I had an unexpected day off a couple weeks ago so I made use of it by meeting my then-VERY-pregnant friend for coffee in an town about halfway between the two of us. (She just gave birth this weekend! I've made a few things for the baby and I'm really excited to see him use them!)
On the way home I made use of the tons of free time & the fact that I was passing through downtown Riverside gave me an excuse to go hunt down a few yarn shops I'd heard of.
My first stop was a bit of an adventure. I didn't quite remember what street Designer Handknits was on, which turned out not to matter since they'd moved since I'd last looked them up! I did eventually find them and boy was I glad I did. It's a pretty big store- taking up what would be two store fronts in a small strip mall- with one side jam-packed with yarn & the other carrying a hearty selection of books surrounding a few large tables. There were several people sitting, chatting & knitting. The woman working (the owner maybe?) was SUPER friendly and made me feel like a regular customer right away. I have made a commitment not to stash any new yarn for the rest of the year, but I felt almost guilty leaving without making a purchase. They have TWO evening (Tuesdays & Thursdays) when they are open in the evening. I can totally see this becoming MY store.
Designer Handknits carries a Noro and Misti Alpaca- two of my personal favorites. They also had a lot of Araucania, which I almost never see offline. Strangely, I didn't see ANY Malabrigo, which seems to be an LYS staple. They also had a ton of yarns I'd never even heard of!
My next stop was Knitting With Sandra. This shop was a good size, again with a few large tables in the middle where there were several ladies knitting & eating. The owner was there, along with at least one other employee. There seemed to be a third worker on her lunch break. Seemed like a LOT of people working for a small shop, but everyone was friendly & helpful. There isn't a lot of selection at Sandra's. If my stash had fewer brands but the same number of skeins I think I'd fill the shop more solidly. I did end up buying the Wonderful Wallaby booklet and a large skein of cotton yarn (forgot the name) to make a baby Wallaby.
Sandra's carries Berocco & Lamb's Pride, among others. The employee let me know they would order any other colors I might need. They are open late on Wednesdays.
So if you're ever in Riverside, CA stop by one of these little shops and browse. In fact, go to both. They are no more than 2 miles from each other & have very different vibes but are both lovely.