I have mentioned more than once here that I tend to do my yarn shopping online from indie dyers and sellers (like Candy Skein and Loophole by Six Skeins). Or else I do it in the LYS of the place I’m visiting when I travel. But of course San Francisco is filled with yarn-loving folks and so we do have a lot of options for buying yarn here in the city. Some of them I’ve checked out and some of them I haven’t. Here’s a roundup of San Francisco yarn stores (in-city only, not in the surrounding Bay Area although Liz over at Donna’s Decembers is one of several people who have told me that I really need to check out the LYS across the bay in Sausalito).
The ones I have been to:
- Imaginknit. This is the “big” store that almost everyone’s heard of if they ask around for a yarn store in San Francisco. It is a large two-room yarn store in The Castro with yarn that goes from floor to ceiling in both rooms. It’s colorful and airy and light, which I love. In fact I really like this store. They have a lot of selection, there are always multiple staff members and the people who work here are helpful without being overbearing. They have items for crocheters as well as knitters. To be honest, I can’t remember if they swatch in crochet as well as knit but I’m thinking they do. I really rarely look at the swatches on display in the LYS and I haven’t been there in awhile. What I do remember is that they have a lot of the “good” yarns that you can’t get at a chain store but can get at other standard LYS options in many cities. So there are a lot of great options but not necessarily super-unique options. Good place, though, and they have an online store. They also offer several crochet classes, including a freeform workshop, although I’ve not taken any.
- Atelier Yarns. This is the yarn store that is closest to my home in the Lower Pacific Heights area (ish) and so the one that I have been to most often. It is a knit-heavy store that doesn’t have swatches or patterns done up in crochet. I wouldn’t say it’s anti-crochet, though, although since I’m not one of the people who is particularly aware of this problem I sometimes don’t notice it where other crocheters might. For example, I haven’t asked for any crochet help so I don’t know if they could tell me answers if I did. I tend to prefer the Internet for those things. :) They do have a crochet and knit workshop, though, where questions for either craft can be answered. In any case, they have a lot of different yarn options and I always find something here that I like. It’s a small room but in a cozy way. This is where I got my Lang by Langalux and KnitCol yarns. One thing I love at this store is their sale section.
- Greenwich Yarn. This close-to-the-Bay store was the first yarn store that I went to in the city after I first learned to crochet and it totally intimidated me because I just didn’t know any better. Looking back it’s actually a great little store for the crocheter who wants a cozy little place of her own. It’s a small two-room store with yarn from floor to ceiling in both rooms. The front room is home to a large table where a group seems to be constantly gathered just working on their stuff (I say constantly but I’ve only been in there two or three times and it could be coincidence, didn’t seem like it, though). The one thing I didn’t like about this store was that it had no prices on the yarn. But it’s been awhile; that could have changed. Their website tells me that they’ve been there for 30 years.
- Princess Animal. This is the store newest to me. I met @PrincessAnimal at SF Crafting in Public a couple of weeks ago and I’ve since been in her Mission neighborhood store twice. It’s actually a full craft store (“San Francisco’s newest rock ‘n roll
craft bar“), not just a yarn store. However, it has a section of yarn that is from local dyers including a line of yarn with colorways specially dyed for Princess Animal and named after the neighborhoods in San Francisco so it’s got that special touch that bears mentioning. There are also a lot of Cascade yarns at this store. Worth a stop for sure.
The ones I haven’t visited yet:
- Artfibers. It has come up in conversation a couple of times in the past few weeks that I need to stop into this Financial District store. I hadn’t known about it but then @futuregirlcraft told me where it was (look for the funky-font sign that just says “yarn” up in the air for this second-story shop. I have heard only good things about it but haven’t yet made it in there.
- Scrap. This actually isn’t a yarn store but instead is a sort of thrift store for artists that sometimes has yarn. I just love the idea of this, especially since our actual thrift stores here almost never have yarn and particularly because the entire store is just arts and crafts supplies that you can dig through, find your treasures and pay a low cost for. I haven’t been here yet but I have a date planned to go here in a couple of weeks.
- Urban Fauna Yarn Studio. I have heard absolutely nothing about this store, but it comes up when I do a Google Maps search for yarn stores and it has a website that looks intriguing. They are knit-heavy, I think, but apparently get yarn from indie dyers around the country, which I love. They have a monthly drop-in fiber night where the public is invited to bring the fiber project of their choice and craft. Maybe I’ll check that out!