Well, when I say "local" I mean "the only proper wool shop within an hour's drive".
So on Saturday I took myself to Alford and explored "The Wool Shed".
And it was great - really it was! Seeing and squeezing some of the yarns I read about on the internet! Colours! Textures! Pattern books to browse through!
They had 3 skeins of Jitterbug sock - just the three! Fruit Coulis, Popsicle and Velvet Plum. And I found myself considering buying all 3 - just because they were there and they were so BOUNCY! But I managed to control myself and remember that I really want Velvet Bilberry, and that I don't exactly lack sock wool right now...
They had Banana Silk - yuck! Horrid scratchy stuff! They had Tofutsies - hmmm, a bit thin and hard for a sock yarn I thought - some nice colours though. They had Debbie Bliss and Rowan, some Silkwood, some HipKnits, some Katia, some Lana Grossa.
They had lots of Noro and I spent an indecent amount of time browsing the pattern books and deciding I wanted to knit a chevron-lace pullover from "Naturally Noro". But it was then that I started to get grumpy. Because there were no price labels. None.
After asking the assistant for prices on four separate occasions, I began to resent it. I was getting all twitchy - the implication seemed to be that if I needed to ask, I was not a serious buyer. But who buys yarn "blind"? Surely everyone makes decisions based on a judgement of quality and price - works out the "value" of their choice? I could equally have knitted said chevron jumper out of Kureyon or Silver Thaw... but lacking the price information, I wandered round the shop in a dither. In the end, I walked out with nothing. In the hour and a half I was there (this was a sunny Saturday afternoon) only two other people came into the shop - and they didn't buy anything either, despite me overhearing their conversation and assessing them to be a) American, b) compulsive knitters, and c) rather well-heeled! So how long do you give this shop? Survival chances?
And although I wanted to support my "local" yarn store, I came away empty-handed, with a mental shopping list which I will almost certainly take online. The irony being that the Wool Shed is setting up its own website... where I presume they will have to show their prices! Maybe I should email them...
P.S. Have you ever squeezed Lana Grossa "Bingo"? B-O-I-N-G!! Supersoft, super-bouncy DK-ish merino - I am off to investigate patterns!