Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tinsel Trading Company

This week I went to the Tinsel Trading Company (1 West 37th StreetNew York, NY 10018, 212-730-1030 phone212-768-8823 fax,
It's a beautiful store. Although it has been around since 1930 (the current owner Marcia's grandfather opened the store), the old location was recently lost because the old building was torn down. The new location has an elegant kind of "roughed-up-Whole-Foods-cement-floor-feel" to it, which is simultaneously simple, and unobtrusive.

On her website, Marcia's own description of her grandfather's business starts like this: "A long time ago, on the small island known as Manhattan, there was a man who was attracted to shiny and bright, gold and silver threads. He grew up to own the most extraordinary inventory from all over the world, having never traveled outside the United States..."

Shelves line the outer walls, filled with trims, flowers, tassels, ribbons, appliques, jewelry, the Martha Stewart craft line, and more. I walked by these pretty bubble ribbons, which I immediately imagined on all kinds of garments, wondering if I might actually be able to knit with" width="360" height="275" />
Marcia was in the back of the store, standing in a room right behind a shelf filled with silver ribbons.

She explained to me that some of those had been around since her grandfather owned the store. Some of them were made of copper with (if I remember this correctly) a stainless steel finish. There was a whole shelf full of old metal fabrics:

and some beautiful antique ribbon:

After talking to her for a while, I walked around the whole store to take my pictures. Just when I thought I was done, I turned around and saw this shelf:

It was filled with something I had never seen before: strings of beads attached to ribbons. The ribbons allow for the beads (glass, pearls, and wood beads) to be sewn into things, such as jeans, bags, curtains, coats, or knitted garments :-). Some of the strings looked like they might be heavy in a piece of clothing, but some of them (the wooden ones especially) actually felt very light. I imagined them as a decorative border on the bottom of a coat, or a beautiful drape around a knitted collar. I would probably attach them with snap buttons, I thought, so they can be removed for washing (although all the pearls looked like they could be washed carefully in the sink)... My mind was going into such overdrive that I had to step back. They were all so pretty, too, that it was impossible to pick just one, so I'll have to go back to the store when I have time to really browse.

The staff at Tinsel Trading was super nice. I could have stayed all day to chat with them. They also seemed to have a sense of humor, or perhaps it was a customer who had placed the two tinsel lobsters on top of each other in one of the shelves:

Thank you to "Donnag" at Ravelry, who told me about the store. I nearly skipped it, feeling like I had covered too many non-pure-yarn stores now, but I am so glad I went!


mec said...

Thank you for the wonderful words about our shop. I am glad you took the time to see 1 more store.

slinny said...

loved, loved this store!