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On the Road:

San Francisco, CA
Review date: April 1, 2004

Every knitter dreams of having a neighborhood yarn store they can pop into for a quick yarn fix on their way to the laundromat or grocery store. Residents of San Francisco's Castro neighborhood are lucky to have ImagiKnit as their local shop.

Although it has only been open since September 2002, ImagiKnit has quickly become one of the largest yarn stores in the Bay Area.

ImagiKnit is the child of Allison Isaacs and Sara Lucas, two gracious and enthusiastic women who previously worked at Atelier Yarns across town.

The Layout
ImagiKnit occupies what was once the garage of a corner building set into on a steep hill. (After all, this is San Francisco.)

This means the space is essentially a large rectangle with a high ceiling and cement floor.

With such a high ceiling, Allison and Sara were able to have extra-tall shelves custom-built to hold the store's enormous stock. The result is a wonderful, non-claustrophobic sense of overwhelm.

The center of the space is divided into sections by baskets and trunks and larger antique furniture pieces, and colorful area rugs help soften the concrete floor.

They have a unique way of organizing the yarns here. While some shops like to sort yarns by color or manufacturer, ImagiKnit has yarns sorted first by fiber type, then by size.

Finished garments are everywhere to provide inspiration.

The Yarns
Listing ImagiKnit's yarn stock is rather like listing a who's who of yarn manufacturers.

Their stock includes yarns from Rowan, Jaeger, Gedifra, Lang, Berroco, Classic Elite, Crystal Palace, Brown Sheep, Reynolds, Koigu, Mountain Colors, Rainbow Mills, Artful Yarns, Fiesta, Anny Blatt, Sirdar, Debbie Bliss, Noro, Muench, Katia, Cascade, Bouton dOr, Jo Sharp, Mission Falls, Lana Grossa, Adrienne Vittadini, Tahki/Stacy Charles, Manos del Uruguay, Plymouth, KFI, Filatura di Crosa, Joseph Galler, Lorna's Laces, Colinette, Adriafil, Great Adirondack, Filati Bertagna, Trendsetter, Ironstone, Karabella, Schaefer, Skacel, Prism, Habu Textiles, and Needful Yarns.

To name a few.

Getting There
I won't lie: Parking is tight in this neighborhood. Then again, it's tight in almost every neighborhood of San Francisco.

Depending on where you find a spot, you'll either be at a meter (most of which now take credit cards) or at an unmetered space with a two-hour limit unless you have a neighborhood sticker.

Public transportation is a far easier option. You can take the J-Church from downtown and get off at 18th Street, or take the historic F-line streetcars from downtown. If the bus is your only option, the 33 Ashbury and 24 Divisadero are your most convenient options.

Tea Time
ImagiKnit is located kitty-corner to the Samovar Tea Lounge, a beautiful spot to relax and play with your yarn purchases.

The day of my visit to ImagiKnit, I first met up with several members of the Bay Area Wool Divas (or BAWDies) at Samovar and had possibly the best pot of assam tea ever.

from the street

close-up of the front window
click to enlarge

the proud owners
click to enlarge

The Specifics

3897 18th Street (at Sanchez)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-6642

Mon-Sat 11am-6:30pm;
Sun 11am-4pm
Know the shop? Talk about this shop in our forums!

Read about other San Francisco shops:
Greenwich Yarn and Stitchworks
Noe Knit

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