Tuesday, February 12, 2008

San Antonio Yarn Crawl

This past Saturday, our Austin Knitting Meetup Group paid its last respects to a venerable fiber institution of 37 years duration in San Antonio, The Yarn Barn. Five of us drove on a yarn crawl there, and also included Yarnivore across town, and Old Oaks Fiber Ranch in Wimberley as a stop on the scenic route back to Austin.

The Yarn Barn isn't just a knitting and needlework store, it is a veritable archive. Nothing's been thrown out for the last 37 years on the premise that someone may need it later. That's a lot of interesting inventory in books, tools, yarn, patterns, buttons, bags, notions, needles, periodicals, and just plain curiosities. The doors close on April 15, due to the loss of the lease, but shop employees told us there are several buyers interested in the inventory. The owner just isn't interested in hoeing out and relocating after 37 years. Retirement looks mighty enticing when you look at the floor to ceiling bins of yarn, row after row after row of sagging shelves of books, and carousals of every conceivable size, make, and type of needle, knitting and otherwise. Wherever the new owner moves, the flavor of this shop that time forgot will surely be changed. Currently, all transactions are done manually, by hand. Not a computer in sight. Luddite heaven. On April 15, it all goes away. Where, we don't yet know. The Crawlees

NOTE TO OTHERS WHO MIGHT EXPECT GREAT SALES AND DEALS: Don't expect to find any great bargains; there are none. No sales, no inventory reduction. No need when you have potential buyers vying for the goods. It's just gracefully shifting from one set of hands to the next.

We spent a long time fondling and thumbing the goods there, which led directly to lunch at La Fonda on Main, a longtime San Antonio eatery away from the hordes at the Riverwalk and the Alamo, on the edge of the Olmos Park area. It was a gorgeous day, so we dined in the beautiful courtyard behind the main restaurant under a canopy of ancient trees.

The food was fabulous, and the company saucy and fun. A sunny, slightly breezy 70 degree day is as rare as hens teeth in this part of the world, where you are steamed and scorched into submission ten months of the year. All the planets aligned; this was perfection. Bliss.

Claire at our table at La Fonda on Main

Our stop at Yarnivore was one of convenience, since we were in the neighborhood, so to speak. They have a nice selection of roving yarn, so several of our Crawlees succumbed.

We wound our way back toward Austin on the back roads of the Hill Country up to Wimberley, where we made our final stop at Old Oaks Fiber Ranch. It's a beautiful spot, with lots of natural light, and comfortable chairs set around a big round table, looms and spinning wheels behind it. Yarn in cones, skeins, and hanks fill the side of the shop where the entry is located. The ranch is large, with alpaca barns and paddocks on either side of the long lane to the shop.
Lynn & Claire visit the alpacas

Not a bad way to burn up 250 miles and eight hours.

1 comment:


    My name is Lana Lesley and I'm with Rude Mechs, a local theatre company located at The Off Center.

    I'm writing to let you know about a very special artist we are presenting in our festival, Throws Like A Girl. This weekend (thursday through saturday at 8pm) we are presenting performance artist Kristina Wong in her show titled "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

    Kristina has asked us to be sure all the knitters in Austin are aware of her show as she invites them all to come and knit during the performance. You can find out more about tickets for the show at If you are interested in bringing a group of 5 or more, please let me know as we can arrange a special ticket price of $10/ticket.

    Here is a description of her show:

    Incisive writer and performer Kristina Wong mixes sharp humor and psychology in Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a swear-to-god-not-autobiographical, serio-comic portrayal of the high incidence of anxiety, depression and mental illness among Asian American women. Tangling, spinning, and mixing yarns, she asks: Which came first? The sky-high suicides of Asian American women? The maddening world? And when the heck do we get to climax? Wong’s irreverent and provocative work has given her a national cult following for “politically charged art with unapologetic humor." –Bitch Magazine.

    Knitters, cuckoo and not, are invited to knit in the audience during the show (flash your sticks and hooks!).

    "One woman show keeps the laughs coming as it tackles issue of depression." - Philadelphia Metro


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