July 26, 2009

Summer Knitting in the City

I have always been a crafter and feel a need to keep busy, especially when traveling. A few years ago, I discovered knitting and found that it was the perfect mobile craft. I was originally self taught from books, but have since discovered that taking classes here in the city improved my skills and understanding of the craft so much more. I learned how to finish a garment, how to choose the right yarn for the right project, how to fix some mistakes... I even learned how to crochet.

Knitting on the subways and buses is such a natural thing to do as a crafter in NYC. All you need is one skein of yarn, knowledge of two stitches (knit and purl), and one set of knitting needles at a time and off you go. Buying and using circular needles made it so easy that I found myself going everywhere with a knitting project in tow. With the circular needle, I wouldn't even bother those who sat next to me with my long needles clicking away. As I knit, I found that other passengers were interested in learning about the art of knitting and would strike up conversations about knitting groups, materials, shops, etc. I have taught more than a few children in the Bronx how to knit on my morning or afternoon commutes to and from the school I taught within and I even began to carry an extra set of needles and scrap yarn in my bag, just in case.

As it got hotter and hotter in the city during the summer months, I found myself struggling to continue with my commuting pastime though. The feeling of wool passing between my fingers warms and comforts me in the winter and fall, but makes me itch and sweat in the summer. Then I discovered the wonders of cotton and bamboo yarns, that are fabulous for summer shawls, baby knits and household knits. These yarns are less expensive than their wool and alpaca counterparts (for the most part) and softer than their acrylic cousins. All of the projects fit nicely into my happy tote and are readily available for every commute by train, bus, or ferry, for every queue that I must wait within, and for every park that has a bench or lawn to sit upon. Heck, knitting is the one craft that is endorsed by America's favorite summer sport, baseball. A bleacher seat is a great setting to knit considering that major league sporting events take commercial breaks and now there are cup holders for your beer. Stitch N' Pitch events are scheduled throughout the world. Check out the schedule for a game in your area.

Summer in the city is also the moving season for most NYC dwellers. Housewarming parties become frequent calendar events. A summer knit project may become that perfect housewarming gift. A set of hand-knit dish cloths are a great eco-friendly gift possibility. Below I have listed several other summer knitting project possibilities. And if you have an iPhone or something of that sort, there are now numerous applications that help a knitter keep track of their stitches and/or their stashes.

Speaking of stashes, when it comes to yarn in the summertime, I have learned that going into the shops and talking to those who work there, asking for advice, and feeling the yarns are the best things that you may do before starting your summer knit projects. Some of the shops that offer a wonderful selection of classes and materials are Purl Soho in Soho, Knitty City on the UWS, and Flying Fingers in Tarrytown, NY. Please check out their websites for details as they offer new classes each month in a wide variety of skill levels and have new yarns coming in almost every week. Also, a couple of the shops mentioned are offering special deals for you lucky readers! For those of you not in the NYC area, they do offer online shopping too!

Knitty City
208 West 79th St
10% discount for all shoppers mentioning The {NewNew} between 7/26/2009-8/26/2009
They will be closed from August 11 - August 16 though.
Look out for their kimono fabrics and handmade papers too!

Purl Soho
137 Sullivan Street
Check www.purlbee.com for special {NewNew} offers too.

Flying Fingers
15 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York
Offers free transportation from NYC to Tarrytown, NY aboard the Yarn Bus. Check their website for the schedule and how to make a reservation. A great Saturday getaway for the knitter looking to get out of the city for the day, enjoy the Hudson views, and get their knit on.

Marvelous Summer Knitting Project Ideas (with FREE patterns)

iPhone Applications that may make your mobile knitting even easier:
(Links open in iTunes)

Knitting Yarn Calculator
Ewe Stash
Knit Buddy
iKnit Needle Sizer
Knit Counter
iLocate - wool & yarn
Knit Counter Lite

If you love and want the knitted item, but don't care to knit it yourself, then check out the following {NewNew} team members and their beautifully knit items in their etsy shops.

Felt It


Simone said...

Wonderful collection of links and information. Thanks so much. I've also recently discovered this site for patterns: http://www.metapostmodernknitting.com/Home/tabid/100/Default.aspx

Jess // CLineCreations said...

Ah... makes me want to learn how to knit. Someday, someday..

persuede said...

fantabulous post...I love the links in iTunes for tools and the first shawl is really pretty. Can't wait to get started on a new knitting project!