Saturday, August 22, 2009

Annapolis LYS: Yarn Garden

Last week I was in Annapolis for Sean's dental appointment. Instead of spending the 90 minute appointment in the waiting room, I drove over to the Yarn Garden yarn store. I'd been meaning for years to stop by and check it out. I was glad to finally have time to do so.

As always, I try to be completely honest with my yarn store reviews while trying my best to soften the negatives. (Can you tell where this review is going?) So please know that this is my honest opinion of the store, not a dig at the owner or patrons. Here goes...

This may be the worst LYS I've visited to date.

The Yarn Garden is located on the second floor of a building which is part of a strip mall. This strip mall is now adjacent to a recently built and GINORMOUS residential/retail area with high end condos and apartments, restaurants, and specialty stores galore so the stores and store facades look a bit old and dated. I still had hope for a cute little store as I walked up the stairs to the store.

Yarn Garden Annapolis

Upon entering the store, I was unimpressed. The lighting was bad, the walls needed paint and the merchandise was soooo unorganized. There were no prices on the yarn. Instead, what appeared to be post-its cut to size were taped to the shelves with handwritten yarn names and (sometimes) prices. I could not figure out the organization of the yarns as to color or manufacturer or fiber content or use. It was maddening! There were patterns available - but they were in different parts of the store and organized in one place by publisher, another place by type (blankets, sweaters, etc) and another place by a combination of both - I think. I'm really not sure.

But I looked beyond all the disorganization and searched through the shelves for something to catch my eye. Something different, something unique, something that I had to have.

I found nothing.

Not a skein, not a hank, not a pattern, nothing.

I'd seen most of the yarn before in other stores and online, in better colors and at better prices. The sock yarn was drab and scratchy, the stocking patterns were hideous, and the wall of notions was behind the counter so I couldn't even see if there was something I might want. When I did see a book I thought I might like, I picked it off the floor (where it was displayed, propped against a shelf) and attached to the book was a giant dustbunny. While I had originally assumed it was the disorganization of the place giving me not-so-great-vibes, it was now confirmed that in fact this store was dirty. I left not long after the dustbunny encounter.

The woman behind the counter was nice enough - she did say hello and good-bye - and I didn't think she was rude, but I didn't find her that friendly or warm. There were ladies at a table learning to knit and they were having a good time so maybe I missed the subtle, unconscious charm of the store that they seemed to enjoy.

In summary, I won't be making any return trips to the Yarn Garden and I can't say that I would recommend it to anyone either living in or visiting the Annapolis area. I hate writing such a negative review because my dream is to someday own my own yarn store and I imagine the owner of Yarn Garden loves living his/her dream of owning their yarn store.


Sara Kirby said...

you should try to check out Lovely Yarns in Hampden, Baltimore. It's really lovely. I had the same thoughts on the Yarn Garden, although it was my first yarn store so I didn't really know any better, I was happy they had the Takhi tweed for the Central Park Hoodie I wanted to make, but it is snug and disorganized (the store, not the hoodie).

CHo Meir said...

Having been to the Yarn Garden before I KNOW exactly what you saw. It would be one thing if I could take the time to search through the disorder of patterns in odd places and over half on the yarn on shelves still in fading plastic bags you can't see through or touch the fiber or identify without pulling thing off the shelves , but the space is so tight, and forget looking at the yarn around the table where they have the knitting classes. Now I know people who live in Annapolis who just love the shop, but for the life of me I can't see why.

Sam said...

Thanks, ladies. I'm glad it wasn't just me. :)

I do need to check out the other LYS's in the area. Lovely Yarns is definitely on my list. I saw that Celtic Knot Shop in Ellicott City is now Large Marge's or something.