LYS Review: Knits by Nana, Baton Rouge, LA
I just went back to Knits by Nana.
I should be able to stop my review there, yes? It was good enough to go back. The end.
But in case you want more…
I felt like a doofus this October when it finally occurred to me to look for local yarn stores (LYS) in Baton Rouge, where I have family. I’ve been going to Baton Rouge for years and never thought to look. I usually show up with a pile of yarn in my suitcase and leave with a pile of yarn, just some of it converted into knitting. Apparently I’m not the only to not associate southern Louisiana with knitting: an online search only turned up one LYS in the area, Knits by Nana.
It was a bit of a struggle to get to the store during its limited open hours, but I managed to get over there one Saturday in October. The store is tucked in a shopping arcade and is arranged as one big room, with yarns vaguely arranged by weight. Needles are sorted in bins instead of being part of a traditional wall display.
There’s a wide selection of knitted samples, especially cowls, and many LSU-themed project bags for sale.
Being deep in Geaux Tiger country, there’s a tendency toward purple and gold yarns. I even managed to snag a skein of Lorna’s Laces Solemate in purple and yellow that I was told was dyed just for the store called LSU. I knew I had to have it – the question is will it be socks or another Hitchhiker scarf?
A skein of Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock also caught my eye. I’ve heard of them but never used it – something about this colorway just did me in.
Next I bought some cute zebra buttons that demonstrate the ridiculousness of the global economy: made in South Africa, sold to me in Baton Rouge, carried back to Kenya, to be knit into something that will probably be worn in the U.S.
Finally, I went with two skeins of apple-green Cascade 220 sport for the Wee Envelope. Thank goodness I had the store wind them – one of them ended up being in many, many pieces. We figured a box cutter must have gotten it. Fortunately, the shop employee immediately declared that would never do and found me a better skein.
On my second visit yesterday, I found the shop much rearranged. It also felt like the stock was a teeny bit lower? However, that may have been my imagination, since the furniture and displays had been moved, or maybe they’ve just done well as people go on Christmas knitting rampages. Yesterday’s score was a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico, a scrumptious small skein of 50/50 baby alpaca and raw silk. The shop employee offered to wind it, but it’s SO PRETTY and SOFT in its braid that I sort of clutched it to my chest and shook my head no. I’m planning to turn it into a Pretty Thing.
Things That Could Be Improved
I love the fact that this store seems to cater to its local audience: LSU fans. However, I get the impression that the shop is firmly on the hobby end of the hobby/business continuum for the owner. As I mentioned, the hours are very limited. It’s only open in the middle of the day T-F and for four hours in the middle of the day on Saturday. I feel like most yarn shops aim for the lunch and after work customers, then have extended hours on the weekends to catch people when they’re not at work. This one would be extremely hard to get to if I weren’t here on vacation.
Also, while I was in the store yesterday, a man came in looking for a gift certificate for his wife, complaining there was no sign outside to indicate the store was there. I guess since it’s the only non-big-box-craft-store option for yarn in the area, determined knitters will find it. When I quizzed the employees, they confirmed that the owner just likes yarn and likes to knit. However, with a eight-year history, they seem to be doing okay.
To sum up: if you can get there while it’s open, go, especially if you like purple and gold. They have a nice range of big brand and luxury yarns at really decent prices and are quite friendly.
Knits by Nana is located in the Bocage Village Shopping Center, 7612 Old Hammond Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. As I said, it’s not well-labeled, so just park and wander through the shops till you find it. The website is www.knitsbynana.com.