Shop features vendors from around the world
–A stroll into the Ball & Skein & More shop in Cambria greets visitors with splashes of rich colors and deep textures. Long skeins of luxuriously textured yarn from spinners and dyers in the US and around the world hang from nearly seven foot tall racks. Balls of soft color fill shelves and bins.
Wearable items from purses, socks, sweaters, vests, caps and more are found in corners, between display racks, and nooks throughout the store. Beautifully handcrafted buttons, crochet hooks and knitting needles, many from reclaimed wood, patterns, kits, looms, and spinning and felting supplies can all be found in the 1800 square foot store.
Owners, Kris Gregson and Oz Barron, and the store’s highly knowledgeable staff welcome everyone. “We welcome everyone of every skill level,” said Barron. “Whatever you want to do with this colored string we are here to help you.” Gregson and Barron’s philosophy can be summed up in the slogan, “Give us twenty minutes and we’ll give you the basics,” said Gregson. “We like people to bring us their project questions to get started, or how to master a technique. We can show you exactly what you need to do. We love helping people this way.”
The store carries every kind of yarn from acrylic to hand spun and dyed natural fibers. Ball & Skein & More is one of the largest retailer of the fair trade yarn from the Manos del Uruguay women’s cooperative. The racks are filled with yarns from 90 vendors including Berroco, Mrs. Crosby, Trendsetter Mountain Colors, Noro and Plymouth.
Barron said, “We’re the largest shop on the Central Coast and among the larger shops in the country. Pretty amazing for a store in a town of around 6,000.”
Barron said, “We have one of the largest collections of yarn west of the Mississippi and are one of five shops in San Luis Obispo County. Not bad for a store in a town of around 6,000.” Even though a percentage of the shops sales are online through the website, www.cambriayarn.com, Gregson and Barron believe supporting the local community is important.
A popular local event is “Stitching in your slippers,” every Friday and Sunday from 10:30 – 4. “Just come by and bring your project,” said Gregson. “I don’t recall anyone actually showing up in slippers. The idea is to get together in a creative environment and learn from each other and meet fellow fiber fans.” Gregson said people drift in and out on those days.
“Some stay for an hour or so and some stay the entire day. It’s an amazing exchange of skill and creativity.”
Ball & Skein & More is located at 4210 Bridge St. in Cambria, CA. The shop is open seven days a week, including New Year’s day, from 10 – 5. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Telephone: (805) 927-3280.
-Jackie Iddings, author