As you know, I own Far North Yarn Co. (FNYC), my yarn shop in Anchorage, Alaska. You’d think that the only lessons to be learned in a yarn shop would be related to knitting or crochet. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. Of course we have our regularly scheduled classes, informal fix-it sessions and and the run of the mill daily pattern and project questions and answers. All the predictable and expected instruction. But it’s so much more than that. If you are lucky enough to have a LYS, this should not come as a surprise.
I’m of the opinion that the best knit shops have at least one seating area, whether that’s a table with chairs crowded around, or mismatched cushy chairs and a couch. I’d like to think I have one of the best. Not to boast, but FNYC is a fun place be. It’s not that my chairs are that comfortable or my tables so great, it’s that it’s full of laughter, chatter, sometimes a few tears – an overall good time. Coffee, snacks, or lunch all around. Yet it is here, with all of the clutter and visual chaos, some real life lessons are learned. Not just the expected knitting related stuff. At this table with its jumble of chairs and assorted knitters, coffee cups, discarded lunch containers, where I have been considered the teacher, I find that more often than not, am the one with a lesson to be learned.
Probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned (and continue to learn) is tolerance. I have always sought to create a welcoming environment in my shop, open to anyone who shares the passion. I have very few “rules” which of course are not posted – with the exception of the one that says “As a courtesy, please step away from the table when making or receiving calls.” Hard to believe you have to remind people of that courtesy, isn’t it? My rules are simple. No deep political or religious discussions, and unkind behavior toward others is never tolerated. That doesn’t mean uncomfortable situations don’t arise on occasion but it is my duty to redirect conversation in healthier directions or gently call people out if something unkind or hurtful is said. Because I’m not always at the table, it’s really wonderful to see other knitters step into that role, changing the subject when appropriate, or saying just the right words to remind others to simply be kind. We all share the responsibility of keeping our knitting haven a safe haven. It’s a very interesting dynamic.
Personally, am I ever annoyed by certain individuals now and then? Of course I am! I’m human after all. And each time I am, I consider it my little refresher course in tolerance. Would I choose to spend quality time outside of the shop socializing with each and every person who sits at the FNYC table? More than likely not, nor would anyone else sitting at the table choose to go out to lunch with the entire FNYC knitting community. However, here we all are, at the Far North table sharing our passion for knitting and bits and pieces of our lives. Do we each take a turn (some of us more turns than we should be allowed) at being annoying in some way? Talking too loud, complaining too much , repeating a story, showing yet another picture of the new grandchild (me!)…we’ve all been guilty. But we are brought together here by a common passion and we must continue to be tolerant of each other. It’s the way of the world, and of FNYC.
Over time I will invite guest bloggers from my shop to share their lessons learned at FNYC.I don’t doubt that you’ll identify with many of their experiences.