27 August 2011

PurlSoho retail therapy

Patrons finger the yarns.

The entrance, at 459 Broome St.

In August I found myself in Manhattan, to visit a family member in hospital. I took a bit of time off from the bedside vigil to meet with one of my New York-based offspring, on her last weekend of freedom before beginning graduate school. We went to PurlSoho, a sliver of a store, and found an Aladdin's cave of yarn, fabric and more.

Be still my heart! Bolts and bolts of Liberty Tana Lawn.

Liberty lawn designs in embroidery hoops -
what a great way to use scraps.

Liberty fabrics have that somewhat eccentric British design sensibility - on view in the creative hats at the televised Royal Wedding in April - and the tightly-woven, yet supple, lawn quilts up beautifully.

According to my 1959 Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, lawn is:

a fine, plain weave, relatively sheer cotton fabric made in close constructions. Generally made of fine, combed singles [single ply] although some cheaper carded yarn qualities are also produced... The term lawn was originally was used for fine, plain weave linen fabric with an open texture... The word is derived from Laon, a city in France, where linen lawn was manufactured extensively.

I stopped drooling over the Liberty bolts long enough to notice that PurlSoho also has a nice, edited yarn selection, including many tempting chunky yarns.

Yarn and, at the left, real wool felt.

Textured scarves.

I have a yarn-buying moratorium, but I did purchase a pre-printed sashiko embroidery panel. I took this back to the hospital and worked it there a bit, becoming entertainment for some of the patients at New York Presbyterian. I remember how utterly boring illness can be, and was happy to explain my project to the johnny-clad people, trailing IV poles, who approached me in the lounge. One woman sat with me for quite a while and chatted while I stitched. I think she needed to talk, and I was happy to listen.

Old Singer models - marvels of industrial design.

As we left PurlSoho on our way to the subway, we admired the window of AllSaints Spitalfields clothing company, with its display of antique sewing machines. For information about PurlSoho, the website is: www.purlsoho.com/purl

The Soho MOMA Store is nearby too, at 81 Spring Street. Get refreshed at Balthazar, across the street at 80 Spring St.