San Francisco - City of Knitters

I can hear the heat bubbling up in my radiator, that cozy sound that always reminds me that fall is nearly here! It’s a little extra cool here today, about 57F/11C, and I’m so happy to be sipping on my warm tea and writing about yarn! TBH, I only pulled out the heater for that extra cozy feeling today, since I was writing a bunch!

I got home from Vogue Knit Live: San Francisco Monday afternoon, and after a few days of jet lag, have enough brain space to write about it! Last weekend was the perfect time to go visit San Francisco. I hadn’t actually visited there before (aside from a 5 hour visit about 15 years ago…so does that really count?), so it was great fun to be back in a big city after spending time in Seoul and Osaka this summer. And of course, it was even more fun to be talking all things knitting with people.

My booth was right next to Hue Loco, Clinton Hill Cashmere and Lady Dye Yarns. They were wonderful neighbors!! You never know what you might get at these events, so it was really fun to have such awesome women next-door, doing their own amazing things. I’d been seeing Hue Loco’s stunning colors on instagram, and to be able to see them in person all weekend…let me just say they were as beautiful in person as they were online.

I never know what people are going to like the most at trade shows, cause it seems to vary so much from show to show…however, it seems like ever since our Retreat base relaunched about a year ago, it has been the most popular with you guys! It literally flew off the shelves. I’m still waiting for my boxes to return home to me to restock what didn’t sell, but there wasn’t much of it left! I was so thankful to you all for that!!!!!

I have to say, some of the high points for me were getting to have a short chat with Julie Weisenberger of CocoKnits and seeing Isabell Kraemer for a fleeting moment in my booth! Getting the chance to chat with and see some of your knitting heroes is truly magical. I only wish it hadn't been so busy when Isabell came in, because it would have been lovely to speak with her for a bit! Oh well. Haha! Next time.

Most days at events like this, I just crash in my hotel room at the end of the day, especially if I’m traveling alone. But this time, I purposely stayed at a separate hotel, still close by, but not where the event was. I thought, if I have to walk to and fro each day, I’ll actually see some of the city and venture out for dinners, etc. After we broke down the booth on the last day, it was still only 4:30pm, and I had plenty of energy, so I walked around the Union Square neighborhood a bit.

I, of course, found a Daiso nearby and bought a bunch of great $1.50 things to bring back for me and my teens. Realizing I was only 2 blocks from Chinatown, I wandered up the street to the Dragon Gate area and did a full on tourist run of that area. There were so many bazaars, and I found a few little tchotchkes to bring back home to friends and family…but my favorite discoveries were the Eastern Bakery and Kim+Ono.

Eastern Bakery looked like a long-running, family run establishment with delicious little cakes and buns and other sweet things. I bought an elephant ear cookie to eat while I wandered ‘round, and some almond cookies and two small cakes to bring back home. One filled with lotus flower paste and the other with red bean paste. Soooo good. The line was long there, and well worth the wait.

Kim + Ono was a stark change from the other shops around it in this stretch of road. It was sleek, modern, simple and beautiful. It had rack upon rack of handmade kimono robes for sale, as well as other things like incense and candles. The smell in that store was so amazing that I had to purchase one of the “handmade in California” candles by P.F Candle Co to bring back home. I could tell that a lot of thought and intention had been put into creating that space for their customers, and compared with the often over-stocked bazaar shops on that street, it was a place that felt calm, welcoming and restful. Somewhere you’d want to sit for a while in a beautiful kimono.

I’d tell you a bit more about the hotel where I stayed…but to be honest it wasn’t that great. No reason to name it and spread negativity though! I could see that they’re about to renovate, so I think they’ll improve soon! I’ll only say, look for 3-stars and higher when booking in San Francisco’s Union Square area, just to be safe.

I think, next time I visit, I’d want to stay a bit further from downtown. Personally, I love to see more of the neighborhoods where people live rather than the hot spot for tourists. But, for convenience, I stayed nearby to the event’s location this time, and was able to see some stunning architecture. As I walked around on the hilly streets, I felt my city legs getting in city-shape again, which was one of my favorite things about being in Seoul. Just walking around a big city, getting inspiration from it’s corner cafes and little bookstores and groceries and alleyways and bridges…those are the things I love about traveling. I think half of my soul loves being a big city girl…while the other half wants to be next to a river, listening to the water rushing over rocks, surrounded by trees, just knitting all the time…

If you’re from the San Francisco area, I’d love to know more about what your favorite area of town is. Where should I stay next time I come to visit? It seems to be such a big city, that I don’t know where I’d begin to explore next! What are some of your favorite spots?

Signing off for now…look for a blog post soon regarding our Oldies KAL beginning October 11! Also, I’ll be participating independently in Slow Fashion October this year, so look forward to (or not) some blog posts regarding that! Also…don’t forget that design submissions are due in October 15th!

xo

Nutmeg