An East Bay Yarn Crawl

A couple of months ago, some of my knitting buddies asked if I would organize a yarn crawl up to the Bay Area for them, since I know (some of the) yarn opportunities there. The answer was a hearty yes!

I immediately knew we had to trim down our area – the Bay Area stretches out quite a bit, so we focused on the East Bay as there are some great diverse places and it’s closest to the Valley. On a bright July Saturday we set out with wish lists and credit cards.

Our first stop was a new-to-me store called A Yarn Less Raveled. Mindy has created a lovely store!

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It’s no surprise that she and Sophie of the now-sadly-closed Bluebird Yarn & Fiber Craft are good friends. So many lovely things to admire, like this sample:

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We all dropped some change with store exclusives and lovely yarn just crying out to us.

Next stop was A Verb for Keeping Warm.

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I have known this store from its primitive beginnings in a very modest art studio set-up for natural dyeing fiber and yarn, and to see it now is pretty amazing. It is a combination dye studio, sewing store, knitting loft and even a tiny bit of spinning left. Unfortunately for knitters, the amount of space devoted to yarn and knitting has decreased. The store does carry yarns hard to find in the valley and generally: Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co, to name a couple, but everything feels squeezed. We looked more than we bought.

It was also time for lunch, and we had tasty things at the Actual Cafe just a couple of doors down from Verb. Yum!

Then we were off to the stop I was most anticipating – for all the years I lived in the Bay Area, I had never gone to Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Oakland.

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It’s really hard to describe this store, but safe to say that lace is a big deal here. Amazing lace insets, heirloom patterns for knitting lace tablecloths, doo-dads of all kinds. I went a little crazy here, buying a lot of things that I know I’ll use, but not when:

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Yes, I really did buy a book called What Would Jesus Craft? Wouldn’t you?

Our final stop of the day was one that I had heard about via the grapevine – a button store that has really limited hours, and we timed our visit perfectly. Exclusive Buttons in Albany is run by a senior lady who knows her buttons – and the crafters flock there. The signage is basic, the store tiny:

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We might have bought a lot of buttons of all kinds for future projects!

With that visit, we were done for the day – a variety of amazing vendors who value craft and curate lovely things for those of us dedicated to making things.

Postscript:

One of our group, Kera, might have forgotten to get all of her yarn out of the yarn acquisition vehicle when we dropped her off. The yarn when on a merry set of adventures, including a pool party and prayer time. I’m sure the yarn appreciated it!

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