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.

Patience, I just found your card in my knitting basket, and checked in. Thank you for volunteering Knit Out. Please let me know the date so I can plan accordingly! Thanks
Patience, were you part of that bus group? I got to Wonderful Things a couple of hours later, and heard all about it. When Deb and Barbara said busload, I thought they just meant the store had been busy--they said, no, literally, a busload. (I jump behind the counter occasionally on a weekend day if Deb needs a day off.) How funny that we just missed each other. I enjoy your blog when I pop in--as you can see, not with enough regularity. Hope all is well.

Marie in Great Barrington
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?