This whole thing drives me crazy too, as I use circs for almost everything (and mostly do blankets and afghans). I live in Houston, where there are no fewer than six Michaels and three Hobby Lobby stores close to home, work, or my folks. Plus I spend a great deal of time in Dallas/Fort Worth and the JoAnn Superstores up there. (We don't have AC Moore in Texas, but I have friends in the regions that do too, mandy.) My experience:
- For the longest time, the only circs I could ever find at any of these stores were 29".
- Eventually I started seeing Boye 35" at Hobby Lobby, but only for large needle sizes.
- Michaels and Hobby Lobby now stock Clover bamboo, but I never pay any attention to them because I don't like bamboo.
We have more in the way of LYSs than a lot of cities do, so I only occasionally have a problem (being an Addi addict), but if I were in a smaller town I'd probably have to go to the Internet. I think that sucks, that we can't just walk in and get what we need at stores with such buying power and a wide span of other products.
I remember someone else - not sure who - mentioning further up the thread that when her Michaels expanded its yarn, it decreased its knitting notions. I've noticed this too - they will often stock a new yarn but discontinue others they've been carrying to "make room" for it. My best guess is that knitting/crochet/yarn has been allotted *indicates box shape* "this prescribed amount" of space, so adding without taking away doesn't fit into the "plan-o-gram."
One last thing: I need to see if I can get my Stitch 'n' Bitch friends to post a tutorial. They were recently doing a service project with kids and made custom circs out of dowels and weed-whacker cording...may not be for everyone, but it might provide an option!