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Best Hand-Knit Sweaters and More 

Margaret O'Leary

This store, which built its business selling handcrafted sweaters in chenille and textured yarns, has diversified, and, in addition to sweaters, now stocks its own clothing line and carries other hip designers including Three Dots and the splendid Rozae Nichols. There is a fabulous array of threads on hand in taffeta, silk, linen, leather, and suede. As it's grown into a larger company, with four stores in the Bay Area, O'Leary has earned a reputation for being -- how can we put this? -- not the most customer-friendly shop on the block. But individual employees have helped change that perception: Eve at the Berkeley store and Helen in Mill Valley are absolute gems. Besides, the truth is that the stuff is so cool, you may not care.

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