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by Lisa Butterworth on Oct 18, 2003
It seems as though everyone's got a knack for knitting these days, and the trend goes well beyond your grandma and her purple-haired friends. The craft revolution is upon us and because of it, everyone's got a pair of needles in their hand or a skein of yarn in their bag. If you haven't received a hand-knit scarf as a gift, there's probably one in the works, especially with the holiday season right around the corner. Chances are, you're making one for someone else. Whether you're a knit one, purl two master or are wondering what a skein is, there is a store to meet all your knitting needs.
What thrills a knitter more than a stitch-n-bitch gathering or binding off that year-long project? Why, a yarn store, of course! To the untrained eye it may be a bit overwhelming-bins overflowing with colors and textures, hot pink cashmere, orange sherbet wool, electric blue angora. But to a knitter, it's endless opportunity. It's inspiration. It's a compulsive shopping excursion.
"Inspiration is a conversation between creators," reads a sign at the top of the staircase leading to Artfibers. Located downtown on the second floor of a building smack dab in the shopping district, Artfibers hopes to foster those conversations with their newly created "Knitting Lounge", six comfy chairs set in a circle, just begging to host a flurry of needles. The walls of the rather smallish space are lined with shiny silver utility shelves stacked high with yarn, categorized by texture, from silky smooth to furry to soft and easily manageable. They offer a great discount program beginning at 10% off a purchase of $100. The more you buy, the more you save. They even have a pattern station where you can print custom patterns that will help you turn your balls of yarn into wonderful, wearable creations. For those that work in the area, they've got lunchtime tutorials so you can get some knit therapy on your break.
Imagiknit is the new kid on the block having opened just over a year ago, but their expertise goes well beyond that, just ask co-owner Allison Isaacs whose been knitting since she was knee-high. Nestled between the Castro and the Mission, Imagiknit's storefront is marked by clotheslines draped in the window, dotted with a myriad of tiny knit hats. Walking through the door is like walking into a well-lit cave of yarn. Bins from floor to ceiling are pulsing with color. There's a comfy couch in the front often occupied by an overwhelmed non-knitting companion and a bookcase of magazines and instruction books in the back. There is literally yarn everywhere, piled on the couch, stacked on tables, spilling from baskets on the floor. The staff is more than willing to help and is often found assisting with yarn choosing, guiding a knitter through a tough spot or reversing a stitch gone wrong. They have extensive class offerings and sponsor a knitters tea several times a year. Imagiknit's website is a great resource, highlighting their yarn collection, class schedules and even listing a number of knitting charities so you can turn your projects into philanthropy!
For those of you who wouldn't know mohair from cotton and just want some basic yarn to work with, try finding your materials at Pearl Art and Craft Supplies, the 3-floor art supply store on Market. They have a whole aisle devoted to yarn and needles and no skein is over eight bucks. Perfect for someone who's afraid their first knitting endeavor might end up in knots. While you're there you can pick up materials for all your other crafty adventures!
3897 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Hours: M-Sat 11am-6:30pm, Sun 11am - 3pm
124 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
Hours: M-Sat 10am-6pm Sun 2pm-4pm
Pearl Art and Craft Supplies
969 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: M-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm
by Lisa Butterworth on Oct 18, 2003