Knitters have a secret code that we use in knitting patterns, but also in our language on the Internet, and even sometimes in everyday life. It can be confusing to new knitters to understand what more seasoned people are talking about.
One really common acronym that knitters use is LYS, which means local yarn shop or local yarn store.
Whether you're a new knitter or have more experience, if there is an LYS in your area, you should know it, visit it often and support it in any way you can.
Why Support Your LYS?
The LYS is a local business that supports a craft we love. The people who run it are our neighbors, and we should support them when we can.
It's a place to go to actually see and touch the yarn we might be thinking about using in a project. While Internet sites offer every kind of yarn you could ever want, differences in color on screen and the inability to touch before you buy mean you never quite know what you're getting until it arrives.
LYS owners and staff actually are knitters (usually, and sometimes crocheters, too), so they can offer advice about yarn, patterns, and techniques.
Most shops offer classes where you can learn new skills, meet new people and try out new projects.
Knit night is another popular LYS activity, where again you can meet fellow knitters and show off your work in progress.
It's a great place to find out about new books, peruse knitting magazines (but please don't ask them to make copies of patterns for you!) and see knit samples of patterns you might want to try.
Many stores are involved in charitable efforts involving knitting, so if helping others with your stitches is something you've wanted to do, they may be able to connect you with a worthy cause (or with their help you can start a charity knitting drive).
Yarns stores are almost universally calm places that will make you happy.
It's always fun to go see the yarn in person, to touch things, to see things you wouldn't normally run across just looking at yarn online. And it's great to talk about knitting to passionate people, to share what you're working on or what you might plan to use the yarn for.
The LYS is a great resource that we want to be able to keep in our communities, so if you have one, support it, and if you don't, at least consider a little fiber tourism when you travel.