Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I’m happy every time a conference I attend gets booked into San Antonio—whether I’m escaping Chicago’s nasty winters or braving the dog days of a Texas summer.  No doubt, the city offers loads of touristy gems, but I also discovered a pair of great local yarn shops as well.  If you find yourself in the Alamo City, here’s where to launch your yarn adventures:

The Pearl
Bordered by Avenue B, Isleta, Grayson and Newell Streets
San Antonio TX
(210) 212-7200

What once was the Pearl Brewery has now become an charming selection of restaurants, shops, residences, and outdoor space.  Even the old stable has become an event venue. Spend your morning wandering around the place, making sure you take in:

Bakery Lorraine
306 Pearl Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 862-5582

Desert for breakfast is a DestiKNITions tradition, and the Snickers Tart or croissant paired with an excellent coffee and a few splendid French macarons was the perfect way to launch my day.  The Turtle Tart is just as yummy—and I won’t tell if you get both.

Properly inspired to culinary greatness, head to:

Melissa Guerra Latin Kitchen Market
303 Pearl Pkwy Ste 104
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 293-3983

All manner of creative cookware and gift items await you, most with a distinctive ethnic flare.  For some unusual fun, ask to see the Big Chill retro refrigerator and fantasizing about out which of the fun selection of custom colors you’d order for your own kitchen.

The Twig Book Shop
306 Pearl Pkwy Ste 106
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 826-6411

Be a loyal destiKNITter and patronize the cozy little book shop for a thoughtful selection of local authors, local interest books, children’s literature, and an impressive schedule of events.   “Yea Local!”—I heartily agree.

Hotel Emma
136 E Grayson
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 448-8300

I love to walk around gorgeous hotels, and this one is not only stunning, it’s an outstanding repurposing of a “neo-industrialized” space.  The library made me drool (but it’s only open to guests, so I just pressed my nose against the glass).  The bar, with its tables tucked inside old brewery tanks, offers an inventive place to share a cocktail.  I probably could only afford to stay five minutes in a swanky place like this, but it sure is fun to visit.

When you’re hungry, head here: 

Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden
312 Pearl Pkwy
Bldg. 3
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 354-4644

Another gorgeously re-purposed building!  They’re known for great burgers, but I was in the mood for something different, so my friendly server talked me into the Hudspeth Ranch Lamb & Wild Boar Bolognese.  Really, how could I turn down a chance like that?  (No “knitter eating lamb” jabs, please).  It was delicious—a perfect taste combination for the unusual meats.  

Chef Jeff White also sent over his signature house chicharones & hot sauce when I mentioned I’d never had such a thing.  Yummy, but WAY too spicy for my weak northern tastebuds.  A great place for lunch or dinner, or a stand-out Sunday brunch.

Save room for desert, because we’re off to:

Lick Honest Ice Creams
312 Pearl Pkwy
Ste 2101
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 314-8166

Artisan ice creams are always a fun place for adventure, and this shop is the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind treat.  My sources sent me in for the  “goat cheese and candied nut” flavor, but I confess it wasn’t really my thing.  The server let me taste a bunch of suggestions until we hit on “grapefruit with champagne marshmallows”—fabulous!  An inventive combination of sweet and tang.  The menu of available flavors rotates constantly, so who knows what new favorite you’ll discover?

Ready for yarn?  Make the drive to:

Unraveled - The Chic Yarn Boutique
815 E Rector Suite 104
San Antonio, TX 78216
(210) 951-4891

Husband-and-wife owner Kellie Lewis and Rob Thompson—both knitters—let their passion for the craft launch this newest addition to the Texas yarn shop scene.  

“We only carry fibers we’re 100% passionate about,” says Kellie.  Rob’s big on alpaca, Kellie’s a fan of cottons, so you can imagine that their selection of both (as well as linen, silk, and other warm-weather fibers) is outstanding.  Their fun, inventive style comes through all over the store and extends to the friendly, go-the-extra-mile staff as well.  

The store offers a strong selection of stock displayed by weight, and as Rob and Kellie love gift-giving projects, there are tons of great samples all over the store to inspire your generosity (or self-indulgence).

Open form classes—where you can come with any project and any skill level—are kept to a nice, intimate size.  Open knitting night happens each Thursday from 6-8.  Unraveled offers a few technique classes as well, and has joined the growing number of stores offering tatting instruction.  It’s gratifying to see this once-dying art form enjoying such a resurgence.

The shop is just the right size to be both comfy and still provide a robust selection.  With a warm atmosphere and friendly staff—as well as friendly customers—you’re sure to make new yarn buddies on your visit.

Here are a few projects I wouldn't mind casting on:

Alma Lou Shawl
All you need is one ball of self-striping yarn such as Noro Taiyo Sock or Manos De Uruguay sock to whip up this colorful wrap.  Not too lacy, not too basic, the interplay of garter and eyelet lets the yarn do most of the talking here.  The picot border adds a touch of delicacy.  A great choice for your first shawl.

Summer Escape Wrap
Crave something with a contemporary, dramatic touch that still won’t tax your summer brain cells?  Stitch up this color-blocked shawl with three balls of Berroco Modern Cotton in the colors of your choice.  If you’re like me, you’ll need some guidance for color combos, but the staff will surely lend a hand.  Perfect to keep any blasting AC from ruining your evening.

Bob’s Extra Large Stockings
Talk about unique!  Who wouldn't enjoy stuffing a stocking this size?  The photo doesn’t do justice to the fact that they’re several feet long (no pun intended)!  Felting chunky weight yarn sounds like a hefty task, but the results are clearly worth it.  You’ll need 4 balls of Borroco Peruvia Quick or 4-5 Balls of Debbie Bliss Roma and some king-size needles if you take on Bob's super-sized design.

Linen Stitch Bag
True to Unraveled’s gift-knitting specialty, our knit-along from this shop is a bag designed by Rob.  Three skeins of chunky yarn—in this case Araucania Huasco Chunky merino hand dyed—combine to make this colorful drawstring carry-all.  I’m looking forward to a quick, clever, and useful project.

When you’re done for the day, I recommend for dinner:

Beto’s Alt-Mex
8142 Broadway
San Antonio, TX 78209
(210) 930-9393

Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this place offers “Alt-Mex,” a self-proclaimed fusion of Mexican street food and Latin American Soul Food.  

Guy favors the Chalupa Cabra, but I went for the duo of a grilled fish and grilled veggie taco and didn’t regret it. The real star of the evening was the amazing sweet empanadas in a variety of mouthwatering flavors.

All in all, a great day in San Antonio.  Next post I’ll give you a shorter day visiting another SA store—so you’ll still have time to get in all your sightseeing.

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