Going to have to turn in my knit/shop/love card.

I went to Webs yesterday. I had the whole day off with the baby and was dying for an outing, but had reason to be concerned that he wouldn’t behave well enough to make us welcome at the MFA. Plus, I’d heard that Webs was the absolute ultimate knitshop experience, not to be missed, and I live somewhere between 60 and 80 miles away. I love the website. I couldn’t…not…go. Right?

Well. In my defense, the baby hasn’t slept a solid night since the weekend, which means that I haven’t either. And I had to tote him along, which makes it kind of hard to get a train of thought going (or move about freely, since people in American shops tend to frown on things like ditching the baby at the end of the aisle to deliberate over which yarn color you’d like to wear next to your face several times a winter for the rest of your life. Not that the baby, owing to terminal fractiousness, would have allowed it without a great big noisy fuss anyhow). But I was completely, utterly overwhelmed by it. And I’d come so far that I felt like I had to buy something or I’d wasted three hours of my life.

So I ended up looking for yarn for a Lia sweater. They had a helpful shop model, and it was as gorgeous as I thought it’d be, and reinforced my interest in knitting it. Sadly, their stock of Malabrigo Chunky was utterly depleted…and the Malabrigo was much nicer than anything else that was right to make that sweater, and also remotely affordable in the necessary quantity. I eventually left with ten balls of Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, which is their house brand and a wool/alpaca blend. It felt okay against my neck, but I suspect I’ll have to wear a shirt under it, and that isn’t what I envisioned. Pout. I thought that in some Ravelry pictures, it looked a little chintzy knitted up in that pattern. Perhaps it was just unfortunate lighting. It seemed nice enough in the ball.

Your mileage may vary, of course, and especially if you don’t have to drive through some of Massachusetts’s more remote hamlets to get there. But my takeaway is that the bigger and more awesome the yarn store, the better off I’ll be if I go in with a plan, order from the website, and save my browsing for my smaller, much more digestible shops near home.

Sidebar: a stuffed Sheldon without limbs or shell yet is a distinctly phallic object. Don’t tell the kids.


Wool Day at Wayland Winter Market

Oh, winter market. I’m in love. Not necessarily with this iteration of it, for reasons that will be apparent when I tell how the day went, but in theory? Winter farmer’s markets for everyone. Everywhere. I’d way rather buy from local farmers and food producers than even Whole Foods, and I’m glad my mainstream supermarket carries a good stock of local products. We’re here in the middle of farm country, but access is still an issue even in summer because we have no centralized market, and the disparate market days are tiny and all over the place. Make it easier and even more people will come!

Ahem. Well. I went last Saturday to the Winter Farmer’s Market in Wayland at Russell’s, toting both boys because my husband had to be somewhere. Also, it was Wool Day and there were several area wool/yarn producers there, and I love me some local yarn. I looked forward to this for weeks, and in that respect, I was not disappointed. Looky:

Skeins from Fox Hill Farm in Lee, MA

My older son loved the Angora rabbits one farm brought, and he had a great time looking at all the different kinds of plants and the koi pond.

We also had a long conversation about jellyfish on the way there. I told him they don't wear clothes because they don't have shoulders and everything just slides off.

He chose himself a skein from Bally Duff Farm of Harmony, RI:

When you let the kid choose the yarn, you get...

I was chatting with the proprietor of Foxhill about how I was having trouble getting any variety in my yarn stash because I always gravitate toward the same colors, and she said everyone does that. They dither forever about what color to buy, and always end up leaving with something that matches what they’re already wearing. She said this to me while I was holding a skein of green/blue/purple that went exactly with my green winter coat.

I bought it.

Now, about this venue. The market itself was an excellent idea. The execution of the thing could scarcely have been worse. It was bad enough that it was 45 minutes away, on back roads, from my house. But I could have forgiven them that–not everything can be here in the center of the universe, of course–if the parking hadn’t been a nightmare of epic proportions, partly though not totally abetted by the metric ton of snow we’ve had this winter. And then when you get inside, it’s wall-to-wall people in narrow aisles, and incredibly stroller-unfriendly. This is not the environment in which you want to serve families seeking farm goods. It needn’t be a perfect monument to convenience. It would need only to be about 50% less of a hairball and I’d look forward to going every week.