I love a bar crawl. Neil and I did a fantastic one before we left Australia — every bar in Brunswick, our suburb and home for 8 years. That’s 32 bars for those counting at home.
I’d never been on a yarn crawl before though. I guess there just aren’t that many yarn stores in Melbourne. I used to go to Wool Baa or Morris and Sons every now and then, but found I didn’t make the time once I went back to work. I had a sizeable stash and no time to knit with it. However, I got rid of all my yarn when we moved, except for a project’s worth from Knit Picks, so there was a small gap in my overall craft stash for a little bit of yarn.
I stumbled across the NYC Yarn Crawl, and at first, was a bit skeptical. I was actually searching for knitting circles so I could meet some fellow knitters and crocheters, and figured the crawl would be fun, until I realised it was self-directed. I thought about it for a little while, but in the end, I figured I would go to a couple of stores because I did have a small queue of projects, and it’s quite nice to go out and touch the fibre.
I headed out on Friday, the first day of the crawl. I figured the weekends would be a bit busy, plus I had to go to the Social Security office anyway, which was very close to one of the stores, Seaport Yarns. Seaport Yarns is on the 4th floor of a non-descript building, just like some of the stores in the Garment District. I always feel like a bit of an insider when I get to go to stores like this. It was a treasure trove of all kinds of yarn, much of it I hadn’t heard of before. It was a little chaotic for me so I didn’t purchase anything this time, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
Unlike the Garment District, none of the yarn stores are that close to each other. I made the decision to walk from the Financial District, up to SoHo, where Purl Soho is located. I was excited about this one, mainly because I’d heard of Purl Soho before. It was there that I realised this yarn crawl was a Big Deal. The store was packed! There was a twenty minute wait on yarn winding! I bought some super-secret yarn which will be made into a gift and won a tote bag, so it was all very exhilarating.
My next stop was Downtown Yarns on Avenue A, which is the edge of the Lower East Side. Once again, I decided to walk. It was turning into a great way to see the city. Downtown Yarns have the fluffiest
bear dog that I’ve ever had the privilege to pat. They also had a selection of yarns that is probably a bit more to my taste, very colourful. I bought some blue Malabrigo for a pair of slippers here. (I was shopping from a list, so I didn’t go too mad and buy really pretty variegated yarn that looks great in a skein and terrible otherwise).
Then I had to go pick up some medicine for the cat in Midtown. Not yarn related though.
From there, I was closest to Knitty City in the Upper West Side. I could have walked, but it was getting late in the day, and I knew that I wanted to meet Neil for a drink later, so I decided to catch the subway up there. I’ve not spent any time really up that way (there used to be a bar called The Ding Dong Lounge up there, but it’s closed now), so I was keen for a new neighbourhood. I think out of the four stores I visited, Knitty City was my favourite. It too was really busy, but the atmosphere was really lively. There were people knitting in store, the colours of all the skeins were amazing, and everyone was super friendly. I bought some Madelinetosh here for a new Bo-Peep Scarf (I gave my old one away).
They even put my photo on their Instagram! (Not pictured, but should be, seeing this shirt in real life was kind of amazing).
Being able to see and touch what are really notable yarn brands for the first time was super cool and a bit of a buzz for me. I considered dragging Neil out to some more stores on the weekend — I didn’t even hit any of the Brooklyn stores — but truth be told, I did buy most of the yarn that was on my list, and I have to be careful because I don’t have the room/will to store it anymore like I used to. Another nice side-effect of the tour was to just walk around the city for a day, which I didn’t consider initially. Sure my feet were sore the next day, but it was so worth it.
So this means along with my sewing projects, you’ll get to see some knitting projects in the future too!