I was lucky enough to live in a town with three local yarn shops. Of course, I’m generally too broke to afford good yarn-shop-quality fiber, which is why I’m also lucky to have a pretty good selection of big-box-style craft chain stores. There are two Michael’s (Michael’ses?), A.C. Moore, Hancock Fabrics (although their selection is pretty shitty), Joann (my personal favorite) and a Hobby Lobby I avoid.* Up until a week ago, we also had three LYSes.

One of the shops had a going-out-of-business sale. I would never have known about it if I hadn’t signed up for their mailing list the one time I ever made the trek out that way. By the time they marked down to 75% off, most of the good stuff was gone, although I did manage to get a few balls of Debbie Bliss and one of Cascade Superwash for less than $2 each, as well as a pair of 00 circs for whenever I’m feeling adventurous.

While I was happy to get what I did, I also felt kind of like a vulture. Because that was the LYS farthest away from me, I probably never would have gone back to it if it hadn’t been liquidating. And the economy being what it is, I’m sure the staff aren’t going to have an easy go of it finding new jobs. Additionally, how bad would it suck to be able to make your hobby your job, then to lose that job?

I bid them farewell and wish them luck.

In other news, I decided to try a pair of baby socklets for a coworker whose wife is pregnant. I’ve finished one, and it’s adorable… if entirely too small. I really like the design, a garter-stitch cuff, ribbon eyelets, and cabling up the instep, but a baby would have to be not-fully-baked to be able to enjoy them. My husband suggested I attempt to put the socks on an actual fetus. With a t-shirt cannon.

I’d hate to have just one lonely socklet. And I don’t want to make a pair and have it go to waste, if for no other reason than the sole is grafted together using Kitchener grafting (aka, the Stitch of Satan). I think what I’ll do is make three more and gift them to a friend of mine who has a small dog and is obsessed with the idea of Sunny-style “Kitten Mittons”. She’ll be smitten.

*I disagree with their religio-political stance and choose to vote with my wallet. I also find it curious that they’re pretty upfront about being a Christian-owned business – their stores have signs posted on the doors to the effect of “We’re closed Sundays to allow our employees time to worship”, they carry a lot of overtly-Christian decor, and they play contemporary Christian music over the PA. But they don’t have and refuse to upgrade to barcode scanners, citing that the cost of doing so would not allow them to have competitive prices. That ignores the basic fact that they’re most likely having to pay extra at the store level to have each item individually priced rather than just setting prices automatically at a regional or national level, so they’re probably not saving that much (and likely are losing money by having a completely outdated system of inventory, as well as by cashier error and inattention). Each item has a price sticker that must be keyed in manually, which slows service down to a crawl.

I personally suspect that the real reason is that they believe that whole “mark of the beast” thing – that the barcode is the mythical symbol without which no one would be able to buy or sell. I’d have much more respect for them if they’d actually own up to it.

I suppose it’s a moot point, since it’s furthest away from me anyway. Kind of a shame, since I really do Love This Yarn, but it’s not like I’m suffering from a lack of places to buy it. It’s kind of like Chic-fil-A; I don’t support their openly anti-gay stance, but I can actually get a much better chicken-based sandwich at Harris Teeter (chicken salad on a croissant) for the same price. And it seems the only time I ever get a craving for a fried chicken sandwich with a floppy pickle is on a Sunday anyway.

Update: Having poked through a few sites about the Hobby Lobby barcode thing, I have a new nickname for them, shamelessly stolen from a blog called “The Friendly Atheist”. They will be heretofore known as Heaven’s Gift Shop.