Category Archives: Yarn Stores

Good-bye Purl By the Sea-Another Local Yarn Store Closes

Overcast weather on Montauk beach

Overcast weather on Montauk beach

Despite the forecasts for heavy rain, my husband and I took off Friday and headed out to Montauk for one last visit to Purl By the Sea before Nora Franzetti closed its doors. Ever since we first discovered Purl By the Sea nestled behind the main drag in Montauk, it’s been the bright spot in our visits to the beach. It’s always been welcoming and friendly circle of knitters. Women who live in the area combined with those who vacation there regularly. Further, it had a great assortment of yarns including low priced work horses such as Lamb’s Pride as well as unusual high end specialty yarns. To add to the allure, Nora kept an amazing selection of knitting books.

The vibe in this store is wonderful and it’s closing is real loss to the knitting community. I feel very lucky to consider myself a part of this circle of women. They were very welcoming to my husband who tended to quietly take up residence on their husband’s rocker in the back corner.

We thought that we would be able to beat the rain. But by the time we got to the beach, it started drizzling and after an hour of camping out beneath our rain gear, we decided to head for Purl By the Sea.

Since it was our last visit, we spent most of the day there. It was the beginning of the 50% off sale and stuff was flyingout of the store.

I bought the last two Barbara Walker stitchonaries (Volumes 3 and 4). I also bought a 47 inch Addi in case I make another Hemlock Ring Blanket. Of course, I couldn’t resist at least one more addition to my stash. I bought a few hanks of Blue Sky Baby Alpaca to make a scarf which should be very soft!

Since the weekday trains back to Manhattan are scarce. We walked around Montauk in the light rain and headed back to the beach for a last look at the cloudy sky.

We treated ourselves to East by North East, a fancy local restaurant, which serves pan Asian cuisine. It was a nice way to cap off the day. Of course, our train didn’t get back into Manhattan until about 2.00am…

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Yarn Shopping in the Valley – LA Bound with Yarn

These days, I try not to travel without making at least one stop for yarn. It allows me to expand my stash and gives me a great souvenir from the place. Since I  was headed to Los Angeles for  a long weekend with my sister and her family, I checked on the status of some of my favorite Los Angeles based yarn emporiums and was disappointed, although not surprised to discover that they had closed. Fortunately, one of the members of my Upper Westside Knitters group had relocated to the Los Angeles area and visited our group earlier in the summer. She recommended a store in Burbank which is part of “The Valley” called Unwind. Also, Megan who had worked at The Point had recommended another store in Studio City called the Stitch Cafe .

These two stores made a great afternoon knitting expedition which was relatively easy to accomplish since the stores are close by Los Angeles standards (i.e. less than a half hour away.) The fact that my sister lives in one of the neighboring suburbs was an added bonus (translation: limited driving to get there.) Please note that if you’re in Los Angeles and decide to visit these shops which I strongly recommend that you do, make sure to check the addresses. The stores blend with the other retailers in the neighborhood so that they can be difficult to spot if you’re driving and looking at the same time.

Unwind-Burbank, CA Yarn Haven

Unwind-Burbank, CA Yarn Haven

Unwind Yarn Store WIndow All Dressed Up

Unwind Yarn Store WIndow All Dressed Up

Heartland Shawl Inspiration at Unwind

Heartland Shawl Inspiration at Unwind

Yarn greets shoppers at Unwind in Burbank, CA

Yarn greets shoppers at Unwind in Burbank, CA

Comfortable seating at Unwind, Burbank, CA

Comfortable seating at Unwind, Burbank, CA

Unwind is a relatively large store from my New York City perspective. It has a specious feel to it and there’s a big table in the back that was filled with women working on various projects including Stephanie the owner. The store was friendly which I can’t say about all of the shops that I’ve visited in Los Angeles. It had a great selection of yarns and there was a variety of projects that were knitted to entice all levels of knitters. I was inspired to make the Heartland Shawl based on the sample in the window.

I bought a skien of a locally dyed sock yarn by Pagewood Farm called Chugiak with the intention of making a small shawl. The color had the wonderful name: Mardi Gras. It was a pinkish yarn with bursts of green and dark blue.  I must admit that sock yarn makes a wonderful souvenir purchase since it’s large enough to create something without making a dent in either your budget or your stash. (Note to self consider becoming proficient at socks.) I would have loved to stay and knit but I wanted to make another stop before returning home.

Stitch Cafe in Studio City, CA-See the knitting needles?

Stitch Cafe in Studio City, CA-See the knitting needles?

Yarn colorfully arranged at Stitch Cafe in Studio City, CA

Yarn colorfully arranged at Stitch Cafe in Studio City, CA

I also stopped at Stitch Cafe in Studio City which is a cozy little yarn shop where the yarn is tucked into overflowing containers. It has a big table in the center of the store where a knitter was getting help with her work. There were some yarn brands that were new to me and some wonderful Malabrigo sock yarn. I loved the feel of the store and believe that if I lived in the vicinity that I would become a regular here as well. Unfortunately, my sister called to let me know that she was on her way home so I cut my visit short.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Catskill Adventure – Mountain Yarns

Peaceful knitting on the deck in Margaretville,NY

Peaceful knitting on the deck in Margaretville,NY

Friends of ours have a cabin in the woods in upstate New York near the town of Margaretville. Surrounded by trees, it’s a wonderful respite from the statuesque buildings of Manhattan.

The wrap around porch has inviting chairs that allow visitors to take in the natural beauty while reading, surfing or knitting. It could star in one of those Verizon Wireless ads since it’s in the center of a mobile dead zone.Don’t worry –our friends have gotten a landline for communications and internet access to stay connected.

My girl friend was excited that we were visiting since she wanted to show me “Mountain Yarns” which is a great yarn, knitting and weaving store nestled inside of a larger building of boutiques.

The owner, Tina Harp, is a multi-talented fiber artist who spins, weaves and knits. The store spills out into a cafe area where visitors can purchase homemade baked goods and coffee.

Welcome to Mountain Yarns

Welcome to Mountain Yarns

For Sale - hand woven goods

For Sale - hand woven goods

Cashmere Lace Shawl - Hand Made with Love

Cashmere Lace Shawl - Hand Made with Love

Old fashioned knitting needles and accessories

Old fashioned knitting needles and accessories

Hand weaving in progress at Mountain Yarns

Hand weaving in progress at Mountain Yarns

Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns and Store Mascot

Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns and Store Mascot

The shop isn’t for crafters only. Tina has filled it with hand made items for purchase as well as yarns and other materials. In particular, there was a collection of hand woven guest towels and scarves. The centerpiece was a circular lace shawl in cashmere lace weight. 

I was enticed by the collection of knitting tools from yesteryear at yesterday’s prices. I love the older plastic circular needles which are difficult to find, even on eBay. So I stocked up on one of every size as well as some tiny crochet hooks and other accessories.

My girlfriend  spent her time weaving since she’s taking lessons and needed more time to finish a piece that she was working on. 

If you’re in the neighborhood, Mountain Yarns is a treat and well worth the visit.   

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Purl By the Sea Knitted Celebrations & Knitting Needle Challenges

 

Montauk beach greetings my knitting

Montauk beach greetings my knitting

My husband and I trekked out to Montauk to take advantage of the glorious mid-summer weather and to visit Purl By the Sea. 

I am working hard on my Hemlock Ring Blankie since it’s a gift for friends and I need to be finished before next weekend. One of my problems is that it’s gotten so big that I had to switch to my Denise knitting needles and they have a propensity for coming undone. This isn’t a problem when you’re knitting a smaller scale project and you only use one cord. BUT when you start adding cord to cord to cord, the chances of one of the links coming apart in the middle of your knitting increases.

Unfortunately, given the thickness of the yarn, my Hemlock Ring Blankie no longer fits on 36 inch circular needles. Thankfully, Nora at Purl By the Sea stocks longer sizes of Addi Turbos so that I could switch to 60 inch size 11 needles to speed through the last repeats of my Blankie. (Despite her urging me not to, I also bought the 48 inch size as well! They will be tough to find when she closes the store.)

Since my husband has been bugging me for a pair of socks ever since I made him the first set a couple of years ago, I decided to take advantage of Purl By the Sea’s Going Out of Business Sale. I bought some wonderful blues, greens and purple merino from ArtYarns. It’s a manly green and blue mix which I find appealing so that there’s hope that I’ll be able to knit with it.

As friends of the store, we were invited to a special treat. The knitting circle had made a birthday party for one of the women and everyone brought wonderful dishes to share. My husband, who is also considered a friend of the store, and I partook of the great food. 

 

Homemade Chicken Wings

Homemade Chicken Wings

Homemade Tortellini Salad

Homemade Tortellini Salad

Homemade Goat Cheese Pizza

Homemade Goat Cheese Pizza

Since I don’t have any shots of my knitting, here’s one of my Purl By the Sea friends who is knitting the most wonderful baby blanket. It’s a solid piece with designs knitted into different boxes. What a great way not to get bored!

 

Friend's Baby Blanket with Design Knitted Into It

 

Friend’s Baby Blanket with Design Knitted Into It

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Montauk Bound – Beach & Fountain Pen Shawl Knitting

 

Train knitting - Fountain Pen Shawl in Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn

Train knitting - Fountain Pen Shawl in Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn

Since Purl By the Sea is closing, my husband and I are heading out to Montauk to take advantage of the great ocean beach and the friendship that we’ve build with the other knitters at Purl By the Sea. 

My husband treated me to a wonderful trio of knitting books including Volume 2 of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries and her Knitting from the Top Down. With Nora’s great array of books, it was a tough choice. 

I used the train and beach time to work on my Black Malibrigo Fountain Pen Shawl. While the Malabrigo  merino sock yarn is great to knit with (although I would caution against using black. In my defense, it was a choice of black or white since I waited for The Point to put it on sale.) It is light enough to be able to knit on the beach which is good since the sun light makes the knitting easier. 

As a pattern, here are the advantages and  drawbacks of the Fountain Pen Shawl:

  • For knitters, like myself who use stitch markers to measure each pattern repeat, the shawl required re-arranging the stitch markers at the beginning of each new set (or every 16 rows.) 
  • The patten wasn’t sufficiently interesting after the first set of repeats to keep my attention. Please note that this may be a plus for a new knitter.
  • The shawl used nups which are a sign of a hand made piece but do so sparingly for those who dread them or once per repeat.

 

Yarn Harlot Inspired Shot of Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl on Montauk Beach

Yarn Harlot Inspired Shot of Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl on Montauk Beach

Fountain Pen Shawl Detail on Beach - Note how each repeat looks like a pen nib?

Fountain Pen Shawl Detail on Beach - Note how each repeat looks like a pen nib?

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Purl By the Sea is Closing

Yarn draped above the knitting table at Purl By the Sea

Yarn draped above the knitting table at Purl By the Sea

It was with great sadness that I read Nora Franzetti’s email announcing the closing of Purl By the Sea in Montauk. While it’s difficult to call a yarn store that’s a 3 1/2 hour trip from your home a LYS, Purl By the Sea is such a special place where everyone’s always glad to see you. Further, as a knitting haven, it has a great assortment of yarn for the budget conscious as well as the yarn snob. To add to the benefits, Nora added a broad selection of knitting books, with many that I had wanted to add to my knitting bookshelf.

Since Purl By the Sea is closing my husband and I decided to trek out to Montauk every weekend that we didn’t have other plans this summer to get our dose of beach time and yarn store time.

I hope that other knitters on the east end of Long Island make the trip to experience the warmth of this cozy store.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Maine Bound Knitting

Visiting our friends in York, ME has become a mid-July event where we combine great friends, ocean air, good food and knitting. 

As a surprise, I brought my friend Amanda the set of Heirloom Lace Placemats. Unfortunately, I miscalculated my knitting time and was shy of finishing the last placemat. Despite my efforts to knit on the bus, I wasn’t able to finish in time. I still wrapped the blocked mats and plain black napkins as a house warming gift. To further complicate matters, I ran out of black yarn so that I had to rip back a few rows to make the mats match.

While the placemats make a decorative home-related gift, I found that knitting four of the same pattern got boring. I would suggest using related lace patterns in the same color yarn as a variation.

While the weather was uncooperative for a summer weekend at the beach, we used it as an excuse for heading up to Bath, ME to check out Halcyon Yarns. Halcyon Yarns is a great haven for fiber artists. It’s like a clean warehouse chock full of various fibers and related tools. The sales folks are really knowledgeable about the intricacies of knitting. Plus there’s a room filled with books like a small knitting library.

There’s so much wonderful yarn that it’s difficult to decide what to buy. I was swayed by a small producer named Swan’s Island which is a real location off the coast of Maine. My family stayed there for a summer when I was a child. I bought a skien of a blue-green sock yarn to make a shawl with.  Additionally, I bought a couple of books on making gurnseys which were difficult to buy elsewhere. That too was a hard choice but the women who helped me tracked down the books that they thought were best including a small one from the UK.

 

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Isles of yarn-eye candy

Isles of yarn-eye candy

To my surprise, we made a stop on the way back at Tess Yarns. For anyone who hasn’t had the joy of experiencing the lush hand dyed colors, I strongly recommend a visit to the shop or a yarn festival. While the price of many of the types of yarns can be rather dear, there are some well priced yarns such as the merino superwash. My biggest challenge is finding enough yarn of the color I want. This trip I kept being attracted to by the same greens I bought at Halcyon. 

 

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Welcome to Tess Yarns

Welcome to Tess Yarns-Weren't you here last summer?

 

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

 

 

 

In the end, I did something that I rarely do. I bought a single skein of a wonderful purple/magenta sock yarn for a small shawl. Despite searching the entire store, three wasn’t another skein to be had. In addition, I bought two other skeins of a blue for another shawl or short sleeve top. (I must confess that I have several other purchases from Tess lurking near the bottom of my stash waiting to be knitted.)

On the way back to York, we stopped for a wonderful lobster roll by the side of the highway out of Portland. It was a cute stand where we were the only patrons (which was no surprise since it was late by the time we finished shopping.)

 

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Montauk Bound With Knitting

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

 

We love the beach in Montauk which can be relatively empty (at least by New Yorkers’ standards) on holiday weekends. It’s a wonderful expanse of beach with rolling waves that make for peaceful rejuvenation. Of course, it’s not every Manhattanite’s idea of a “local” beach but my husband and I make it an adventure and it beats battling the local airport or driving out of town.

The over 3 hour train trip from NYC’s Penn Station to Montauk gives us an opportunity to sleep, read or knit. We enjoy bagels and coffee on the train and are ready to hit the beach by the time we get to Montauk.  There are a variety of local taxi companies that meet the infrequent trains making getting to the center of town a breeze. From there we can walk to the beach, food and Purl By the Sea.

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

I always love visiting Purl By the Sea. While most knitting stores attract wonderful knitters and crocheters, there’s always laughter around the knitting table at Purl By the Sea. It sends out such good vibe that my husband likes sitting in the spouse rocker and hearing the joyful chatter.  

 

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

On July 5th, there was a local spinner giving a demonstration and selling her roving and yarn, both merino and alpaca. The spinner’s wares were spread through out the store.

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

 

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Additionally, Nora Franzetti, the owner of Purl By the Sea, had been to TNNA and stocked up on new yarns and wonderful books. She brought back samples of yarns and books that she’s considering. She showed me a stack of signed knitting books to make any knitter jealous.

Since I am still swatching and testing the Botanica Medallion from Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting, I bought more Tahki Cotton in aqua and forest green to add more color to the top.  I was lucky that I picked a color that many of the Purl By the Sea knitters don’t like!

For me, the entire day was a knitting adventure. I had time to work on several projects including the Fountain Pen Shawl and the Hemlock Blankie which has been a great beach project. 

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Memorial Day Means Montauk & Yarn

Montauk-The End

Montauk-The End

As beach-loving New Yorkers, My husband and I have ready access to numerous beaches including famous beaches within the city’s boundaries and those along the southern coast of Long Island and the eastern edge of New Jersey. Given our penchant for relatively empty beaches, an oxymoron in New York City in the summer, we like to take a day trip to the land’s end otherwise known as Montauk. Of course, the three hour plus train trip isn’t everyone’s idea of heaven but I bring knitting and my husband brings reading.

 

The beaches are wonderful with their sparse dunes and bent over wind bent trees. We were among the hardy souls who braved the windy weather on Memorial Day. We nestled just below the dunes to be sheltered from the wind which  was too much for our umbrella. We needed to wrap up with hoods to keep the flying sand out of our hair.  The sands buried our blanket so completely that if we hadn’t be laying on it, we would have never found it.

Dunes at Montauk Beach

Dunes at Montauk Beach

Montauk Beach - Deserted due to wind

Montauk Beach - Deserted due to wind

By mid-afternoon, we were ready for a visit to Purl By the Sea. Purl By the Sea is a wonderful local yarn store run by Nora Franzetti  who is also a real estate agent in Montauk. The store is packed with a great selection of yarns from the budget conscious Lamb’s Pride to small producers. There’s a large table in the middle of the store that her husband built. It always has a great of friendly women crowded around with lots of food, chocolate and laughter. My husband who was nestled in the spouse’s rocker said that he felt good listening to the laughter. 

Cotton Color Selection at Purl by the Sea

Cotton Color Selection at Purl by the Sea

Yarns burst out to greet knitters at Purl by the Sea

Yarns burst out to greet knitters at Purl by the Sea

Manos deep color hangs over the knitting table at Purl by the Sea

Manos deep color hangs over the knitting table at Purl by the Sea

I bought some aqua colored Tahki cotton to make the Medallion top from the cover of Vogue Knitting Summer 2009. (Since I had 4 1/2 balls of white in my stash from a yarn swap, I only bought 5 balls. due to the fact that  the women tried to talk me into another color, I think that there will be more if I run out.) I plan to make it on my vacation in June.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Webs Tent Sale Means Yarn Adventure

Webs is every knitters’ idea of heaven with a wide variety of yarns and brands including a great selection of related tools like knitting needles and looms. In addition to the quantity discount, they have a warehouse filled with discounted items and cones of fiber. For me, it’s a treasure hunt. Being fortunate to have a fiber-friendly husband, I tend to make an annual pilgrimage as part of a trip further north during the summer.  

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

This year, my friend Amanda persuaded me to join her for the  Webs’ Annual Tent Sale. She didn’t have to work very hard to convince me to meet her for a girls weekend of yarn-related road trips and knitting.  Since Amanda got to last year’s sale mid-afternoon by which point the merchandise was well picked over, we left at the crack of dawn to get to the sale early. Webs had taken over a nearby parking lot and there was lots of activity under the tent. There were so many people that we had to wait to get containers to collect the items we wanted.  The people at the tables were at least three people deep debating the virtues of the various fibers and brands. In addition to yarn there were carryalls and needles (which were a bargain at $1 and $2 a pair!). Fortunately, it was cloudy which kept the heat down. 

At one point, I spied a couple of cartons with a big crowd. It turned out to be free fiber! I got some wonderful white cotton with fushia rayon wrapped around it as well as some rust and baby blue ribbon. It was the idea of free that drove me since I stopped knitting with ribbon ages ago. I went through the various tables at least three times before making my decisions. The bags of Noro for $49.95 kept drawing me over. There was an especially wonderful turquoise, green and yellow blend. Amanda persuaded me that I still had a bag of Noro Silver Thaw from two years ago so…No Noro for me! The tent line took about a half hour. Part of the problem was that there were several yarns that were mismarked in the computer system. 

Then we went inside where Amanda was on a mission for some Cascade 220 for a special project as well as some sock yarn for a friend who had to work. Not one to pass up the opportunity to drool over Web’s inventory, I meandered through the warehouse. There were some wonderful treasures but I restrained myself and waited on line. Inside, there were four separate check out lines that snaked through the store! It took another hour to get checked out inside.  

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

Outside, there were some local purveyors of fiber and animals. It’s like a mini-fiber festival.  

Naturally dyed wool

Naturally dyed wool

 

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

 

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

We left with some great yarn buys and our stashes happily enhanced!  As Amanda pointed out we extended our lives by increasing our stash. Between keeping us calmer and augmenting our SABLE, buying yarn is a great life insurance policy.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief