Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I had gone to Vardhman (269 West 39th Street, between 7th and 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018, 212-840-6950, http://www.vardhman.us/) a few weeks back, but initially decided not to write about it. I was still reviewing pure yarn stores, and I had expected to find a "unique knitting store", because I was looking for a store called "Unique Knitcraft" (the previous name of the store before it moved--it changed its name when it stopped being a retailer for knitted sweaters and became a supply store, but it is still listed that way on a few Ravelry lists).
When I walked in, I found the yarn to be a marginal part of the store, upstairs--away from the main space. I have to admit I was a little dissapointed. I dropped the review, and mentioned it in a Ravelry thread. One woman took offense. She said the store had a rather wide selection of yarns, and she thought it deserved its space.
I let that sink in. Maybe I was being a bit dismissive to ignore the store purely because it carried other things besides yarn. Knitters get their yarns in all kinds of places, and Vardhman is a place where you can get a many different kinds of yarn for very little.
When I looked for the pictures I had taken, I realized that my camera had jammed. I hadn't downloaded them, and fixing the camera would cost more than the darn thing was worth, so I went back this week (new camera in hand) and took new pictures. Being in the store for a second time made me realize how wrong I had been to discard it in the first place.
There is one wall of neon acrylics, but the store also carries alpaca and silk by various discount and non-discount brands. The obligatory Red Heart and Lion Brand are mixed in with Universal, Rosetti, Patons, Lily, Skaacel, Ironstone, and yarn from a German company called Schoeller+Stahl, which makes a very nice cotton. I found Fibra Natura baby merino, Eden Silk, Alpine, and a very nice cotton yarn with sequins, which I grabbed to take home. A couple of baskets of machine knitting spools showed that the store caters to more than hand crafters. The "needle wall" was also quite impressive. Plastic, metal, and bamboo needles of all kinds mingled together. One staff member pointed out that they carry every single color of DMC needlepoint ribbons.
Downstairs, Vardhmans carries all the "accessories" one can imagine: walls of buttons, trimmings, zippers, scissors, rulers, boas, sequined ribbons...
If all of this sounds familiar, it is. Vardhman is a smaller version of P+S Fabrics (without the fabrics). It is a treasure trove for people on a budget, as well as for people who are shopping for finishing touches for their knitted, crocheted, or sewn creations. It's right in the middle of the fashion district, so it can be integrated into a long afternoon of treasure hunting for "fashion stuff", which is what I did. I thanked the staff for letting me take pictures (again), stepped out onto the street, and went treasure hunting in the surrounding area... (more on that next week :-)