I’m jumping on the new knitting bandwagon It’s like friendster for knitters, and it helps you organize your projects and stash. My handle is the same as the blog, newyorkminknit, so if you want to give me a shout-out there, please do so. I haven’t had time to really play with it, but I was amused by a flickr posting that said “How Can I Get Ready for Ravelry?”

I’m jumping off the knitting bandwagon of DeStash, even before I ever posted anything, because sadly, it is closing down. I’ve been getting a million emails today about former members trying to start a new version though. Though I wish the former DeStashers luck, it seems like the demand for DeStash could be filled with just a little tweaking at Ravelry…

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized at June 14th, 2007.

School Products mosaic 

School Products

Address: 1201 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY

Phone: 212-679-3516


I’ve been to School Products twice. Once with my co-worker (without her, I would have never found it, because it is in such a weird office building*) and once with Adam last week, after a  horrible Shake Shack burger. Danny Meyer, please go check on Shake Shack because I have been having PTHD (post-traumatic-hamburger disorder) ever since.**   

Anyway. I have decided that School Products is like the Strand. Like the Strand, School Products is famous and considered a New York icon, and yet, I don’t quite get why the two are so beloved. True, both offer good deals (I bought Twinkle’s Big City Knits at the Strand for 40% off last week) on hard-to-find, expensive stuff (School Products offers yak, camel, and cashmere yarn), but yet I find them both sort of uninspiring. I find the Strand much better since it’s been renovated (I know, heresy to Strand lovers), but it’s still kind of meh. The Strand still has an unwelcoming element to it, I think.  I know that School Products has lots of awesome stuff for cheap, but I didn’t feel compelled to buy anything. I think it’s partially because it has a weird office building vibe, with industrial carpeting and overhead florescent lights. Also, I have to admit, I think it’s because it’s not styled very well.

I think it’s a lot like going to a sample sale. I’ve scored some great bargains at sample sales, but often I feel so uninspired. Things that I might be lured by if it was showcased in a fancy store seem so horrible when jumbled into a big cardboard box. (Especially Marc Jacobs! There is always so much crappy Marc Jacobs at sample sales. I used to be a much more avid sample-sale goer when I worked in midtown, and before I decided to kill off my shopping habit.)

It’s terrible and shallow, but in a way, perhaps it forces you into buying things you truly like. Because if yarn or clothes can appeal to you even in a crappily lit and weirdly laid-out store, then you’re judging them fairly–in a blind taste test, as it were–without being swayed by designer names or fancy styling. (Books don’t really suffer from styling. It’s just that the Strand used to be really hot and dusty all the time, and in a bad way, not a charming way, and I could never find anything I wanted. But it has improved, post-renovation.)

That being said, School Products does have a large selection of yarn on cones, many at substantially cheaper prices than at other yarn stores. They are also owned by the same family that produces Karabella yarn and who wrote Runway Knits, so they have the full line of Karabella yarn. I’ve seen a couple products made with Karabella Aurora 8 yarn, and when knit up, the resulting material looks very crisp, if that makes any sense, and seems to have very little halo. Though Grumperina has a bad review of it here, I would still consider it for a future project.

* See below

School Products

** My friend offered to split sliders with me the next day, when I was hanging out and having drinks, and I was like “No! I have bad feelings about ground beef!”

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized, Yarn Stores at May 6th, 2007.

Taxes. Blegh.

Tax on yarn? Who knows the correct answer? Tien commented on this flickr photo that there were two taxes, which I didn’t even notice when I bought the yarn.

Adam was hypothesizing that yarn is taxed at half the rate since it has the potential to be clothing (generally untaxed under $110 in New York), but still has to be somewhat taxed since it is not yet clothing. (That sounded like a summary of a Greek philosopher or something. “It has the potential to be clothing, but it has not yet realized its potential.”) But recently, I went to Purl to buy yarn for Adam’s b-day hat* and noticed they charged no tax.

What was up? As tax season draws to its horrible end, I thought I would do some research. And here, my lovelies, is the answer, courtesey of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance:

“Beginning April 1, 2006, there will be a year-round exemption from New York State sales and use taxes for clothing, footwear, and items used to make or repair exempt clothing, costing less than $110 per item or pair. The exemption does not apply to locally imposed sales and use taxes unless the county or city imposing those taxes elected the exemption.”

If you click through to the whole document, there is a great deal of fascinating wording** like, “The exemption applies only to clothing and footwear worn by humans.” Though they go on to specifically list yarn as one of the items considered exempt under this law, I’m not sure what would happen if you were to announce loudly while buying your yarn that it was to make a sweater for your dog. Perhaps they would then have to tax you.

Under their FAQs, they also answer a craft-related question:

  I plan to purchase a single piece of fabric that will cost more than $110. I will use the fabric to make several items of eligible clothing that will each have a value of less than $110. Can the fabric be purchased exempt from tax?
  No. A single piece of fabric that costs $110 or more is subject to both State and local taxes. However, if the fabric were purchased in multiple yardage pieces, each costing less than $110, the purchases would be exempt from the state tax and the local tax if the locality has elected the exemption.

So, Ithaca must have a local 4% tax that was applied to both items, and the additional sales tax was added on to the needles.

* I have added new projects to my sidebar progress bars.

** AKA why CPAs, actuaries, and tax lawyers get paid the big bucks.

Oh, and how is the yarn that started it all coming along? See here:

Spring Sock

Kind of ugly. Yet spring-y. Hence its new name: Spring Socks. Also, because it looks like an Easter Egg.

By the way, when I bought this yarn, Adam said, “Oh, is that self-patterning?” And I was like “No, it’s just multi-colored.” But he turned out to be right.

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized at April 2nd, 2007.