Among those that acquire ever increasing amounts of yarn, almost as harbingers of some soon-to-occur cataclysmic event in which there ceases to be sheep or wool or yarn, I am on the low-end of the quantity spectrum. This may be due in part to the storage limitations of our small house or the practicality of my Swiss heritage, but I have only once purchased a sweater’s quantity of yarn without a specific pattern or project in mind. And, I offer my Foxtrot (my first 4-Day Knit Along (KAL) with Marie Greene) as exonerating proof that I have since turned an impulse buy of approximately 1,400 yards of blended alpaca, merino, and silk into a very wearable sweater.
Early in my knitting days, most of my purchases were simply experiential. I would visit a yarn store and go home with those skeins that had called out, like a sensory siren, to be touched. The frustration came later when I found the perfect pattern but had an insufficient quantity and could not match the dye lot when I needed to purchase more. I started to take a more strategic approach by identifying a potential project and then buying to the designer’s specifications. There are exceptions – of course – as I always treat myself to a skein of something local when traveling. That is how I came to get advice from Stephen West as I stood somewhat befuddled before a wall of “Made in Holland” color on our jet lagged first day in Amsterdam.
I am intrigued by how designers and dyers market their products especially to online customers. Much of what I know about marketing was not learned in a library school admin class but rather as a fan of Mad Men where Don Draper’s genius took a product (any product), identified an audience, created a demand, and always made his ad agency loads of profit. I can only hope two of my favorite sellers are as successful
- frabjous fibers & Wonderland Yarns offers the De-STITCH-nation Yarn Kit of the Month Club which features an exclusive colorway based on a travel poster from an earlier era, as well as a pattern appropriate for the weight and quantity, a post card replica of the featured destination poster and steamer trunk stickers. Rather than simply commit to a new skein every month (although that would be fun!) I exhibit restraint and limit my purchases to those locations I have visited. Thus far: Amsterdam, Egypt, Germany, London, and Zurich.
- Kristen in Stitches showcases the creative designs of Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich. During 2020, her National Park Hat subscription allowed my COVID quarantined brain to remember the beauty of the parks we’ve explored and dream about parks we have yet to visit.