The first knitting shop I ever went into with the intent of buying yarn for myself was Woolcott and Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a student, and under the spell of a friend who was an advanced knitter–the only knitter I'd ever met who was my age. She had given me basic knit/purl lessons with a scrap of alpaca, and I liked it enough to wish to continue with my own tools and materials.
After peppering the saleswoman with a volley of stupid questions, I left with an armload of incredibly pretty, breathtakingly expensive blue worsted (to make a sweater, of course) and my first pair of needles.
The sweater never happened, but over time the worsted became a succession of tediously long scarves. I never went back to Woolcott, as knitting was something I did once a year. In October, I would knit a scarf. In April, I would lose it. In between, I didn't knit.*
That was years ago. I no longer live in Boston, and many of the places I knew in Harvard Square have long since dried up and blown away. But Woolcott is back on my radar, due to a very happy coincidence.
Sean, a fellow blogger whose projects are an endless source of inspiration to me, has taken over as manager of the store. I wrote to congratulate him, and the response I got should cause Boston-area knitters to shake their needles with joy.
He's been working at the shop in a part-time capacity since 2001. He's a hardcore knitter. He knows what it's like to be a customer. He knows advertising, merchandising, marketing, etc at a professional level. And he's been given a mandate to do with the place as he sees fit. His goal? "I envision empowering people with a belief in themselves and their own creativity."
I read Sean's message to Dolores. "That's very touching," she said. "Ask him again what his vision is after somebody's kid barfs up Juicy Juice on the Rowan display."
(Dolores is not having a good week. She's got a bad cold and refuses to do anything but lie on the sofa drinking orange juice, reading Germain Greer and writing disgruntled letters to the editors of Vogue Knitting and The Economist.)
Anyhow, Sean, if you're reading this: congratulations, and good luck. Also, I was digging around in my stash and found that I still have a full skein of that blue worsted. Is fifteen years too late for a return?
*I know. I can't believe it, either. What the hell can I have been doing?