Another LYS Going

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.)

20120403-212939.jpgWhat 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?

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Fibers, Miscellany and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Another LYS Going

  1. Yes, Art Fibers is missed. 😦 Given the current composition of the Suupreme Court, we may see more successful attacks on policies that protect women.

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  2. Arlene says:

    So sad to see Art Fibers close! I live in the Midwest and always looked forward to visiting them in SF. I wouldn’t walk into a Hobby Lobby especially with the latest Supreme Court decision. Women have to have a bigger say in their own rights—and all of the female Supreme Court Justices agree.
    Its really too bad.

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  3. I don’t know why, but I was on their email newsletter list where I learned they were selling all their dye equipment too. Yes, great people, great yarn. I’m sad the store closed.

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  4. Beth says:

    Hi, So I guess Artfibers is really really gone. No website, nothing. I wonder why. I visited their shop in Pinole and hope those nice people are okay. Loved their yarn!! Warmly, Beth in Richmond, CA

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  5. I remember. This time, though, Artfibers is selling its equipment too. 😦

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  6. pennyprudence says:

    Art Fibers did this in 2008 as well, closing their former location in the Financial District (not far from their current location) and going online only. They reopened a couple of years later, though I don’t know why, and now seem to be re-closing again. Curiouser and curiouser.

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  7. I don’t envisioning buying heavy paper for lampshades any time soon 🙂 and will join you in avoiding Hobby Lobby.

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  8. I worked at a yarn store while I was in grad school, and I know the owner, though she had a thriving shop, paid herself very little.

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  9. I am getting to the point where I don’t want to buy any yarn from on-line sources.

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  10. It is sad to here about Artfibers. My girlfriend used to bring me a pretty skein whenever she went out. I wouldn’t waste time on Hoppy Lobby. All I ever bought was heavy paper to make a lampshade. I didn’t see anything else that would cause me to go again.

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  11. Tina says:

    I seem to see this more and more often. It’s so sad 😦

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  12. I’m not surprised! 😦

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  13. needleandspindle says:

    I sympathise…we have just had a yarn store open nearby and I hope and pray to the knitting gods (who don’t close on Sundays thank goodness) that it remains. Practically speaking, I shall buy stuff from them!

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  14. cleo14 says:

    That is so sad. I know exactly what you mean. there is only one LYS anywhere near where I live. As far as I know you would have to travel approximately an hour before you would find another.

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  15. Yes … though I always thought it would be neat (though I know it’s a lot of HARD work) to own a LYS … I would definitely include an espresso stand too … and sell little noshes to nibble on while sitting in the knitting area and swatching … 🙂

    Sent from my iPad

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  16. jengolightly says:

    I dont know any local crafters, its quite a run down shopping precinct. Its not an easy dilemma!

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  17. I agree. LYS are THE gathering place for fiber artists to exchange information, ideas, assistance … (the list goes on)!

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  18. Oh, this sounds so sad. Maybe you and other local fiber crafters should make the store owner an offer … ? 🙂

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  19. I had never heard of Hobby Lobby either! The sign on its door (about being closed Sundays so employees could go to church or something) really took me by surprise.

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  20. How sad – sounds like an amazing LYS! I laughed aloud at your remark about “Hobby Lobby” – then my jaw dropped reading the comments from other readers! I had never heard of it before (in the UK) but now know to avoid it if ever in the States!

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  21. That is so sad, I just love going to the LYS and spending time there, shopping, chatting, exchanging ideas and all. My LYS has a small section where we can sit and drink coffee as well, so very nice.

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  22. jengolightly says:

    I want to rescue my lys. It is in a state of decline. All the yarn is in a mess. He only sells cheap acrylic. No yarn finer than dk weight – apparently “no one knits with thin yarn these days”. Even the front step is broken!

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  23. I look forward to it!!!

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  24. So sorry to hear about Artfibers; that was a fun shop to visit. But the LYS is alive and well in Portland, Oregon! Many of them carry yarns from local and indie dyers. And we also have LYS’s with more commercial yarn, too. Come and see!

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  25. I heard of the lawsuit, but I guess the company’s name didn’t stick in my head. Wow.

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  26. I did not know that. Yes, ArtFibers was a one-of-a-kind store. It’s still a one-of-a-kind but after the first quarter of 2021, no longer will have a physical location to visit. 😦

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  27. I agree. Even experienced crafters and fiber artists love (need?) to get together with others and talk fibers & designs!

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  28. Yes indeed. Thor and I were just talking about how the big box stores have eliminated (or are in the process of eliminating) the variety of independent stores. We recently took a trip and drove 800-1000 miles and saw the same set of stores every 25 miles or so. 😦

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  29. Yes, you might just have to start a handspun store if only to find a home for all your yarns! Actually, reading about your spinning adventures has encouraged me to dust off my Schacht wheel (one of their first off the proverbial assembly line!) and start spinning again!

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  30. caityrosey says:

    Sad to hear about your favorite LYS. I’d love to find store like that around here devoted to locally produced yarns. Although my handspun stash might get to that level soon. Maybe I should open a store.

    We’ve got lots of Hobby Lobby stores in this part of the country. They’re pretty interesting. Family owned business, if I recall correctly, founded by a fellow that Forbes calls “the biblical billionaire backing the evangelical movement.”

    Right now they’re in the middle of a case that may be going to the US Supreme Court about whether or not they should be required to cover birth control for their employees at no cost, as is required under the law right now. There are exemptions for religious groups and affiliated institutions, but no carve-outs for private businesses with religious owners, such as Hobby Lobby.

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  31. cleo14 says:

    Can we have a moment of silence please?

    The closing of a lys hurts all of us.

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  32. Verónica says:

    Oh no. I also feel sad when a LYS closes. It’s not the same online. 😔

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  33. Hobby Lobby gives a lot of money to support Right Wing Conservative nutter groups and their regressive causes. I wouldn’t give them a dime of my money even if they were the only game in town. To bad about your LYS. It sounded like a good place.

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  34. jenyjenny says:

    Sad to see another brick-and-mortar YS bite the dust. It seems to be the way of the world these days. And I’m surprised you haven’t heard of the recent Hobby Lobby lawsuit over the company’s not wanting to fund health care for its employees that would provide for contraception and abortion pills, against their religious beliefs.

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