My colleague, Amanda Watlington, owner of Searching For Profit, and I met at last year’s DMA Annual in San Francisco. Over lunch, we discovered that we shared a love of knitting in addition to our work in interactive marketing.
My Noro vest peaking through my New York black business blazer was a strong leading indicator of my passion. It led us to compare notes regarding the stores in San Francisco. Top on both of our lists was ArtFibers on Sutter Street.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting ArtFibers, it’s an unusual knitting haven. There’s a salmon colored sign on the sidewalk that points your way to the second floor space. The store is an open space with metal racks filled with ArtFibers own brand of yarns. The yarns are composed of luxurious fibers in wonderful combinations. My favorites incorporate silk that softens the wools. To add to the sensual experience, the fibers are dyed in rich, jeweled colors.
What sets ArtFibers apart is that it only carries its own yarns and that the staff will help you to create a pattern tailored to your selection of fiber and project (scarf, sweater, etc.). There’s a circle of chairs and baskets of needles near the windows in front where customers can sit and swatch their selection to ensure that they get the appropriate amount of materials. There’s no charge for testing the yarns which are organized by type in a set of file bins. The staff may unravel your swatch to determine your gauge with their computer program.
Last year, I indulged in natural colored Ming, a 50% silk/50% merino combination to make a sweater. My only regret was that their computer program tends to underestimate the quantity of wool so that I had to forgo the bamboo stitch I wanted to use for a plain stocking knit stitch. (Knowing roughly how much wool I use for a sweater, I should have bought extra but ArtFibers product is dear (aka expensive!) That said, the sweater is soft enough to be worn next to my body without itching!
Fast forward, when Amanda and I agreed to speak at the WITI Conference in Santa Clara, I didn’t realize that Amanda’s motivation was to have a partner in knitting to visit ArtFibers. We booked our flights so that we could have the afternoon to pop into San Francisco and do some knitting therapy.
After drooling over the new additions to ArtFibers’ collection, I nestled into one of the chairs to test my prospective purchases. Several swatches later, I abandoned my choices and took another tour of the store. The jeweled purple Kyoto which is 69% silk/25% super kid mohair/6% extrafine wool called out to me since purple and black had been highlighted in fall windows of some of the Fifth Avenue stores in our neighborhood. Although ArtFibers didn’t have the new Knitted Lingerie book, I bought what I hoped would be enough Kyoto for one of the lace tops.
Amanda made some stash enhancing purchases and we left (or more accurately were gently nudged out past closing). Given ArtFibers’ location in the financial district, parking for this venture ran us $30.00!
In our exuberance to get to ArtFibers, I left my camera in the car so that all I have is an outside photo of the store.