Places to find fabric, yarn, beads...and the people who love to use them.
San Diego County’s crafting resources are vast. Who knew there were so many places to shop, places to craft, and guilds to join? Wow. Listed here are resources for sewing, stitching, fabric shops, basic handcrafts, etcetera. I have not included fine art, ceramics, glass, museums, graphics, art schools, gardening crafts, cake decorating, stamping, collage, sculpture, scrapbooking, or the like…as each would be an entire article in itself!
I want to focus on fabric, threads, yarn, and beads, because these are the foundation materials for so many projects. Sure, there are multiple locations of Michaels, Jo-Ann Stores, and Yardage Town, and those are great for basics. And remember that Walmart sells fabric and notions at a good price. But there are so many more choices if you just know where to look! I really wanted to list a good selection of mom-and-pop type shops that might currently be off your radar.
The possible list of sources is large and constantly evolving—shops open, shops close…so this list really should be updated on a regular basis. I apologize if I have missed anyone. Too, I have not personally visited each store, I am just giving you a reference that it exists. Items with an asterisk * before the name is an event or a store that I personally recommend. This in no way means that ones without an asterisk are not fabulous—go check them out and find your own favorites!
(Note: text in colored ink is a link to the site. Click to view)CRAFTY MEETINGS
Tons of Stitch ‘n Bitch
including events at
Knitting Club/Common Threads
, (knitting, crochet, weaving info)
andThe Whistle Stop Café
for Yarn in the Afternoon. I love the idea of people getting together for a cocktail and a free knitting lesson.FABRIC SHOPSQuilt Shops
San Diego has several quilt shops throughout the county, where you can find high quality cottons, books, and supplies. Eighteen of these shops are part of the annual San Diego Quilter’s Shop Hop
(see events, below), so locations are an easy reference through their site. Note the site includes addresses, phone number, and directions to each store, but I will list the name, location, and website of each here also. Contact each location for class schedules and special events. Most locations have online newsletters available.Amidon
in PowayBits & Pieces
in EscondidoThe Country Loft
in La Mesa*Cozy Quilt Shop
in El Cajon (the owner is very friendly. Good selection of batiks)The Crazy 9 Patch
in RamonaEthnic Quilts and Fabrics
in Lemon Grove Fabrication
in CoronadoFat Quarters
in VistaMad Hatter’s Quilt Box
in Alpine (friendly, and an excellent selection of beautiful fabrics)Quilter’s Choice
in Chula Vista
in FallbrookQuilt in a Day
in San Marcos (a local treasure, featuring author Eleanor Burns’ books and where her PBS television show is taped)Quilter’s Paradise
in EscondidoRosie’s Calico Cupboard
in El Cajon (absolutely every color way you could ever hope for or imagine. Huge selection of books available. Huge space to browse. Rosie’s online newsletter is excellent)Sew Special
in Vista*Sowing Sisters
in Carlsbad (fun and friendly, and offers a bag lovers club, where you can sew a purse every month. Don’t forget to visit the yummy bakery next door!)Stitching by the Sea
in Solana BeachAdditional fabric stores
outside of the quilt run:Beverly’s Fabrics
(lots of quality fabric choices, especially good selection of Hawaiian fabric)
6185 Balboa Avenue, San Diego, 92111
459 College Boulevard, Suite F6-9, Oceanside, 92057
760-758-0320Julian Yarn Basket
No longer a storefront, so by appointment only. No longer part of the quilt shop hop, as the owner is now semi-retired. She still carries basic sewing supplies, is a vendor for Quilt Smart interfacing, and offers her own designs. She can also still special order for you.
760-765-0849Flat folds and upholstery
: href="http://www.ufofabrics.com">UFO—Upholstery Fabric Outlet
. (fabric and upholstery supplies)
1919 Hoover Avenue, National City, 91950.
1120 North Melrose Drive, Vista, 92083
(excellent value—I can’t recommend this place highly enough. They also have cotton fabrics at a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere. No classes, but several free hand-outs available for how-to projects.)
4711 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, 92117
5475 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa, 91942
4240 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego, 92111
(they have classes also, such as how to make pillows, ottomans, etc)
963 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach, 92075
(Large selection of bridal fabrics. Also a good source for specialty buttons. Occasional classes.)
7547 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, 92037
:Discount Fabrics/Laces and Trims
3325/ Adams Avenue, San Diego, 92116
Photo courtesy of Patricia Bell, owner of Embellishments in Leucadia. Used with permission. Embellishments
(a cute gift shop that stocks specialty ribbons, and various items for purchase that are made by local artisans. Her ribbons are also sold at the Grove)
466 Coast Highway 101, Leucadia, 92024
760-633-1440The Store on the Corner
(now in a larger space, so more classes--knitting, crochet, beading, ribbon embroidery, lace-making. She carries specialty ribbons, threads and yarns. This place is a treasure). Class schedule available by mail.
No longer a storefront. Online only. Classes still available.
4127 30th, San Diego, 92104As Cute as a Button
(no longer a storefront, so by appointment only)
Jo-Ann Stores sell Burda and New Look in addition to the “big four” (Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, and Simplicity). If you keep an eye on their weekly sales, this is the least expensive place to purchase patterns.
Yardage Town sells Kwik Sew patterns at some of its locations.
Jane’s Fabrique sells Burda.
Quilt shops offer patterns for jackets, totes, etcetera, often published by independents. Different shops carry assorted favorites, so look around for Amy Butler, Favorite Things, Indygo Junction, and others. These patterns are often also available at larger quilting shows where vendors sell wares from booths.YARN
Check with individual locations for class information and store hours.Antique Yarn Shoppe
12939 Pomerado Road, Poway, 92064
Photo courtesy of The Black Sheep in Encinitas. Used with permission. *Black Sheep
(awesome selection and variety of classes, including doll-making and beading)
1060 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 92024
(yes, they also carry yarn)
261 Broadway, Chula Vista, 91910
(the space here is evolving, including a larger classroom. Check the class schedule for offerings)
466 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 92024
760-436-6119Helga’s Yarn Boutique
7660 Fay Avenue, La Jolla, 92037
3568 Main Street, Suite B, Lemon Grove, 91945
619-465-8331Knitting in La Jolla
909 Prospect Street, Suite 150, La Jolla, 92037
858-456-4687Lakeside Knits and Cross Stitch
9748 Los Coches Road, Lakeside, 92040
(Bonita Knitting Store and Café)
4046 Bonita Road, Bonita, 91902
619-475-1278Lori’s Frames, Fibers, and Frills
2206 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine 91901
in Pacific Beach
870 Grand Avenue, San Diego, 92109
in Mission Valley
1400 Camino de la Reina, Suite 114, San Diego, 92108
2084 Kettner Boulevard, Suite 15, San Diego 92101
1824-B Oceanside Boulevard, Oceanside, 92054
3010 Juniper Street, San Diego, 92104
619-284-7684The Store on the Corner
in San Diego
(also listed under the Notions category because it deserves recognition)
4127 30th Street, San Diego, 92104
No longer a storefront. Online only. Classes still available.Two Sisters and Ewe
8239 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa, 91941
39315 Daily Road, Fallbrook, 92028
760-723-YARN (9276)Yarning for You
1001 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 92069
Check with each location for class information.*The Shepherdess
(jewelry findings and a huge variety of classes). Newsletter available by mail.
2802 Juan Street, San Diego, 92110
619-297-4110The Black Bead
(excellent selection of charms)
Note: Under new management, and it just isn't the same. I am so disappointed. All the tables of beads are gone, and in their place is a wall of cabinets. All the beads are now behind glass, and when I was in there the staff wasn't even friendly. What a shame. This used to be my favorite bead store.
5003 Newport Avenue, San Diego, 92107
(they also offer a class on knitting with beads)
243 North Highway 101, Solana Beach, 92075
An excellent listing of more shops here
And even more shops that I haven’t yet visited, so I’ll just list their websites, and you can decide….
In Oceanside, Ocean Sky Beads and Glass
Carlsbad, Beached Glass Beads
Encinitas, Beads, Crystals and More
Escondido, Beadmakers of North County
Julian, Mountain Beadworks
La Mesa, The Bouncing Bead CRAFTS
Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to venture into this territory, but I couldn’t resist mentioning these:Studio Maureen
(mosaics, jewelry, dolls, clay…tons of stuff)
2963 Beech Street, San Diego, 92102
619-233-6679Summer’s Past Farms
(classes to make soap, wreaths, etc.)
15602 Olde Highway 80, Flinn Springs, 92021
619-390-1523Quail Botanical Gardens
(make pine needle baskets, gourd art)
230 Quail Gardens Drive
Josie or Al Rodriguez
(workshops in mixed media collage, book binding, etc)
It would take pages and pages to list all the craft resources in San Diego. Merchant America
lists some, for easy reference
It also lists upholstery sources
, and they often have fabric Blankets of Love
—sewing for hospiceCurious Creek Fibers
--local yarn/weaving supplier
Information on Japanese braiding
Hint: if you sign up on the mailing list (online and regular mail) of most of the stores listed, you will receive notification of special events, and discount coupons. Jo-Ann Stores offers a 40% off coupon every month with their mailer.ART SUPPLIES
My own photo, but taken and used with permission. Art by members of WriterzBlok.
*Artist and Craftsman Supply
1911 San Diego Avenue
, at San Diego State University (you do not have to be a student to shop)
619-594-7562Blick Art Materials
(formerly, The Art Store)
1844 India Street, San Diego
97 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 92024
There is treasure to be found at local thrift shops
, flea markets, garage sales, and rummage sales. These are a wonderful source for vintage fabric, out of print sewing patterns, notions, etcetera. A good source of information on locations and dates is at the Secondhand Shopping Guide
I have been told that a variety of fabric vendors sell their wares at the National City Swap Meet
. Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. 3200 ‘D’ Avenue, San Diego. Fifty cents admission.Japanese craft books
are the crème de la crème, and we are lucky enough to have a source for purchases (no need to pay shipping to eBay or Amazon Japan), in the bookstore at Mitsuwa Marketplace
4240 Kearny Mesa Road, Suite 119, San Diego, 92111GUILDS
There is basically a group for every interest, so why not find a community of people with similar interests, where you can get inspired and motivated?! Speaking of “community”, don’t even get me started on bloggers in San Diego—that’s another article too!Quilting Guilds
throughout San Diego: Machine Knitters Guild San Diego American Sewing Guild American Needlepoint Guild
, San Diego ChapterEmbroiderer' Guild of AmericaSan Diego Creative Weaver's Guild
(lace-making, etc)Palomar Handweavers' GuildAssociation of Southern California Hand WeaversSan Diego Polymer Clay GuildBead Society of San Diego
(includes a list of bead stores in San Diego, so you’ll know where to shop)Fiber Arts Groups San Diego Costume GuildONLINE GROUPS
with a San Diego foundation
Yahoo groups: San Diego Fiber Folk (firstname.lastname@example.org
Yahoo groups: Social Hand SpinningSan Diego Knitter’s Meet-Up GroupSan Diego StampersBad Girls of CraftThe San Diego Craft Mafia CLASSES
(in addition to the listings at local community colleges and universities. Note: Mesa College offers pattern construction courses under its Fashion major)
UCSD Craft CenterOceanside Museum of Art School of Art
, quilting and stitchery classesContinuing Ed
(many types of classes, all over the county. Sewing, art, crafts…many at no charge. On going, so you can step in any time during the semester):Grossmont Adult School
(sewing, quilting, spinning courses)Central Sewing
1281 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas 92024
Music and Arts Library, School of the Arts Program
1008 Wall Street,
La Jolla, 92037
Michaels stores have classes in knitting and crochet, as do most yarn shops.INFORMATIONAL STUFF
Spinning with llama wool, from a local llama farmFESTIVALS AND EVENTS
• Area quilt shops offer classes, guest speakers, special events, and trunk shows. Check each shop for monthly listings.
• Also check with area guilds to learn about featured speakers or local quilt shows.
• To learn of bazaars, craft fairs, etcetera: Check weekly listing in the local events calendar of the San Diego Reader (new issues post on Thursdays), and the daily local listings of the Union-Tribune newspaper. The Home section of the Sunday edition of the Union-Tribune lists workshops, classes, and special events. Also check local city newspapers, and local sites such as Sign On San Diego
• Several larger events also occur each year, including those listed below.
*A really fun event is the San Diego Quilters Cruise/Shop Hop
, that gives participants a “passport”, and a week to visit 18 local quilt shops. Participants get their passport stamped at each site, and have the chance to win raffles for great prizes. Some of the individual stores give goodies with each purchase.
Visual and performing arts celebration in Little Italy.
May-AugustSan Diego County Fair
, located on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The event includes sewing and hobby exhibits you can enter and/or view. Demonstrations of spinning, tatting, and other crafts.Bead BazaarDel Mar Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival
Look in the newspaper for possible tour dates (usually in June) of James Hubbell's
home and studio in Santa Isabel. Much of it was destroyed by fire, but they are rebuilding. Amazing stained glass, mosaic and sculptural work. He is one of our local treasures.
SeptemberOriginals Arts and Crafts Show
(formerly called the Harvest Festival). Booths of vendors with craft items for purchase. Good source for motivation or ideas (and of course, stuff to buy). Show is held in Del Mar in September, and downtown in October.*Visions Quilt Show
. Biennial show of art quilts, held at the Oceanside Museum of Art. Programs from shows are quality reference books, and offer wonderful inspirational material. The organization is currently building a gallery and study center on the property of the former Naval Training Center (Point Loma area)*San Diego Quilt Show
. At the San Diego Convention Center. Enter your own quilt or wearable art, or just view the entries. Vendors have multiple items available for purchase.Pacific Islander's Festival
, Pacific Beach. Not a sewing-related festival, but an excellent event to find quality aloha and barkcloth fabrics available for purchase.
OctoberSan Diego Bead Bazaar
, Mingei Museum, Balboa Park
Originals (see September entry)Festa
in Little Italy. See the infamous chalk drawings of Chalk La Strada.
NovemberJulian Open Studios Tour
. Tour artists' studios in glass, sculpture, painting, etc.Rancho Guajome
Christmas event. Kids can learn old-fashioned crafts such as corn husk dolls and drip candles.
2210 North Santa Fe Avenue, Oceanside, 92056. 760-724-4082San Diego Arts Festival
. Fine arts and fine crafts show. Organized by the original producer of the Harvest Festival, this is a nicer version of the Originals show, and also held at the Convention Center.
So many people find joy (even purpose) in art--an umbrella that shelters a broad range of definitions to that magic word we call “craft”. Craft can be a verb (we craft), an adjective (she’s crafty has double meaning), or a multitude of nouns to describe so many different traditions and skills. And in San Diego, we cover all the bases of all of those words…we really do have an oasis here. I’ve heard people complain we lack culture and history in this city. Really? With the multitude of craft resources from which to choose, I would say that art is alive and well here. Take a look into your local guild or quilt store classroom. Meet some new friends with similar interests. Keep the traditions alive.
Barbara Lawrence is a freelance writer who also enjoys sewing, mosaics, and miscellaneous crafts. Visit her crafty blog at http://woofnanny.blogspot.com