report from California

Hellooooooo! I’m in the SF Bay Area, happily ensconced in a lovely home somewhere up on the ridge in the redwoods.

The view from Diane's house (click to embiggen)

Yes, I know, life sucks.

The past few days have been busy, so let me summarize the wonder that has been the trip so far.

Wednesday: Flew in on Air Canada. What a GREAT AIRLINE. Seatmates not so great. However, great food service, free movies and TV episodes and lots of knitting helped to distract me from not-so-great seatmates. Also: No invasive scans of body, no pat-downs. Thank you airport security.

Was met at airport by Diane, who first hugged me ferociously and then asked the key question: Are you hungry? (Answer: Starved.) The follow-up question was even better: What kind of food do you want to eat?


Food of the gods

She took me to a taqueria (Taqueria Mi Ranchito in San Carlos) and I nearly died of happy. Plastic tablecloths with garish designs,

Spanish banter in the kitchen, colourful murals on the walls,

Bright lights and decorations in many colours from many seasons. All the authentic good stuff.

Plus, be still my heart, the first genuine chili relleno I’ve had in seven years.

And a Fanta, just to round out the deliciousness of it all.

I ate the ENTIRE platter of food, plus four corn tortillas. I never eat that much. I was HIGH on the entire thing, I tell you. HIGH.

Then we ran a few errands all about the area, so I got a nice tour of my old homelands. I used to live in Redwood City, we literally drove right past my old apartment and stopped at the Michael’s I used to shop at all the time.

Ye Olde Stomping Grounds

We drove around San Carlos, we drove to Woodside and just all kinds of fun places.

HOG HEAVEN. I love you, California. I missed you sooooooooo much.

Then home to Diane’s little lovely home perched in the redwoods. First thing I did on getting out of the car was hug a redwood tree and I am totally serious. Laugh if you must.

Then she fed me, and we spun, and then we fell over into bed and I slept.

Thursday: We packed up the car and drove north across the Bay to pick up Ba (woolyba) on our way to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. Well, to be more accurate, we drove to Ba’s house so Ba’s truck could swallow every article we had brought and laugh at us because there was still space left. (Ginormous truck. No, I don’t know what kind it is, I’m not a gearhead.)

On the way across the Bay, we drove through San Francisco…and across the Golden Gate Bridge. And that, my friends, is where I lost it. Sobbed like a baby. The light on the water, the gorgeous bridge, the views…the well of homesickness inside me just overflowed and I couldn’t do much but blubber for a bit.

Bay Area, you are a jewel in California’s crown.

The drive from Diane’s to Eugene was about twelve hours, give or take; we got there, set up camp…and found out that (a) we were camping on grass; (b) some of the tents were dusty and (c) Sandi is allergic to the point of asthma if too many things like that are combined.

Friends saved the day (or rather the nights, to be precise). Terry (spinpygora) of Rainbow Farms Pygora fame had a spare bed in her spiffy new trailer, so I bunked with her. (What a delight she is! And her pygora fiber…really, it’s crack, just accept that fact, buy some, and be prepared to want more.) And the one night Terry had another guest, Jennifer and David brought an extra tent with extra everything and I took extra meds and camped like a champ.

In other words, I was totally spoiled by my Ravelry friends. You all rock, all of you: Ba, Jennifer, David, Diane, Terry, Heather, Laura, Barbara….

For more pics of my adventures at the Black Sheep Gathering, check out my Flickr set. And I’ll have more stories to tell in future entries. Promise.

I have been to a lot of fiber fests, and BSG is one of the best. Great vendors, great size, great venue, just wonderful. Go next year if you can.

One of the highlights was getting to watch and hear Judith MacKenzie do the open judging of the handmade items.

Judith awarding Laura's (TinkerTots) skein a blue ribbon!

She talked through each item’s strengths and weaknesses, whether it was a skein of yarn or a knitted shawl, and it was like sitting through a master class in the little things (and big things) that take a project from merely good to greatness.

Speaking of Judith…

Anyone know what this is? (Click to make any of the photos bigger.)

This item and an identical one were picked up at an estate sale (or on eBay, I’m unclear on that bit), and Judith was showing it to folks trying to figure out what it was. It’s adjustable; it has little felt or rubber pads on the ends of the “feet,” and it does not sit level no matter how you put it down.

Here are a couple more pictures in case it helps anyone identify it.

Judith and I thought: drum stand (weird angle), casserole stand (very weird angle), skein winder (weird all around), and that’s pretty much all we could come up with.

Leave your ideas on the item’s origin and purpose in the comments. You never know if there might be a wee prize in it for you if you are right, especially now that Canada Post has decided to provide service to us nice Canadians once again.

That’s all for today! There will be more later, as I need to tell you about the kitty that is desperately in love with Truffles the Llama. But that’s another story for another day.

Oh yes…and I have a new spinning wheel. Patience, my dear readers, patience…all in good time.

Oh HAI THERE, Fleece peeps!

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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19 Responses to report from California

  1. btownknitter says:

    I am a native Californian and lived in Toronto from 1988-1990, so I completely understand your homesickness for good, authentic Mexican food. The one restaurant that admitted serving Mexican food in T.O. (Chi-Chi’s?) was about as authentic as Taco Bell.


  2. Anne says:

    Oh, I am a jealous girl.


  3. Great trip! Love the redwoods; it’s been waaay too long since I’ve seen them. (But have you ever been to Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival? *g* It’s great fun too, and free!)
    As for the “thing”…it sure looks like it *should* stand level when it’s on the feet. Weird that it doesn’t. First thing I thought of was some sort of adjustable stand for big, indoor potted plants. Maybe with a square of wood or something on top. Other than that, I’m lost.


  4. Sandi: Do the screws or fasteners loosen that hold each leg? Also turn it over so each leg with the plastic protector on it sit on the floor, then take a picture of it and please repost to your blog.


  5. InJuneau says:

    My guess is that if it were turned with the plastic protectors down it would be an adjustable plant stand (looks like the legs can slide in and out to accomodate different sized pots). Maybe you have to get everything lined up just the right way with a plant on it to make it sit level?


  6. Ruth says:

    That is a speaker stand.


  7. nestra says:

    Is it some type of warping aid?


  8. Tracy says:

    I would guess it is a holder for cones of yarn for something like weaving or colorwork


  9. donna lee says:

    Your Mexican restaurant looks like ours (here in southern NJ we have a large hispanic population). The bright colors and murals and chatter in spanish coming from the kitchen. Only recently have the menus had English translations.

    I love that place.


  10. Christina says:

    I think it’s an adjustable stretcher of sone type.


  11. molly says:

    sometimes a visit back to your heart’s-home (complete with best food, good friends and all that goes along with those, including an episode or two of joyous sobbing) sets your mind at rest so that you can relax and enjoy where you are presently living a bit more. your heart’s-home is STILL THERE! you can GO BACK!
    as for the ‘object’, it seems reasonable that the felted feet should go on the bottom and that would make it into some kind of adjustable stand for….well, something….
    i can hardly wait for the story of the kitty and the llama….


  12. Arla Schmaltz says:

    Hi Sandy,
    I hear you when you talk about homesickness…everytime I leave the mountains (where I live) and go into the prairies, I get the same feeling… and to move lock, stock and barrel into a place where you know no one, been in those shoes too.
    I believe that this could be the precursor to our modern yarn swift…
    Because there are long slots in the ‘main frame’ it is probably adjustable, allowing the pegs to be moved in or out depending on the size of the skein. This would allow the user to put the skein on the pegs, move them for correct positioning of the skein for winding into a ball.
    Keep your posts coming!!!


  13. stitchesandwords says:

    Sounds like a smashing trip so far. I’m so happy for you, and enjoy the rest!


  14. georg says:

    I’ve seen something similar used for a plant stand, but not adjustable like that one. Ideal for non-level terraces.

    But if I had it, I’d want it for a camp desk for writing. Adjust to find level in the grass, put a board on it, and get scribing with pen and ink.

    Or I’d use it as an inkle loom because you can adjust the length… but really that’s not all that practical. Maybe macrame stand instead.


  15. Ashley says:

    You’re in my neck of the woods! I live in San Mateo – those redwoods you’re staying in ARE gorgeous. I’m so glad you got a fix of Mexican food; the craving for good Mexican food when good Mexican food is entirely out of reach is pretty brutal. The first thing I did when I returned home from a year in London was inhale a TON of enchiladas. Mmmmmmm…


  16. andrea says:

    my guess is a really old yarn swift of some kind. what else has weird arms like that.


  17. Judi A. says:

    I love, love, love SanFrancisco and would go there every chance I got when we lived in CA. Now that we are in AL, I doubt I will see it in person again, but there are other places to see…..just no other place like it! My first thought when seeing the “item” was it’s an antique, portable yarn swift. I doubt it’s as efficient as the more modern ones, but you never know. Glad you’re having such a grand time! 🙂


  18. Linnet says:

    I used to live on the peninsula too – SF and Menlo Park, so I totally get how amazing it is to go back to that. But I grew up in southern New England, so when I came home it was the real ITALIAN food I desperately needed!
    Anyway, the thing – obviously, it’s A Puzzle. Just look at the hours of entertainment it’s already given people.


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