I started knitting and crocheting in Belgium, so the first wool shops I visited were in Brussels. Those shops were small and what amazed me most was that they all had different yarns. If I bought something in one of them I had to go to the same shop again if I wanted more. I also discovered that some yarns were discontinued from one year to the next and that there was not the same stuff depending on the time of the year. What I liked from those shops, and I thought it was going to be a standard, was that you could pick up the yarn that you wanted, touch it, smell it, compare it, touch it again, leave it back on the shelf, take another, leave it, take the first one again. And this over and over again until you were satisfied. Off course that led me to some little mistakes on my part, until I discovered the dying lots.
The first time I bought yarn in Spain was in a little shop close to my mother’s place. There you didn’t have access to the yarn. You just had to describe what you wanted and hope for the best. Unfortunately like that you depend on what the woman behind the counter thinks best and sometimes it doesn’t match what you want. I also found there that what they always have is left overs. Another hard point is that they have all almost all the yarn at the back where you can’t even peep at.
I tried a second shop in the same city and the system was similar, though they had a bit more unhidden yarn.
Anyway, yesterday evening I tried both shops again with no luck. I was looking for an alternative to Malabrigo Chunky (they don’t sell it over here), but the thickest merino they had was for 6 mm and tried to sell me that one affirming that it could be fine depending on how I loose I knitted. I agreed on that, but for this concrete pattern tight knitting was required, so no thanks.
In the future probably I will consider buying yarn online. You can see all there is in store, but on the other hand, you can’t touch the yarn, and that, being a bit wool allergic, is a drawback.
How about you? What kind of shops are there in your city? What do you prefer? Being able to look at and touch everything that is available? or do you prefer somebody who advises you and gives you the yarn that they think is best for you? Do you use yarn online shopping?