*Left Coast Knits

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. -Cynthia Heimel

Friday, April 01, 2011


Here at Chez LeftCoast, we really like mushrooms. So, just for fun, we decided to try growing some ourselves. We bought a kit to grow Maitake mushrooms, and although we were not completely successful, we did get a nice bunch going down on one corner of the mushroom patch. We think that if we pick that portion and keep watering, more may grow from the rest- here's hoping!A closeup- Yum! We need to come up with a special recipe for them...

You may recall my round robin quilt square from my last post- here it is with the frist two borders on it! Holding it up is the lovely Dee (who is not actually hiding her face, rather she is reading something from a paper on the counter), Cpurl's and my quilting instructor.
And finally, this was spotted on the sidewalk in Berkeley last Saturday.

P.S.- Guess what tomorrow is? That's right- flea market day! As long as it doesn't rain, this will be the inaugural trip of the year, and since we expect it to be very crowded (this is the first week this spring where we have had nice weather), we are leaving at 5:30 in the morning to get good parking!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quilting! (and some knitting)

Lately, I have been doing a little quilting.

I took a beginning quilting class with CPurl at our local quilt shop, In Between Stitches, and instantly became addicted! I have a few completed quilts that I need to photograph, but until then this is a Round Robin starter square that I made:

Lone Star Round Robin Quilt Block

In a Round Robin, each person makes a starter square and then hands it off to the next person, who adds a border to it. It is very fun to see what each person adds, and this Round Robin has 12 people in it, so my quilt will quickly grow from a nine-inch square!

Because I do a fair amount of "remote sewing" at classes and get-togethers (and I plan to attend a few quilting events in the near future that require travel) I bought this recently:

1964 Singer Featherweight 221

I expected it to be lighter in weight than my standard sized sewing machine, and it is- but only if you carry it around without the carry case! Once you add in the weight of the case it is pretty much the same (maybe a little lighter), and once you add in the travel iron and mini-ironing pad that I bought for it, it is definitely heavier! I really love it though; it sews beautifully, it is definitely compact enough to travel with, and frankly it is just super-cool.

On the knitting front, Stitches West happened a few weekends ago!

I didn't go too crazy, but one of the things that I did purchase was the pattern for Autumn Vines Beret, by Alana Dakos, and some lovely Sanguine Gryphon "Bugga!" to knit it with. The pattern was really fun to knit, and I think that the resulting beret is lovely!

Autumn Vines Beret

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flea Market Day!

Here in the San Francisco Bay area, we all wait with baited breath for the first Sunday of every month to roll around. Because the first Sunday is.... FLEA MARKET DAY! Woo!

So on July 5, Cpurl and I got up at the crack of dawn, grabbed our little old lady rolling shopping carts, and hit the old Alameda Air Force Base with a vengance.

The now-defunct Alameda Air Force Base is a really cool place for a flea market- it lies on a point on the end of Alameda Island, and is roughly triangular. It has water on two sides of the triangle, and if you look off of one side you are facing the Port of Oakland across the water (think lots of giant shipping containers all stacked up, and cranes to move them around), and if you look across the water on the other side, you have a great view of the city of San Francisco. The only bad thing is that at 7:30 in the morning, it can be really cold. Regardless, it is worth it!!

We have very fancy carts with bike bells on them- Cpurls is red and mine is black. However, when we got to the market, we realized that to really be considered market masters, we would need to sew new linings for our carts out of brightly colored (but coordinating) fabrics- all the cool kids had those. And cup holders- trying to steer a cart with one hand because you have your coffee in the other is likely to result in catastrophe in a place whit tons of antiques at ground level.

The flea market is huge, and it has a rule about no new stuff and no reproductions, so there are many many lovely displays and lots of great stuff to be had.


Balls... (anyone know what these are for? Lawn bowling, maybe?)

Tennis racquettes...

Cool vintage stripey beach umbrellas...

If you had an empty summer cabin, this would be the place to go to furnish it. See the taller wooden rack on the back of the table in the photo? It holds 36 old bread pans, and is now in my house holding letterpress printing supplies.

This is another find that made its way home with me- a vintage egg-laying chicken.

Finally, here is the view from the end of the market- the city of San Francisco!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Underwater basket weaving

Except without the underwater part.
This Saturday, Cpurl and I took a basket weaving class. It was offered at Knit-One-One in Berkeley. It was super fun! First, Knit-One-one is really neat. It is a space, rather than a store, where the owner Sile (pronounced Sheila) offers different classes and events.
We arrived a little early, we got to be in charge for a few minutes while Sile went out to find the instructor, who had lost her way driving to the studio. So we took a few minutes to investigate...
The space is full of neat stuff, most of it made in the classes and events that they offer.
Lovely jewelry...

Handbags and sweaters...

Giant condiments...

In just a few minutes, Sile returned with the instructor and the class got under way.

Basket making is not hard- in fact it is lots of fun!

Here are our baskets at the end of the day- not quite finished, but almost! Cpurls is on the left, and mine is on the right. You can't see it too well in the photo, but mine has a giant open space in the middle too.

Here are all of the baskets made in the class- each one is shaped a little differently.

We took home enough supplies to finish our projects and then some- here is my completed basket. It is a little rough, but not too bad for a first try!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Roller Derby Queens!

A while ago, CPurl and I heard that Roller Derby was coming to town, and of course we knew we could not miss that, right? Well, our big night came last Saturday! We picked up CPurl's pal R and headed for Kezar Stadium in San Francisco- oh, the anticipation! We didn't really know what to expect- none of us had been to Roller Derby before, and to be honest, we didn't even know how it worked- all we knew was that there was rollerskating, in a circle (ok an oval if you want to get technical about it), and that there was lots of "bone crushing action." What else did we need to know? If there is bone crushing action, we are there!
R and CPurl waiting for the action to begin!

The team waits anxiously for the game to start- excitement fills the air!

And they're off! Roller derby is super fast, so it is hard to take photos- mostly you just get a blur whizzing by.

The show was so exciting that it was broadcast on TV as well! The camera guy is filming a man who has a notebook full of signs- one for each player on the team. He flips through it and holds up the appropriate one as that player zooms past... this is an extremely enthusiastic crowd!

There was lots of smashing and crashing!

and audience participation...

Time for a hotdog break!
Back to the game- this is the men's half of the team. There are both men and women on each team, and they skate separately.

There is a lot of fighting...

everyone joins in...

even the referee!

Victory- the Bay City Bombers win!!!

R and another dedicated fan pose with one of the roller derby ladies!

The schwag- possibly the coolest t-shirt ever.

Sooo- now for the review!
Was roller derby everything you expected?
It was very fun, with lots of action. I had no idea how it was played or how they win, so that was a little confusing- I thought there was a ball involved. But in terms of retro coolness- it was everything that I expected. It was a little exaggerated- you can see that there is some acting going on, but not so much that it ruined it.
Do you know how the game is played now?
How was the crowd?
The crowd was awesome- they were SO involved, and many of them knew a lot about the teams and players. There was a lot of stuff going on that seemed to be traditional- booing the other team every single chance they got, getting up and yelling face to face with the other players, etc.
How was the concession stand?
Rather limited- hotdogs, or pop corn.
Would you go again?
Absolutely. And we will too- I heard throughthe grapevine that there will be roller derby every single day at the county fair this year!
If you were a roller derby queen, what would your roller derby name be?
Boom Boom Jones
Hotdog rating: Derby Dog- 4

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Friday, February 20, 2009


You will recall my recent enthusiasm toward knitting "Lizard Ridge" from Knitty. Well, I finally finished my crocheted cardigan (photos later if I like it- if not, you will have to use your imagination) and instantaneously (ok, I really did it a tiny bit before I even finished) cast on for Lizard Ridge. I started knitting and got to the short rows... and messed them up. What? You mean I have to pick up the wraps? Plus, knitting backwards did not work out quite as well as I had expected... So far I have knit the beginning of square one twice, and I am currently back to a ball of yarn. Oh well- I shall persevere, because I am smarter than a ball of yarn, most of the time.

The other day, I left the house on my way to work, and spied this:
A gift from the neigbor's cat. He used to be a stray, and my husband would feed him every night- now he brings us worms as gifts. Woohoo!

I put them in the grass and send them on their (wormy) way.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Quiet Sunday

It has been a quiet Sunday here on the Left Coast.

I have been working hard to get my Ondori Crochet Cardigan finished in time for Stitches West at the end of the month. It is just about done- all I have left is one side of the front from the armpit up, and then the collar.

It has been a fun project and a learning experience... good thing that crochet symbols are universal, because the pattern itself in in Japanese.

Earlier this week, I got the yarn for my next project in the mail. Twenty-one skeins of Noro Kureyon in every color they have (plus a few doubles)- can you guess what I am making? Here is a hint!
I bought this yarn from Annie Amelia , and it came so perfectly packaged that I am not sure I can bear to use it!