I'm going to come clean right away and tell you that as lovely as my trip to Boston was, that's as bad as my photos of the trip are.
Yarn Harlot has the whole scrapbooking thing down to an art. She takes lots of pictures, she has names to go with the pictures, she photographs her sock du jour in front of interesting local landmarks, etc and she also gives fantastic talks.
Me, I'm not that nimble. I can either be present in the gathering and speak coherently, or I can photograph what's going on. Don't seem to be able to do both. I'm not much for multitasking in general. There's a reason I've never tried to make a living by juggling chainsaws while telling jokes.
But the trip–it was fantastic. The Common Cod Fiber Guild is brand new–this meeting was their first–but you'd never know they hadn't been hosting speakers for years. Thanks to the organizing skills of Guido Stein (he who produces the notable It's a Purl, Man podcast), support from Alanna of Tactile Travel and Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarns, and the kindness of members like Patience (who pressed her non-knitting husband into service as my chauffeur), I was feted like a visiting potentate.
Guido warned me when he asked if I'd come and speak that they had no idea how successful this group would be. I might wind up talking to ten people, or thirty. No fear. Almost a hundred people piled into the vertiginous, yellow lecture hall designed by Frank Gehry for MIT's Stata Center. One of them, by the way, was my sister–who surprised the heck out of me by taking the bus all the way from Maine to be there on my Big Night. (Also dimly visible in the murky blur you'll find Stitchy McYarnpants and Jess of Ravelry.)
See, I told you. Crap photos. I realized at the last minute that I couldn't bring my best camera, so I tossed my old Canon G2 into my bag. That G2 was and is a good little camera, and I used it for years to shoot everything. But it's been sitting in a cabinet, neglected, and I forgot how to work it under trying circumstances–like shooting a ton of wonderful, kind people in a dim, tall, yellow room. Sigh.
There are much better pictures floating around on flickr, if you're curious.
But the talk went well, thanks in part to the nice lady from Westminster Fibers (you know who you are, and I promised I wouldn't embarrass you with public notice) who loaned me her laptop in a moment of crisis. It turned out that despite the best efforts of our host on campus–who was fantastic and gave me a souvenir water bottle from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory–the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could not connect my Mac to the projection system.
I'd like to thank the Guild for giving me this chance, and I'd like to thank everyone who said hello. It's fun talking to knitters, but it's even more fun talking with knitters.
The next day I had some free time before heading home, so my buddy Sean–who owns Woolcott and Company–led me on a yarn crawl. First stop was Mind's Eye Yarns, which has such a huge reputation and following that the small size of the actual store comes as a surprise. But when you have an owner as charismatic as Lucy and products as charismatic as her hand-dyed yarns, who the hell cares about elbow room?
Then we went to Woolcott and Company, my very first yarn store–the place where in spite of the saleswoman's best efforts to push me out the door I bought the horrible, sticky blue wool that wound up as the first three feet of the 1,000 Knitters scarf. Boy, has the knitting world changed for the better. The newest incarnation of Woolcott is proof of it. More yarns, better yarns, better books, and no more exclusive, if-we-don't-know-you-please-get-out attitude.
The stuff I fell deeply in love with at Sean's shop–I'd never seen it before–was Rowan's Purelife British Sheep Breeds yarn.
It's minimally processed, purebred wool from four British classics: Jacob, Black Welsh, Bluefaced Leicester and Suffolk. The appearance, handle and even the scent of the yarn (it smells faintly but distinctly like clean sheep) bring you about as close to the source as you're gonna get without raising and spinning your own.
We also stopped in Harvard Square so I could buy some gear from the alma mater, since I'm sick of sitting around at Crew surrounded by Big Ten logos with nary an Ivy League sweatshirt in sight. Some of my best friends went to Ohio State, but for goshsakes occasionally a guy wants to root for his own team. Even if we haven't been to or won a Rose Bowl since 1920. (Yale has never won a Rose Bowl. Just feel the need to point that out.)