Being in the SF Bay Area this past weekend, and having both access to a car and a serious need for retail therapy, I went ahead and checked out a couple of East Bay yarn stores.
Yarn! in my hometown is going out of business. As the liquidation sale has been going on for at least a few weeks now, all of the Koigu and Lorna’s Laces were gone. Most of the good colors of Louet Gems Pearl were gone as well, but I did pick up two skeins in the Baby Lilac color (light purple plied with white).
And now, for the new-to-me stores. I forgot to bring my camera on my mini yarn crawl, so you’ll just have to settle for text-only reviews:
1820 Solano Ave, Suite B-2, Berkeley, CA 94707
They have some really nice stuff in a nice, open, well-lit space. And everything I looked at was reasonably priced (though to be fair, I didn’t look at everything).
I wasn’t too thrilled by the fact that some of their stock was significantly above my eyelevel. For example, I had no way of knowing that they had multiple skeins of Artyarns Supermerino in a particular colorway until one of the staff members told me the overstock was on top of the shelves. And having to dig through a cubby crammed full of one or two skeins in 20+ colors, just to get an idea of what they had in stock, drove me nuts. It frustrated me to the point where I decided “screw this, I don’t need Supermerino after all.”
On the plus side, the sock yarn cubbies weren’t as crammed, so it was much easier to dig through. They had no Koigu, but they did have plenty of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, including the solids (I ultimately bought some in Navy).
They have some laceweight as well. I bought some Zegna Baruffa Cashwool in a rich brown, just one of the colors they had available. They also had balls of Jaggerspun Zephyr (not a lot of colors, though) and… something else, but I can’t remember what it was offhand.
5010 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
I have a tendency to judge yarn stores based on their sock yarn selection, as some of you may have noticed. So the fact that Article Pract’s sock yarn was visible from the front window earned a huge amount of points.
Not that they really needed the bonus points. They had at least two dozen colorways of Koigu out in the open, many of which I really, really wanted to buy. (I was good and only bought one, though; I have a specific project in mind for it.) And they had a bunch of other sock yarns in a revolving cubby stand. A good amount of Louet Gems Pearl, a good amount of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (mostly variegated), and several other sock yarns. The pricing is reasonable here as well. I think the Shepherd Sock here was either the same price or slightly cheaper than at Stash Yarns. And the costs of Koigu made me happy – even with tax, it’s cheaper than the retail price of Koigu at Common Threads.
Some of the laceweight they had is the same as Stash Yarn’s stock, but they also had some Misti Alpaca Lace.
The space isn’t as open or well-lit, but it doesn’t seem completely crammed full, either, which is surprising considering how much stuff they have. (And they really do have a good amount of nice non-sock stuff as well.)
I didn’t need staff assistance, but a couple of other customers within earshot did, and based on what I overheard, the staff seemed pretty helpful.
All in all, it was a good yarn crawl, and I will definitely return to both stores in the future.
However, the above, combined with last Thursday’s visit to Common Threads (and their new stock of Koigu), has put me slightly above my self-imposed sock stash limit. Oops. No more sock yarn crawls for me until I’ve finished knitting a few more pairs, so San Diegans, if you see any good local stock, please please please don’t tell me about it!