Long winter nights mean plenty of time to return to that long-abandoned quilt or to get started on that scarf. Our five favorite knitting stores in New York City offer classes, needles, and yarn galore. By Jessica Allen.
Knitty City is more than just a go-to for yarn. Oh, it’s definitely that as well, with tons of brands like Joseph Galler Prime Alpaca and the very vibrant Dream in Color available. But this Upper West Side store can also serve as a neighborhood hangout, a place for the crafty and non-crafty alike to get together and have fun. Upcoming events range from Men’s Night (for men who want to knit and crochet), to an after school class for kids, to “meets and greets” with young designers.
“La Casita” means “little house” in Spanish, and while your home probably doesn’t have buckets and baskets of silk, cashmere, and wool, there is something homey happening here. Perhaps it’s the friendly staff, who’ll patiently answer your questions about purling and ribbing, or perhaps it’s the great smells wafting over from the in-house cafe. After browsing or taking a class like Beginning Crochet or Project Knitting and Crochet, settle in for a hot sake, iced coffee, or glass of wine (among other beverages), along with a savory snack like an empanada or quiche.
As America’s oldest hand-knitting yarn brand, Lion Brand knows its way around weft and warp. Since 1878, this family-owned and -run store has supplied knitters near and far. At the large studio near Union Square, you can browse 4,000 free patterns, touch and try at the sampling wall, or sign up for a workshop, such as My First Cardigan, Yarn Dyeing, or Lace Basics. The store also holds two free drop-in clinics each week: Crochet Clinic, on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Knitting Clinic, on Wednesdays, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Before we get into why you should shop Smiley’s, we should mention this Queens shop has closed and moved to an all-online endeavor operating out of a factory. They do, however, offer Manhattan Yarn Sales several times a year at the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street. Now, back to why you should shop here: the prices and selection simply can’t be beat, and this attention to selection and cost has remained constant since the store opened in 1935. To learn about Smiley’s Manhattan Yarn Sale dates, sign up for their mailing list.
If it’s high-end yarn you’re after, then it’s String you’ll want to visit. After all, String’s motto is “If ‘obsession’ puts it mildly…welcome home.” At this store on the Upper East Side, you’ll find a highly curated selection of the world’s best yarn, lovingly selected by owner Linda Morse, who dreamed of opening a knitting store for more than 20 years before finally doing it. You’ll also find unique patterns created by the in-house designer. Need some tutelage? In addition to group classes, you can sign up for private lessons for one-on-one help with that tricky stitch or turn. String moved to a new location last year, so be sure to check out the address above before heading out the door.