We are spending a few days in San Francisco this week and you know how I love to visit yarn stores when I travel.
Yesterday, while my husband was working, I went to visit Artfibers Yarn store which was just a few blocks from our hotel. (Funny thing is that when I stayed at a Kimpton hotel in NYC, Habu textiles was just around the corner and I'm at a Kimpton hotel again and ArtFibers is is just down the street. Do you think this hotel chain chooses their locales based on proximity to fabulous yarn stores? I know I'll be thinking Kimpton again next trip just in case. )
The store is on the third floor (elevator building) of 266 Sutter street and this great banner helps you to spot them from way down the street.
This is a VERY unique store. Artfibers purchases fiber from all over the world which they spin and dye themselves so all the yarn carries their own label.
The yarns are all on cones and stored in wire pull-out drawers. Yarn is priced "by the yard" starting at about .06/yard and going up from there. They will measure out the amount of yarn you need if you don't want to purchase a whole cone.
Above each set of drawers is a label with the name of the yarn and a swatch or two so you can see and feel what the yarn looks like knit up. So many lovely swatches to pet.
So for every yarn (in every color) there's a "swatch cone" (just like those taste testers). You just take the swatch cone of the yarn you want to swatch, pull up a chair at the table, grab the appropriate sized needles and knit away!! It's a yarntasting cafe!
Aboves is just a sample of some of the yarns I tested. I happened to arrive during the time a local knitting group , The West Portal Knitters, were sitting around swatching together so I had a lovely few hours of visiting with them while I played with gorgeous wool-free yarns.
For the wool-free knitter they have silks (tussah and mulberry to name a few) cottons, linens, bamboo, and a wide variety of blends not to mention some acrylic yarns. It was really hard to choose just one yarn and one color to buy and if they don't have the color you want you can purchase many of the yarns undyed as well.
They also offer a free service (if you are purchasing the yarn for it) to use their knitting software to create a custom sweater/shawl/shrug pattern of your own design. I'll let you know if my creation pans out once I start knitting it, but you know I bought some yarn, right?
If you are ever in San Francisco you must make time to stop in and visit this store and taste some of their luscious yarns for yourself -- just be sure you have several hours to linger and visit with other knitters. Once you sit down, it's a hard place to leave!
P.S. Thanks, Amy, for being such a great hostess for my visit, and West Portal Knitters for making me feel right at home!