November 10, 2008 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Where to buy yarn in NYC?

My friend is going to teach me to crochet this weekend. Where should we buy some good/cheap yarn in Manhattan?

posted by octomato to Shopping (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
P&S Fabrics has a pretty good selection and is cheap.
posted by doift at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2008

I just asked my friend this, like, two days ago. She suggested the following three places:

- School Products, at Broadway between 28th & 29th (on 3rd floor)
- Downtown Yarns, around Ave. A and 4th
- Knitty City, on 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam

I haven't been to any of them yet, but I may actually go to School Products tonight. If I do, I'll report back.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:10 PM on November 10, 2008

If you're mainly looking for something to learn with, you might think of putting up a "wanted" request on freecycle. I myself have gotten rid of a lot of nice, often new, yarn by responding to those.

You probably won't be able to get it today, but in future it might be worth it--lots of people start knitting and then aren't into it and want the stringy reminder of their failure cluttering up their house--make it a win-win situation by taking it for yourself!
posted by supercoollady at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2008

I spend most of my time in the fabric section, but I've always felt P&S was just a bunch of Red Heart acrylic yarn. Plenty cheap, but not so nice.
posted by soma lkzx at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2008

Jack's 99 Cent store on 32nd between 7th and 8th has had Lion's Brand yarn on and off for the last year... even nice stuff like boucle and eyelash.
posted by kimdog at 1:56 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I spend most of my time in the fabric section, but I've always felt P&S was just a bunch of Red Heart acrylic yarn. Plenty cheap, but not so nice.

They do have their share of the plastic stuff, no question, but there's a decent amount of wool and cotton too. No worse (and, importantly, no more expensive) than a suburban craft store.
posted by doift at 1:59 PM on November 10, 2008

You don't need "good" yarn to learn how to crochet; stick to thick, non-wispy yarn that won't slip through the needles or split accidentally. No boucles and eyelash yarns until you can master basic moves. In fact, you might want to stick to Red Heart because the very quality that makes it cheap--synthetic, scratchy materials--will make it stick to the needles better than high-quality, silky yarns. And you can find Red Heart at nearly any fabric store.
posted by zoomorphic at 2:01 PM on November 10, 2008

School Products is a really cool place, but they may have fancier stuff than what octomato is looking for. I did get some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, which is a good workhorse knitting yarn, there, but even that might be a bit more pricey than what the OP wants. I think most people learn to crochet with acrylic.

Smiley's in Queens is supposed to be the best place in New York to get cheap yarn. They have an annual Manhattan sale, but it's not until early December.
posted by craichead at 2:19 PM on November 10, 2008

Daytona Trim on 39th between 7th and 8th (I think) has inexpensive yarns, including acrylic ones.

Also, I love Seaport Yarn--their prices are good for NYC and the ladies there always remember me, even if I haven't been in in months. They're very near the Fulton Street stop in Manhattan.

Random pieces of unsolicited advice: I would start your first project with a 100% wool yarn--I find that acrylic yarns feel plasticky, and acrylic lacks wool's memory--the feature that allows it to get stretched a bit and then spring back into shape. I would use a 2 or 3-ply yarn in a medium weight (generally called worsted weight) or light bulky. If cost is an issue, you can get a mostly wool yarn with some acrylic or nylon in the mix.

I agree with zoomorphic that eyelash and boucle will be difficult to work with, at least at first. Also avoid yarns with a high percentage of mohair, since they can be difficult to rip out.

It's great you're learning to crochet!
posted by Lycaste at 2:27 PM on November 10, 2008

While you don't need "good" yarn to learn on, acrylic (like Red Heart) doesn't have much give to it. Wool has a natural elasticity that will make it easier to work with if you tend to work tightly, as most beginning crocheters and knitters do.

I would look for Lion Brand's "Wool," "Fisherman's Wool," or "Wool-ease" or Paton's "Classic Wool." These are simple, medium weight wools or wool blends. (It looks like P&S carries Lion Brand yarns.) Go for a lightish-to-medium solid color for starters; it will be much easier to see your stiches than in white, dark or variegated.
posted by weebil at 2:28 PM on November 10, 2008

Seconding zoomorphic; I'd start out with an inexpensive acrylic as your "training yarn" until you're confident enough to tackle an official crocheting project.

I knit and crochet, and although I can be something of a yarn snob, I really like Red Heart Super Saver for crochet projects such as amigurumi: it's sturdy, cheap, and comes in almost every color. If you want to make dolls or blankets, it's a very good choice. If you want to make clothes, scarves, or something else that you'll wear next to the skin, you might want to go higher-end. Cascade 220 and Lamb's Pride are good all-purpose yarns, and most nicer yarn stores will carry one or both brands.

A good compromise is Caron Simply Soft; it's an inexpensive acrylic yarn that can be found at craft stores, but has a much softer feel than Red Heart. As weebil mentions, Lion Brand has some good wools and wool blends that would also work for a first project.

It's worth noting that stores which specialize in yarn generally carry a different range of yarn than craft stores such as Jo-Ann or Michael's. You will almost never see $2.50 acrylic at a yarn store, and you will not see Cascade at a big-box craft store.

Whatever yarn you choose for learning, in addition to it being without frills/fuzz/eyelashes, it will help to pick a lighter, solid color so you can see what you're doing. It's pretty easy to miss crochet stitches, more so when you're working with black or navy blue yarn.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:31 PM on November 10, 2008

All of the yarn in my clothes come from Downtown Yarns.
posted by billtron at 7:07 PM on November 10, 2008

Good advice above about yarn choice.
Here is a map of yarn shops in NYC.
posted by zoel at 4:26 AM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's also Purl, on Sullivan between Houston and Prince, if you're downtown. It's a tiny store but the selection is huge and it's all really nice, quality stuff but with a wide range of prices. Sometimes when I'm walking by I have to stop and just gawp at the color selection in the window.

They also have classes- I think it's a stitch n bitch- related group- one or two nights a week, right in the store, if you're interested in that.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:00 AM on November 11, 2008

Oh, my wife once had a question about a knitting pattern in a book so she called Purl and they just handed the phone to the woman who wrote the book, who was there.
posted by billtron at 1:43 PM on November 11, 2008

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