LYS Review: Looped Yarn Works, Washington, DC
I first found Looped Yarn Works a few years ago. Some friends and I were on the way to dinner in Dupont Circle when I noticed a signboard on the sidewalk, advertising a knitting floor on the second story of the building. (Hey, Looped. Your signboard totally works. Good on ‘ya.)
We wandered up, and I was in love. Hobby stores are so dependent on the taste of the owner/buyer. Sometimes this coincides with the taste of the customer, sometimes not. During that first visit, I felt like I’d found a store to my taste.
I’ve been back a few times over the years and made Looped one of my first stops on this trip to the United States. In fact, I’ve been three times in less than a month – once to add to my stash for some specific projects I had in mind, once to sit and knit, and once to introduce a budding knitter and new DC resident to the store. Twice I had my 2-year-old with me, so one of the first things I can say is that they were very tolerant of him. Even though its a small space with lots of tempting things to throw (they are “balls” of yarn, after all), they were patient with him and pointed him to a small basket of knitted toys wearing small handknit sweaters, which they invited him to play with. I was utterly charmed.
I was also charmed by the can of reading glasses to borrow, though I’m not there yet, thankfully!
As I mentioned, Looped is small, but they make good use of the space. After walking up one flight of stairs, you enter the center section, where the cash registers, needles, and notions are kept.
To the left is a room with lighter-weight yarn, with heavier-weight room in the front room to the right. The staff are exactly the right amount of helpful – there to answer questions but knowing when to back off when you just want to browse. They were eager to rummage through just-arrived boxes of yarn to find me just the perfect color of sock yarn I needed. They also had substitute yarn suggestions when I told them I was looking for a particular brand (and I ended up leaving with the great substitutes).
The store is full of beautiful knitted samples to delight a variety of personal tastes, and each has a tag listing the pattern name, where to find it, and the yarn used. I particularly liked the DC-themed samples.
Another nice touch for the customers is a bulletin board with staff current projects and a computer to use with suggestions of helpful knitting sites. Ravelry, of course, is at the top of the list.
Looped has a frequent buyer program. They will keep track of your purchases, and once you spend $250, you get 15% off a future purchase. And they *will* keep track – they still had me and my previous purchases in the system, even though I hadn’t been in the store in a few years. Again, a nice touch.
Things That Could Be Improved
Important note: neither of these things is going to stop me from visiting, nor should they make you.
- The store has a lot of gorgeous yarn – but I personally wanted more superwash options. As I said to one of the staff members, “I’m knitting a lot for babies and feet lately.” However, remember my point about hobby shops living and dying by the customers’ tastes? This one is completely personal and doesn’t necessarily apply to every customer. You can’t please us all.
- As a pregnant woman, I was incredibly grateful customers are allowed to use the bathroom. Because this is downtown DC, there isn’t a lot of extra space. Therefore, the bathroom is crammed with excess stock, display materials, etc. While I sympathize, a lot of the stuff was on open shelving. Even hanging some curtains to mask the shelves would make the space feel a little less claustrophobic. That said, beggars can’t be choosers.
Looped Yarn Works is located at 1732 Connecticut Avenue, NW #200, Washington, DC 20009, just north of Dupont Circle. Their website is loopedyarnworks.com.