Yarnbombing by a group associated with Berkeley’s Knit One One on the “Here There” artwork on Berkeley-Oakland border

The San Francisco Chronicle decided to mark Independence Day with a slide show of Bay Area independents — the original people, businesses and ideas that make the Bay Area so special. Out of the 48 chosen independents, there are five with clear Berkeley provenance (which we think is a bit stingy).

Here are the Berkeley originals.

  1. Yomi Wrong and the Center for Independent Living. The Chronicle correctly calls Berkeley “the birthplace of the disability rights movement”.
  2. Knit One One and the yarnbombers that it inspires (a phenomenon Berkeleyside has been tracking from the start).
  3. Good Vibrations, which has “revolutionized the sex toy shopping experience”.
  4. Moe’s Books, a “neighborhood icon with hundreds of thousands of titles for readers to peruse”.
  5. Amoeba Music, “one of the larger independent music stores around”.

Who or what from Berkeley would you add?

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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21 Comments

  1. Yes, Magda Sayeg with Knitta in Texas started the trend 2005. Carol Hummel in Ohio did a huge installation with knit covered trees 2005, and the jafagirls in Yellow Springs, Ohio did the knit knot tree in 2007.

  2. The United Nations Charter, no styrofoam containers for fast food, public process requirements to install a hot tub in your back yard.

  3. Inkworks, a political printing cooperative since 1974 and Nia House Learning Center, a progressive Montessori preschool since 1974.  Both an important part of Berkeley’s long progressive history!

  4. The first sex toy shop opened in Germany in 1962.  Good Vibrations opened in 1977.

    Yarnbombing is believed to have been started by a chick in Houston in 2005.

    Berkeley CA constantly assumes it is ahead of the curve on cool.

    The Chron article was, I acknowledge, about what makes the Bay Area special. It is interesting how some Berkeleyites automatically started taking credit for Berkeley originating things that did not actually originate here.  Berkeley can seem so smug.

  5. I would have to add all the people who’ve followed you Knit One One story with comments full of hyperbole and venom about the yarn bombs being a health hazard! ONLY in Berkeley…

  6. I would have to add all the people who’ve followed you Knit One One story with comments full of hyperbole and venom about the yarn bombs being a health hazard! ONLY in Berkeley…

  7. Mark Brest van Kempen’s “Column of Earth and Air” (the Free Speech Monument), UC campus.

  8. Mark Brest van Kempen’s “Column of Earth and Air” (the Free Speech Monument), UC campus.

  9. can’t forget Zachary’s when it comes to food.

    Also, Berkeley is fantastic in many ways about disability rights, but AC Transit (ie: bus lines that pass through Berkeley) have a long way to go in that department.