The elusive “local yarn shop”. If you’re an avid Knitter or Crocheter living in Manhattan then you’ll know a decent local yarn shop is a rare beast. Our frenetic city and its people have plenty of personality but not enough time for the personal. I find yarn shops here have trouble with balancing personal attention with what New Yorkers need. Professional!
So many shops just end up succeeding in being eccentric and moody with none of the benefits an LYS or a well run yarn shop can provide. I appreciate all the uniqueness that makes an LYS an LYS but I want one that has it all without having to intrude, pry, or cajole for the service.
Lion Brand Yarn Studio ~ 34 W. 15th Street, New York, NY 10011 ~ (212) 243-9070
Which is why Lion Brand Yarn Studio is worth its own mention. It’s the perfect combination of local yarn shop along with what I’m looking for in an NYC yarn shop! Personal yet professional attention. Unlikely on first glance since Lion Brand Yarn is actually a large nationwide company that you’d normally associate with a more mass market approach. But no. Their lovely bright studio, 2 floors, has all the character and style of a small boutique store but without the prices and all the comforts and perks a large store can afford!
Nowadays there are Purl Sohos and Lion Brand Yarn Studios, the two shops that come closest to what I’m looking for here. But it wasn’t so long ago that finding a passable yarn shop was just short of demoralizing!
So what’s so great about it?
First, LBY Studio has one major difference from your typical LYS, they only carry Lion Brand Yarns exclusively whereas the traditional LYS tends to bring a collection of yarns that shop owners have amassed or “curated” in a sense. So you won’t find obscure local hand-dyes here or Plymouths, Cascades, Rowans etc. But what they do carry are quality medium to higher end ranged yarns at very affordable prices. Which in itself is very valuable. It’s hard to find quality yarns in Manhattan without paying a premium and LBY Studio and its yarns offers a wonderfully satisfying alternative to just that! It gives discerning people with a budget some great options!
Second, the Studio vibe itself. You never feel like you’re intruding. Feel free to wander around aimlessly and in confusion touching whatever you want. Use the computers to browse and print LBY’s huge collection of free patterns at your discretion. Free! Sit down at the Knitting table under warm lights to join some ladies for a relaxing impromptu session as you like. It’s inviting calm and cozy. It has the feel of a nice library except for yarn! Sit down and try out some yarn (and tools) in the yarn box for yourself. I tried the Clover Takumi Velvets there and loved them!
Whatever your personal preference, the tools/notions selection is chosen with care and competitively priced. And what they do carry is well stocked. And although this shop only carries Lion Brand Yarns, it’s actually one of my favorite nationwide yarn brands and beloved by many. Lion Brand and Red Heart are two of my favorite goto brands of yarns when it comes to accessible everyday quality. It’s also a special treat to be able to shop these yarns in person. We don’t have large craft stores here in Manhattan!
Helpful Personable (Professional) Staff
These people know their stuff! I got the feeling all the staff at LBY Studio are required to be expert Knitters and/or Crocheters themselves on top of being patient and ready with any relevant insights they can provide. Consistently. And they are all quite young to be such avid Knitters and Crocheters. In short, it’s a well run shop with wonderful staff! Us Knitters and Crocheters will always have loads of needling questions and concerns from the most eccentric to the most basic. So finding patient knowledgeable and helpful staff in a professional environment is a rarity in my experience. All the comforts of your ideal LYS with an NYC flair. And all the professional level service you’d expect from a nationwide yarn company!
I’ve been visiting LBY Studio on and off for awhile and recently been there almost everyday to shop supplies for upcoming classes. Each time I discover something new I like about the place. I got stuck waiting out the bad weather (torrential sleet?!?) a few days ago. So I sat down at the knitting table to try out my new needles. It was relaxing and peaceful, yet not stuffy or intruding. I didn’t feel like leaving! It also turned out to be Knit Doctor Night! Where anyone with any concerns related to Knitting from random questions to patterns can come in for some free help! Yes it’s free and it’s for any pattern or problem not just LBY related patterns or questions! And the Knit Doctor is a dude! I watched Will, The Knit Doctor, patiently provide clear knowledgeable answers to a myriad of questions to a delightfully motley crew of ladies from all walks of life! He told me he’d been teaching Knitting since he was 17!
Classes, Events, & Programs
What really sets LBY Studio apart. A wide variety of classes. Something Manhattan was really missing when it comes to Fiber Arts. Until now! Whether you’re a beginner looking to try it out? Or a knitting or crochet fanatic looking for the next thing to learn or try? They have it. Toe-up Socks! Top Down Knitting! Beginner, Intermediate, and Brush-Up classes, Tunisian Crochet, Machine Knitting and many other lesser known fiber art classes. I think I saw a weaving loom on display, so perhaps that’s coming up too! The foundation classes focused around Knitting and Crochet are consistently offered while the less popular tend to be more seasonal.
They also offer lots of free programs too like the Knit Doctor on Wednesdays mentioned above as well as Crochet Doctor on Tuesdays where a lovely young lady graciously inquires with anyone who walks in if they are here for the Crochet Doctor! Yes, these programs are very helpful, free, and forthcoming! Other weekly events include knitting or crochet circles, movie night, men’s night! All free! And special events too like the NYC Yarn Crawl and more. Check out their blog for daily announcements!
A couple cons though are sometimes the class descriptions are unclear. So you’re not always sure what you’re getting. One class I took there was fabulous, I got so much out of it. The Top Down Knitting class turned out to be just a how to design your own custom top down pattern class. Not what I was expecting. Also, most of their classes require you use Lion Brand Yarn only. Classes are held in 2 rooms on the second floor. Lots of elbow room even in a 20 person class.
BONUS! They offer free yarn samples from their giant wall of yarn where you are free to take any samples right off the cone. Need to try out some sample swatches for your next creation? Just help yourself. Don’t see it on the yarn wall? Just ask they will be happy to get you a generous sample. There’s also plenty of swatches and pieces hanging around for every yarn they carry. Well organized and labeled. And everything is always in stock. Making a sweater for Andre the Giant that needs 40 skeins of the same dye lot? They can get exactly what you need from their well stocked stock room. There’s also always seasonal projects being showcased for some inspiration and ideas too. Every season and/or holiday you will find some great project ideas knitted up!
Also there’s always lots of sales. Every month LBY Studio will feature a new yarn on sale. So go nuts!
Find out everything you need to know about LBY Studio at LionBrandYarnStudio.com and they have a nice blog too! Visit LionBrand.com for their nationwide website that includes a huge library of free patterns!