Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

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 discover...
The Yarn Barn of San Antonio, Texas

The 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.

Bobbi 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, age six.

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? You Betcha!

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 doesn't exist!"


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

© 1999 The Caron Collection /Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com