Sometime in the first quarter of 2014, Artfibers – my favorite San Francisco yarn store – is closing its store on Sutter Street and will be an on-line store only.
Unlike most LYS, Artfibers does not sell any commercially prepared yarns. Their yarns are designed, dyed and prepared in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Its owner, Roxanne Seabright, is also a knit and crochet designer.)
What I have appreciated about Artfibers isn’t just its unique fibers but the fact that every yarn it produces has been knit into swatches that you can pick up and feel. When you walk into Artfibers – even before you touch a strand of yarn – your eyes feast on the colorful and textured display of the swatches.
Further, customers may select swatching cones (there is a swatching cone for every color of every yarn Artfibers produces), and, sitting at a long worktable at near a row of large windows (facing Sutter Street), knit/crochet from the cone. That enables the customers to better assess if the yarn meets her/his needs.
I am always saddened by the loss of a LYS – the kind you can walk into. Not only are they wonderful for the local economy, but their existence provides a way of sharing knowledge with beginning crafters. Watching e-lessons simply isn’t the same as leaning over the counter while the LYS owner explains what you did wrong and demonstrates how to repair the error and praises you for what you’ve accomplished.
As an aside: After my friend Naomi “the Queen of Color” and I lamented about Artfibers closing its store, she took me to The Hobby Lobby. I had never heard of it, but, I admit, imagining walls of cheap acrylic yarns made in a developing country somewhere far away, I was prepared to dislike the store sight unseen. We walked to the main door (I grumbled the whole way), where we were surprised to read “CLOSED SUNDAYS to allow employees time for family and worship.” Hmmm, does that mean it doesn’t employ Jews and Muslims and any other folks of any other faith who might worship on a different day? (My grumbling intensified.) After I got home I visited its webpage where I read that Hobby Lobby is committed to “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.”
Now that’s a challenge if I ever heard one: Do customers receive a discount if they witness or experience inconsistencies with biblical principles?