I know I do.
I hate going to Wal-Mart, yet I'm drawn there at least once a week.
Part of the dilemma is we feel that these big box stores are responsible for closing the smaller, local stores. Americans tend to want one-stop shopping; a place where we can buy everything we need without making extra trips, but at the same time we hate to see the big guy win and ruin the cultural landscape.
What we forget is that these box stores once began as small stores, but through luck, hard work, and good business sense began to create chains, like Borders and Wegmans, for example. They didn't start out to be "the enemy", but we have begun to perceive them in that way over time.
Knitters don't really have yarn superstores; we tend to support local yarn stores and avoid buying yarn at chain stores. That the yarn sold in these big box stores is not specialized of course plays a part. As a rule, however, an LYS is the place to go for your yarn and knitting accoutrements.
We also encourage entrepreneurialism by supporting sellers on etsy.
Of course Ravelry is a great place to buy yarn, meet people, find new projects, track current projects, and find knit-alongs.
I am a member of Ravelry and don't use it to the fullest extent, but I have participated in some swaps and knit-alongs.
Ravelry is a great community, and it seems to have everything we all need, so long as you're a member.
I thought it was perfect, until I received this email message this morning:
2008 Knit and Crochet Alongs and Swaps has posted a new item, 'This site is now closed.'
Ravelry has pretty much taken over all Knit-Alongs, so this site will no longer
be updated. Thanks to everyone who ran Knit-Alongs and sent them in to be listed through the past 4 years.
This was a website that listed KALs and swaps month-by-month, and was a pretty good compendium for these items. You didn't have to be a member, so if you found a KAL or swap in which to participate, you went straight to the link that was provided.
Now this site is closed, having folded to the bigger community in Ravelry. People may still hold independent KALs and swaps, but they will have to advertise through word of mouth if they choose not to use Ravelry.
So I got to thinking, and I will posit a question for your consumption:
Is Ravelry becoming the Wal-Mart of knitting?