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"Travel Blog: Planet Purl Takes Manhattan"
Author:  planetpurl
Tags/keywords:  manhattan yarn shopping christmas new york
Planet Purl traveled to Manhattan over the 2008 Thanksgiving weekend for a little sightseeing and a lot of yarn shopping. Join us as we search out some prime yarn shopping spots in the Big Apple.
12/10/2008 - String


We saved this shop for last to end on a high note and we were not disappointed.  In fact, if we lived in NYC, this shop would be our favorite knitting spot.  We stopped in on the Monday after Thanksgiving and you would have thought they were giving away yarn judging by the number of shoppers and knitters.

String is located in a lovely neighborhood of townhouses on Mahattan's tony Upper East Side.  The shop is really cheery and bright and had a wonderful energy to it.  It's stuffed with yarns from Koigu, Sublime, Filatura di Crosa, Fiddlesticks, Prism, Classic Elite, Tahki, Rowan, Prism, Artyarns including a silk/cashmere blend made exclusively for String, Araucania, Blue Sky Alpaca, Misti Alpacas, Noro, and Trendsetter.

And our favorite part -- the back room is all cashmere!  Including some milled just for String to their specifications.  I loved the neon brights in cashmere.  So unusual.  There is even Koigu cashmere dyed specifically for String.  And for the first time ever, I was in the presence of gorgeous Qiviut in a shop rather than at a fiber show.  Bliss.......

Owner Linda Morse knows her luxury yarns.  In addition to stocking her shop with the softest yarns on the planet, she is also the author of Luxury Knitting.  The shop offers a pattern club where you receive two patterns a month and a 20% discount on the pattern yarns.  You can get more information on their website

String is within walking distance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, Cooper-Hewitt Museum and Central Park.  If you want to plan a perfectly romantic day in NYC, take a horse drawn carriage ride through the park, then do some yarn shopping at String.  Wonderful, no?  The shop is between Park Avenue and Lexington and you can take the subway if the horse drawn carriage is not your thing.  The 4, 5, or 6 will take you to the 86th Street station, just 4 blocks from the shop.

130 East 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
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12/10/2008 - School Products


We were so excited by this shop we can hardly write this post without hyperventilating.  First, we have to tell you we didn't know what to expect from this shop inside an office building in the garment district.  We knew it was Manhattan's oldest shop -- in business more than 60 years -- but the name threw us.  Was this a school supply company that had a yarn corner or what?  We knew the owner was Berta Karapetyan of Karabella Yarns and author of one of our favorite books -- Runway Knits -- but the name and location seemed at odds with real yarn shopping.  But on we went.  And if you go to NYC, so should you, knitting friend!

As you can see from the picture, the unassuming entrance to this treasure chest is an unassuming office building.  We checked with doorman to make sure we were in the right place, got on the elevator and then stepped off at the entrance to discount designer yarn heaven.

First, the name brands.  Everything Karabella is available here, naturally.  There is also a lovely selection of Classic Elite's luxury yarns, and Lamb's Pride for felting.  Then the magic.  Karabella manufactures their yarns in Italy, so they have connections with all the big milling factories there.  When there are factory overruns or a designer changes their mind for whatever reason, they call the Karapetyan's to see if they want the yarn.  At massive discounts.  And the only thing we like better than chocolate and pastry is a massive discount on luxury yarn.  In fact, we're feeling a little flustered just thinking about it.

Some of the great bargains on the day we visited included cones of fabulous French mohair, silks, bamboos, wools, and my favorite -- cashmere.  Lots of cashmere.  Lots and lots of cashmere.  We couldn't resist chunky cashmere tweed in a dark denim color. We had recently splurged on some Cashmere Elite Stormy (a cashmere tweed) at $55 for 100 grams.  The yarn at School Products had been milled for Giorgio Armani and came in great masculine grays and blues.  We grabbed three skeins of the blue for a cashmere scarf for Mr. PurlQueen at the bargain price of $20 per skein.  We're not kidding!  $20.  In fact, we need to take a short break now to go feel it again.  Be right back.

OK.  We feel better now.  Thanks for waiting. The shop is easy to get to by subway.  The R or W trains can take you the 28th Street station and put you out a few feet from the store, or you can take the B,D, F, N, Q, R, V or W trains to 34th Street/Herald Square and walk down Broadway to the shop which is near Broadway and 29th.   But seriously, even if you have to walk 40 blocks each way, do not miss this store!

School Products
1201 Broadway
New York, NY

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12/10/2008 - Purl Soho


If it's your first trip to NYC, you'll probably plan to spend some time wandering around the city's trendy Soho neighborhood for window shopping and browsing the chic shops.  The good news is that you can shop for yarn in Soho as well -- Purl Soho.

The shop is easy to get to by subway with a few blocks walk.  You can take the 1 train to Houston or the B,D, F, or V trains to Broadway-Lafayette.  If you've just visited the Point NYC yarn shop, you can walk to Purl Soho.   

This charming shop is packed to near bursting with yarn.  If you're a fan of Koigu Painter's Palette (and who isn't?), you'll find a great selection, along with Ozark Handspun, Farmhouse Yarns, lots of handpainted and handspun yarns, Blue Sky Alpaca, Jade Sapphire, Artyarns, Rown, Louet, Lorna's Laces and lots of chunky and fuzzy mohairs.  Notions include Addi and Bryspun needles.

Our favorite thing is that all the yarns have been knitted up in swatches that are nearly scarf-sized so you can get a real feel for how they look when knitted into a garment.

Purl Soho
137 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012

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12/10/2008 - The Point NYC

If you've read any of our travel blogs, you know there are three things we really love about travel -- chocolate, pastries and yarn.  The best of all possible worlds puts the three things in one place.  Ahhhhhh, we found nirvana at The Point!

The Point is located in Greenwich Village, north of Houston on Bedford Street, between 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) and 7th Avenue.   You can take the A, B, C, D, E, F or V train to W. 4th Street or the 1 to Houston Street.

The shop itself is bright and very friendly.  The staff was extremely helpful - not at all the NYC stereotype!  The shop features lots of our favorite brands including Alpaca with a Twist, Misti Alpaca, Jo Sharp Jojoland, Mission Falls Classic Elite,  Regia, Araucania, Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss and Rowan.  There is also a great selection of gadgets and notions from Addi and Lantern Moon, and a large selection of pattern books.

Now to the important part...the cafe.  Coffee, cappuccino, and lots of homemade pastries.  Yummmm.  There are several tables where you can sit, knit & nosh the day away.  We were there just after noon on a rainy Sunday and the place was abuzz with knitting and noshing activity.  And this was the first store we've visited where there were 3, count'em THREE, men knitting and/or shopping for yarn.  And not with women.  So if you're looking for a single man who knits while you munch on fresh pastry and shop for yarn......

The Point NYC
37a Bedford Street
New York, NY 10014
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12/10/2008 - Gotta Knit!


If you're in NYC on a Sunday and you just have to buy yarn, you're in luck as Gotta Knit! is one of the Big Apple yarn shops open on Sunday.  In fact, the Sunday we visited they opened at 11:00 in the morning.  So grab a bagel and some coffee, jump on the nearest subway train and get going!

The shop is easy to get to with public transportation.  You can take the B,D, F, N, Q, R, V or W trains downtown to W. 34th Street/Herald Square.  This puts you out at Herald Square and Macy's flagship store.  34th Street changes from West 34th to East 34th as it crosses 5th Avenue.  The shop is between 5th and Madison Avenues.  If you're sightseeing, the shop is only a couple of blocks from the Empire State Building as well.

Unless you live in a big city, the idea of a yarn shop inside an office building probably seems weird.  It certainly did to me.  When we walked up to the building, I thought we had to be in the wrong place.  Thank goodness there's signage.

Even on the ugly, rainy Sunday we visited, the shop was warm and welcoming.  In contrast to the gray skies, the shop was chock-full of colorful yarns from Cabin Fever, Trendsetter, Classic Elite, Plymouth, Cascade, and Reynolds.  There is a nice selection of luxury  yarns from Claudia Handpainted, Blue Sky Alpacas, Artyarns, and Prism, as well as the shops own private label yarn.  If you need needles or gadgets, Gotta Knit! has a good selection of buttons and notions.

Gotta Knit! is well known for their custom knitwear patterns.  See a gorgeous, designer sweater in a fashion magazine?  Bring a picture to Gotta Knit! and they'll write a pattern for you, help you pick out the yarn, and guide you through the knitting process.

Gotta Knit!
14 East 34th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
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12/10/2008 - Big Apple = Big Yarn Shopping
We love New York during the holidays -- open air Christmas markets, giant holiday decorations festooning giant buildings, spectacular window dispays at the big department stores, street vendors selling chestnuts roasting on coal braziers.  All surrounding some really fabulous yarn shops!  So cut a slice of cheesecake, pour some coffee, and come along as we take you on a tour of some of Manhattan's best yarn shopping spots.
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