Cross the river from Harts Fabrics in Santa Cruz and you’ll come across a very appropriately named shop, Yarn Shop Santa Cruz. No prizes for guessing what they sell a lot of. Lots of lovely, snuggly, squishy wool.
I’m not sure the traditional image of Santa Cruz comes with sewing machines and knitting needles but it turns out that Santa Cruz is actually a veritable goldmine of craft shops and fabric stores. Then, when you’re done with your shopping, you can grab an ice cream and go hang out with the seals on the pier. That is, if you don’t get trapped forever wandering around the vast expanse of Harts Fabric.
It’s very hard not to love California with its great weather, beautiful coastline and abundance of really excellent craft shops. I certainly found a few good places when I visited last year. So what better way to guide a road trip south of San Francisco than trying to combine as much sea and fabric as possible?
A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without following some of its legendary coastlines and dropping into a yarn shop or two on the way. In the quaint, picturesque little city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, is the aptly named, Knitting by the Sea. Maybe knitware and sand aren’t a combination that instantly springs to mind, but this lovely yarn shop will soon have you convinced.
Having visited the wonderful world of Britex Fabrics, it was going to be very hard for my next crafty stop in California to be anything better than a disappointment. However, while Britex Fabrics might be the Aladdin’s Cave for the sewer, the small, unassuming Old World Designs in Menlo Park is probably the hand embroiderer’s Nirvana.
I’ve been to different places in the States several times over the years but so far, the West Coast has remained unexplored territory for me. When the opportunity came up to visit California, I obviously couldn’t resist going to find out whether there was anything on offer to rival some of the lovely places I saw in Boston on my last visit.
America tends to do big, bold and grand very well and Britex Fabrics in San Francisco is no exception. It is a multi-storey bonanza of all things craft related and has one of the best collections of craft gadgets I’ve seen outside of Japan.