Wanda Brainard

The knitting instructor shares some of her favorite things

Knitting became the fabric of Wanda Brainard's life long before Julia Roberts picked up a pair of big thick needles and suddenly transformed this old-fashioned craft into something of a trend. She's been teaching knitting since 1971. Now in her 70s, she still scrambles from Anaheim to Whittier to Yorba Linda to Cypress to instruct adult school students. "I'm widowed and I don't have a man to wait on," she reasons, "so I'm free!"

Brainard has lived in Anaheim since 1964 and she misses the orange groves and strawberry patches that used to fill so much of the city. But heavier traffic and the ghosts of the days when Orange County actually was orange don't seem about to chase her away. Besides, knitting provides a bridge to that simpler past.

Her classes begin with simple crocheting and knitting. "Once you learn the basic stitches," she says, "you can make whatever you want."

Yarn Lady. An impressive selection of materials including yarn, needles, hooks, patterns and knitting books. There are also special events such as a yarn "tasting" workshop that introduces new, fancy yarns to hungry knitters. 24371 Avenida de la Carlota, Ste. M, Laguna Hills, (949) 770-7809.

Mexi-Casa. Robust enchiladas in a homey environment with colorful panache. "I've been eating here for years. The food is always good, not fancy at all and very reasonable." 1778 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-2612.

Fullerton Civic Light Opera."I love musicals!" 218 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 879-1732.

Sit-n-Knit. "There are several knitting shops in Anaheim. This one is very close and I've known [the owner] for a long time. I don't go to knit shops very often but I like this one." 50 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 778-2340.

Maxwell Park. "The neighborhood playground and park served as practice field for my son's little league games. And he grew up to play professionally for the Milwaukee Brewers." 2660 W. Orange Ave., Anaheim, (714) 765-5228.

The Angels.Speaking of baseball, living in Anaheim all these years makes her loyalty a natural. "We never had season tickets to Angels games but we were their fans—not of the Dodgers." angels.mlb.com.

Disneyland."I was always taking carloads of kids to and from Disneyland. Sometimes I would get home at 2 or 3 in the morning!" Favorite ride: Pirates of the Caribbean. 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 781-4565.

First Class Hair Designs."I do my own nails but there's a lady who cuts my hair there." 858 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 778-8855.

Fullerton City Certified Farmers Market. The seasonal open market not only features fresh bread and vegetables but also a meat section and a selection of crafts. Brainard just bought a pair of abalone shell earrings. "They also have beautiful silk plants." Wilshire Ave., between Harbor Blvd. and Pomona Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-5814. Every Thurs., 4-8:30 p.m.

 
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