School For Scandalous Sox, Lurid Lace and Sheep Lovers (You Know Who You Are!)

The recent passing of another business in New York City is a snore, an "in the meantime" affair, the pause that refreshes the landscape. However, in the lives of many textile addicts, fiber aficionados and tricoter-philes, the closing of The Point, a gem of a local yarn store, has wrought great wailing and disbelief.

Talented staff cast to the wind; a meeting place to share and conspire darkened; a men's knitting group home foreclosed; the place to see and be seen for true devotees of the textile arts blinded; The Point is truly missed.

Hence, this question...

If a group of dedicated individuals were to rally to create a school for the textile arts in NYC, what characteristics, resources, ambiance, staff and faculty qualities, customer service expectations, skills taught, knowledge imparted would make you want to be there?

In other words, if you could design the perfect school for the textile arts, what would you desire? In all fairness, merely pointing to some entity by name is not a good answer. What is IT that makes the best place you know or could imagine...the best?

Gentlemen, start your needles!


mrossnyc's picture

I'm also bummed that The Point closed, and will miss the classes they offered. I'm not sure what you really mean by 'a school for the textile arts' regarding the scale of such a place and also the focus. It would be nice to take more advanced classes in knit garment design and not have to focus on flat patterns like the classes offered at FIT and Parsons. I used to teach Interactive Media and related topics at an art school, so I'm not sure if you're actually looking to create an organization that is accredited with a curriculum or something more like a LYS that offers a wider variety of classes.

I liked the business model of The Point. It would have been nicer to have more room for the classes than going in the basement and I also think the dyeing classes should have been completed before the store opened so that customers aren't bumping into you while you're squirting the dye on your yarn. So I guess I'm saying that a dedicated space for classes would be a must-have. Faculty must be experienced, but self-taught is fine.

I think the staff was knowledgeable and very friendly. I would want the same in another place. I would want to have a broader selection of yarn, not limited to the whims of the store's buyer. I would also want a place with a similar ambiance. I think superior customer service needs to be a given. If someone doesn't know the answer, they'll find it out and get back to someone. I think the staff at The Point was great, but other LYS's I've been in aren't always like that.

Hope that helps!

New York Built's picture

Thanks for your thoughts, Michael.

My thinking is this...can the educational focus and community building efforts for our community be balanced and sustained in a for-profit business, a non-profit collaborating with a for profit, or another model entirely. The notion keeps rattling in my head...and I hope this discussion might spark a few ideas.

“There are those that do and those that don’t”
“Those that will and those that won’t”

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

mrossnyc's picture

They are interesting ideas and I'll bounce them around for a while. I'm curious if anyone else has any ideas or similar experiences for schools and resources in other areas as well.

Stan Stansbury's picture

I can't imagine that a retail yarn business, no matter how large, would ever generate enough surplus to fund a school. But fashion success is a license to print money.

You might consider the Bauhaus as a model. The originators developed an industrial design business to help support their arts and crafts school. A fiber arts school in New York might develop a fashion business to help support it. Instead of marketing innovative architecture and furniture to the rich, you might market high-fashion, innovative knitwear to the same crowd and use the proceeds to fund your school.

As a start, consider recruiting artists and fashion designers to work with you to create hand-made knitwear and see what happens.

New York Built's picture

I think you are hitting the right track with this thinking. A group on Ravelry called FACE has emerged, perhaps to become the core for such an entity.

“There are those that do and those that don’t”
“Those that will and those that won’t”

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Jack's picture

Dear Mark:

You've had such an exciting idea! I would love to help you make it a reality. My own reservations come from feelings of doubt that any such thing can exist in New York City, or in fact, anywhere in the Metropolitan Area given the economic and spiritual climate that currently prevails. I'm not thinking about the recession / depression of the moment, but rather the fact that the unquestioned materialism and competitiveness that people take for granted here, threatens to stamp out most everything that human beings need for their genuine happiness, not as individuals, but collectively. Even could one find caring instructors willing to volunteer, the real estate, permits, licenses, codes, utilities, publicity, crime, that would have to be paid money for, positively overwhelm! But, you are obviously a dynamic and forward thinking man who has envisioned something highly attractive and who probably has the energy and skills to make it happen. I'm on your side, buddy.

BTW - OT - Do you garden in the city?

Your neighbor to the West,


New York Built's picture

Hey Jack:

Thank you for your thoughts.

As complex as running any concern is in NYC, there are always barriers, obstructions and problems to solve. I think artists and teachers must be paid. I also think it is possible to do this under the umbrella of another like-minded entity. Political will is what's required, behind a good idea.

I have gardened for many years in NYC. Sadly, I do not have access to a plot now, but you have sparked me to consider looking into a community garden or some other solution. I love growing heirloom vegetables...their flavors are intense.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Knipper's picture

Sorry to hear the news about the Point. When I would travel to NYC I made it a point to stop there and knit and purchase and socialize. It was not there when I lived in NYC from 1980 to 2003. Then I had Yarn Connection (which sadly closed in January 2009 - Jane, the owner taught me so much to improve my knitting) and I love Downtown Yarns which was my neighborhood LYS shop while living in the east village for so many years.

You bring up many great ideas. Thanks for giving us so much food for thought.