Because we all know the real point of travel is snacks

You should probably go now.  This post is of absolutely no interest to anyone but me.  This post is possibly the most boring thing on the whole site.

But, I am constantly finding myself looking stuff up on my own blog, so I’m going to take shameless advantage of the ‘my party, my rules’ aspect of having one’s own website and make a quick list of the nifty restaurants we went to in San Francisco.  This really is just so we can remember the next time we’re out there or someone asks us where we liked.  Sorry for not being more entertaining, but you have been warned.

I’ll even provide a hideously cliched picture to round out the shame.  Next week there will be actual knitting, I promise!bridgeTacolicious: required by law to have both cocktails and the bread and chocolate dessert, you may even like it so much you buy their cookbook.

Woodfour Brewing: their sour beers will will console you in the face of horrible traffic.

Bull Valley Roadhouse: so good you’ll go twice (and very likely wish you could go yet again).

Farmer Brown: brunch, make reservations, do the buffet, and go now.

Bar Agricole: sit outside, because a restaurant with wool blankets is too neat not to enjoy.

Central Kitchen: where you needn’t make any pesky decisions, they’ll just bring you food.

Coqueta: you do have to make decisions here, but there are no wrong ones.

Flour + Water: another place where you can just say ‘feed me’ and sit back and relax (they also have a cookbook).

A16: rumor has it the one in Rockridge has the better cocktails, but I bet both are grand (oh and also cookbook).

The Commissary: surprise hit of the trip, dearly wish we could have gone back and had yet more sherry cocktails.

The Progress: overcame my natural resistance to late dinner to grudgingly accepted super late reservation, glad I did.

Report

Oh yeah, I sort of bought some yarn while we were away.  Not too much (the soul of restraint, that’s me), but a bit.

DSC_1520First up, Tosh DK by Madelinetosh in the color Stargazing (which doesn’t show on their website, not sure if it’s a one off or discontinued).  It’s the brightest non-orange yarn in my stash and I will never in a million years be able to get an accurate reflection of the color of this yarn.  Let’s just say it’s blue enough it pretty much vibrates.  It is totally outside my normal gray with hints of green and beige color range, and I’m itching to do something fun with it.

I found the Tosh at Verb, and while I was there, I also picked up a skein of their Floating in Topological (that color is listed on their website, but the picture there is an olive green whereas my skein is much grayer with just the very slightest hint of sage).  I’m feeling the need for a lovely, slouchy hat, though there is enough yarn here that it could turn into socks if I change my mind.

A more likely candidate for socks is the Cricket by Anzula in Aspen that I picked up at ImagiKnit.  This has all the makings of a favorite fat sock yarn (80/20/10 content, nice and round, interesting color but will still show off stitches), and I have a feeling it may wander onto my needles fairly soon.

And of course, just to keep things from being too practical, I had to get one little indulgence skein.  The Sensai by Ito in the color Goat (total points for the color name by the way, that’s grand).  I haven’t the slightest idea what I’ll do with it, but it told me it simply had to follow me home, so I listened.

Admirable self control all around I think.  Now, let’s just see who gets on the needles first.  Do you guys think I’ll embrace the blue?  Or will it turn out to be a mistake?  And what is that fuzzy bit of business going to turn int?

More Indiscretion

When last I left you, it was Friday morning.  I’d visited A Verb for Keeping Warm the night before and just sort of casually mentioned that I was about to head out to another yarn shop later that morning.  The second yarn shop was ImagiKnit, and it was a delight.

Now, first things first, they had a wee stack of Curls sitting out on the table.  And I know it’s horribly tacky to admit it, but I confess that does always make me awfully happy to see that in a yarn shop.  I secretly suspect anyone else who writes books gets a little thrill when they see their work hanging out in shops, so I’ll try not to feel too bad about the little happy dance seeing them always causes.

DSC_1368But of course the real show stopper was the yarn.  Piles and piles of yarn, rooms full of the stuff!  If Verb was spare and streamlined, ImagiKnit was delightfully exuberant.

DSC_1374Those are actually pretty much my favorite ways to organize a yarn shop.  Either have only a tiny handful of lines and have them all be awesome, or have oodles and oodles of yarn and let me go on a treasure hunt.  I totally got to do both on this trip.

And yes, yes I did find treasures.  The yarn report will happen shortly, as soon as everything is out of the suitcase and I’m caught up enough on life to find my camera and computer again.  You’ll be proud, I actually bought yarn with colors (shocking, I know, but true).

Indiscretion

You’ll have to forgive me.  I had all these grand plans.  While I was away I was going to take advantage of the pretty scenery to take oodles of sock pictures (seriously, I packed along socks in my carry on for maximum sock safety).  I was going to stumble across charming fiber animals (when I had my camera handy).  I was going to encounter nifty knitting-related stuff (also with camera to hand) in unexpected contexts and document it for you all.

But I haven’t.  Instead I’ve spent a fairly astonishing amount of time finding awesome restaurants, reading, just possibly napping, and generally relaxing.  Scandalous I know, but apparently necessary, as any time I tried to do something that looked more like what you might call work, I got hideously whiny and then stopped.

Though, in my defense, on the way to one of those awesome restaurants I did just happen to swing by a yarn shop.

DSC_1365Quite a lovely one at that.  Do you recognize it?  How about now?

DSC_1364Yup, that’s A Verb for Keeping Warm over in Oakland.  It’s not the biggest yarn shop in the world, but it does have one of the highest ‘I want that, and that, and yup, that one over there too’ ratings of any shop I’ve visited.  I swear about 95% of the yarn in that shop belongs in my stash.

And yes, yes I did happen to pick up a thing or two.  But I’m headed out to one more yarn shop this morning, and I want to see what happens to follow me home from there before I confess any more indiscretions.

Sandy

One of the goals for the San Francisco trip was to get some photos of the current sock.  We tried going out and finding something with the bridge in the background (we’re tourists, we’re allowed), but it wasn’t quite working out.  So I stuffed the socks in my purse as we headed out on our last day in town.  We were going to Point Reyes for a bit of beach storming, and I thought there might possibly be the odd bit of pretty we could use for sock pictures.

Yup, that will do.

That too.

We stomped our way out to Kehoe beach (it’s only a bit over half a mile from the parking to the beach, but a good part of that half mile is hilly and on loose sand, which I always find searingly painful to walk on).  Rocks were clambered over, pants were soaked, sand was introduced to places not accustomed to its presence.  A good time was had by all, including the sock, who proved once again that wool is magic.  I was standing in sopping wet sand (as in, you could see a puddle around my footprint when I lifted my foot), but my feet were dry.  No idea how that works, but I’m impressed.  The sock is modestly pleased with himself and happy to have been of service.

This Time I Brought the Camera

I am packing for TNNA.  Or possibly driving to TNNA.  Or, depending on just how much time I have and how diligent I am about writing posts ahead of time to go up while I’m down there, possibly even hanging out at TNNA.  But just because I’m in a bit of a panicked daze doesn’t mean you should go without something to see.  So, how about a bit of yarn store yumminess, hmm?

From the moment I found out we were going to San Francisco, I knew I wanted to visit A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I’d first seen their yarn (and fiber) at the first Sock Summit, and I’ve been smitten with it ever since.  And when I found out that the lovely Janine Bajus (fellow Visionary and the person who will be to blame if I ever take the leap and decide to do ambitious things with two strands of yarn at once) was free to meet me there and make introductions (it’s her local yarn shop…we should all take a moment to be very very jealous), I was sold.

The store is absolutely charming.  It has one of the most thoughtfully curated and carefully selected collections of yarns I’ve ever seen.  There wasn’t a yarn there I wouldn’t have been happy to bring home.  But of course, the star of the show is Verb’s own yarn.  It’s awfully tempting.  See?

And of course there was fiber too.  In fact, there was fiber drying in the sun on the back patio (perfectly color matched to the wall out there, no doubt carefully planed).

The back patio is also home to lots of dyeing goodies.  The store has an amazing roster of classes, including classes on natural dyeing, and this is where some of that magic happens.

And, on the off chance that wasn’t enough, there’s even a resident bunny.

Should you ever find yourself in that part of the world, I highly recommend a visit.  Next time I’ll try to arrange to be in town when they’re having a sewing class (oh yes, they carry fabric too) and see if I can’t improve my skills!

Unexpected

Sometimes the surprise finds are the best.  I knew I’d visit yarn stores on the trip, and I fully expected to enjoy them (and did).  I planned to go out to the shore, and expected that to be delightful (it was).  I did not expect to find a small pile of knitting loot at the Japanese dollar store.  Yet somehow I did.

That’s some hilarious socks (alas, too small for me, but now on their way to a friend), some graph paper index cards (perfect for sticking the one little chart I always need in my travel knitting pouch), and the longest dpns I’ve ever seen.  I’m particularly excited by those.  I don’t like circs, and finding enough of the more usual dpns to make things like hats or cowls can be tricky.  These should be perfect.

Delightful as all that is, the real haul came from the Japanese bookstore next door.  I went in on a lark, on the off chance they might have a knitting book or two.  I walked around the small first floor, and saw nothing but comic books.  Then, tucked back in the corner, I saw a staircase.  A staircase that looked exactly like the sort you’re not supposed to go up.  The sort that’s for employees only.  The sort you’ll be yelled at for even glancing at.  But I went up anyways.  I was well rewarded.

That’s some (some, mind you, not all) of the Japanese knitting books.  There were more on the table in front.  There were a similar number of English-language knitting books on the other side of the bookcase.  I’ve seen yarn stores with fewer knitting books.  There was even a special section (under the heading ‘Lacework’) of stitch dictionaries.  I may have had a small fit, followed by a large indulgence.

Non-linear

For reasons that are, I’m sure, totally valid, I’ve somehow managed not to recount this trip in any sort of linear fashion.  These things happen sometimes.  Some days it was a choice between ‘some sort of blog post’ or ‘nothing at all because figuring out how to write about what happened after whatever I wrote about last time sounds too hard right now,’ and something won out over nothing.  I hope you don’t mind.  It does mean I have to do a bit of a jump now though, but I didn’t want to neglect to tell you about some of the lovely yarn I got.

So, way back on the fifth, the day I hit up the fabric store, I also stopped by Artfibers.  I’d heard about it before I came, and it was mentioned by lots of folks when I asked for recommendations.  I wanted to be sure to visit, and it more than lived up to expectations.  It’s quite different than most other yarn stores.  When you walk in, instead of seeing shelves of yarn, you see counters full of swatches.  Each of their many yarns has been swatched up (in more or less each of the colors), and the swatches are laid out on on the counters.  The yarns in the drawers below.  I, in a fit of astonishing cleverness, did not have a functional camera with me while I was there, but if you look here or here, you’ll get a sense of what I mean.

All the yarn in those drawers?  It’s not in balls or hanks or skeins.  It’s on cones, and it’s all priced by the yard.  That means you can buy exactly the yardage that you want.  You can also pull out any of the cones and knit up a little swatch right there on the spot.  They’ve got needles and chairs, so you can settle in and check out the yarns (and you can take your swatches home with you too).  I didn’t knit any swatches, but I did take some yarn home.  This yarn to be precise.

They wind it up on the cones for you, so you get just what you want.  And if you’re worried about labels (I was, I always think I’ll remember the name/fiber content, and I never manage to), they’ve thought of that too.  It’s taped up inside the cone.

I’m delighted with them both and saw lots of other goodies I had to work hard to resist.  I’ll definitely stop by when next I’m in town, and next time I’ll remember my camera.

Look, Knitting!

Lest you think I’ve only been strolling about taking in the sights and eating delicious food, let me assure you there has been knitting too.  Plenty of knitting.

It started when we took the sock to the ocean on Saturday.  He enjoyed the view, but was a little worried the breeze would blow him away and he’d be lost at sea.

This was not a totally unfounded concern.  It was more than a bit breezy, and he’d seen what had happened to socks at the shore in the past.  The sock was somewhat reassured as he was still tethered to his ball, but he did veto any attempt to sail him like a kite.

The knitting continued, and in a day or so, the sock was finished.  The time came to block him (which I always think of as sock yoga…I hope they enjoy it).  This is where I realized that bringing one sock blocker (in some vain attempt to save space in the suitcase), was a poor plan.  Two sock blockers really don’t take any more space than one, and having only one is much less convenient.

I persevered, and the socks are blocked.  The Boy and I may go on a bit of a stroll this evening and see if we can find somewhere suitable to grab pictures.  I think we’ll be able to find somewhere picturesque around here somewhere, don’t you?

Not Just Blue

And, lest you think I’m only frolicking about sticking my toes in as many parts of the ocean as possible (which is mostly true, but I like to maintain the appearance of a more well-rounded explorer), I bring you some non-watery bits.

As we drive around up here, The Boy and I both keep wondering if the plants are supposed to be that color.  Where we live, that would mean everything was completely and totally dead.  But I’ve been assured that no, that’s just what they look like here this time of year.  It makes for a bit of an adjustment if you’re from more verdant climes, but it is rather pretty.