LYLYS: The Black Purl
Marauding yarn lovers have a new local yarn shop to pillage in Rochester, New York: The Black Purl, captained by Alyssa Cabrera, celebrated its grand opening in April 2017. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pirate jokes!) Located in Rochester’s trendy Neighborhood of the Arts, this fledgling store can be found in Village Gate, a converted factory complex where you can also explore shops selling everything from vintage wedding gowns and custom wigs to cupcakes and tarot cards.
Though it’s only been open a couple of weeks, I’m already smitten with the store. While I was in the shop for the grand opening, I was able to chat with Alyssa a bit about her background and future plans for the shop.
Entrepreneurship is a family trait learned from her mother and grandmother—in Alyssa’s family, it’s more common to grow up and start a business than simply get a job. Her grandmother taught her to knit at the age of four, and she spent most of her childhood in her nonna’s fabric store, The White Cottage, in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Six years ago Alyssa relocated to Rochester, where she’s combined her family’s business savvy with her love of yarn.
It’s that yarn love she’s most excited to share with the local community. Alyssa is inspired by the colorways indie dyers create and carries quite a few indie labels at The Black Purl, including In The Deep Hue Sea, On The Round, Spun Right Round (a Rochester dyer), Savvy Skeins, and Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts. Ancient Arts not only makes amazing colors of its own (including the furry friend–inspired Woof and Meow collections, which use a portion of their proceeds to help abandoned and stray animals!), but it also dyes The Black Purl’s custom shop color Gilda, Queen of the Sea, which is named for Nonna. On top of all these, Alyssa has placed orders to carry yarns from Woolen Boon, Haute Yarn, and ShirstyCat, too.
My haul from the grand opening included a skein of In The Deep Hue Sea and a set of Lykke interchangeable needles, which are Norwegian-made driftwood needles—talk about on-brand products. Would you believe me if I said I also stopped for sushi while I in Village Gate, too? It’s true: The Black Purl is just a short walk down the hall from California Rollin’, which makes for a delicious end to a sea themed afternoon. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to see how the store develops. If you’re ever in the Rochester area, be sure to check it out.
Editorial Director, Books