|On the Road:
Greenwich Yarn and Stitchworks
San Francisco, CA
Review date: March 22, 2001
Tucked along a side street in the popular Marina district, Greenwich Yarn has the feel of a quiet retreat.
The shop is laid out along a corridor that extends to the back of the building, where a glass door opens onto a sunny, inviting patio.
Hopping as Usual
Every time I've visited Greenwich Yarn, the store was bustling with activity. I was glad to see that this hadn't changed.
Several knitters sat at a long, narrow wooden table near the front. Some were working through difficult parts of a project, others were selecting patterns and corresponding yarns.
Laurie Lum, one of the store's owners, was on duty. Alas, Boo Boo, normally the resident Bichon Frisee pooch, had stayed home.
Walls of Color
Yarns are stored in floor-to-ceiling bins along either side of the shop. They are sorted by color rather than yarn manufacturer. This results in a blending of hues and textures that makes the walls look almost like giant Kaffe Fassett designs.
Among the yarns carried are Mission Falls, Colinette, Mountain Colors, Noro, Jo Sharp, Rowan, Adrienne Vittadini, and Prism.
Bring Your Plastic
As you can imagine with such names, prices are steep here. But if you're on a budget, you'll enjoy the sale baskets in the middle of the store. I found all sorts of delicious yarns there at great prices.
Parking in the Marina district is tight. Your options are primarily metered street spots or unmetered spaces with a two-hour limit unless you have a neighborhood permit.
This area of town is worth exploring. To the south you have Union Street, with abundant upscale shops and some particularly good Italian restaurants.
To the north you have the Marina, with its joggers, rollerbladers, and spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. And don't miss the Presidio, which recently got a magnificent facelift and is now for public use.
2073 Greenwich Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri 11am-6pm;
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Previous reader comments
"Greenwich yarns is a small yet carefully stocked yarn shop, with most everything you will need as a knitter. But, if you don't look like you live in the Marina, and need to bicycle everywhere (making necessary the cropped pants and sweatshirt look) you might get the very chilly and short reception I did; even after purchasing over a hundred dollars in yarns and supplies. Go elsewhere unless there is something you absolutely can't get anywhere else- bad service is certainly not so rare in SF that you need to come all the way over here to find some." Louise, 10/20/2001
"I have taken the beginning knitting class at Greenwich Yarn. The teacher, Kate, is great - patient, friendly and enthusiastic. I found Laurie a little intimidating at first, but now I realize it's just her style; she seems a little tired. There were a few other knitters when I went in to choose my first pattern and knit my first gauge swatch, and they were very helpful and friendly. Laurie also keeps a large number of needles on hand to make swatches so you don't have to buy needles to test them out!" me, 6/12/01
"I think Greenich is a lovely shop and provides much more than yarn, supplies, and patterns. Laurie has done and continues to do a wonderful job, especially after the loss of her business partner, Claire. When I decided to teach myself to knit some twelve years ago, I landed at Greenich after being shunned at another (now gone) knitting shop in SF. It was the beginning of a very long friendship. From simple 'I don't get it' questions to more complicated 'sit down and figure this out' kinda questions, I've gotten great satisfaction here. Plus, Laurie lets you use the bathroom anytime!! A plus when your baby is due in a month or two! Anyhow, I recommend this place very much! It's a gem." knittr, 6/15/01
"After two years of going to Greenwich Yarn, I've decided to take my business elsewhere. As a beginning knitter, I always feel most unwelcome. I miss Claire's friendly encouragement. I have spent several hundred dollars at Greenwich and yet, every time I ask for help, I feel that I am somehow a huge burden for doing so. Why? I'm grateful that there are many other stores in town that will appreciate my business." mgans, 5/26/01
"After 2 decades of visiting yarn stores in SF (and coming from the plenitude that was NYC in the '70s), I've found Greenwich is the one I keep coming back to -- even when I have no particular project in mind. You can quietly wander through the open shelves and baskets or sit at the table to browse inspiring books and magazines (trunk shows, classes, and chocolate are extra incentives). You can shop and run or you can stop and schmooze. Laurie and a supportive floating group of knitters will help you make decisions and figure out techniques. And there's a swift and ball winder for your convenience. Can't think of more anyone could want!"silashibb, 4/03/01
"I have been going to Greenwich Yarns for over 10 years and love it! I strongly disagree with the reviewer's opinion that Atelier has more square footage. Greenwich Yarn is the only yarn store in SF where you are welcomed and actually given help in choosing/buying yarn AND working on your project afterward. Yes, there may be a wait for help, as Laurie has been running the store by herself for the last year, but her knowledge is incredible and she is always willing to help. If it is busy, be patient! Or, come back another time. Weekdays are much less hectic than Saturdays! She has even helped friends of mine choose and buy yarn over the phone!"ruprightpam, 3/28/01
"5+ years of patronage has shown me that Greenwich yarn is a great knit shop. Very welcoming. Unlimited help on any project. There is always room at the table for one more, to knit, to talk, to knit, to knit, to knit."evegorn, 3/26/01
"During the 90s I visited San Francisco 6 times a year for weeks at a time and always visited Greenwich Yarn -- Claire always recognized and welcomed me. I have not been to San Fran since 98 and am sorry to hear about the loss. I loved the shop because of the selection."LBumbalo, 3/24/01
"I've found that this store can be as friendly as you make it. Laurie has been running this store singlehandedly since her partner became ill last year and subsequently died due to this illness. She is willing to assist someone with a knitting problem even if he/she had not bought the yarn there. It is often crowded with customers and knitters. All you have to do is sit down with the gang and start knitting."Anonymous, 3/22/01
"I just LOVE Greenwich Yarn and Stitchworks. I am so jealous of those lucky San Franciscans... I live in SC where there is a great dearth of LYS. I enjoy the reviews. The pictures are great by the way. Really give the feel of the shop... I want it!!!!!"Marianne, 3/22/01
"Greenwich Yarn is the best yarn shop I've ever been to. As a yarn store freak I never travel to a new place without checking out the local yarn shop. I've been to shops from Bergen to Lima and Paris too and I'm always pleased that Greenwich Yarn is just a bus-ride away...
...Where else can such an extreme range of women and men (there are several regular men too) have an afternoon of conversation ranging from turning the heal of a sock to Sartre. I long for someone who writes well to come into the shop and write a play or novel about this place. It's truly amazing. It's a supportive environment whether one is choosing the color scheme for their nephew's cardigan or the perenial questions about what should I do with my life?...
...The community recently lost one of it's advisors and leaders Claire. It's a huge loss - yet we move forward...
...I have non-knitter friends who have come by just to hang-out and see how such a humble little storefront can hold so much allure. They're always amazed by the experience...
...I'm very sorry the previous responder felt that she was unwelcome by the 'girls at the table.' I hope she comes back, sits down and joins in the conversation next time. It's always an enlightening experience."monabee, 3/22/01
"I only go to Greenwich yarns if I happen to be in the neighborhood and need a yarn fix. Which doesn't happen to often because we have 3 other great yarn shops in the city and many more in the Bay Area. Yes they have a table to sit and knit but if you are not of the inner circle you are not readly welcome. Only I know the shop owner by site I wouldn't know who to address my questions to because the other girls sit and knit the whole time people are trying to buy their yarn. If you are a regular I'm sure you are very welcome."time4moretea, 3/22/01