travelknitter in new york

I’ve been doing so many knitterly-related things lately but for some reason I don’t seem to have blogged about any of them yet; not sure why.  Anyway, I’ll start in chronological order, which means a quick re-visit of my trip to New York.

A lifetime soaking up the mythology of New York of course had built up so many pre-conceptions of the city, it was always going to be some feat to reconcile that with reality.  I only had six days in NYC, and we were staying quite a long way out of Manhattan, so commuting seemed to eat in to quite a bit of my sight-seeing time!  The weather varied between intensely hot and humid to downright pouring with rain, so various touristy things needed to be squeezed in as much as possible.

On to my knitting adventures…

When doing my pre-departure planning I discovered that there are something like two dozen stores in NYC that sell yarn.  That’s ridiculous!  I know New York’s population size swamps that of London, but clearly there are some knitters in New York.  On my first trip on the subway I was very pleased to see a fellow knitter; NY subways are so much more spacious than the London Underground so I think knitting is a more viable option.  Plus having air conditioning is an absolute bonus; there’s nothing like having yarn stick to your hands in the intense humidity.  Anyway, I managed to pull out my knitting on the subway a few times, so one knitting accomplishment achieved!  I loved the mosaics in the subway stations:

mosaic

As we were staying in Brooklyn, the wonderful Brooklyn General Store was my first knitting destination.  What a great place!  I think this was actually my favourite of the yarn stores I went to.  Good range of yarns, all beautifully displayed in wooden cube shelving.  Plus they stock my beloved Japanese fabrics from Kokka.  Sadly I arrived not long before closing time, so I had a quick wander around and took a quick snap on the way out.

brooklyn general

Next stop on the journey was the famed Purl Soho.  Very cute little store, and given just how small the premises are, they seem to punch above their weight in terms of reputation.  Lots of nice yarns and the sales assistant was friendly and helpful, despite also managing a group of knitters around the table and simultaneously winding yarn.  I didn’t even go in to the fabric store; perhaps because I was distracted by the delicious plum tart that I bought a few doors down?  Scrumptious, but a shame about the paper plate.

plum tart

Even though I’ve been to Avril in Tokyo, I couldn’t possibly go to NYC without stopping in to Habu.  For this adventure I took along my aunt and her friend.  This is one of those New York stores that is tucked away upstairs in a nondescript office block.  The concierge took one look at the three of us and knew instantly that we were headed to Habu and pointed us in the right direction with a chuckle.  I find that Habu is one of those places where you need to do your research beforehand; being faced with such an assortment of tiny skeins, balls, and cones of yarns spread out in baskets on the floor might be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated!

habu yarns

I spent ages playing with all the yarns, and came away with three cones of yarn – amazingly this was my only souvenir yarn from the whole trip!  But there was lots of inspiration…

habu mosaic

I also went to Knitty City.

This store has a real mix of yarns, with lots of highly sought after goodies (the Malabrigos and Madeline Toshes of the world) but the layout didn’t really work for me – lots of yarns nicely displayed on shelves but lots that were also in mixed boxes on the floor.  It took me a few laps around the store before I was confident that I had fondled all the was to fondle.  I picked out some Koigu KPM in a gorgeous green colour, but after doing a couple of laps while holding it, I realised I didn’t like the feel of the yarn, so that went back on the shelf.  I had one must-buy though, for which I needed assistance to find: a copy of Amimono Spring/Summer 09.  I know the season has past, but this was on my list of things-I-can’t-get back-home, and I’m a bit behind with my knitting anyway.

During my week in NYC I also managed to stumble across Seaport Yarns and went to the famed School Products where my friend purchased a couple of skeins for her ‘New York shawl’.  At various times I also stood outside the front doors of Downtown Yarns, String, and Annie’s, but sadly not at a time that they were open.  Clearly, NYC just has too much to see in a short space of time.

I did also fit in some of the ‘regular’ NYC touristy stuff, but the weather was just too rainy to get photos.  We spent a few hours wandering around Central Park (wandering to the point where we went in the wrong direction and ended up where we started!)  Even though the weather was still definitely summer, the park’s squirrels seemed to be preparing for autumn just around the corner…

central park squirrel

I know they’re just the same as London squirrels, but they seemed so friendly and happy to engage with us.  Kind of like the locals that I met during my stay; incredibly friendly and willing to chat.  It’s a great city, and I’m already planning my next visit.

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