My very first day in New York, Sarah and I ended up at a darling little farmer's market in Union Square. We were early to meet up with my cousin, so we wandered around the market and there was a booth selling things from their organic upstate sheep - wool, yarn, soap, hides, meat. I almost bought a skein or two of yarn from that booth, and at this particular moment I am totally wishing that I had done this. I thought that was a bit silly, to blow my wad on the first yarn that I saw, what with ALL THE YARN that I was sure to be seeing later on the trip.
That was a FOOLISH MISTAKE.
I went to THREE yarn stores in Manhattan. Downtown Yarns, in East Village near the Lower East Side, was a darling tiny little place, recommended to me by my cousin due to being adorable. It was indeed adorable, and was typical of most yarn stores in that the service was terrible and the people were rude. The selection was just so-so (nothing terribly extraordinary, though all of it nice). They did have a cute sample sweater knit up at the front of the shop, a house pattern that they would give away free with the purchase of enough yarn to make it, but they did not have enough of any colour of the right weight of yarn to make the sweater, and refused to sell me the pattern by itself. I was sad, and left empty handed.
I walked (a mile or so) over to Purl Soho, perhaps the world's most famous yarn store. I was surprised to find that it was much smaller than I had expected - about the same size as my Clever Knits was. They had a few superluxury yarns (lots of cashmere and cashmere blends), a good sampling of 'staples' by Cascade, and SuperDuperChunky novelty yarns. All of it was RIDICULOUSLY overpriced, which is not too surprising considering its location and fame. I again left empty handed.
Another mile and a half uptown, towards Union Square, was the Lion Brand Studio. I had no intention of buying anything here (and indeed did not make any purchases). LBY is available at every big-box craft store, but since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I had to at least stop in to check it out. Again, I was surprised by the size - also roughly the size of Clever Knits. And it was neat to see the LBY collection yarns in-person, since those are only available from their store or website. I did see a selection of bags handmade by Southern California's own Slipped Stitch Studios which put a smile on my face.
Back in Union Square, the farmer's market was again happening, but this was a different day of the week and my yarn vendor was not present. So I left New York quite disappointed.
[cross-posted at sanctimony; subsequent non-fibery tidbits about my trip will only be posted there]