Thursday, May 24, 2007

We Take Manhattan

In all the excitement over the new kitten (her name is Hazel and so far we have learned that she might like yarn, which is good because we have a lot of yarn), our LYS visits in NYC (are you down with the lingo?) have gone undocumented. Yesterday we hit four knitting stores in Manhattan:
  1. School Products, where we each got some amazing Koigu sock yarn. I remain puzzled about the name, as they really do sell only yarn. They seem to have good deals on higher-end fibers. I have really only shopped extensively for sock yarn and worsted weight wool & alpaca, so I can't tell you how good the deals are. They did have gray worsted-weight superwash wool for $12/lb. It's also available on their web site. Koigu is more or less the only sock yarn they have, but if you're just going to carry one, that's a good choice. I haven't shopped very much for Koigu, but it is really delightful: soft, squishy, and spun really well. We were the only people in the store, which was actually pretty spacious for a Manhattan shop.
  2. Yarn Connection, which was okay--they had some reasonably priced cotton that Lilyriver briefly considered for a tank top, though she ultimately decided against it. Very limited sock yarn selection--looked like maybe they were a little low on stock? Business seemed pretty slow.
  3. Knitty City, which was our favorite. They had a lot of sock yarn: Claudia Handpainted, a little Koigu, a few colors of Lorna's, Louet Gems, a limited selection of Regia & Trekking--all for the typical retail prices. I didn't buy anything, though I was very much tempted by the Claudia Handpainted in "Stormy Day." The shop looks like it has a lot of customers and a lively group of employees teaching classes.
  4. Yarn Company, which did not appear to have sock yarn. We didn't have time to ask them if this was really true or if we just missed something, but in the words of the immortal Keanu Reeves...Whoa. Okay, I totally should have known; they don't have any on their web site. There weren't too many people in the shop except a clique-ish group of women knitting around a table, and they ignored us--if it's important to you to get a "Hello" when you walk in the door, this might not be the place for you.
We also hit a really excellent used bookstore. Lilyriver found five volumes of Va. Woolf's diaries and I got a couple of novels I'd been wanting to read (Grendel and The Thin Place). So, in short, we came back with some sock yarn (and a little lace weight) and books, neither of which we have room for. After this whirlwind shopping tour, we had an excellent dinner with Susan, who kindly agreed to meet up with us after a long day at work.

We missed Seaport Yarns and PURL Soho, both of which were farther south in Manhattan than we wanted to go. PURL, especially, is supposed to be great, and their web site promises a fine selection of Lorna's Laces.

I do not need, nor should I buy, anymore yarn for a long time, but if I did...I probably wouldn't make a point of getting it from a LYS. It's sacrilege, I know, and I do understand the value of supporting local businesses and microcommunities, etc., etc., but you really can't beat the selection you can find online--and I really enjoy bargain hunting.

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