Fiber in New York City

We took a four-day trip to New York City at the tail end of winter. First stop, Loop of the Loom uptown to do some Saori weaving. The shop is filled with small looms—both Saori and others—along with cotton, linen, wool and embellished yarns. Skeins and cones were either naturally-dyed, dyed using shades of indigo, or naturally-colored. Weavers rent time on a loom by the hour, afternoon or day. Instruction is minimal although cones of yarn for use in weaving are abundant. A woven structure on the wall provides a guide toward different weave structures: ribbon weave, fleece inlay, plain weave, tapestry, shadow interlock, float weave, scrap weave, and open window. Staff members assist by answering questions, warping looms, and sewing yardage into cowls and garments. Several young people were weaving on the day we visited. One of the advantages of the Saori loom is that harnesses can be removed from the loom, keeping threading intact, to be woven during subsequent visits.

Back into the streets of New York to venture to a nearby yarn shop—Annie & Company. Yarn, patterns, books, buttons, and knitters fill this enormous shop. A feast! We buy a skein that is space-dyed and wild, peruse patterns, and try on garments. Then, it was on to M&J Trimmings near the theatre district downtown. The shop is loaded with ribbons, laces, and beadwork—a fantastic stop for fiber lovers. Most items are available by the yard. And, oh the buttons! Walls and walls of them organized by color and available in a range of sizes. A quick bite to eat and then it’s off for to Mood Fabrics—the famous fabric store featured on the TV show “Project Runway.” It’s a Saturday and the place is packed! Wow! This many people are sewing? Fantastic! We find entire departments for wools, leathers, cottons, linens and designer fabrics. We go home with our purchases to rest up. But just for a short while. It’s back into town to see a Broadway play. With great costumes.

Finally, a visit to the handmade paper art assemblages of Arlene Morris on view at Figureworks gallery in Brooklyn. A beautifully-renovated new space for owner Randall Harris and a great show. This concludes our whirlwind tour of the City and we’re back to fiber in Maine.

—photography by Christine Macchi

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