This time around the yarn store that I’m reviewing is a local-ish store across the bay in Sausalito. It’s called Bluebird Yarn and Fiber Crafts and it had been recommended to me several times before I finally actually made it to visit over there last week. It’s adorable. And very crochet-friendly.
About Bluebird Yarn & Fiber Crafts
This yarn store is located in Sausalito, California which is just north of San Francisco, a quick drive across the Golden Gate Bridge or a nice little ferry ride across the water. I rarely go to Sausalito (I rarely leave the city, honestly) but it’s a beautiful place and my sister had never been there so we made a day trip of it while she was visiting and took the ferry over there. The store is a short walk away from the main drag of art galleries and stores, a lovely little walk along the water. It’s pictured on the Sausalito Visitor’s Map that you can get at the Visitor’s Center kiosk downtown. It is closed on Mondays but open every other day of the week. Twice per month (first and third Thursdays) they have a drop-in knit/crochet social night. It’s always crochet friendly but especially so on the first Thursdays of the month when it’s hosted by Mirtooli whose great crochet hats and other patterns you might have seen online before.
My Bluebird Experience
I ended up adoring this store. My sister and I had thought it was a different place than it was (totally a user problem in terms of reading the map, not the fault of the store) and we’d started our day’s trek on the other end of the downtown area. Then we’d wasted some time at the Bay Area model. Point being that by the time that we got over the store we were getting close to the time of the ferry we’d intended to take back so I felt rushed and didn’t plan on staying long. I planned to pop my head and see what all of the fuss was about from people who had told me to check out this store and then head out. Ha. Not that I thought I wouldn’t get yarn, but I thought I would be quick about it. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I actually said to my sister right before we walked in, “I hope they aren’t talky in there.”
What ended up happening was that I adored the store and I was the one who was talky. :)
So when you first walk in you see tons of different crochet and knit work. There’s some showcased in the window, including several great hats, a couple of which are made by Mirtooli. I’d seen her work online before – on Ravelry, I think – but didn’t even know that she was in the Bay Area. It just so happened that she was the one working in the store when I went in and as I got talky and started asking questions she was helping me out and showing me stuff and just being warm and great. She’s a really sweet woman, in addition to being creative, so it was just super cool to get to meet her and to chat with her a bit. She told me about the Lacis Museum in the East Bay and an Irish crochet class that she’d really taken there. And I really left feeling like, “okay, this cool personal connection is why people like going to their LYS”!!
Once you walk into the main part of the store, you can explore the yarn and notions. Everything is organized in a very intuitive manner. The patterns for sale are located near the front of the store where the samples showing the patterns are located. The needles and hooks and other notions are located to the left side of the store. The cash register is in the front middle of the store – making the person working easily accessible to you if you have questions but not all up on top of you if you just want to browse. And then of course there is the yarn, which seemed to be loosely organized by fiber type and brand. It is in wall cabinets (open, of course, so you can touch everything) and various table displays.
I know that many crocheters are concerned about whether or not a store is crochet-friendly. This one is. Mirto is primarily a crocheter so when she’s there I think there’s lots of crochet help. I am pretty sure she said that the owner, Sophie, also crochets although she’s the knit expert of the place. I didn’t meet Sophie when I was there but I’d like to. I left feeling like the store is really welcoming and warm. I definitely want to check out one of the social nights coming up soon. A quick look at the calendar on the website shows that they also have a variety of both knit and crochet classes throughout the month.
For the record, we didn’t even miss our ferry despite my dawdling. :)
About the Yarn
I feel so spoiled when I try to describe any local yarn store because I’ve been to so many great ones. I say this was because my first inclination was to say, “this store has the same basic yarns that you would expect from any LYS” but I realize that this is a silly thing to say since each yarn store has its own stuff. I guess when I say that I’m referring to brands like Madeline Tosh and ArtYarns. There’s a small sale section in the back of the store and that’s where I did my shopping. I got 9 balls of 100% merino wool – 3 balls of Mission Fig 1824 wool in grey and 9 balls of Gedifra Extra Soft Merino Grande in purple.
One of the things I always look for at an LYS is their handpainted / hand dyed yarns and somehow I forgot to check for that specifically. I do want to point out, though, that on thing this store has lots of is Be Sweet yarn. I first heard about this yarn from @futuregirlcraft during Crafting in public SF because she had gotten some from @PrincessAnimal who has a store here in The Mission that sells it. It’s a local yarn company (local to Marin, actually) that works with people in South Africa. I don’t know the full story but I think it’s something along the lines of helping provide a sustainable living to fiber artisans in South Africa by selling their great eco-friendly yarn here and giving a portion of the proceeds back as well. It’s good green stuff and it’s nice to their prominent display at Bluebird.
Conclusion: Definitely worth the trip across the bay if you have time while you’re visiting San Francisco.
Related article: 7 San Francisco Yarn Stores