Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yarn Crawling: The Ladies Who Lunch Tour

Ladies Who Lunch

The Ladies Who Lunch Tour
Ladies and Gentlemen who need cashmere. Ladies and Gentlemen who will enjoy the thrill of strolling by the windows of high fashion at skyscraper prices on the Upper East Side. Ladies and Gentlemen who want to end up at the Metropolitan Museum. Ladies Who Lunch.

Caveat for this tour: I am a Downtown Girl with a Brooklyn Wallet, not a Lady Who Lunches with an Upper East Side Pocketbook. I haven't been to a single one of these yarn stores. However, having written the tour now, I'm quite excited to take it. I herewith present you with the tour and the chance to beat me to it.

Edited to add: I forgot The Wool Gathering on this tour!
Feel free to start at The Wool Gathering at 84th at 2nd Ave and then proceed to the rest of the tour as below.
String at 1015 Madison Avenue, between 78th and 79th Street. It's a Madison Avenue yarn boutique with appropriately, outrageously, Madison Avenue Yarn. The woman who owns the store literally wrote the book on luxury knitting. Cashmere, silk, and more cashmere. There's so much Cashmere in that store, even the Koigu is in cashmere. That's right, Cashmere Koigu KPPPM (except it's not M, it's C, for Cashmere). You have been warned.

When you're ready to step outside and begin breathing again (after you've emptied your wallet or broken your heart from what you left behind, or both), you could stroll down Madison to 75th Street and turn left and walk four long avenue blocks to Knitting 321 at 321 E 75th Street. If your legs are still a little wobbly, go up to 79th Street and take the M79 bus crosstown to 2nd Avenue and walk to 75th Street, left on 75th. (I know, that sounds like the same amount of walking, but it's uptown/downtown blocks vs. crosstown blocks, trust me here). Knitting 321 also tilts towards the high-quality, high-fashion, high-price end of the yarn spectrum. Please, don't let that stop you. It's a yarn store. A store full of yarn. What could be wrong with that?

From Knitting 321, you can walk back west to Lexington Avenue and down to Knits Incredible, in the atrium of 971 Lexington Ave, between 70th and 71st Streets. There's also a downtown bus on 2nd Avenue, the M15. Or hop in a cab - it won't be far, so it won't cost much (possibly about $5-$8 including tip), and what's a tour of the Upper East Side without a ride in a yellow taxi?

The almighty Google seems to give mixed information about the elusive and not-well-known Knits Incredible, so I went straight to the source. Well, to the phone of the source. On the phone, a real, live person informed me that indeed, Knits Incredible is still quite present and quite in business. If you stop in, please, dish all about it, we all need to know more.

For the multi-crafter multi-tasker, you're very close to Wallis Mayers Needlework, at 30 East 68th Street, near Madison Avenue. Their emphasis is on needlepoint and embroidery, but I think they also have quite a bit of knitting yarn. And after all, the amazing Color on Color scarf from Interweave's Scarf Style was knit with needlepoint yarn, and needlepointers have every color imaginable. Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride? About 80 colors. Brown Sheep Waverly, their needlepoint yarn, also touted for knitting on their website? Almost 500 COLORS.

If you like what you see at Wallis Mayers and want to check out another needlepoint store, it's easy to get to Stitches East from there. Hop on the 6 train at 68th St/Hunter College on Lexington Ave and head downtown to the 51st St. stop. Walk west to Park Ave, north to 52nd, and Stitches East is between Park and Madison, inside the Park Avenue Plaza.

From here, well, I can imagine you're ready to head to a whole 'nother part of town. To eat something, drink something, see some other yarn stores. From Stitches East, you're near the E or V at 53rd Street/5th Ave or 53rd/Lexington OR the 6 train at 51st and Lexington. If you're glutton for punishment, you're also near the Museum of Art and Design, where they have the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show on right now. And the Museum of Folk Art down the block and MoMA across the street. And the Donnell Library, a special branch of the New York Public Library system that specializes in all the fun art and craft books. You don't have to have a card to have a browse and a sit down.

And, if you're finishing the tour on March 22, you'll want to chase down Stephanie The Yarn Harlot at her book signing. Take the E train from 53rd and 5th Ave or Lex down to 23rd Street. It lets you out on 23rd and 8th Ave, Stephanie will be speaking at FIT on 27th between 7th & 8th.


Blogger futuregirl said...

I love this tour. I looked at String's website. A ball of yarn for $138?! Sure, it's musk ox yarn ... but they suggest you makes scarves ... oh, my, I almost fainted.

3/15/2007 11:28 AM  
Blogger marcisenders said...

Oh, that reminds me, I still need to check out the show at MAD. Also, the Wool Gathering, 318 E. 84th St., is between 1st and 2nd. They have a lot of interesting (and expensive) homespun yarns that are fun to look at and I like getting my cotton there. They have alot of colors. I recommend hitting 321 Kniting's baskets in the front of the store if you are not making a large project.
I have to re-read your tour after I move, I think making a new throw from my sofa will be this summer's project!

3/15/2007 4:55 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

Also, in Manhattan there's Yarntopia at 108th and Amsterdam...

3/15/2007 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also in upper Manhattan, for needlepointers there's Annie & Co., 1325 Madison Ave. It's a very nice shop, on the second floor (walkup).

3/15/2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I live in Toronto but will in Manhattan this weekend. Am certainly interested in the yarn crawl... please email me at kneuroticknitter@gmail.com

3/20/2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Wool Gathering

I live around the corner, so sometimes I go into the shop and buy some wool for small things for my little son. The owner is not very nice, (never come with kids)and I don't like the shop. At the moment she has everthing from last year, so don't expect something interessant and new. Very expensive and unfriendly. If you have other shops, don't go.

10/02/2007 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the West Side - the village or the upper west side? The Yarnco between 81st & 82nd on Broadway - the 2nd floor- has great yarns including cashmere.

12/07/2007 12:54 PM  

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