Friday, July 6, 2007

Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder, Colorado

When I posted on Craftster about visiting Colorado, everyone said Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder was a must-visit. I was a bit confused by this, since I said I was visiting Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver. Well, silly me. Boulder is only half an hour from Denver! So off we went.

When I walked in, I was floored. It was far, far more than I expected--and I couldn't even see the back area or the other room! There was fiber everywhere, in every form: cones for weaving, balls, skeins, and hanks, and roving. In front of the window: probably two dozen hats, each with a note attached detailing the pattern, yarn, needles or hook, everything! Nearly every yarn had a swatch, and the number of colors available for each yarn was astounding.

It was like a big playground, with fiber, patterns, tools, needles, hooks, looms, spindles, books, more fiber...but no one offered to help me. No one greeted me. No one even acknowledged my existence, except a nice women knitting at a table who said hello and said to let her know if she was in my way.

There were at least three employees in the store, all at the checkout and talking to each other. I believe one was on the phone with a vendor or something, so she was busy. But the other employees didn't speak to me, either, for half an hour. Ten minutes before closing, one woman asked if I needed help.

She was very nice, and when I asked about drop spindles she quickly found someone with more spinning experience to help me. The second woman was quite nice, too, and reasonably helpful. She didn't really offer me much advice on choosing a spindle; she said it was mainly personal preference. But if you've never spun, how do you know what you prefer?

I showed her the Schacht Hi-Lo Spindle, which I had looked at online. She told me it could be a good choice, since it would allow me to try both high whorl and low whorl spinning. The price was comparable to what I've seen online, so I decided to go with it. (I like to support local shops when I can.) She showed me which roving was the cheap "starter roving" and helped me decide on a quantity. (She suggested two to three ounces, but I don't have an easy local source, so I bought four and a half ounces. It will probably take at least that much before I make anything even sort of decent...)

If you're going to be in the area, I definitely recommend visiting Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. I haven't seen a yarn selection like that since the weaving supply room at college; it simply has to be seen to be believed. But because of the service, I decided to skip buying anything I could get elsewhere, and only bought four skeins of inexpensive yarn (besides the spindle and roving) and a thread cutter (easier than scissors when travelling). Next time I find myself in Denver, I will definitely visit again. Hopefully, the service was simply a fluke, and everyone will be nice and helpful.

Maybe by then I'll be an expert spinner with a good loom. (Hey, let me have my dreams!)


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that's the way the service has been all the times I've been there too.. I guess when you have that much selection, service goes by the way side?

Anonymous said...

Customer service is not one of their forte. However, Roxana and Sharon are both very friendly and helpful.

Anonymous said...

I've notice the lack of offering to assist, only when they were busy with others, or when I looked like I was finding what I needed without help. The one time I asked for help, I got it quickly.

Perhaps the staff is unaware that their attentiveness to customers may need some improving. You'd probably be doing them a favor if you print your post and mail it to them.

When I visit family in the Boulder area, S,S & S is the "only" place that I "must go to."