Yarn Store Review: Jessica Knits

I had a preliminary interview up in (very) north Scottsdale today (for a position in Chandler, go fig), and it occurred to me that I was about five minutes away from Jessica Knits.  I’d never been in there, mainly because it’s a good 25 miles from my house in an area I’m very rarely in, but since Fate dragged me northward, I thought I would stop in and check it out.

The good:

I didn’t have any trouble finding it, and it proved to be a lovely, well-laid out store.  I was immediately greeted, both staff members were professional and friendly, and I didn’t feel like I’d interrupted them (as I often do going into Fiber Factory).  They occasionally checked in with me to make sure I was okay, but not often enough that I felt bothered.

The yarn was very well organized.  There were printed signs above each type of yarn identifying the line, brand, fiber type, and price, so that I could tell at a glance what I was looking at.  They had a nice selection of designer yarns, including some types I’d heard of but not seen in person.  There was a lot of Rowan Brand, quite a few Manos de Uruguay lines, a little bit of Madelinetosh.  This would also be a good place to check out if you’re looking for ribbon or art yarns, or for wooden needles.  Needles were on sale (25% off), but I didn’t see what the regular price was, and they weren’t labeled – but they had some gorgeous Lantern Moon, some straights that looked handmade, as well as the regular Clover and Addis.  There were quite a lot of large-sized needles and quite a bit of bulky yarn.

The bad:

To me, this felt like a yarn store aimed at the kind of knitters who have picked it up because it’s trendy, who knit a few scarves out of ribbon or bulky yarn and never do anything else.  The finished garments for sale were mostly that sort of knitting too: very basic, very easy, very overpriced.  The prices weren’t bad, though they weren’t what I would consider good; the sale that was going on brought the chosen yarns down into reasonable but not great.

The biggest problem I found was really the color selection.  The colors, almost without exception, seemed muted, tasteful, and genteel.  This is Scottsdale yarn, knitted into super-stylish scarves and hats and worn by women who drive big SUVs and live in McMansions.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and it certainly fits the area and the clientele one would expect in McDowell Mountain Ranch.  But.

But I go into a yarn store to be inspired.  I want a rainbow of vibrant, brilliant colors, and yarn weights from cobweb to super bulky.  There was hardly any laceweight at all, and not much sock yarn either.  The only yarn that genuinely excited me were a couple of colorways of Colinette Tao Silk, which at $28 for a single DK-weight skein, was well out of my price range.  I even looked over all the Manos, hoping to find a skein to accompany the single olive-green skein I’d found at the thrift store, and didn’t find anything.

I was in the mood to buy yarn – it was a good day, a good interview, I had high hopes, and a commemorative skein of yarn seemed like a great idea.  But I left without buying, because there just wasn’t anything I wanted.

The indifferent:

There was one woman leaving as I pulled up, and there was nobody in the store but the employees for the entire time I was there – probably 20 minutes or so.  The sign on the window said they had classes, but this is the first LYS in the metro area I’ve been in that didn’t have an obvious place for people to come in and knit, and the first time I’ve been in a yarn store that didn’t have at least a couple of people hanging out and knitting.  This isn’t bad by itself, just a little odd.  I had knitting with me, but I didn’t feel inspired to stay.  Driving back home, I felt the urge to stop into TYF, but I was in my interview clothes and I was starving, so I decided against it.

Overall, it’s a nice little store, but it’s probably not one I would ever go back into.  If it’s your closest yarn store, it’s certainly better than JoAnn’s or Michael’s, but I would probably drive down to Knit Happens on Indian School or make the trek down to TYF.

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~ by Amber on April 6, 2011.

3 Responses to “Yarn Store Review: Jessica Knits”

  1. I miss TYF. 😦 Knitting, Etc (my LYS) is nice and I do like the ladies who work there – it’s a tiny little store packed to the brim with lovely yarn (but no Malabrigo! T_T), but I just… miss TYF.

    But yeah, that… is definitely a Scottsdale yarn shop. And would be exactly why I’d probably never have shopped there, if I’d picked up knitting when I was growing up there. I need COLOUR!

  2. […] a two-interview process, one with a recruiter in north Scottsdale (which is what brought me to review Jessica Knits) and the second with the company in Chandler.  Wednesday, I got an email from the recruiter asking […]

  3. Just a quick FYI. Jessica Knits is now under new ownership and there are some major, and positive changes being undertaken in the store. If you’re in the neighborhood (or even if you’re not!) stop by and check it out. New yarns, newly reorganized, and a brand new sale section are among the changes that promise great things for the future of this Valley knit shop.

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