Monday, 6 February 2012

New York knitting

We squeezed in a trip up to New York just before New Year's. The main purpose of the trip was to see the new Islamic wing of the Metropolitan museum (at least that was how I justified it). The REAL main purpose was to visit that holy of knitting holies, the yarn mecca of Habu Textiles, with side visits to Purl Soho and any other yarn shops I could fit in to our frantic sightseeing schedule.

We stayed in the enormous Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Ave, right across from Madison Square gardens. It was conveniently located right next to our bus stop, but unfortunately also conveniently located for all the Times Square gawkers and show goers. There was quite a long line for check-in, which got worse the closer we got to New Year's. But the advantages of staying in a large impersonal hotel far outweighed the disadvantages - the shower was brilliant (the second most important feature in a hotel room, after the size and comfort of the bed), and we had a pretty decent view.

Empire State viewed from our hotel window
First order of business after checking in was to go visit Habu Textiles. Habu only sells their own yarn, and additionally does not have a street-level shop - instead they open the front room of their studio in the garment district to visitors. So you are only going to find fanatical Habu fans like me there - a couple of other people did show up to browse the shop while I was there. But I had the place to myself for a short while, during which I swooped around the room exclaiming while I snatched up ever more odd and wonderful fibres.

They have an annual sale in December, and I was able to get 2 skeins of brown superfine merino and 3 skeins of brown wool/silk steel at 25% off, which I plan to use on a dress of my own design (New Year's resolution #1). I also bought a bag of odds and ends, which I hope to use in weaving (New Year's resolution #3). I have gradually accumulated a lot of random Habu yarns over the years (too expensive to buy enough for a large project, too intriguing to pass up), and I think it will be wonderful to experiment weaving with it.

In the end the only other yarn shop I managed to visit was Purl Soho. It's a nice enough shop, but the neighbourhood is not my favourite - Soho seems very much the part of town where the 1% hang out and shop. But we stayed long enough to check out their yarn selection.

Actually, they sell a lot more than just yarn, and I was very tempted by some specially dyed wool squares to make quilt blankets, but I already have piles of Scottish wool blankets. They didn't have any yarn I was crazy about, but I bought a couple of skeins anyway (it's not like you can go in a yarn shop and NOT buy anything!). My default choice in this kind of situation is fine, grey luxury. I bought a skein of Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply and a skein of Alchemy Silken Straw. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to weave myself a silk cashmere shawl.

Here are a couple of souvenir images of a wonderful quick visit to New York - a little metal hare from the excellent new wing of the Met, and Habu's cat mascot.