Then I don't feel guilty at all!
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The Irish Ewe
Permanent Resident

USA
1052 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  2:37:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit The Irish Ewe's Homepage Send The Irish Ewe a Private Message
I don't mind at all if someone comes in with "other" yarns to ask for help - I figure they will remember our store as the friendly one, where help is avalible. You just can't get that at wally world! Besides, we all started somewhere, with some yarn that someone else is bound to look down upon. I'd rather someone be happy with our service the next time they think of a new project, because sooner or later I *will* lure them into the lushness of silk, Irish wool, or angora!

But that may just be me :)

The Irish Ewe yarn shop
Norway, Maine
http://www.TheIrishEwe.com
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azknitter
Honorary Angel

5539 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  2:42:34 PM  Show Profile Send azknitter a Private Message
I guess I should have added that buying something in the store would entitle you to for advice about "outside" purchases.

I thought you were asking about getting free advice without purchasing anything.

I know store owners hate that....I've read too many articles and threads here where they say as much.

Trish
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Yarn Delirious
Seriously Hooked

USA
777 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  3:36:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Yarn Delirious's Homepage Send Yarn Delirious a Private Message
all of this is very good to know. I do frequent 3-4 LYS in my area, and have purchased from them all. I am working on a few projects at once, but have wondered if I bring in an old one would offend, esp if I just need a head start, and not a whole lesson. (And when I say old, I mean prior to 1993. When I moved to GA, all knitting was set aside for several years until I returned to the northeast.)
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knitz2
Permanent Resident

USA
1800 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  4:28:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit knitz2's Homepage Send knitz2 a Private Message
the way I handled it was being quite frank with the owner of the new LYS near work when the store opened last year "I love to knit, but I'm on a pretty tight budget right now." I do buy things from her, but she also welcomes me when I bring in projects with yarn bought elsewhere. It was the friendly, non-judgmental attitdue that kept me going in last year, as much for the social knitting as anything, when I had less to spend and benefits her now since my budget has become less strict.
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LilyBeth
Gabber Extraordinaire

378 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  5:28:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit LilyBeth's Homepage Send LilyBeth a Private Message
This is great info. Just to be clear, I doubt I would ask for detailed advice on something that I didn't buy there (unless KR let me down! But that would be impossible!). But if I'm in and I've finished something, it's neat to brag about it. And if I did ask for a lot of help, I'd probably FIND something to buy--as a courtesy if nothing else.

I'm usually there in the middle of the day when no one else is around, so I'm not worried about distracting her from other customers. And I've told her I can't spend too much on yarns. She watched me carry around the 33% off Cash Iroha in anguish for an hour before I broke down and bought it. She even said if I knew I was going to buy more, say, at the end of the month, she'd put it back for me. So she's a keeper!

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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2005 :  11:38:14 AM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
I went to my favorite LYS recently, mainly for stitch markers and to scope out what I'm going to get on my birthday (you can deduct a percentage = half your age!) I spent a lot of time looking through patterns at the table. A patron came in with a project from a free internet pattern. I hope the yarn was from the store. The owner was really sweet and tried to decipher the pattern, which seemed to be full of errors. It took several minutes to even determine whether it was supposed to be knit in the round, that's how bad it was. She commented a couple times about how she hates these free patterns because they are often badly written and then the LYSO has to try to make it right. But she hung in there and spent probably 20 minutes trying to help this woman who also did not seem to know what she was doing anyway. I'm going to nominate the LYSO for sainthood.

Anita
My completed projects
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Two Sticks and a String
Permanent Resident

USA
1453 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2005 :  1:25:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Two Sticks and a String's Homepage Send Two Sticks and a String a Private Message
I was in my LYS last week, when another "customer" came in with 2 shopping bags of yarn that she had purchased at another shop because it was on sale. She had brought 6 different yarns, with enough to knit a sweater out of everyone of them. She was there to ask this LYS advise on what to knit, where should she begin. The LYS was such a lady, and proceeded to sit with her for over an hour, offering her advise. I would have been too embarassed to do that. I know that I can buy yarn cheaper online. But I feel that included in my LYS price for yarn is her experience, lessons, advise and service.
Dorene
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2005 :  6:12:28 PM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
As a store owner, it is a difficult and sometimes an uncofortable situation and, as we are still relatively new; we try to handle each episode on it's individual basis.
We usually tell them [in a polite, non-condescending manner], that we will of course, help them with their current project in the hopes that when they finish, they will return so that we may help them select a new project. This usually gets the message across about protocol without embarrassing them. We also encourage all outside project on S&B nites, as it is a social evening and we want them to feel free to work on what they want. We also let them know that it is social for our instructors, and it's often the only time that they can knit for themselves; so we discourage asking for help at that time on any project. Of course if it comes up, we usually toss the problem around the tables and get the problem solved. We have only had 1 or 2 occasions where the patron constantly came in for hours of help at which time we quietly explained the above. Usually it was a case of not knowing what protocal was as many are newbies in our store. Don't know if this is perfect yet, but will continue to try to do the right thing for everyone. Still feeling our way on this. I appreciate hearing your takes on this. KL
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midnightskyfibers
Gabber Extraordinaire

579 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2005 :  7:02:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit midnightskyfibers's Homepage Send midnightskyfibers a Private Message
One of my lys's has a folder of free patterns printed off that a bunch of people are making so people can look through that to write down the address to make the pattern, or use that pattern for reference etc. While I dont think she by any means needs to do this, I think its nice of her to have some resources for people (shell also help people even if didnt get the yarn there)

My other lys is the opposite. no help. quite frankly id be afraid to ask even if i did but the yarn there since they are quite snarky. Just because im young doesnt mean that i wont spend a fair amount of money at your store. I wont even go INTO that store without a pair of nicer pants and shirt on! While i normalyl dress pretty conservative to begin with, the other lys that i like the owner doesnt bat an eye when i come in in "college student attire" :)

I had a discussion about this with the (good) lys owner a couple months ago. Her idea was that people appreciate the help and that makes them more likely to come back.. And they do. she is incredibly patient helping people pick out yarn for (free) patterns, recommending yarn, needles, etc. and she will special order yarn for people if she doesnt have it in stock (shes very small), especialyl for yarns like cascade (she also has all the colorcards available so people can look through it).

What i think is especialyl important though is that the store seem inviting to people to ask questions.

In the rude lys the only table you can sit at is always covered with yarn and the only time ive been asked if i needed help where the person actualyl meant it (and wasnt being rude) was when they were having a sale and i think the womyn was a volunteer of sorts.

In contrast, the small lys (its about the size of a small cafe) has a tasteful couch and a chair, with a table in front of them so people can sit down. She has great lighting, tasteful decorations, and acts like she really cares about your decisions and is eager to make you feel comfortable.

She even has the cafe acrosss the street brew coffee for her fresh every day, and has a play area set up complete with toys, kid books, mini desk/chair, and other assorted kid appropriate items. [and she doesnt mind kids in the shop at all- even when they "rearrange" a cubbyhole or two of yarn!]

I agree with meandorene- while im on a budget, if i can i like to purchase yarns (esp for things like sweaters) from an lys, especailyl when color/texture/content are really important. For smaller objects like socks/scarves/etc ill purchase online since thats ussually the only place i can find the weight of yarn i want in the colorways i want- and plus im a sucker for anything handpainted.

http://www.midnightskyfibers.com handspun and handpainted yarns, fibers, and kits.
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TracyKnits
Chatty Knitter

324 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2005 :  11:51:21 PM  Show Profile Send TracyKnits a Private Message
I love my LYS because they offer classes where you can bring in whatever you want and get help with it. I'm sure they'd like it if it's something you purchased from them, but they don't mind when it isn't.

I even had one of the teachers show me a Knit Picks catalog "on the sly" and ask me if I'd seen the prices. But I'm in there at least once a week and while I don't buy everything there I do buy quite a lot.

I think they might feel differently if they knew I wasn't ever going to buy anything. But I think they realize that they might not have had exactly what I wanted for this particular project, but they most likely will for the next one!
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