sister hat.jpg

I do actually occasionally knit, instead of just going to yarn stores on my vacation.

I’m almost done with a project, actually. Here’s part one of it (above). It’s a hat, that I’m going to attach to a scarf and give to my sister.

(That photo is taken at the Met–the art museum, not the opera house–when I went to go see the Nan Kempner show at the Costume Institute.*)

*Nan Kempner has the taste of a crazy 1980s diva. C’mon Costume Institute, get some cool clothes there, not just Dynasty-era suits.

Posted in Hats, Uncategorized at February 26th, 2007.

I just received a comment from Steven Lee, who owns Knitting Etc. in Ithaca, NY, which I reviewed below, and I just wanted to make some comments about yarn store reviewing.

In my day job, I work in journalism, and I don’t consider my knitting blog to be journalism at all, but instead, a place to record my knitting projects and to practice this wacky new thing, The Blogging, that all the crazy kids are doing.

That being said, I’ve never mentioned my blog when chatting with yarn store owners. This is primarily because I have a whopping three readers, so it would be ridiculous for me to do so. (“Um, I have a blog? It has three very important readers. None of who knit. So, please, tremble in fear!”) But also, in a weird way, as an outgrowth of regular journalism ethics, where you don’t tell people you’re from the press when writing a review unless you’re going to quote them. That way you can experience a store as a “regular” person, versus as a member of the press.

On the other hand, I do feel bad because I do no reporting for this blog. I only put up my own impressions of a store, and I don’t try to figure out any background info on it, and I think that because of the power of the Internets, this information might take on more power than it should.

Adam Roberts, who runs The Amateur Gourmet, wrote a piece for Serious Eats (which, full disclosure, is my Adam’s [Kuban] new work site) about this for food blogging.

Roberts describes it as “The Power of Food Blogging,” but I also feel anxious about wounding a small business owner, not so much by hurting their feelings, but by making an unfair assesment of their business.

On one hand, I do feel that Knitting Etc. was located in the Mall of Doom, and that was my honest impression. On the other, I was treated nicely there, (and the store was not gloomy or doomy) and I wouldn’t want to discourage readers from going to Knitting Etc. because they read that. It’s hard to run a small business like a yarn store, and I’m grateful that small stores exist.

In short, I hope that blogging encourages people to visit different businesses and share their own opinions, and that people take my blog posts in the spirit that they’re written: as off-the-cuff impressions. Though these posts are not the carefully-researched, well-thought out, copy-edited, and fact-checked articles that I try to write for mainstream media, I try to make them honest and unbiased as possible. I’m proud to be part of the Fourth Estate, and I hope that blogging works as a supplement to the main media, and that blog posts are useful to my readers (hi, three of you!), to me, and to the knitting community at large.

* That is a joke on Fox News, not a hossana of their reporting.

Posted in Uncategorized at February 25th, 2007.

Our motel was located next to a Wegman’s, which we went to every day. Also. It was near a strip mall, with a Michael’s. MICHAEL’S!!

Adam has learned that Red Heart yarn is a metonym for “crazy ladies who make afghans that yarn snobs look down on.” Hence the photos.


But honestly, I love all craft stores. Red heart is cheap, and when I was a kid, there were no fancy yarn stores, just Woolworth’s. I love anonymity and unpretentiousness of the big craft superstores. If I only could craft from Michael’s I would be fine.


Also, they had this awesome machine, the Cricut, that could die-cut little confetti things for scrapbooks. It was totally unnecessary, but fascinating nonetheless. I own a Xyron, so craft gadgets are totally alluring.

And yes, Michael’s does not have all the fancy stuff, yarn-wise, but they do have all-wool yarns, I noticed, and knitting looms, and iron-on letters and all kinds of good stuff.

Also, Wegman’s? They had an entire magazine aisle with SIX quilting magazines and two knitting magazines, including the new Interweave that I haven’t seen here in NYC.

In summary, Ithaca, at least in the fiber department, had a bigger selection of knitting books and yarn than most New York city yarn stores. City mice, those country cousins are looking pretty sophisticated! Start packing!

Posted in Uncategorized, Yarn Stores at February 23rd, 2007.

Adam and I, we try to be cultured people. We went to the I.M Pei-designed art museum and appreciated the landscape:

Like a Brueghel, Claire Says

The view, it looks like a Brueghel, no? Oh, so much culture. Everybody, pinkies out!

Okay, pinkies down. I enjoy a museum, but there’s nothing better I like during a vacation in a new place than (a) going to the supermarket and (b) going to the mall. Very soothing.

Fiber store numbero 2, was in a mall:

Triphammer Mall

Triphammer Mall. One of the saddest malls we’ve ever seen. Most of the stores were closed and the thing was basically falling apart. But, its yarn store was actually very busy and hopping:


Triphammer Mall
2255 N. Triphammer Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 277-1164


If I went to business school, I think it would be interesting to do a case study about what makes a yarn store successful.
Homespun had location (the Commons, located in central Ithaca), a nice and knowledgable owner, a better selection of yarn, and a cozier store, but Knitting Etc. was packed with people, despite being located in the Mall of Doom. I would have had to visit both more regularly to figure out if this was an abberation, or a reflection of their normal clientele numbers. I’m not really sure why Knitting Etc. was so hopping (though it did have a class going on), but it’s worth contemplating.

Knitting Etc. does have a great website, as well as a regular newletter with some nice patterns that you can download off their website. And the store itself was quite big, with a great selection of books, and knowledgeable sales staff. I think that Homespun had a better yarn selection though.

Posted in Uncategorized, Yarn Stores at February 21st, 2007.

Ithaca: A Hotbed of Excitement

Stay tuned for exciting fiber-filled posts all week! As a self-appointed expert in all things fiber-related in Ithaca (having spent three whole days there), I am going to share with you three possible yarn shopping experiences that you can combine with other fun tourist activites should you choose to go to this town.

First post, first store: Homespun

Visiting Homespun, a Yarn Store

Address: 314 E State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-0954
Website: No website

This is located on The Commons. The Commons has the same strange shopping available to every college town I have ever been to: several used bookstores, a cafe supposedly run by a cult, several stores that sell punny t-shirts (“Ithaca is Gorges”), and stores that sell imported ethnic fabrics and chunky ethnic jewelry.

Visiting Homespun, a Yarn Store

Above: The store has a really excellent yarn selection. That’s their non-wool section on the right. Since the weather was a warm 30 degrees during my visit, I’m guessing that those shelves are not very popular.

Visiting Homespun, a Yarn Store

Above: Cool fabrics arranged by color. Quilting is so going to be my next hobby.

If you go to Ithaca, you will probably go to the commons, since it comprises all of downtown Ithaca. (A chili cookoff in the commons made the front page of the Ithaca newspaper, the evening local news, and both Cornell papers.) It (the commons) is also located next to Moosewood, the famed vegetarian restaurant.

Posted in Uncategorized, Yarn Stores at February 20th, 2007.