Chez Subway Knitter has a new look for 2008. And this is my first post using the MT 4.0 interface (Interface, right? That's what it's called, no? Please somebody tell me if it isn't.). Big thanks to Steph for doing all of the designing, working out all of the bugs, and fixing a huge fundamental problem with Pair's initial setup of my MT account. It would have taken me two years to figure out all of this stuff by myself. I think that Steph's available for hire, if you too need a blog overhaul.
In the spirit of the new year, it's time for me to come clean with all of you. I didn't knit very much over my two-week break because (and I'm being completely honest with you here) I hated the project I was working on. Hated. Despised. Loathed. It wasn't the project's fault. The yarn could not be blamed either, so I'm not going to bother posting a photo of what I was knitting. Let's just say that it was a project that would not have suited the recipient in any way, and this fact wasn't helping my waning excitement in a project that was going nowhere fast.
Late on Tuesday I had a wee epiphany. I needed to finish what I was working on by the end of the week, yet I hadn't picked up the needles in days. It was time for a drastic change. So, on Wednesday evening I postponed Laundry Night for about an hour to visit Seaport Yarns in search of something new.
Seaport Yarns. The weirdest yarn "store" that I've visited to date. Why "store"? Well, it's not really a store. There's another business being run out of the same space at the same time. Indeed, when I was shopping, the occupant of the office I was in briefly put aside her business deal ["Look at the EXPOSURE I'm getting you! Do you know how many people are going to be in town for Super Tuesday? Thousands and thousands! This is the type of media time that you want."] to sigh in my direction "Do you need any help?" Of course, the answer she was expecting was "no". I said no.
Combine that with the space's visual qualities, and you don't get a place where you want to spend a lot of time browsing (and thus, buying). It's not comfortable at all. The office is so chaotic and disorganized that I wanted to beat a path back out almost as soon as I walked in the door. Imagine the pre-renovated warehouse at WEBS moved into a 1990s Manhattan office interior with all the merchandise spilled onto folding tables and stuffed into half-broken display cabinets. That, my friends, is Seaport Yarns, only without the bargain prices of the WEBS warehouse.
The lighting was terrible! It was so poor, in fact, that I had to wonder if there was some kind of electrical problem affecting the ceiling lights. Nightime is not the best time for color accuracy anyway, but with dim florescent fixtures it's impossible.
Besides the office-worker-cum-store-clerk, there was one woman working the whole space. And she, I must say, was a lone bright spot (figuratively, of course) in this scene. Personable and knowledgeable, she seemed to know where stuff was, but she was much too busy to provide anything beyond the basic level of aid. At least two full-time people are needed to properly staff the store. I can imagine that the multi-room layout lends itself to easy shoplifting.
Anyway, I finally found what I needed and got out of there. I left with some GGH Goa which suited my needs perfectly. I was a bit surprised that GGH sells to this place. I have heard that it can be difficult for stores to become GGH stockists (to use the British term) and I wonder if other, better, NYC stores are losing out.
[I can give only a hint at what I'm knitting.]In spite of the shortcomings I was impressed with the depth of the inventory at Seaport Yarns. Of course, you couldn't find anything without a map, but in a brief survey of the various rooms I noted that many of the typical go-to brands (Rowan, Noro, Koigu, Malabrigo, etc.) were available, and I didn't see a huge heap (I mean that literally here) of novelty yarns. This store could be great, and it's filling a need in a part of the city where there are no other woolly outlets. In the right space, with the right kind of business (something design oriented, perhaps) and with the right kind of employees, this could be a funky example of a creative shared use that results from an overheated real-estate market. I'm sure that there are a lot of Wall Street types who knit. Unfortunately Seaport Yarns is in an environment that's ill-suited for retail. The owner needs to hire a professional organizer, find an electrician, invest in some proper display furniture, and find another staff person.
It would be lovely to have a yarn store close to work, but I can't imagine that I would return here. Maybe some long-time New Yorkers know if my experience is typical, or is a result of an upcoming relocation. I heard that the store is closing at the end of the month and will reopen in a yet-to-be-determined spot. Let's hope that the owner can find a proper retail space to give the store a chance to flourish.