Indigo-dyed fabric dries on a clothesline at A Verb for Warm, a store in northwest Oakland.
Crafty Shops Where Oakland and Berkeley Meet
Road Journals Blog—A clutch of stores at the intersection of northwest Oakland and southwest Berkeley in Northern California have embraced the do-it-yourself aesthetic, either by providing raw materials and know-how for tackling crafty projects or else finished goods that come with a one-of-a-kind look, no assembly required. Area code is 510 unless otherwise noted.
A Verb for Keeping Warm
A lush rainbow of yarn, some of it dyed naturally on site, fills a knitting and sewing shop. It also offers a large number of classes teaching skills such as the basics of quilting and how to spin yarn. 6328 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, 595-8372, averbforkeepingwarm.com.
The first of its kind in the country, this community workshop—aka hackerspace—was formed to give mothers a place with built-in childcare where they could learn and teach skills ranging from furniture-making to baking. A membership-based organization, it also accepts drop-ins. 3288 Adeline St., Berkeley, firstname.lastname@example.org, mothership.hackermoms.org.
Thanks to the variety they keep in stock and their wrench-pulling refurbishment skills, the owners of this used-bike shop take all the pain out of buying a classic steel-frame bicycle: No more sorting through overpriced frames on Craigslist to find the perfect fit only to spend hours (or dollars) fixing it up. 5651 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, 693-8758, facebook.com/Cosmiccycles101.
The Pallet Space
An antique store with a youthful style inflected with street art sells all manner of things. You might score hand-size bronze-painted humanoids sculpted from discarded crab shells or custom furniture—such as a polished bench build out of a massive elm slab—or a vintage Chevy axle. 6510 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, 502-1940, facebook.com/ThePalletSpace.
The wood-shingle exterior, the honeycomb mural on the wall, the colored-glass vases hanging in the window—everything in this terrarium shop conspires to pull you into a world of fascinating air plants and beautiful small objects. 1757 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley, (646) 417-1762,
Photography by Mimi Giboin (indigo dyed fabric); Olivia Wright (plants)
This blog post was first published in November 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.