The CARON Collection is pleased to feature one of the
outstanding shops who so ably provide stitchers with not only
supplies but guidance, technical expertise, and inspiration.
We hope you'll support your local shops and browse through our
extensive SHOP LISTINGS to find a shop near you.
We take you to
YARN BARN OF SAN ANTONIO constitutes a city landmark. The shop
is housed in a very distinctive, white stucco, triangular shaped
building with big red barn-colored awnings and an enormous seasonal
wreath gracing its door. Owner, Bobbi Ravicz states, "When
you enter, you'll be "greeted" by a turn of the century,
old fashioned...display cabinet, dubbed the "Glass Casket,"
overflowing with...stitched needlepoint pieces which celebrate
the season at hand and local festivals." To enter the shop
proper, one passes by an "arcade" composed of Caron
Watercolours skeins; it's like walking through a rainbow.
Ravicz is the proud daughter of "The Old Trader," who
owned the "big ole country store" and emceed, for 50
years, a radio show called The Trading Post, filled with
local lore, news, wit and wisdom. In recognition of his many
contributions to South Texas ranchers, he was recently inducted
posthumously into the San Antonio Livestock Exposition and Rodeo
Hall of Fame. Her mother, a 3rd generation Texan, remains at
age 91, a very outspoken community advocate for San Antonio.
From early childhood, Bobbi has loved needlework of all types.
She was self-taught as the only other family member to share
this interest was her maternal grandmother, who lived too far
away to teach her. In her teens Bobbi sewed and tailored her
own clothes and then learned to weave her own fabric. She reflects
that her passion may stem from a gene which skips generations
since none of her children are as obsessed with needlework. Her
daughter Robi Marisol is, however, a rather "eccentric"
knitter (If your curiosity is aroused, see the Winter 1998 Issue
of Interweave Knits, which has earned her and her sister
Elenita some notoriety). Bobbi plans to pass her skills on to
the next generation, starting with Marigold, her granddaughter,
Bobbi went east to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie,
NY, majoring in Sociology and Modern American History. In retrospect
she muses, "While I wouldn't trade my college education
for anything in the world, in a sense, I have ended up devoting
29 years of my adult life to the very interests I had as a 12
year old." After college Bobbi's destiny appeared in the
guise of a man whom Bobbi knew but had never considered a romantic
interest. Apparently Richard had other ideas. He won her heart
long before presenting her with a primitive Mexican Indian back-strap
loom as an engagement gift and a refined American made jack loom
for their wedding. Bobbi adds, "He also humored me with
a honeymoon in Mexico and Guatemala, where we spent a lot of
time visiting weaving villages. Weaving stayed my passion through
the first eleven years of my marriage."
Truly her father's daughter, Bobbi is a born merchant. At
nine she was selling greeting cards to neighbors. Every Saturday
would find her at the "ole country store." Horses were
another love, "Ultimately I graduated from riding Western
style...to showing American Saddlebred Show Horses." What
was in the making here - the "Dale Evans" of Stitching?
The YARN BARN OF SAN ANTONIO was born of Bobbi's passion for
weaving. She needed supplies for classes and selling from her
own stash left her high and dry. She decided to accompany Richard
on a business trip to Mexico and buy in volume, with the intent
of reselling the surplus. Once embarked on this strategy, she
had to apply for a resale #, name the business, get a business
phone, etc. She moved her studio-workshop into a barn-type structure
on their property...hence, the name, Yarn Barn. Concurrently,
a cousin enrolled in a Bargello needlepoint class and asked Bobbi
to obtain the yarn (Paternayan Persian wool) for her. Bobbi relates,
"I nearly flipped because that was a yarn that I had always
wanted for my weaving endeavors." When contacting the company,
Bobbi learned they had a minimum order of 200 lbs. for each type
of yarn, which translated, in 1971, into a hefty $2000 investment,
"I swallowed that bitter pill, deciding that if I didn't
have enough interest in the yarn for needlepoint, I could always
use it myself and sell it to weavers." When word spread
that Bobbi had needlepoint yarn, increasing numbers of customers,
delivery men and industry reps of every stripe were to be seen
traipsing across her yard. Bobbi decided she had two alternatives:
to go retail in a commercial location or to operate a mail-order
business out of her home. She opted for the former, but this
brought its own problems: high-rent, employees, etc. She realized
she needed to court a large and varied customer base and began
stocking yarns which could be employed for weaving as well as
other crafts and products which had potential for a variety of
uses. She admits, "Twenty-nine years later, I'm still keeping
my ears to the ground... the business grew by listening to people's
needs and moving from one logical extension to another."
She further confides, "I have a very nasty habit...if
I choose to stock a particular fiber or yarn, I want the whole
line of colors it offers...The Caron Collection is a good example...the
Yarn Barn carries the entire line of Watercolours, Wildflowers.
Waterlilies and Impressions...Because of the all-inclusiveness of its inventory...the Yarn Barn has become known as a Department Store devoted strictly to Needlework!"
And when Bobbi says "all-inclusive," she means it literally:
they inventory supplies for needlepoint, knitting, crochet, cross
stitch, counted thread, smocking, silk ribbon embroidery, crewel,
blackwork, tatting, weaving, etc. The saying goes that, "If
the YB of SA doesn't have what you're looking for, it probably
Over the years Bobbi has acquired another obsession: rare
and unusual needlework books. She began accumulating an extensive
library of these in the mid '80's and elaborates, "Once
again, customers played a key role in my operation: I am extremely
indebted to the serious sampler-makers who began asking for rare
out-of-print books...Thereby began a quest of a totally different
nature... You might say that the "Back-room Book-room" is the "Crown Jewel" of the store." Bobbi
is currently working on a comprehensive book-list. Call if you
would like to be put on the mailing list. She emphasizes, "If
I don't have a title in stock, I promise to scour the "backroads"
for it!" Stitchers - Forget Amazon.com! Just ask Bobbi!
By 1975 Bobbi had created her own competition by teaching
needlepoint to women, who would then ask for her help in opening
up a shop! But Bobbi, aided by Richard's business acumen, turned
this "cheeky request"to her advantage, "I took
my idea of becoming a distributor of Paternayan Persian to NY...Ultimately,
they took to it and to this day, I am the only distributor to
other retail shops in the U.S. of that yarn, other than the manufacturer."
She also wholesales other needlework supplies: frame stands and
a huge selection of sight-saving magnifying lamps. Working as
both a wholesaler and retailer keeps Bobbi very busy but she
philosophizes, "Oftentimes when I bemoan the fact that I
have very little time to USE the products I sell, my husband
tells me that my creativity has to be the running of my business..."With
a wry smile, she adds, "Some days I say, "Just when
I thought I knew all the answers, they changed the questions!"
San Antonio is no longer a sleepy little cow-town, but a history
buff''s and tourist's delight. Original Mission structures have
been preserved in an authentic manner; the Alamo and nearby RiverWalk
speak for themselves. One can shop Mexico, eat Mexican food,
sip a Margarita and listen to Mariachis at the famed Mexican
Market. In fact, San Antonio is so well known for its Mexican
Fiesta flavor that many people overlook the city's German influence,
yet another historical dimension to explore. But if you find
yourself in San Antonio, why not save the best for last - a visit
to the YARN BARN of SAN ANTONIO!
Yarn Barn of San Antonio
1615 McCullough Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212
phone: (210) 826-3679
fax: (210) 826-6722
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.- Mon., Wed, Thurs. and Fri.
9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.- Tues.
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.- Saturday