There are a series of books called Knit Like a Local that you must check out if you’re not already familiar with them. They include I Knit Paris, I Knit New York, and I Knit San Francisco. We’ll be telling you all about the latter one today. Even if you’re not a knitter, these books offer fun insight into some of the best cities in the world. And of course, as a knitter, you’ll also get to enjoy making all of the luxe patterns in each book. Get ready to knit San Francisco.
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Knit Locally, Live Globally
This is the saying that One Row Press shares in their Knit Like a Local website section. It perfectly sums up what makes these books truly special. Yes, these are knitting books that offer beautiful patterns. But they are so much more than that. They give you a chance to meet the local knitters and designers specific to an area.
Moreover, they teach you about the area, share what the designers love about the place, and provide insight into the many interesting things about these fabulous cities. You get to know the city from a local crafter’s point of view. So, whether you love San Francisco and want to dig in and celebrate everything about it or you’ve never been there and just want to mentally travel there while you knit, the I Knit San Francisco book offers something for you to enjoy.
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San Francisco Is Built for Layers
San Francisco is a city where the weather changes constantly. It’s filled with microclimates. In other words, you can feel nice and warm on one side of the street then cross into the shade and suddenly need to don a scarf. Likewise, turning a corner into a wind tunnel or climbing up a hill can significantly change how warm or cold you feel.
What’s better for someone who needs a lot of layers than the ability to knit yourself beautiful accessories? As the editors write in the book’s introduction: “a bit of woolly goodness, whether in accessory or garment, is always a welcome layer.”
San Francisco: Sophisticated with a Bit of Whimsy
San Francisco is a sophisticated cutting-edge city. People came here to find gold – actual gold in the nineteenth century and tech gold to this day. It reflects an indomitable adventurous spirit that has never quite left the area. It’s unique, because while it’s edge and forward-thinking, San Francisco is also whimsical and playful. In non-Covid times, it’s filled with street fairs and costumed events and many opportunities for exuberant leisurely joy.
The patterns in I Knit San Francisco capture this city spirit. There are pieces that are sophisticated enough to wear to any work event or fancy dinner. And then there are pieces that feature pops of color or unusual shapes that catch you off guard and make you giggle. That’s San Francisco in a nutshell.
Local Inspiration for I Knit San Francisco
Each of the knit patterns in I Knit San Francisco draws inspiration from the landscape (natural or built) and/or history of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Some of the inspiration is straight out to a tourist book. For example, Lombard Street (the world’s so-called crookedest street) is a must-see San Francisco destination as well as the inspiration for a pair of socks with winding cables adorning them.
Other pieces were inspired by stuff that is more subtle, things that perhaps only locals might know. For example, do you know about Ruth Asawa who created beautiful intricate wire sculptures in the Bay Area? You can find her work around the city, including in Japantown. And you can find a large crochet wire sculpture she created at the DeYoung Museum. You can also learn about her from I Knit San Francisco. The Continuous Cardigan was inspired by Asawa’s looping continuous wire shapes.
And some of the inspiration comes simply from the essence of the area itself. For example, Fog City celebrates San Francisco’s weather patterns. The “colors are chosen to show in slip-stitch patterns and to convey the feel of the fog when it covers half of the landscape, including the bridges of San Francisco,” If you’ve ever stood looking West towards the Golden Gate Bridge, knowing that it’s there but that you can’t see it because it’s enshrouded in fog, then you’ll have a soft spot in your heart for this knit hat pattern.
Special San Francisco Yarn
If you want to knit like a local then you’ll want to get local yarn right? That’s why I Knit San Francisco has a bunch of information on beautiful local yarn options. For example, Sincere Sheep is based in Napa Valley, the wine region near San Francisco. Hudson + West Co. is bicoastal in San Francisco and New York. And The Dye Project is based in Santa Cruz, south of San Francisco.
It’s fun to learn about these different local yarns. And if you can get your hands on them – either locally or through online ordering – then you’ll get to really experience the luscious fibers beloved in the Bay Area. But, of course, I Knit San Francisco also provides complete yarn information for each project so that you can make yarn substitutions as needed.
San Francisco Yarn Crawl
In addition to sharing information about local yarn with you, the book introduces you to local yarn stores in the Bay Area. There are so many terrific LYS here. If you ever dreamed of a guide to tell you where to go to shop locally for yarn on your travels, this is that Bay Area yarn shop guide.
The book includes a three-day suggested yarn crawl with information on four San Francisco yarn shops as well as another 8 in the surrounding Bay Area (north and east up towards Napa and south towards Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz.) Those yarn shops are:
- A Verb for Keeping Warm
- Atelier Yarns
- Avenue Yarns
- Cast Away Yarn Shop
- Firebird Yarns
- Monarch Knitting
- The Black Squirrel
- The Royal Bee Yarn Company
- Yarn Shop Santa Cruz
- Yarns on First
Special Things About I Knit San Francisco
There are a few more things about this book that you might want to know:
- It begins with a Land Acknowledgment. This recognizes that the Ohlone Indigenous people are the ancestors of the land we now call San Francisco. It also notes the land that the history of the land the publishers live on. This is an increasingly common, important, way of recognizing Native American history. This book notes that knitting is also about uniting (knitting together). Moreover, knitting relies on traditions from the ancestral past. If we honor this properly, with respect and awareness that the work is not yet done, it can help knit us together.
- Each designer shares what they love about San Francisco. First of all, this makes the book much more personal than most knitting books. You truly get to know the designers. Second, it really lets you in on interesting information about San Francisco. It lets you feel like you’re there. You get some helpful tips (wear sensible shoes in this walking city!) Or, if you already live there, it resonates with you in a way that makes knitting the patterns extra special.
- Paperback plus Ravelry eBook. If you purchase the paperback from One More Row Press, then you get the ebook on Ravelry as well. Alternatively, you can purchase the ebook as a standalone Ravelry purchase.
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These posts and podcasts here on Marly Bird also celebrate San Francisco designers and crafters: