Wednesday, September 30

Purl Soho

Purl Knitting Store, originally uploaded by hadleyfierlinger.

Sorry for such a long time between posts but I have moved myself and my family from New Zealand to Brooklyn NY for 4 months. We have finally found our feet and are enjoying all the thrills and ills that NY is famous for. Not much has changed in NY since I was last here 10 years ago. In fact, I am amazed how little ever changes here. In some ways I feel like the East Coast of the US is frozen in time and I have a hunch that people like it that way. Fashions come and go and people jump on board in one way or another until they have had enough and then they toss it aside like yesterdays news. The revival of Knitting was of those trends that got it's start in NY. In Manhattan alone there are at least 10 knitting stores and last week I went exploring in Soho to visit one of my favorites : Purl.

Wow, just walking up to the store front was a magical moment for me. I have always loved the color of the storefront and the beautiful details of the shop itself and in person there were so many more details to admire like the original mosaic tile floor and beautiful NY style details in the wood work and door frame. I was also surprised to see just how small the store is in person. There were 3 employees, and maybe 4 customers and there was nowhere to move! I felt a little overwhelmed by the selection of yarns and ended up not buying anything but planning on returning for a ball of the Jade Saphire 12 ply Cashmere ($42 a skein) as soon as I can think of a project that only needs one skein. That yarn is amazing! I think Purl is such a success because of the way the yarns are displayed like they are objects to be coveted. Each little cubby overflowing with rare gems glimmering and calling to you to admire them. It was hard to resist not pulling out all the skeins and rolling around on them which is what I really wanted to do.

After visiting Purl, I walked over to The Point Knitting Cafe which sadly has closed down. This was just the beginning of a trend that I am sensing : knitting has had it's day as a trend and is returning to it's roots as a craft with longevity. Knitting is not a flash in the pan trend, it is a life long journey in which your skills improve as you work to create useful and beautiful garments that are treasures. Ok, maybe we will see a few less ipod coseys around the hood but the rest of us will keep knitting weather it be only sometimes. And, we need good knitting stores to make our projects sing!

On the subway ride home, I noticed a middle aged woman who brought our her crochet and began to work some rows on a egg yellow acrylic baby sweater. I have never understood why people use acrylic when they are going to the trouble to knit something with their blood, sweat and tears shouldn't it be a work of art made of beautiful yarn?


Nicole said...

I remember when I learned to knit I was going to get cheap acrylic yarn so that I didn't feel bad if something got ruined and my friend said "But it will just be something to throw away. You want it to be something to keep." That has stuck with me. I want the things I make to be "something to keep" And really, once you get used to the feel of a nice yarn, it is so hard to pick up that cheap stuff!

Isabella Golightly said...

I, too, have never understood why you would use acrylic yarn for anything - if you can't wear wool, then there is bamboo, cotton, silk... why ruin a good knitted object before you even make that first loop?

I'm looking forward to hearing how you're coping with the culture shock from NZ to NY - it's every antipodean's dream, isn't it?

Mel said...

UGH! Amen to that. What is up with acrylic? I mean if it is a budget thing peaches'n cream cotton (avail at even Wal-mart) knits up such soft cosy items.

Yep, I have a feeling you are going to get a bunch of comments on the Acrylic Factor. Anyhow, I think a lot of people feel the way we do about that. Cheers to your time in NY, what a magical time to be there.

Michelle W. said...

Oh I hear you! Acrylic...yuck. Feels like sandpaper on your fingertips and is itchy. Enjoy your travels.. ;)

Grace said...

I love New York so very much. Enjoy your time there!