I don't knit or do anything else of a craftlike nature. (I used to sew my own clothes, but that was long ago.) Still, when my friend Síle Convery, who owns the delightful Knit-One-One studio in Berkeley, asked whether I'd mind accompanying her to a yarn store in San Francisco, I agreed without hesitation. I enjoy playing amateur anthropologist and checking out into other people's obsessions. Besides, I've discovered wonderful names in places outside my usual orbit: gun shops, jewelry-supply stores, bridal boutiques.
Artfibers did not disappoint. To enter the shop, we climbed a steep, narrow stairway that reminded me of the approach to a dance studio. Inside, balls and cones of beautifully colored and textured yarns were neatly displayed in wire baskets. Each yarn variety was labeled and--be still, my heart!--organized alphabetically, the better to appreciate the playful creativity of the names.
I just adore Big Bunz and Bitty Bunz. And I also appreciate that each yarn has a tag with a nicely written story that usually explains the name. "Nanook," for example, is "designed to simulate the fleece of an arctic animal."
Some of the other names I spotted: Tantra, Tasmania, Purr (soft as kitten fur), Tesla, Zoftig (nice and plump, naturally), Ricotta (creamy and thick), Babushka, Cheesecake, Triple Cheesecake, and Phos (a sparkly yarn).
I was told that the store's owner names all the yarns herself. She clearly has a gift for unexpected yet apt metaphors that cross sensory borders. Nicely named!
(The Artfibers website is likewise literate and stylishly executed. How can you not admire an About page titled "Coup de Foudre"?)