In the last 5 months 3 of my local yarn stores have closed or are in the midst of closing. The first was The Rug and Yarn Hut -- 10 years ago I learned to knit and this store was easily the one I frequented most. At the time there weren't as many yarns stores close by. Besides the Rug Hut here was also The Knitting Room, The Braid Box, Continental Stitch and Uncommon Threads. In the 10 years that followed The Knitting Room relocated (still in the area), Knitter's Studio opened, and so did Commuknity, Yarndogs, Full Thread Ahead, Purlescence and Bobbins Nest. Yarn Place opened and carried it's own line, and The Braid Box was sold and moved across the street to become Knitting Arts. About a month ago Knitter's Studio announced it's closing and last week so did Knitting Arts. From 5 to a dozen, now down to 9 there are still many choices for a south bay area knitter such as myself. So why do I feel sad?
Today I went to Knitting Arts to see what was to be had on the 3rd day of their "Going Out of Business Sale" on a busy Memorial Day weekend. They decided to just put the whole store on sale for 30% off -- yarns, notions, books -- patterns were 50% off. I was out of town for the long weekend so it wasn't until after 2pm that I finally made it into Saratoga. The place was almost empty, bereft of its usual splendor. At the other closing sales I made small token purchases. At the Rug Hut I came by twice to see Karen but missed her both times, I bought 3 balls of a 50/50 silk and merino blend and a book I already had. At Knitter's Studio I bought 4 sks of Malabrigo cashing in my Frequent Knitter's card. That's it. The Rug and Yarn Hut's closing didn't come as much as a surprise, it was slowly coming to an end anyways. I didn't really frequent Knitter's Studio all that often although I usually bought when I did. And Knitting Arts? I came pretty regularly, I rarely missed a sale and for a couple months our group was meeting there. As I walked around the store looking for what was left of the pink, I began to stuff my basket and found that I couldn't stop. I brought home 6 sks of Misti Alpaca Chunky in a rose/gold twist, 6 sks of Alchemy Vita in a pinky mauve, 21 sks of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in a medium pink, 4 sks of Rowan Purelife in a nice rosey pink and 3 sks of Cascade Quatro because it had pink in it. After that I made another pass around the store and found 3 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Spray in taupe and 2 sks of Alchemy Haiku in almost the same colorway. There was a bundle of Lorna's Laces roving in Tuscany, a felting kit and at the register I found a lovely pink glass button. While waiting in line I perused a nearby basket of beads and found 7 tubes of rosy red ab and 1 tube of pink. I just couldn't stop. Was it the because of the 10 weeks of stash dieting? Through the years Knitting Arts sponsored many events and classes none of which I had attended. I came in only to pick up yarn whether at a sale or just when I needed it. And now it's all but gone.
When I left I almost went to Yarndogs. I wanted to go in and just check its pulse, see if it was okay. There are other yarn stores that are close by. I can't possibly visit them all, but by choosing to support a small portion I guess I cast my vote on who gets to stick around. However, if it were up to me, my vote would have been to keep Knitting Arts, it will be sorely missed.