Monday, October 3, 2011

NYC Yarn Crawl!

This past weekend was the NYC Yarn Crawl and what a great time it was!  We went in on Saturday to hit as many shops as possible.

This year there were 13 shops participating.  Our goal was 9.  We opted out of doing the Upper East Side shops (String and Annie & Co.) because they closed too early and Seaport Yarns because it threw a wrench into travel plans.  Also, I haven't heard good things about Seaport and String.  We weren't crazy about School Products so we omitted them too, but I would recommend going at least once because they have some unusual fibers there.

There's also lots of giveaways associated with the Yarn Crawl.  Not only do the individual shops have their own specials for the weekend, various companies contribute products for prizes too.  There's a scavenger hunt (have to find the "Keep Calm Carry Yarn" bag at each store), a raffle at each store for a basket of goodies, and a contest on the website for an extra basket and other goodies.

It was quite the long day though but here's my rundown:

Waiting for the Train

It was a nice cool morning so I got to wear my Tempest for the first time!  I'll be doing a write-up of that one shortly.  My train was at 9:55 and was surprising pretty packed.  I met up with Julia when we switched trains to head to Brooklyn first.

Once we got there, a stop at Starbucks was a necessity.  Even though I had coffee before leaving, I still felt sleepy.  We walked and chatted down Atlantic Avenue to our first stop:

I didn't make any purchases at Knit-A-Way (and forgot to take a picture of the store). I've been here 2 prior times, once in 2007 and once this past February.  I found this shop my first visit in the back of Stitch 'n Bitch.  Oh the wonders that book has been to me.  It was also the second LYS I ever visited.

Anyway, this store is average.  They have a lot of yarn and notions, but carry still carry some of the "Big Box" brands.  They do have a little of everything- Cascade, MadTosh, Karabella, Lion Brand, Misti Alpaca.  I've heard from others that they don't like the feel of this store- they feel like they're being watched and/or followed by employees.  I did not get that feeling this time, but I think in general it's hard to avoid that feeling.  Most shops are pretty small and the employee on duty is going to keep an eye on you because they'll pretty much be able to see you from wherever you are.  This store is pretty big though there are signs around the store warning you that you're under surveillance cameras.

After Knit-A-Way we walked down to Smith Street to hit up one of my favorite shops.  Oh, how I love me some LaCasita loving!

Julia peeking in the store window

This place was busy when we were there.  Lots of customers plus a class going on.  But that seems to be typical of the shop- there's always something going on there.

Free hard cider to start my day!

My pal Nancy from Getting Purly with It was there showing off her designs for Jade Sapphire, including two new patterns that aren't released yet!

The famous chin has a face to go with it today

Nancy's two new patterns are Elegant Lola (the aqua, yellow, brown gloves on the left) and Irene (the beige on the right and the brown one one the mannequin hand).  Right now they are making their official debut in London and a sneak peak here in Brooklyn.

My purchase.  Julia got the Irene pattern

I also bought some freakin awesome stitch markers!  I know I can make my own but these were too...cute might not be the right word.

Ok so mine are kinda low key, but there were some crazy ones- brass knuckles, various knives, guillotines, and the like.  They're pretty awesome.  The designer's website doesn't  list them though and I can't find anything on etsy for it either.

Always a great window at the shop

"Does a bear knit in the woods?"
Once we were finally done here, we walked some more to Union St and over the BQE to Brooklyn General.

I've been here once before and, like then, I wasn't that impressed.  The employees were super nice and helpful, but the yarn selection isn't that inspiring to me.  They do have some beautiful fabrics though.

So many signs- a tribute to the store's history

I did walk away though with some amazing fiber!  80% merino, 20% silk.  Such a dream to feel!  I thought this was an appropriate purchase since I was trying to avoid buying any more yarn.

Julia gave me the idea to buy a natural color so I could dye it later.  She did the same, but she bought even softer yarn than I did.

Before heading into the city, we stopped on Court St at World Pie for a slice of pizza.  Grungy looking hole in the wall place from the outside but the pizza was fantastic!

We jumped on the train and headed to our next stop.  First, I got us lost because we started walking downtown instead of uptown.  I tried to find a landmark building to get my bearings but by the time I saw 1 World Trade Center we'd already walked about 5 blocks the wrong direction.  No biggie though because we ran into a friend waiting in her car for her daughter.  She was not yarn crawling though but it was nice to see someone unexpectedly.

We finally made our way to Loopy Mango (my gosh it was about 5 steps from a different subway exit.  Ugh).  I forgot to grab a business card and take a picture of this shop.  This has to be the weirdest shop I've been to yet.  The front end of the shop is basically a hipster boutique.  The actual yarn shop portion was a small room in the back of the store.  While I don't think this is a shop I'd go back to, it was cool to see some of the interesting things they had there.  There was some very unusual yarns but my favorite part had to be the absolutely giant knitting needles and tapestry crochet hooks:

They were about a yard in length and probably about size 35ish?  Maybe larger.

I did make a small purchase there.  This yarn is perfectly named:

It's a rayon and wool mixture and sooooooooooooo soft.  I can see a wonderful baby blanket being made out of it, but I only bought one skein.  I actually want to make a little clutch out of it but haven't found a pattern to go with it just yet.

Upon leaving, I made Julia walk up Wooster St. so I could walk past Wooster Street Social Club (the tattoo parlor seen in NY Ink- Ami is such a hottie).

Just around the corner from Loopy, we popped into Purl SoHo.

This was my first visit to Purl, though I've driven past before on trips upstate.  I've always heard how beautiful and overpriced the store was.  And boy, were both of those true!

The store really is a knockout when it comes to appearance.  Even in the chaos of the Yarn Crawl it was immaculately organized.  Everything is in a gorgeous rainbow order sort of effect, just like their magazine advertisements (see here and here).  It was hard though to find specific yarn- there's no shelf labels or even the ball bands showing in the store.  That made looking at yarn a little overwhelming.

So I decided to look at fabric instead.  Holy shit!  Was all I could think looking at the prices.  Fat quarter bundles were labeled $30-$40, fabrics were $20-ish per yard.  Seriously?  I hope there's diamonds hiding in there somewhere for those kinds of prices.  I mean, New York City has countless fabric stores.  I'm not sure what makes those fabrics have those prices. I walked away disgusted.

And then I found the roving.  Amazing, expensive roving.

This one came home with me.  50% baby camel, 50% merino top.  I can't wait to spin it.

I still shudder thinking about the $40 it cost me though!

One thing I did find interesting was some small mini skeins of Koigu.  I think their purpose was for embroidery but it made me think of hexipuffs :o)

Everyone who made a purchase during the yarn crawl got to draw a raffle for a store prize.  I pulled out a ticket for a project bag stuffed with a couple goodies.

It has a sample of Soak wool wash, a Spud & Chloe baby sweater pattern, and the Family Tree Afghan pattern from My Grandmother's Knitting.  I actually wasn't overly impressed with some of the patterns in that book, but the afghan pattern was one that I did like.  It's a good alternative to knitting/crocheting squares for an afghan and it'll be a good way to use up scrap yarn.

Outside the shop the fluffy white clouds had been replaced by darker grey ones.  It was a bit more chilly which meant a good time to put my cardigan on again :o)

After Purl, we needed another caffeine fix.  Neither of us is sure which of our addictions is worse- caffeine or fiber.  It's a tough call.  So off to Starbucks we went again.  While Julia hit up the bathrooms, I sat and knit on my Moor Shawl (another KAL is going on at Knittng Like Crazy to keep us busy while Jen is busy getting married next weekend!).

Julia snapped this while I relaxed a bit.

Finally re-caffeinated, we took a 20 minute walk over to Downtown Yarns.

This shop is tiny.  Despite that, it has so much character and the employees were so sweet and, well, quirky.    The yarn selection here was pretty typical but they did have some really cute bags and zip-pouches.

Pretty parasol in the shop window

Fiber curtains!

I did leave the shop with some yarn.  I've heard people talk about Jitterbug so I figured I'd try some out.  I really love the color of this one.

And with any purchase, we received a coupon for 10% off our next visit!

By this point we were running about an hour or so behind my tentative schedule.  Because of this, we debated our next stop.  The two next shops were scheduled to close at 6 and the last at 7, except it was already about 5:15.

We took a chance and headed uptown to stop at Knitty City.  When we reached the 72nd St stop, it was already 5:55.  We decided to try anyway since we might be able to see the scavenger hunt bag from the window (a long shot).  When we got there, the front lights of the shop were off but the door was unlocked and there were customers.  We wandered a little but Julia had just been there a couple days earlier and I've been there before too.  I did wind up buying some Koigu because no matter how hard I tried, I could not make a 50 gram ball of this watermelon yarn into a pair of anklets.  I was just a smidge short each time.

I even got a fancy bag with my purchase!

We figured by the time we left that The Yarn Company was definitely closed.  And even if they weren't, we still wanted to make it to Yarntopia.

We walked out the door to realize it was raining pretty hard.  We ran to the subway.  I do not like running.  Oh, the things we do for yarn.

Yarntopia was fantastic!  They had some great yarns and a very friendly staff.

The window's dessert assortment

I left with some Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk for Mom's as-yet-to-be-determined Christmas project.  I love this yarn though

Griffindor socks sighting on the train ride home!

Well, it was another great event this year!  I sent in my scavenger hunt entries and have all my raffle tickets just waiting for the winners to be drawn!

We were exhausted by the end of it!  My feet hurt so bad.  I haven't worn sneakers since April or May so that was quite the adjustment.  I did wear my Open Hands socks and was very satisfied with the purl bottoms.  I'm trying them again on another pair of socks with a more tightly spun sock yarn.

Keep your fingers crossed that I win one of the prizes now!  Although I think that camel/merino roving was an awesome prize, even if I did have to pay for it.


  1. Wow! You scored big! I wish I'd had the stamina to make it to so many stores!!!

  2. Omigosh, that sounds like SO MUCH FUN! You're very lucky to have such a variety of yarn shops near you. More and more shops are closing near me as time goes on and there are only a handful left south of LA. :(

    P.S. I love the fiber you got AND your Tempest sweater!



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