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Kaleidoscope takes up an entire house: the first floor is the "yarn shop for walk-ins," and upstairs are the offices and mail-order business.
I adore this place. Prices are standard for an LYS. The selection is astonishing. They have a huge range of yarns: high end to budget (not quite craft-store budget), synthetics and natural fibers, lightweight to bulky.
The space is well lit and cozy. There are lots of little rooms and nooks, all filled with yarn. If you're browsing with a friend and want to look at the same thing at the same time, it might feel a little snug in there. (But if you're good friends, you probably won't mind.)
The staff is among the best I've ever met at a yarn shop. They greeted my three and friends and me when we entered the store, then left us alone for the two hours we were there. Not that they ignored us--they were ready with a hello or smile whenever we ran into them and were always happy to answer the many questions we had. But they didn't follow us around or bug us.
My visit here was one of my best visits to a LYS. Truly a not-snotty place and well worth the trip!
This is one of my favorite yarn shops in the world! If you're looking for novelty yarns or synthetics, then this is isn't the place for you. But if you like wool and natural fibers, you'll love it here.
The shop itself is very small and tightly packed with its own yarn and patterns. Behind the shop (in the rest of the building) is the spinnery itself, and if the shop isn't full of customers the spinnery staff person working there will very likely give you a tour of the spinnery. It's amazing to see the antique machines at work and huge bags of unprocessed wool.
It's not a high-tech place, but to me it is very much how knitting should FEEL.
That's a terrific solution! Well done!
Hands-down, it's the staff that makes a LYS great (or not) in my eyes. If I wanted a fabulous yarn selection at good prices, I could just as easily find it online. But what makes a LYS different from online vendors is the face-to-face interaction. My favorite LYS is one that isn't anywhere near me (it's an eight-hour drive away, actually): Green Mountain Spinnery's shop in Vermont. The staff there is amazing--very friendly, very not-pushy, and very knowledgeable. I wish it were next door to me!
Why not have multiple options for viewing listings? KnitMap users could choose (via a drop-down menu, perhaps) if they want to see the shops with the most comments OR the shops with the highest ratings. After all, the two aren't necessarily connected. :)