Sunday, February 10, 2008

San Francisco Redux

Last November Elaine and I made our first trip to San Francisco together. One of the places we hoped to see was Artfiber yarn shop. We didn't make it that day but we immediately made plans for our next trip and making this our primary destination. The plan made, we waited for February 9th to arrive, and arrive it did. And, how! Artfiber was all we imagined that it would be and more.

I first explored the shop online and was fascinated by the unique look of the yarns. However, it isn't the look of yarn that attracts me, it is the feeling that sells it to me. So visiting there Saturday was a sensory adventure of touch. Once I found a yarn I liked visually and by touch, I took a photo of the yarn and the description sheet (with permission of the owner, of course). This done, I could order online later.

The entrance to Artfiber was unexpected. A narrow door was tucked in between a restaurant and what appeared to be a medical arts building. Down a narrow hallway, we were lead to an equally narrow as well as steep set of stairs to the second floor. One hairpin turn later at the top of the stairs and a walk down another narrow hall, and we entered what would proved to be a yarn lover's holy of holies.

The narrow and astonishingly small shop was packed with the most unique selections of yarns I've ever seen. Granted, my experience thus far has not run to exotic yarns, but by any fiber lover's standard, this had to be the holy grail of yarn shops. The few pictures I took of the interior don't really do justice to what I saw there. I mainly took pictures of the description sheets of any yarn my fingers liked. The picture below give a little taste. The website is rich with images and descriptions and imaginative names.

After leaving Artfiber, I took a few moments to capture an interesting construction activity going on at street level. A long flatbed truck and a crane were at work. The crane operator moved the cable to heavy wood pallets. A man on the ground made the connection. Then, slowly and carefully, up rose the pallet. A gentle swing of the massive crane moved it around to the flatbed where it joined five other pallets already stacked and waiting for the last to join them. The ground man leapt onto the flatbed, caught the swinging pallet and guided it in and set it into position. The movement, remarkably, reminded me of a carefully choreographed and intricate ballet.

We did not have a specific plan after leaving Artfiber so we collected the car from the garage and simply started driving around. Elaine was seriously hungry. Having learned over the last 30 years (thank you DH) not to mess with a hungry person, we made food our next objective.

Elaine had lived in SF years ago in the Inner Richmond District. There was a particular hamburger place on 9th and Clements - Hamburger Haven she had visited many times. She had not been there for at least 8 years. Confidently we set out convinced that nothing as good as she remembered this place to be could possibly have gone out of business. And sure enough, there it was, a bit changed but otherwise still serving up sublime burgers and - joy of joys - cole slaw like I!!! make it.
Here we are - well fed and happy.

The wine shop below is a good example of what the district looks like off the main business area of the district.

Our day was coming to an end and we returned to the car - parked on the street. What a difference from the downtown San Francisco. Clement Street, the main business area, is primarily a Japanese and Asian business community quite separate from Chinatown. This is no tourist area but a thriving business center for the locals of the district. We were parked directly in front of a produce market. A quick peek inside proved that the produce market was far more than that. Two huge spaces, separated by a wall housed packaged goods in one area and produce, a meat counter and a fish counter on the other.

These fruits were huge and labeled Cora fruit. I had never seen it before and have no idea what it might taste like. They actually looked like really big mangoes.

I was fascinated by the colors and graphic images on the packaging.

Coffee. Is that Folgers I see on the right?

Green radishes. They were huge.


Live Conches and fishheads.

Fishmonger The man's appearance fascinated me. He was maybe five feet tall and solid muscle.

Our day ended happily and we are in discussions for another getaway. San Francisco may be on the agenda again. There is so much to see there when you get away from the city center.


AscenderRisesAbove said...

sorry i missed you this time; maybe next. my daughter finally got me to scraps and we decided we would make a point of getting back for that. she said there as another place like that in oakland.
looks like you had a grand time

AnnieElf said...

I'm so glad you got to Scraps, Ascender. Isn't that place just amazing? I haven't heard of the place in Oakland. I know there is a fantastic architectural recycling place there. I wonder if this is the same place and with a "small stuff" section.

Lea said...

What a vibrant, colorful, amazing time you had!!! Great pics Annie! I was home the entire day in glorious weather thinking of you, wondering, what's she up to now????

And now I know!

Thank you!

AnnieElf said...

H Lea, Next on the agenda is no doubt another run away plan to the city. Next time it will be away from the city center, I think. The various districts have a flavor of their own and need to be explored district by district to really appreciate them.

paris parfait said...

Sounds like a really fun day! There are always amazing things to do and see in San Fran. Can't wait to be there again! xo

Anonymous said...

Nice photos!!

Stephanie said...

I love SF! I went to school in Oakland many moons ago and Tess is thinking of applying to a large design firm there when she graduates on much as I'd love to have her closer, how fun will that be!!! to be able to visit.

For now, I'll do it vicariously with you...


AnnieElf said...

It sounds like a great trip. I'm glad you're making those regular trips with Elaine. Have you two gone to St. Dominic's yet? And if you're ever up for Mexican just go to the Mission district (just follow Mission St.).

Jeanie said...

This looks like the ultimate fun trip! Thanks for stopping by to enter my drawing! It's fun to see another face from ATC Group enter!

trailbee said...

Your trip sounds wonderful. The photos are fab. Isn't Art Fibers terrific?

AnnieElf said...

Totally terrific, B. Thanks for the tip.

Gemma said...

Annie I lived in Bay area & SF for about 10 years. Seeing the pictures of the city took me back. Love the street markets and all the multi cultural melting pot atmosphere. Awesome!!!

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Annie, that fiber looks really interesting and I enjoyed my wander with you through San Francisco. Looking forward to seeing what you have been inspired to create *!*

Pear tree cottage! said...

Annie, so nice to see you posting on your blog today.

There is nothing more interesting to this Aussie way!!! down here then seeing and hearing about a great day out in another country and city.

Always More please!! you take such nice photo's it is like we are walking and talking together.!!


Julie Marie said...

Going along with you on your trip to San Francisco was so fun. You got me excited about yarn and I don't even knit.

It's even more fun when you go with a friend. (I meant your real-life friend, not me, your cyber friend.)

Bismarck is so small we can hit all the shops in two Saturdays, at most. Plus, they are hardly what you would call eclectic.


Naturegirl said...

Annie you didn't have any clam chowder down by the bay!What about those famous chocolates...I didn't see those on this post!LOL
I can imagine how excited you were looking and touching all those yarns..I do that when in wool shops..even though I am not a knitter. Some of the colors and dyes
are just so wonderful!

Marja said...

Thank you for taking me on this trip What a beautiful building that wine shop and I never heard about Cora fruit before there are so much new and exotic things.
Great post

lila said...

Thank you for posting another visit
to San Francisco! It is so charming! I am following the link to the fiber shop! Happy knitting to both of us!