Saturday, 23 July 2011

Entering the Lion's Den AKA Purl City Yarns

On a back street, five minutes walk from Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens, is a knitterly haven: Purl City Yarns.  I staggered in there yesterday afternoon laden with laptop, trolley case, etc, and, within seconds, wished it was my LYS.   The staff were incredibly friendly and encouraged me to dump my bags by the couch and take a good look round.

 When I planned my work trip to Manchester this week, one of the things on my wish-list was this visit to Purl City Yarns.  I'd seen their ads in the knitting press as had the other customer who came in while I was there - she'd heard me say as much to the owner and chimed in "me, too!" producing a battered knitting magazine from her bag, open at the page showing their advertisement.

Purl City Yarns stands on a street corner, with windows on both exposed sides.  In a former life, I think it was a typical British "corner shop" (think Open All Hours meets an Aussie milk bar).  Certainly, it sold ice-creams - the shop's threshold carries an advertisement for them.  The walls are covered in shelving, while two welcoming couches occupy the foreground of the shop.  The counter is at the back, tucked against the stairs, with their needle and hook displays beyond that.  I think, upstairs is a classroom.

The shop is small but very well organised, with yarns displayed by weight and then by brand.  They even had a section labeled "Worsted Weight", which is almost impossible to find in this country (we have to substitute Aran, which is fractionally thicker).  It was full of yarns I'd only heard about before:  Zealana, Noro, Austerman, Drops;  as well as ones I know/already own:  Blacker Designs yarns, Fiberspates, The Natural Dye Studio and Debbie Bliss.  What they don't carry are the standard yarns you can buy at Hobbycraft, i.e. Sirdar and Rowan.  Also, I didn't spot any 100% acrylics.  (That alone earns them a big gold star in my book - no plastic masquerading as wool.  Blech!)

Luckily for my no-stash-enhancement-goal, no yarns leaped out and screamed "buy me".  That isn't to say I left the shop empty handed.  I didn't.  I just wasn't inspired to buy yarn.  Instead, I bought the three sizes of crochet hooks I'll need to make the Moth Wing Shrug from last summer's Interweave Crochet and a large bottle of eucalyptus scented Eucalan wool wash.

They've been open since last November and are filling a much-needed void.  Knit-Night is Wednesdays, from 5 to 8.  Next time I travel to visit my Manchester project team, I plan to be there.

- Pam  (giving them 5 out of 5)

No comments: