It's a very interesting thing, working in a yarn shop. I get a whole different perspective on the world of knitting than I did as a customer. It's also very interesting to read all the reviews of shops and why people like certain shops and don't like others. It seems that people have very high expectations of shops. It also continues to confirm my suspicions that viewing the whole world of knitting based on the online world of knitters leaves one viewing it through a very narrow lens.
I think the online knitting world is fantastic. But I also think that there are some things that the community expects that aren't necessarily realistic. For example, there's a discussion going on Ravelry about why people like (or don't like) their LYS. There are some folks who are frustrated with yarn shop employees' lack of knowledge about what's happening in the online world. While I think this point is somewhat valid on the one hand (it's always good to be educated about what your customers want), I also think that it's a bit unrealistic to expect yarn shop owners to be totally plugged in to what's happening online when in reality, a very small portion of their customers are going to walk in, start talking about the latest Knitty and expect the person helping them to jump right into the conversation. There's a language in the blogosphere that's rife with lingo and expecting everyone to know all about that is a bit, how do I put this, cliquey? I think it also gives people a skewed perspective about how skilled the average knitter is. I'm really seeing this as I work in the shop - there are still plenty of scarf knitters out there, and there's nothing wrong with that!
Knitting (and crafty/artistic pursuits in general) is a very personality-driven business. I really, really love working in the shop and talking to people about knitting all day, but I also am finding that there are a gazillion different comfort levels with talking about knitting. For instance, I was talking to a customer about Magic Loop the other day. I spent some time chatting with her about what needle length would be best for her to try, and then she mentioned she liked cables. I got all excited and dragged her over to look at Janet Szabo's Cables: Volume 1 book (which is INCREDIBLE, BTW). She got this kind of trapped look in her eye like I was giving her the tough sell, and then wasn't all that interested in the book because it didn't have any patterns in it. I really have to remember that these aren't my knitting friends coming in to chat. I need to be sensitive to people's comfort level with being helped and with having things suggested to them. I also need to really work on not taking it personally when they're not interested in what I have to show them (I don't take it personally, but sometimes I feel like I make the person I'm helping think that I am...if that makes any sense at all).
It's also kind of hard to divine how much (or little) assistance each person needs. I want to make sure I'm available to help, but I don't want to hover. It's hard to figure out how to let people know that it's okay to ask for help if they need it. There are so many stories of people who think they're being ignored by the staff of their LYS, and I want to make sure I'm not doing that! There are so many expectations that it's a little bit nerve-wracking being on the other side of the counter. I'm sure I'll continue to feel more and more comfortable as I get used to the job.
Oh, yeah, and I've been knitting up a storm. Here's a sneak peek at some of the things that are currently on-deck for the TNNA show in January:
And currently blocking, a top using the coolest lace pattern ever:
As if that wasn't enough to keep me totally occupied, Bill decided that we should try making some bread today. Here's the result:
Yummy! There is nothing better than bread fresh out of the oven. I found a great recipe that uses the food processor to mix up the ingredients followed by a couple minutes of hand kneading. Our oven has a bread-rising setting, so the whole process was ridiculously easy. I might have to do it again sometime! Even the kids liked it (which is great for me, since I despised my mom's homemade bread growing up - I was an unappreciative little brat!).
And because I couldn't let the post end without at least one picture of a kid holding a chicken, here are the latest. These are new and unusual because Rhoda (the red chicken) doesn't like to be picked up, and none of the chickens like being picked up by Owen! I was so surprised to find them like this the other day.
Of course, halfway through the photo session, Rhoda freaked out and went flapping off, clucking madly, Owen hot on her heels in pursuit. Sydney kept ahold of Ruttager, and we won't talk about the poop on the cushion that Rhoda deposited as she made her escape... It's almost time to clean them and put them away for the winter anyway, right?
At least the poo didn't land on a kid (this time around, anyway). I would've shot you down cold if you would've suggested five years ago the number of poop references I'd be making per day just a few years later...