“In our experience, people’s chance of success and joy is so much greater when they really love what’s in their hands.”
Through this conviction, Purl Soho has become a beloved resource for fiber artists across all walks of life, offering not just yarns, fabrics and craft supplies, but creative inspiration for their visitors as well since they opened a tiny store in 2002! From the first time we walked into this little piece of yarn paradise in Soho, New York, we saw the love they have in sharing their passion for exceptional design, natural fibers and needlecraft traditions. We had a chat with one of the owners and the person who started it all, Joelle Hoverson about their bestsellers, most memorable moments with customers and what the future holds for Purl Soho.
Share with us the story of Purl Soho.
Purl Soho began in 2002 as a tiny shop in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. We opened as a place to share our love for natural fibers because, believe it or not, there weren’t that many shops at the time that focused on these kinds of yarns. Our interests expanded and so did our need for space, so four years later and just a few doors down, we opened an even tinier store for fabric: Purl Patchwork. In 2010, we finally realised our dream of bringing all fiber arts together under one roof with the opening of our big, beautiful Purl Soho store at 459 Broome Street. Now we sell supplies for all sorts of fiber arts, but our passion remains the same: to provide beautiful materials and inspiration for creative people!
The original owner of Purl Soho is Joelle Hoverson. She soon brought her sister, Jennifer Hoverson Jahnke, then good friend, Page Marchese Norman, on board as co-owners.
How do you curate Purl Soho’s wide collection of products?
Our goal in everything we do is to bring fiber crafts into the modern discourse, while honoring their rich traditions and history. Great design is an important component of this, but we believe beautiful materials and exquisite tools are just as important. In our experience, people’s chance of success and joy is so much greater when they really love what’s in their hands. Our general process of creating new products is very organic and from-the-gut: Does it stir something deep inside us? Do we want to put a skein of it under our pillow at night? Do we want to take it with us on our next road trip? If the answer is yes, then we want it!
Your bestselling yarns?
It’s really amazing how people are attracted to a huge range of yarns. From fingering weight, really rustic blends to single-ply big puffs of fun. We love them all equally and love that our customers do, too!
Most popular pattern?
People love our sweater patterns but also ones that teach basic skills. Like our Basic Hats For Everyone and our Baby Socks Pattern. We also sell a lot of patterns for crafts other than knitting, like beginner embroidery and macramé, patchwork and crochet.
How much has changed in the yarn movement since you first began?
The yarn movement has lived several lifetimes in the last 17 years! Back then everyone assured us that our shop would never survive if we didn’t carry novelty yarns (we didn’t listen!). Now, yarn is returning to its roots and so are knitters’ tastes. It’s a really exciting time to be in the world of yarn and fiber arts. We’re engaging more deeply with our natural resources, the land, and each other.
Shine some light on your new projects!
We are super excited to soon be introducing some yarns that are new for us. We can’t say a ton more about it, but keep your eyes peeled!
Share with us your most memorable customer to date!
That’s a tough one! Our most memorable customers are the ones who come right from the airport and make our shop their first stop. But also the ones who have been with us since the very beginning, the ones who inspire us with their enthusiasm and passion, the ones who make our hearts ache when they have to frog it all, the ones who just pop in after to work to say hi and get a fresh breath of yarn. They’re all impossible to forget!
What’s the yarn scene like in New York?
The yarn scene in New York is like New York City itself. It’s high energy and passionate, curious and adventurous, diverse and ambitious. You can find it on the subway and in the parks, people are knitting circles and in yarn shops, home alone and together online. It’s a wonderful reflection of everything we love about the city!
What does the future hold for Purl Soho?
We will always make more supplies, more patterns, more tutorials, and more inspiration, and we’re also working on more collaborations with super talented designers, reaching out to more members of our community, and making sure we’re really doing our part to keep the yarn scene vital, inclusive, and responsive.
Images by Purl Soho. Visit their wonderful store here.
Got your supplies? Let’s start creating with a yarn pattern of your choice.