While her stitches are knitting
December 4, 2010 8:28 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a friend some yarn for knitting in New York City. What kind and where?

A friend of mine is having an operation next week and she'll be stuck at home for a couple of weeks afterward. She's a knitter and I would like to get her some nice yarn to enjoy while she recovers. I am not a knitter and know almost nothing about yarn, so I'm turning to the hivemind for suggestions of what kind of yarn and what brick and mortar store I can get it.

If there is some knitting-related awesomeness other than yarn, let me know ... (I don't know if she's up to Alice and Wonderland mittens).
posted by sciencegeek to Shopping (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I really like Downtown Yarns on Avenue A in the East Village.
posted by telegraph at 8:38 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I went through a brief knitting phase, but I'm not an expert. I liked Seaport Yarn (sorry no link, am on phone). They had a ton of lovely yarn at all prices. The people who work there were knowledgeable and helpful.
posted by Mavri at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: School Products has lots of luxurious options for spoiling your friend. Something soft like this maybe?
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:51 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Do you happen to know what kind of things she enjoys knitting? This will make a difference in the amount and type of yarn you get your friend. As a knitter, it's not so great to get as a present an amount of yarn that's not enough to make anything with, no matter how gorgeous the yarn.

For example, I like knitting socks and lace - essentially stuff using very fine-gauge needles, and I'm okay with reading the graphical charts included in knitting patterns for these kinds of projects. So a pattern for some lace project, with a skein of fine laceweight yarn, would happily keep me occupied for weeks. On the other hand, this would not be a good gift for a knitter who likes knitting with chunkier yarns or enjoys colorwork projects. And a skein might not be enough yarn for projects other than lace or a simple scarf.

When you go to the yarn store, it would be best to have on hand information on the types of projects your friends enjoys, as well as any yarn preferences you might be aware of (animal fibers, non-animal fibers, etc.). This way the people at the yarn store can help steer you towards appropriate yarns as well as suggest the amount to get.
posted by needled at 8:58 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Malabrigo is luxurious and very wonderful to knit with. Noro Kureyon is beautiful. Both are a real treat for me.

Not shopped there in person, but I've heard Purl Soho is nice.
posted by ACN09 at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: I had a response typed up but needled said at all, better! Let the staff at a yarn shop guide you on your purchase once you've determined the type of project your friend usually knits, and the types of fibers she likes. I would add that you should also have an idea of your friend's favorite colors, because it's no good getting someone lovely yarn in a color they'll never wear.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice so far. I'm coming into this as a total novice and it definitely helps to know what kind of variables are important. My goal here is to get a bit focused before heading to a yarn store - otherwise I'd probably just wander around bewildered and petting various skeins of things.

I've seen her knitting a scarf, a hat and I think there was something larger than that at one point. The yarn I've seen her with has been soft, medium fuzzy and I know from non-knitting related things at work that she has a real sense for color. At one point we both admired something another person at work was making using a yarn with bamboo in it.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Ditto what Telegraph says above. My sister-in-law (always knitting, seriously) loves to visit Downtown Yarns when she visits. (Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Streets, quick walk from the F train.)
posted by eve harrington at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: What part of town are you in? There are nice yarns shops in almost every neighborhood. There's no need to travel far, especially if you don't have something specific in mind.
posted by kimdog at 9:12 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Purl Soho is a wonderful, if tiny, yarn store. I'm not a knitter, but I've been there with a friend of mine a few times and the staff has been very helpful to both the experienced and the clueless. If you go there and tell them what your friend likes to knit, I'm sure they can recommend some lovely yarn for her.
posted by bedhead at 9:14 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Knitty City on 79th between Amsterdam and Broadway is probably my favorite overall; they have a lot of things at different price points, probably the best Malabrigo selection in the city, the most sock yarn, and the staff is really friendly and helpful. If you're looking for a nice single skein, I'd go for a skein of Sweet Georgia or Madelinetosh sock yarn, which they stock a good amount of -- you can do a pair of socks or two pairs of fingerless gloves or a small shawl, and it doesn't knit up as fast as a heavier-weight yarn. It's a lot easier to find a good single-skein project for a finer yarn than a thicker one.

Downtown Yarns is also great.

Purl Soho on Broome west of Broadway has some extremely nice stuff, a lot of cashmere and silk, but not as good a selection of sock yarns and their staff always seems hurried.
posted by Jeanne at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: You can also get her a gift certificate from someplace like The Loopy Ewe or Eat.Sleep.Knit, which both have nice selections of really nice yarn and have excellent customer service and quick shipping.

If you're going to buy one skein in person, I recomment Madelinetosh Pashmina. I just got some the other day and I CAN'T STOP PETTING.
posted by Addlepated at 11:43 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Thirding Purl Soho. I'm not a knitter myself, but when Mrs. starvingartist and I were in NYC visiting, her knitter mom asked us to stop there and buy her some yarn because she had heard great things about the store. It was pretty neat to visit, even if I had no idea what I was looking at.
posted by starvingartist at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good advice. I've marked everything as best answer. I went to Knitty City because it was the most easily reachable from where I am (1 train is my favorite ever). I ended up getting some Tosh merino in a sort of pink/rose color. I also petted many balls of yarn.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Yarn was given today and I think she liked it. She fortunately likes wool and the color I chose.

Thank you guys again. You made it easy to do something nice for someone.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:12 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Even more update: she's back at work and was talking about going back to get herself another skein.

Yay Metafilter!
posted by sciencegeek at 4:59 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

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