MIT Stitch & Bitch

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

the dream

hey all... so, as i was going at it on my rowan charlotte sweater tonight (being done in sheeny softy jo sharp silkroad aran, in casket [love that color name], from my huge elann order last week) i started musing about what i wanted in the perfect yarn store. the ideal shop in my head got more and more beautiful, and after getting really into it, the idea managed to bud a miniscule possibility that i might be crazy enough to open a yarn store like this in the future. but i wanted your comments to see if this idea, in your opinion is too unrealistic or utopian. :)

locale: a really hip and fashionable area, like south end (atelier 505: swoon) or a random street in soho. somewhere where people spend a lot of time developing their own quirky personal style.

look: very modern, very chic. the focus is on luxury yarns and couture-quality patterns. think of yarn store, a la louisboston. clean architectural lines and organized feel. patterns sit on the scale of marc jacobs or alexander mcqueen or coco chanel. most of the yarn stores today are either (1) conventional/traditional with classic (read: old-fashioned) pieces, (2) geared toward the gen x as they start having kids and wanting to be domestic so they're modern and cute (rowan, debbie bliss) but still pretty tame, and (3) trying to get on the DIY indie bandwagon (see knit.1 magazine and rowan R2 collection). i want to take that 3rd option further and go towards seriously experimental and well-designed pieces that would be runway-worthy.

take a look at jay mccarroll's collection (click on the picture). so beautiful i could cry.

another twist: mix the tactile pleasure of yarn shopping with the exploration and fun of sephora cosmetic stores. there, every project has a tester, so you can try on colors and play around with the actual items directly before you buy. when i go to look at yarn, although i touch it, i still dont know exactly how it'll feel being knitted up until i go home. then i realise that i need another size needles, it's not comfy in my hands for some reason, etc. wouldn't it be cool to have some featured yarns or whatnot that placed in the space with stitches worked on actual needles for people to pick up and knit a few rows for the feel of it? you can also put in a variety of needle materials so people can actually try out casein versus steel or whatever comfortably in the store without feeling all unwrappy. it would be cool to see the swatches getting longer and longer throughout the shopping duration. music stores have listening stations; perfume counters have testers; why cant yarn be experienced directly as well?

a reservation is if people are icky about touching a random pair of needles. are people generally low-key or anal about this? i can imagine playing a foreign musical instrument and feeling a little strange, and you definitely wouldnt want to share a stranger's chopsticks, but whats the consensus on communal needles?

although the atmosphere is luxury, the idea is not about expensiveness, it's about forward-looking patterns and textures. kind of like a modern, irresistibly different boutique.

you could also dress up the space with vintage sofas and handknitted beaded pillows and modular knit felted squares (kind of like flor, so hip).

would be the best place to invite local independent knitwear designers and artists to showcase their more avant-garde pieces. a seasonal fashion show / trunk show could be a regular installation.

to put the icing on the cake, next door would be a mod tearoom with lovely green tea varieties, starfruit scones, doggy cookies, and all sorts of creative yet comforting treats. the seating would be modular and movable to accomodate classes and knitting circles.

is this a dream or a reality? i've tried to research online to find stores that might fit the bill... the only websites that halfway impressed me were loopyarn and purlsoho. however, loop yarn's tiiiiiny swatches for browsing sort of irritated me (whitespace is beautiful, but so is the actual content!), and purlsoho had some funky code in which a lot of the menu buttons jiggled undecorously. but i design.digress...

just my idea for the day. i get one; two if i'm lucky. ;) your comments are welcome! happy knitting...


  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Katie said…

    Hey, the Knitting Room in Arlington is for sale. Here's your chance to pursue that dream!

  • At 8:58 PM, Blogger Kathy said…

    Sounds like a yarn store cum cafe in Colorado called Over the Moon (see ). It's also right near the Denver airport so if you're ever in town for some reason, it's not far away!


  • At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having a guest designer (or two) in the store. Someone who would spend a few hours a week for a couple of month maybe having demos, sharing experience, teaching classes, doing custom designs. All custom-tailored to what that particular person has to offer.



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