I was born in Fresno and grew up here, as did my husband and my parents. I'm thrilled to be raising my young son here too! I've gone away for school and spent brief periods in other parts of California, but have always ended up homesick for my hometown.
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I love to knit.
There, I said it. It’s not like it’s a deep dark secret! I belong to a knitting group that meets at Starbucks, and I have a stash of yarn that ranges all over the color and texture spectrum, encompassing materials like silk, wool, a healthy amount of acrylic, mohair, alpaca, and believe it or not, banana fiber.
Is it an addiction? Hard to say. But my response to the question of whether I could quit anytime I wanted might involve me pleading the fifth.
Sparkly? Plain? Variegated? Bulky? Fine? Yes, I have it all. Although, as any knitter or crocheter will tell you, “all” is never enough. (The one who dies with the most yarn wins!)
Having said that, all yarn is not created equal. Just ask Sabrina Famellos, who has built her luxury yarn and fiber dyeing business, Anzula, from the ground up.
The company started “organically, by accident!” to hear Famellos tell it. “I was 19-years-old. People would approach me and buy crocheted items right off my needles or hooks. It grew and blossomed into a business from there.” I ask her about the unique name, and she laughs.
“It’s complicated. I started out as “Creations by Sabrina,” but eventually decided I wanted a unique name. I’ve always loved languages, so I pulled out a few language dictionaries and started experimenting.”
After getting attached to the word azul (“blue” in Spanish), but deciding that just one color might be confusing and limiting when applied to her many-hued wares, Sabrina played around with syllables a bit and the company name was born.
“I Googled it, and found that Anzula was a feminine Slavic name, but with no definition listed. It was also the name of a foreign bank. But when I checked, the domain was free.”
“So you nabbed it!”
“Yes, exactly! I knew that was it.”
Yarn Dried in the Warm Fresno Sun
Anzula focuses on speciality, luxury fiber. Wool, linen, silk, camel, cashmere, and many more options are featured in their yarn blends. The range grows significantly every year as new yarns and colorways are added to an already dazzling array of choices. (Speaking from personal experience, it’s all a joy to work with!)
All the yarn is spun within North America and is processed at the Anzula factory, which is currently located near Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno.
The yarn is prepped, dyed, and dried in the Fresno sunshine, then reskeined, labeled on site, and sent to yarn shops all over the U.S. and the rest of the world. Japan, Italy, Holland, the U.K.—you can find Anzula yarn there.
Anzula on the Move
2017 is, deservedly, a big year for Sabrina. It’s Anzula’s 15-year anniversary, and the company is gearing up to move into newly refurbished digs in the next few months—a project that has been in the works for a few years.
The new location will be on Blackstone between Belmont and Olive, so Anzula will still be close to its Downtown Fresno roots, but will technically be in the Tower District.
If you know Sabrina, you know that her business is her baby, and her employees are like a large, extended family. Quality and consistency are a huge part of the culture there.
Sabrina is adamant that her workers are treated accordingly, making a living wage and getting access to additional perks as the company grows. I ask what the ultimate goal is for the company, and the excitement in her voice is clear.
“We’re almost there. I want to create sustainable jobs in our economically depressed area, build community, and keep the lifeblood flowing in local yarn stores everywhere!”
That’s why, at any given time, there are Anzula trunk shows planned all over the country. Sabrina has a crazy travel schedule to keep up with and is quick to acknowledge that a huge part of being able to do that is trusting that her fearless crew has her back, holding down the fort and keeping things running smoothly at home.
“How does it feel to know that your yarn is sold in shops worldwide?” I ask Sabrina.
“It still blows my mind!” she says, with a grin. “Seriously, it still feels like I’m joking when I tell people.”
Where to Find Anzula Near You
If you’d like to spot or capture Anzula Luxury Fibers in the wild, there are several awesome local shops that can make that happen. For a complete list of shops, click here.
Craftopia, 2225 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 101, Fresno
In addition to Anzula yarns, Craftopia carries indie crafting supplies of all kinds (not just yarn), features how-to classes for all sorts of creative pursuits, and hosts social gatherings, like knit nights. It’s reportedly also a great place to host parties for kids.
Swatches, 1764 W. Bullard Ave, Fresno
An excellent local yarn store! Check out their selection of Anzula fiber. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to do entrelac knitting, Swatches is currently teaching classes on Wednesdays. And with Max’s eatery next door and a Dutch Bros. kiosk in the parking lot, you won’t starve or suffer a caffeine deficit if you decide to make a day of it.
Root, 1424 Fulton Street, Fresno
A general store that specializes in products made by local, small businesses? How FresYes is that? Yet another positive player in the quest for downtown revitalization. Go check them out and you literally can be able to say you’ve “been there, done that, bought the yarn.” Or, you know, the t-shirt, if that’s more your thing. (They have cool ones.)
All photographs courtesy of Anzula Luxury Yarns. Used with permission.