Storefront & website
Purl Soho is a New York based store dedicated to needlecrafters. When they say "needlecrafters," the good people at Purl Soho are casting a wide net. This term includes knitters, quilters, embroiderers, and all shades of needlework in between. While a brick and mortar store, their online presence is really remarkable. Not only is their online store wonderful, but they maintain a blog-like "Create" section of their website called the Purl Bee. There are not a lot of sites I visit with regularity, but this is one of my few online standards. It is a gold mine of information, ideas and inspiration.
Something I find almost as inspiring as the patterns Purl Bee shares are the number of patterns they share for free. *Gasp* The designers at Purl Soho seem to care a lot about moving needlecraft forward, keeping it relevant, and helping fellow crafters. The instructions are clear, the photographs are great...and they are sharing it like it is information that should belong to everyone. I really appreciate that mindset. Perhaps that is one way they have engendered such loyalty in me, and probably helps me splurge and buy their products...so perhaps it is by design and less altruistic than the picture I'd like to paint. However, if a company is willing to treat me well, I have no problems returning the favor. Besides, their patterns are beautiful in their simplicity and are a breath of fresh air when compared to other free patterns available.
With these numerous free patterns, Purl Bee is set up more as a community crafting group than a counterpart to a retail store. They encourage people to reach out, and as far as I can tell, they do an excellent job responding to those that do. Many of their patterns are coupled to products that they sell, which may justifiably give you pause, but there is no pressure to purchase. Granted, their yarns are breathtaking and scrumptious, though expensive. And as I mentioned, they always make such beautiful projects with their yarn that in the end, you want to make something that looks just like theirs...right down to the expensive yarn. Those devils. (There is a review of the Purl Soho merino in an earlier post.)
I tend to focus on the yarn offerings and knitting patterns, but the site is also the source of my Cricket Loom and I enjoy perusing their sewing section from time to time. My dream is to one day be the proprietor of an establishment such as Purl Soho, but until that dream comes to fruition, I am happy to indulge in reading this website on a near daily basis. As such, I felt it only right that I let you, my dear reader, know in the most blatant of terms, that if you consider yourself a needlecrafter of any kind, you should take a journey to Purl Soho and see what they have for you.
Bottom Line: Purl Soho is a WONDERFUL website. It seems to be an endless source of great photographs, clear organization, wonderful products and bountiful inspiration. If you are not familiar with the site, please go and check it out. It's worth it.