Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well, that was vaguely disappointing

Himself and I had looked at an under-renovation Somerville property on Thursday, late afternoon, that would work really well for us 1. if a wall could be knocked down and 2. if they could meet his move-in date. We wondered why the realtor wasn't getting answers from the builder over the weekend.

It went under agreement to someone else yesterday.

On the other hand, the exercise let us figure out what will really work for us in size and layout. Now we need to find another one that will let him move in before June 15.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

No, I don't work here, but I could probably help you

Yesterday was the first Annual Half-Mystery Tour, put on by Yarn Safaris. The advertised route was to Webs in Northampton and a mystery location.

Pictures start at the Riverside T station, where the 8 a.m. pickup was only a little behind. Not bad, considering that pickups had already happened in Milton and Woburn. It was a medium sized bus, and full with 30 paying passengers, the driver, Kimberly, and Peta, the woman from Yarn Safaris. Breakfast was provided in the form of Dunkin Donuts Boxes of Joe, munchkins and apples.

As you can see in the second picture, there were overhead storage racks, which were filled by the end of the day. Here we also see Kimberly doing a pre-trip briefing of what to expect besides the mystery. We headed out the Pike, took a rest stop at Palmer, and kept driving. On the way Peta had a contest for folks to guess the mystery location, but no one did. It made me realize I have no notion of yarn stores off the pike between 128 and 91. There must be some, but my geography is severely lacking. We drove past the turn for Ct. (so we weren't going to The Wool Connection). We drove past the exit for 91 (so it was west of Webs), and then past exit 3. At that point I was thinking if we head north after exit 2 (there's nothing at exit 1) it's Colorful Stitches in Lenox, if we head south, it's Wonderful Things in Great Barrington. And so it was.

I'll admit, I have a degree from a local institution, so I had some familiarity with the location, but that was back when Colorful Stitches was Tanglewood and Rowan was just coming to America. On a class trip to NYC (to see Amadeus), I picked up a copy of Vogue Knitting and it had patterns for Cabbage Patch Kids clothes. Guess when that was.

I had to take a picture of this: JKnits yarn (I think, it didn't come home with me) in Boston colorway.

Wonderful Things had advance notice that 30 knitters from Boston were coming, but I don't think they believed it. 30 knitters went all through the shop (there are many rooms and just when you think you've seen them all, there's another full of yarn around the corner). I had a good look, too, and yes, the person who a few days ago was talking about destashing bought yarn, buttons and patterns. However, most of this yarn will be swatches for a class I'm teaching, so that's okay if you squint enough. I had fun, where a number of people would mention they were looking for a (fill in the blank), I would find them and point them to it. No, I don't enable, do I?

None of the livestock came home with me either. Good, because they wouldn't have had a seat available on the bus.

The checkout line took awhile, though the staff was trying very hard to keep up with us. If you imaging 30 people, and even if they only take one minute a piece to check out, that's 30 minutes. A number of us had more than a minute's worth of goods to buy.

That gave the man of the shop time to start demoing his woodworked items for folks who had questions. He makes nostepinne, the scandinavian sticks you use to wind center pull balls on, and vertical swifts. $150 for those asking and they'll ship. My umbrella swift is still going strong, but if it gives out, I may get one of these. Fully adjustable. It's two verticals with spaced holes in them, bobbins in the center, and removable axles. Remove the axle, put one end of the skien on a bobbin, replace the bobbin in the middle and slide in the axle. Remove the second axle, put the rest of the skein on the second bobbin, space them comfortably apart with the holes, put in the second axle. The skein rolls itself around the bobbins as the end is pulled (as opposed to an umbrella swift where the skein holds still and the umbrella rotates around the vertical axle) and the end gets pulled into the ball winder as the ball winder turns. Very compact.

After that, we went to a local Greek restaurant for lunch. They did very well, considering they had only an hour's advance warning that 30 knitters were coming! Small groups of us walked the short distance up the road as we finished checking out at the yarn store. I walked past the chocolate shop. I have a doctors appointment in a week and am supposed to have lost weight since January. (note to self -- loose weight this week). This shop has been there since I was in college in the 80's, so they must be doing something right.

After lunch I took advantage of a convenient post and the soon to disappear bright sun to take a picture of my bus knitting. Lucy had dyed this month's sock club yarn and given me this skein on Wednesday. Odds are, I'll need a thank you gift for someone by the end of the year, so making this shawlette was perfect bus knitting. And the colors were just what I needed in this busy week. Not only am I taking on presidency of the Boston Knit Out, but Himself is continuing to shop for a condo. I thought we were going to be done on Thursday!

We were only slightly behind schedule by this point, and made our way to Webs. They welcomed us with a sign on the door and a room for ourselves to drop off our bags (who can shop effectively with a heavy purse on their shoulder?), have refreshments, and be able to spread yarn and patterns out to consider. Here, too, we vaguely overwhelmed their checkout system, but they had two registers to run. We got there at 2:45 and Kimberly and Peta asked that we plan to be ready to reboard the bus at 4:30, and by the time we were all paid up it was about 5.

I'll admit, I've been around the New England knitting scene for awhile. While I have trouble recognizing streets in the neighborhood and how they come together, but I can familiarize myself with the layout of a yarn store and point you to what you're looking for within a few minutes of walking in the door. Again, I had mental notes of who wanted what from the conversations on the bus and over lunch, and as I found it had fun pointing various tour members toward what they were looking for as I came across it. Then other customers, not on the trip, started asking me for where to find stuff. Maybe I should carry a purse when I'm in the warehouse or at least have kept my coat on.

Yes, more yarn came home with me. I collect Zephyr. At this point I have Mushroom, Ice Blue, Daffodil, Ruby, two Irises (but one is much more a royal purple, so I wonder if its mislabeled), Admiral, Royal, Ebony, Ladyslipper, Charcoal, Dianthus and Steel.

I couldn't resist adding SABLE to the Zephyr collection. The other yarns were large quantities of two sock yarns (destined to be light weight sweaters) and some more skeins for swatching for my "Deciphering Yarn Substitution" class that I really need to get going making more swatches for.

They gave me the award for most money spent other than on lunch, which isn't hard when you bring home 3 Zephyr cones. I only beat someone else out by less than $10.

Before we started out for home I made a pitch for the Boston Knit Out and a few folks said they will sign up to volunteer. Yeah! I was so nervous, I forgot half of what I was going to say, so Peta pitched in from the front with missing info -- like what a Knit Out is.

I'd go on another one again, but need to rest up from all going on this week.

And, by the way, today is nine months to Christmas.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wally the Green Monster has new friends

Don't know how long the Red Sox have had this up, but Wally the Green Monster has two new friends, Righty and Lefty. We can but hope they hold hands when they go through the wash, because it would be a shame to lose one of them.

I need to write to the Red Sox and ask if they're doing anything with Stitch N Pitch, or if Stitch N Pitch will be happening at any of their away games. I'll do it right after I get done writing the press release for the 2007 Boston Knit Out.

Saturday morning I leave the house very early to go on the Half Mystery Tour with Yarn Safari. There will be 30 or so knitters on that bus. I wonder how many of us have blogs?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Whirl-a-gig week and it's only half way done

Himself getting an offer on his house so suddenly has put him and me (him mostly) into high gear on choosing the next place. He has plenty of places that might meet his criteria, and, we being the Libras that we are, want to make sure we've seen everything before we decide we like something. (Note bene, do not take us anywhere new for ice cream where we've never seen their menu board before.)

Based on the reports in the news we thought we had at least a few more weekends to work our way through the list.

Tomorrow I'm taking a vacation day so I can have a look through those condos on the short, short list that I haven't had a chance to visit yet. In the meantime, I'm dealing with the Parks department for the Knit-Out permit, which I've never done before, probably taking on the Presidency of the Knit-Out, which I've never done before, and catching the Yarn Safari Half-Mystery Tour bus on Saturday morning, leaving my house at 6;15 a.m. to make it to the pickup at Riverside on time, which I've done before but it's a bear.

I can't believe I asked Kimberly yesterday if the bus would have electrical outlets for the laptop so I could get started writing a press release and making organizing notes for myself for the Knit-Out. (it doesn't)

What if I approach the Knit-out like it's a shawl?

Here's hoping for very few dropped stitches.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Boston Knit-Out -- 2007 gets underway

Below is what I sent to the announcement group for the Boston Knit-Out at Yahoo Groups just now. If you have any interest, please come join. Yeah, that last line is corny, but it gets the point across.

We had the annual Board meeting tonight.

Permit applications were due to the Parks Department March 1st, so we're rushing to get that in within the next couple days. It was decided to ask for September 30th as first choice, with a second choice of September 23rd. Susan Baker has handled this for a number of years, but business pressures keep her from being able to do it this year. I agreed to get the process started and we'll see what help is needed over the summer as the permit moves through the process.

If these dates are a conflict for a large number of people, please let us know now!

If prior experience is a guide, we can expect an indication from the Parks Department as to which date we get in late May/early June, with formal approval following a few weeks after.

Last fall, we had a tentative commitment for Jill Eaton to be our featured speaker this year, and we need to confirm with her that she's available.

Lucy Lee, after serving for two years in succession, has resigned as President as she announced she would last Fall. As of now, we have no volunteers to the position.

Since the organization attained nonprofit status only in August of last year, this year we can solicit donations from the start and will we need them. We're starting the year with a small positive balance but there will be expenses coming soon that will eat into that and we'll have the big whump of expenses as we need to pay for permits, postage, printing, phone calls, t-shirts and other things we sell to raise money, tents, chairs, porta-potties, rangers and who-knows-what to put on an event this size. Peg Buckman has prior experience fundraising for non-profit organizations and has volunteered to lead a fundraising committee to ask for donations from both businesses and individuals. Many thanks, Peg, for bringing your skills.

April 23rd will be the first planning meeting for the things we can get started on ahead of date approval. Several people are working on finding a meeting space for the season that will give us access after business hours and have space for group discussion. We'll send an announcement of firm place and exact time when we've got it lined up.

If you'd like to be part of the planning, please come forward. Right off, we need folks skilled in PR/publicity (work over the summer to get word out in the knitting community and general media) and a volunteer coordinator (i.e., recruit and organize the folks in the neon t-shirts who do alot of work that day on the Common). There will be other coordinator positions open as we check with past people to see if they can do it this year. If you can't spare the time to come to meetings, but can give hours over the summer to help with things that need to be done, please let us know that, too. There are many stitches needed to put together a Knit-Out.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Anyone else want in on a Camb-erville stash sale?

Chialea over at Wooly Mammoths had a great idea in the comments for a fiber yard sale. More later, Himself has a sudden appointment to go consider offers on his house!


Okay, that was exciting. Where was I?

Yes, I kind of like the idea of a cash and carry fiber yard sale in the Porter/Davis area of Cambridge/Somerville - i.e. Camberville. How many people have stuff they would like to sell or trade? How many folks want to trade or buy others' excess stash but be able to see and handle it before purchase?

Are we onto something here?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Evacuation Day!

Evacuation Day, celebrated March 17th in Suffolk County (which is largely the City of Boston) is an official City holiday. This explains why there were a large number of grade school kids around the Pru food court with a parent yesterday.

Not much to say today. Even with the snow/slush storm and the advice to stay of the roads, Himself and I need to temporarily vacate his house to the realtor appointments, so we're soon to decamp to my place in Cambridge. I'm hoping he'll help me sort my things in the basement. If I haven't opened the box in 11 years, do I still need what's in it?

Please keep sending the destash for cash ideas. The goal is to free up some physical space, so I'm looking to move things out rather than swap. If you look at the pictures of the sock yarn from last fall, you can see I have quite sufficient for any needs. Note, that's just the sock yarn, there's a full shelf of laceweight and that's not including the boxes of sport/dk/worsted in the closet and wardrobe. Since I finished paying off my credit card debt last year and started a cash reserve savings account, I'd like to think about stashing dollars instead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Growing on the destashing thing

I did a destashing a few years ago, and wound up giving the Knitting Connection about 7 boxes of odds and ends of stuff.

My problem is, if I figure that I can live without it anymore, well, why would anyone else want it? I can't get my imagination around people wanting to pay money for something I don't want anymore.

On the other hand, I definitely have a case of having eyes bigger than my hands. I buy much more yarn than I can possibly knit up myself. Some of it in colors that really don't flatter me. Some of it for projects that I lose interest in before I get them started. Should I realize some cash if there's someone else out there looking to buy?

How does one figure out what price for 2nd hand, first quality yarn? Lynne in the comments pointed me to the Destash blog, which looks handy. My other big issue is coming to terms with Paypal. At the moment I can tell what's spam, because I don't have a Paypal account and therefore anything purporting to be about such an account (lots) is fake. I'm not sure how Paypal works, but I suppose I'd best investigate.

Anyone want to comment on their experiences buying or selling stash? How do you go about it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If I'd known people were coming over

And let that be a lesson to you, young bloggers, to keep your blog up to date, because you never know when the Yarn Harlot will give you a mention, and there you are with not much posted of recent date. I'll let the EMT of my acquaintance comment on whether or not non-ripped underwear matters as much in an accident.

I'm finding it hard to post lately because I've been depressed for about the last month about the early DST switchover. Just when I was thinking I could get up in the morning, take photos and post, they go and take the daylight away again. Silly Congress.

And to top it off, Himself is putting his house on the market this week, after talking about it and preparing it for showing for how long. Hard to believe it's here, but it's time for him to stop rattling around in 3,000 square feet with 4 bedrooms. We've been spending weekends looking at new places for him, sort of pre-shopping, to know what he's doing once he gets an offer. The comment is that there has to be space for the 6-foot grand piano. If I fit in the new space, too, that's a bonus. I'm looking forward to a time when I can not live in two places (don't tell the Cambridge voting board how much I live in Lexington on weekends and vacation weeks), but moving.... Let's just say, I'm not ready to have people over to the physical space here either. There's a lot of clutter.

I've even been thinking of destashing. Anyone know how to do that easily, maybe for profit?

So I've been a bit preoccupied. On the other hand, I'm developing a new class for the Granite State Knit-In (they don't have a website, sorry) on deciphering yarn substitution. I've given myself the task of making many, many swatches of 100 stitches in the round, aim for good swatch size, put the stitches on a thread and then block as I would normally care for that yarn. Add a string tag with the original label and the gauge details as blocked. I was worried about the class because it's the first Saturday in June and I hadn't gotten going yet. Now I've gotten going and knit about 3 swatches, still need to block them. There are many more cast on, so I've got my commute knitting set for a while. I'm not sure how I'm going to use the swatches, exactly, but it's a distraction from my thought process. It's been a long time since I worked with Red Heart, ahem.

I have finished a few things -- 2 pair of socks went to Afghans for Afghans, 2 chemo hats went to the Minestrone Soup drive and the Wavy scarf got finished over the weekend, but, again, no photos. The Regia 4-ply is moving along. The first sleeve is in progress while the body waits to find out if it is long enough yet.

So, with all this going on, will someone please tell me why I start a penguin last night? And why I'm already angsting over whether there's enough black in the kit.

One last thing - Boston Knit-Out organization is getting up and going soon. I'm working on finding a regular space for organizational meetings (need to call the Masons back and I'm hoping the Episcopal Cathedral will respond) since the Cafe at Borders is problematic for conducting business. Anyone interested in volunteering for tasks over the summer? We need people to do things that take a couple hours, occasionally, and other people to take charge of organizing the effort.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Skiing, at last

Having tried the sport with rentals for a couple of winters with Himself, Christmas 2005 he put the word out to family that I wanted cross-country ski equipment. We've had a snow drought since.

Today, at last, there is finally skiing at our favorite place. Nacent swatches for the Yarn Substitution class in development will be worked on on the ride up and in the lodge after lunch as Himself goes out for more fun than I have endurance for. Nope, conditioning has not been a priority lately sad to say. Lodge has nice couch with fireplace and food service. What more could someone feeling vaguely virtuous at having gone out and exercised for a couple hours already but ready to sit and relax for a while want?

Being much more used to a relaxed fit wardrobe (see conditioning comment above), putting on the very clingy long underwear layer this morning feel strange. It's energizing, but in a crowded Red-line sort of way.

I'm told I need to get going.

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