Yarn in San Francisco
A trip isn't complete without a yarn shop visit. This one was just a few blocks from my hotel - that could’ve been dangerous. Luckily (for my budget), I found it when had a time limit, based on my conference schedule, but what a great little find.
Roxanne and her husband have owned ArtFibers for over 18 years, with their shop in Union Square. All their yarn is natural fibers – from cotton and linen to alpaca, wool, and even yak – that they design and dye themselves in an off-site garage-turned-workshop.
The layout is different than any other yarn shop I've visited. For each yarn, Roxanne has swatches that show off the colors and textures. What a concept! How many times have I considered, or even bought, a yarn because it was pretty in the skein, but it didn't work up the way I thought? Or, on the other hand, didn't get a yarn because I couldn't imagine how it would look once stitched? She also has a selection of needles so that customers can sit with any yarn in the shop and stitch a swatch of their own, a pretty neat idea.
The yarn at ArtFiber is also not in pre-measured skeins - everything is wound on cones or in loose loops and Roxanne measures, winds, and cuts as much as you need. This could come in handy when buying for a particular project or pattern and know the needed yardage – no leftover yards to add to the ever growing stash. And if you aren’t sure? She has a little chart on each yarn that estimates the amount needed for a few basic items like a scarf or sweater, and can help you estimate anything not listed.
What'd I get?
I'm just starting to get into knitting, so I picked a few that would make nice scarves, something simple while I learn the difference between knitting and purling. These are all smooth, lightweight yarns, so I can probably make them look fancy just by putting them on larger needles.
Lingo – 100% Linen - orange and rusty red variegated (600 yards) - skirt
Tsuki - silk & mohair blend - the hot pink for a light, airy scarf (straight or infinity?) or a cowl (300 yards)
Sylph – Silk, mohair, and wool blend; Tsuki – silk and mohair blend - two gold/rust colored ones - a striped scarf, alternating the two (300 yards total)
I've also been wanting a crocheted or knitted skirt for the summer (even though we're coming to the end of the season). I've tried to convince my mother to make one for me - she's much better skilled at either needlecraft than I am, even without patterns. Roxanne happened to have a knitted skirt on the mannequin welcoming visitors to the shop. She convinced me that I could do it, and I convinced myself of the same, with crocheted stitches as a back-up. She offered the pattern, and explained how the basic design of the skirt is not based on increasing the number of stitches per row, but switching to a large needle. I have done a crocheted tunic like this, I think I can maybe handle a knitted version.
Roxanne was very welcoming and encouraging. We'll see how my skirt goes - if I get the skills together to get it done, that is. But I'm sure the scarves will be keeping me warm by the fall.
ArtFiber is located at 266 Sutter Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA www.artfibers.com
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