With Maker Faire Bay Area coming up this weekend (May 21 & 22!), it’s the perfect opportunity to share with you some of our favorite crafty spots around the Bay!
Address: 3897 18th St., San Francisco, Calif., 94114
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am to 6:30pm; Sun, 11am to 4pm
From floor to ceiling everywhere you look, you’ll find yarn, yarn, and more yarn.
Allison and the friendly staff at ImagiKnit are fantastic at helping you find the right yarn you’ll need for any kind of project. I’ve been coming to this store for years since it first opened years ago and always find inspiration just ogling and touching all the variety of yarns they carry.
You can also just sit in their craft book area and search for your next project through their extensive pattern binders, books, and magazines or sit on their cozy couches and chairs and cast on your new project. Hone your craft skills by taking any one of their classes from knitting and crochet 101 to spinning. You’ll definitely find lots of fiber love at ImagiKnit.
Food Match: Find more inner peace stroll across the street at Samovar Tea Lounge for a pot of green tea and their tea-infused cookie plate. Then sit back and knit or crochet in serenity.
/Natalie Zee Drieu
Address: 146 Geary St., San Francisco, Calif., 94108
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am to 6pm
If you go to Britex, bring cash only. Not because they don’t take credit cards, but because you will spend far more than you intend to otherwise! While the prices are on the high end, this is a true fabric emporium of the highest order, all four floors of it. I always feel a bit like the country girl arriving in the city in some old Hollywood musical – I fantasize that people are dancing up the ladders and unrolling bolts of the most glorious silks, velvets, denims, and prints. (Not that anyone would ever behave so indecorously there!) The notions floor is worth a trip in itself.
Food match: If you’re looking for lunch, it’s a pleasant walk down to the Embarcadero to drool over the offerings at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Full of boutique butchers, locally grown mushrooms, gluten-free baked goods, and artisan olive oils, there are enough fancy food shops and restaurants to bankrupt just about anyone! But it’s also easy to grab a perfect espresso at Blue Bottle Coffee, a bento box to go from Delica, or a few briny oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company. On Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, there’s also hopping farmer’s market with, dare I say, the finest of the nation’s produce. Saturday is the “see and be seen” day, packed to the gills, but it’s worth a trip any day of the week.
/Arwen O’Reilly Griffith
Address: 801 Toland St. (entrance on Newcomb), San Francisco, Calif., 94124
Hours: Tues-Sat, 9am to 5pm
Neighborhood: Bayview District
Hidden in an industrial section of the Bayview District, you won’t accidentally stumble across SCRAP, but it’s worth the trek to visit this mecca of reuse. If you don’t have a car, hop on the 9 bus, like me, and knit during your trip.
SCRAP stands for “Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts” and has been a community resource for artists, educators, and makers since 1976. The warehouse contains row after row of shelves literally crammed full donated materials. Walking aisle-by-aisle you will find paper, fabric, beads, buttons, yarn, tiles, glass bottles, picture frames, magazines, zippers, wood, paint, and all manner of building, art, and making materials. Get an idea of what you’ll find in my Flickr Set from a recent visit.
Most things have no prices on them, but no need to worry about what your haul will cost. My last trip I walked up to the counter with my arms overloaded with 4 balls of yarn, 14 zippers, and some bits of plastic canvas. The woman at the register eyed by pile of goodies and said, “How about $5?” Sounds great to me! I dare you to visit SCRAP and walk out of there empty-handed.
Crafting In Public
Address: 690 Mission St., San Francisco, Calif., 94105
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am to 11pm; Sat-Sun, 8am to 11pm
Website: ravelry.com/groups/sf-crafting-in-public (Ravelry link; requires sign-in)
About a year ago, I started a monthly gathering for crafters of all types named Crafting in Public. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at The Grove Cafe (on 3rd at Mission) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. It’s just a couple blocks from Montgomery Station and is convenient for anyone working downtown. This cafe is one of my favorites in the city. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. The food and drinks are great. And the nicest part is that the staff seems to love having us hang out making things.
We usually score the large seating area near the fireplace, which is perfect as our group grows and shrinks throughout the night. We’ve had makers bring all kinds of projects: crocheting, knitting, embroidery, origami, and even circuit board blinky-light jewelry. And if you need help with your project, there will probably be someone there who can assist you. Everyone is welcome to show up with something to work on and hang out.
Address: 1699 Market St., San Francisco, Calif., 94103
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:30am to 7pm
Boasting over 10,000 kinds of paper from all over the world, art and design store Flax will reinvigorate your love of paper. Your heart will skip a beat in the large paper room as you open and close the multitude of flat file drawers, exposing the most beautiful large sheets of paper. I love the handmade paper and the variety of paper prints that’s perfect for gift-wrapping.
Flax also carries an array of sketchbooks, photo albums, and stationery goods in all shapes and sizes. And let’s not forget all the pens, pencils, and watercolor paints that will keep you creativity flowing. Shop online also at flaxart.com.
Food Match: Grab lunch at Zuni Café for one of their famous brick oven flat bread pizzas.
/Natalie Zee Drieu
Address: 14028 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville, Calif., 95446
Hours: Wed-Sat, 11am to 5pm
Formerly known as Rainbow Fabrics and Random Craftiness, Make Cute! is the next big thing in the adorable town of Guerneville. Nestled in between the towering redwoods and lazy Russian River, this is the spot to get your craft on! Shannon Hartlep has expanded her popular Etsy fabric shop into a brick and mortar space where anything goes! Screen printing, molding with clay, Blythe, jewelry, and of course, sewing, are all at your fingertips!
Food Match: Grab a bevy at Coffee Bazaar right across the street!
Address: 781 Gravenstein Hwy. South, Sebastopol, Calif., 95472
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am to 4pm
It’s no secret that thrift stores are treasure troves for unique art and craft supplies, but I had never seen a thrift store solely dedicated to crafty goods until I checked out The Legacy in Sebastopol, Calif. Nestled in Wine Country, about an hour north of San Francisco, the shop features supplies of all flavors conveniently organized in labeled bins. I went there in search of chunky vintage zippers, and found multiple bins, organized by color, with new zippers priced at 35 cents a piece and used ones a mere dime. Not sure what you can get these days for 10 cents, but I got a really cool zipper. What’s more, all proceeds from the shop go directly to the Sebastopol Senior Center, so this second-hand shop is not only good for the planet, but good for the elders of the community. The best part is you never know what creative inspiration you may find when you walk in.
Food match: Need a little focused inspiration before sifting for your crafty treasure? Then swing by Hardcore Espresso on the way into Sebastopol. This West Sonoma County classic will not only give you a healthy dose of the local flavor, but you’ll also get a cup of the best beans you’ve ever had.
Bobbin’s Nest Studio
Address: 1171 Homestead Rd., Suite 130, Santa Clara, Calif., 95050
Hours: Tues-Wed, 11am to 6pm; Thurs, 11am to 8pm; Fri-Sun, 11am to 4pm
Bobbin’s Nest Studio is like a candy shop for crafters. You can’t walk out empty handed! Skeins and balls of yarn line one side of the wall while equally colorful and vibrant bolts of fabric line the opposite wall. You’ll love walking around the shop looking through baskets and bins of crafty treasures. There’s everything for almost every kind of crafter from yarn, fabric, patterns, books, notions and more. I love that there’s also a small area dedicated to embroidery supplies and patterns (by Sublime Stitching (of course!).
Check out their extensive schedule of classes where you can learn how to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and more. They even offer private lessons and kids knitting and sewing lessons as well.
Food Match: Enjoy a great lunch at Jasmine Fine Thai Cuisine across the street.
/Natalie Zee Drieu
Address: 2982 Adeline St., Berkeley, Calif., 94703
Hours: Mon-Sat, 12pm to 6pm
Lacis is a bit of an odd duck: part lace and textile museum, part vintage clothing store, part textile art store (selling all sorts of things related to tatting, lace-making, embroidery, and hat-making), part school, part publisher and manufacturer. It is certainly an interesting place, full of eye candy and inspiration. I took a lace-making class and bought my wedding veil here, although the staff is so protective of their wares that I practically had to audition to be allowed to examine the antique veils! If you’re looking for esoteric textile tools or books, this is the spot.
/Arwen O’Reilly Griffith
What You Said
We asked our Facebook readers which Bay Area crafty locations they love. Here’s what you said:
Cast Away – Santa Rosa, Calif.
Kate: Cast Away!!! In downtown Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square. Best yarn shop in Sonoma County. You did say Bay Area, right? :)
The Nova Studio – Point Richmond, Calif.
Ruth: Great classes in making natural lotions, candles, soap, bath salts, natural perfume… tons of stuff!
Article Pract – Oakland, Calif.
Pia: Article Pract on Telegraph in North Oakland!!
The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse – Oakland, Calif.
Pia: AND The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse!!
Carolla: I second the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse for sure! A wonderful place.
The Crucible – Oakland, Calif.
A non-profit educational foundry, metal fabrication shop, machine shop, and sculpture studio that offers low cost classes.
Stonemountain & Daughter – Berkeley, Calif.
Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics specializes in serving the unique needs of the garment and quilting sewer by providing an inspiring variety of high quality fabric choices.
Museum of Craft and Folk Art – San Francisco, Calif.
Unique exhibitions of traditional and contemporary folk art and craft from around the world.
Workshop – San Francisco, Calif.
Offers affordable DIY classes to the public, ranging from screen printing, to bike maintenance, to learning about types of cheeses.
Building REsources – San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco’s only source for reusable, recycled and remanufactured building and landscaping materials.
Alice Merlino writes a popular craft blog at futuregirl.com where she mainly talks about her crochet, knitting, and embroidery projects. Her site features several free patterns and many detailed tutorials.
Arwen O’Reilly Griffith is staff editor at MAKE and CRAFT. She’s a compulsive gardener, a lazy but hungry cook, and has more yarn and fabric than time to make things with it. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and their two-year-old rapscallion.
Brookelynn Morris is the author of Feltique, the complete guide to feltmaking in all its forms. She lives in the coastal redwood forest of northern California.
Goli Mohammadi is senior editor of MAKE and CRAFT. She’s also an Iranian-American snowboarding househead word nerd.
Natalie Zee Drieu is the former editor-in-chief of CRAFT, now turned crafty mom. She blogs at coquette.blogs.com.