I’ve just returned from a jam packed visit to the East Coast that included New York City, Washington D.C, Baltimore, New Jersey and Philadelphia. And needless to say, many trains, planes and automobiles. Our trip included no less than four baseball games, three cupcake shops and of course, many yarns shops. Here’s the wooly rundown, with links:
- Looped Yarn Works (Washington D.C.): My favorite stop of the trip was Looped, with Fibre Space in a close second. My new rule of thumb is that the best yarn shops always have a couch or chairs for people to hang out and knit. If they don’t want you to hang out and work on projects, it’s not a good sign. Looped had coziness in spades, and the staff was incredibly helpful. I could have spent hours there, exploring their beautiful yarns and talking knitting with the women there. I bought a gorgeous pink and purple aran (not a typical colorway choice for me) and a soft brown tweed. As I was leaving, the woman behind the counter offered to email me a pattern for the tweed yarn that she was in the midst of writing. How cool is that?
- Fibre Space (Alexandria, Virginia): As I mentioned above, the D.C. yarn shops swept the best in show categories for me. Fibre Space was a little hard to get to from where I was staying in Georgetown, but well worth the trip. The owner was incredibly welcoming, and I love how the show was laid out with information about the origin of the yarns. I was able to check out some great local yarns that aren’t available in San Francisco or on the West Coast. My favorite was the Neighborhood Fiber Company, which is based in D.C. Each of the colorways is named after a D.C. neighborhood, and since we stayed in Georgetown, I had to get the Georgetown blue in lace weight. I’m planning to make a soft, lacey scarf with it. I also bought some deep blue sock yarn and a Virginia project bag. Win.
- Pins and Needles (Princeton, New Jersey): My friend Ginger lives near Princeton, and when I saw this on Yelp, I convinced her to stop by on our way to dinner. It’s probably not worth mentioning because we hardly spent any time there at all…once we saw the prices. In the store’s defense, it’s more of an embroidery store than knitting, but until they day comes when I can pay $30-$40 for a basic chunky yarn, I think I’ll pass on this one.
- Purl SoHo (NYC): I adore the Purl Bee blog, and was really excited to visit their shop during my trip. I’m sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed. It’s a beautiful space, but the yarn selection was a little blah. They mostly had basics like Malabrigo and Cascade marked up far beyond what I’ve paid for them at other shops. When I told them I was visiting from the West Coast and asked if they carried anything local or special, the woman pointed me to some yarn from…California. Overall, it just seemed a little snooty and overpriced to me ($50 for a few yards of fabric?!) I did, however, leave with a deep purple fingering weight yarn and a few stacks of felt, so it was worth a trip.
- *Bonus Pick* New York City Garmet District: The Garmet District has a great array of shops to grab buttons and other trimmings. I picked up some beautiful silk flowers to put on hats and scarves. For those interested in sewing, there are a ton of fabric stores. We visited Mood, the fabric store that the contestants on Project Runway hit up for supplies. I’m supposed to get my mom’s hand-me-down sewing machine later this year when I visit Louisiana, and I can’t wait to delve into the sewing side of crafts.
What are your favorite yarn shops, on the East Coast or otherwise? My favorite is my local yarn shop, Imagiknit, but I’ll save that for a later post. If you have recommendations to share, I’d love to hear them!