Saturday, May 16, 2009

The C Word

In the crochet mystery I’m about to start writing, Molly Pink learns about yarn, which in turn means I need to learn about yarn. I know about the basic stuff – the reasonably priced kind you can buy at Joann’s or Michael’s. I want to see in person the kind of yarn I’ve only seen in books. For this I have to seek out small yarn shops.

I tried going into some of these small stores before, but frankly it didn’t turn out well. You would think a small shop keeper would be anxious to help a new customer. Not my experience. I thought it was just me and that I imagined their disdain when I mentioned crochet or asked where the crochet supplies were when all I saw was a wall of knitting needles. Even when I told them about my mystery series, they were weird and not very friendly.

Recently I picked up a book called Hooked for Life Adventures of a Crochet Zealot. It is made up of essay about crochet written by Mary Beth Temple. I happened to randomly pick one last night titled Crocheters, the Silent Majority. Mary Beth reiterates what I had read elsewhere – that crocheters far outnumber knitters, though nobody seems to know by how many. She also brought up hearing about people having the kind of experience I’d had in local yarn stores. To see if it was true, she went to a well known big city yarn store. When she saw that there were only three lonely looking crochet hooks among the huge supply of knitting needles, she asked the owner where the crochet supplies were. Mary Beth said the woman gave her a bemused expression and showed no interest in waiting on her.

So, maybe it wasn’t my imagination after all. Even though it seems crazy even as I’m writing this. How can these little yarn stores afford to be so snobby against crochet?

I will be finding out. Starting tomorrow I’m going give the yarn stores in my area another chance. I want to buy skeins of all different kinds of yarn and make up swatches so I can see what each kind looks like and what it’s like to work with. But before I rack up a big bill, I’m going to buy one skein of yarn and see how the shop keeper reacts to the C word. No respect and I keep moving. I’ll report on what happens.

Have you ever felt discriminated against?


Terri Thayer said...

Your experience sounds like the experience of men going into quilt shops. They get treated like second class citizens.

A customer should be a customer, especially in an economy like this. No one can afford to alienate anyone. Perhaps your going to the shops can do a bit to educate!

Betty Hechtman said...

I completely agree Terri, a customer should be a customer and the stores should be glad to have someone come in.

I never thought about men in a quilt store. I bet they get the cold shoulder in yarn stores, too.

Camille Minichino said...

I'm not that surprised. I've found the same kind of snobbish elsewhere.

For example, there's a bead store near me and when she found out I use the beads for crafts (instead of fine jewelry!) she took on an attitude.

The same with the high priced local yarn shop -- if you want to make something uncomplicated, like a scarf, they let it be known that you're not that worth their trouble!

Anonymous said...

How odd that yarn shops would not be interested in helping crocheters. Especially since you WANT to buy different kinds of yarn!
Strictly speaking tongue-in-cheek, several things come to mind:
1. Money from a crocheter has the same value as money from a knitter.
2. Not very "politically correct", are the?.
3. Why the prejudice? Again, goes back to "money is money" to a shop owner!

Betty Hechtman said...

I had no idea the attitude thing was so common, Camille. I would think the bead store person would be excited to hear about another way of using the beads.

In a certain way all this makes me feel better. I really thought it was just me.

Betty Hechtman said...

No, anonymous, it doesn't make sense. That's why I thought it was just me.

Monica Ferris said...

All I can do is add my amen to the comments here. In this economy, it makes no sense for a shop of any kind to be rude to a potential customer -- especially nowadays, when it's so very easy to spread the word about a rude shopkeeper.

Debby said...

Oh yes, I have also found disinterest by shop owners when I mention crochet. But I have luckily found a local shop (Terri's) here in Sevierville, Tn., that is owned by "Terri" who does crochet. She has a good variety of yarn and crochet supplies and is very helpful. Another plus is that she always has crochet magazines too!!
PS. Can't wait for June 2nd :)

Kris said...

I am sorry for your experience, but if you don't mind driving 40 minutes north to Thousand Oaks there is a great yarn shop called knitport on Thousand Oaks boulevard. I learned to knit and crochet there. My Phoung and Brenda are very warm and not at all biased against crocheters. They have a scrumptious selection of yarn. Hope you make it there and have as pleasant experience as I did.

becv said...

No you are not alone in this. I have run into this also, in one of our LYS. In fact the woman was so terrible and snotty that I dropped everything and left. I will never step a foot in it again. And yet, there is another yarn store, half a block away, run by a very sweet lady (Threads in Time) that is open arms with crocheters and even welcomes us to join her knitting groups and crochet instead of knit. I have no idea how this other store is even still open!!!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, I recently decided to brush up on my skills, opened an instruction book, and lo and behold, the author says something like "even though some people think those who crochet have questionable taste." I'm in shock! What on earth?

pwl said...

Have you thought of contacting the Crochet Guild of America? I'm sure their members could be most helpful for you with your research, and could probably recommend some great shops. They could probably also tell you if the attitude mentioned prevails. I haven't encountered it myself, but then the only yarn shop I went into had these scrumptious wooden crochet hooks that I just *had* to buy - and I've stayed away in defense of my poor wallet ever since. LOL