This past Monday, I travelled into the hills of Bath, New Hampshire, to pick up yarn for the upcoming Yarn Tasting. The Farm at Woods Hill sits on over 260 acres of rolling hills with a stately farmhouse that sleeps 20, a huge barn that was relocated from Lang Farm, an open-plan lodge, and then all the animals–cows, chickens, ducks, pigs,–and, of course, sheep. The farm produces the meat and vegetables, honey and jam, for Woods Hill Table in Concord, Massachusetts. The owner is Kristin Canty, the filmmaker who produced Farmmagedon – The Unseen War on American Family Farms. Our guide was Chelsea, who graciously drove us around in a Wrangler to see the sheep and pigs, and guided us through the rooms of the farmhouse, with 18-inch planked floors, and sumptuous carpets, ending upstairs in the high-roofed attic at the top of the house which is used as a yoga studio. Check out their websites and come check out their yarn on Friday the 12th from 5-7.
The impact of the Airbnb market on affordable housing is being felt everywhere, from here in our small town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, to larger cities world wide. Out-of-staters buy up affordable housing and operate them as Airbnb’s from afar. The regulations and local zoning ordinances aren’t keeping up with this fairly recent phenomenon in housing. Neighborhood families are finding the fabric of their lives changed as Airbnb’s next door host tourists, who may or may not respect the quiet 9-5 around them—after all, they are on vacation, which may mean, lots of people, lots of noise, lots of fun…for them. The neighbors, on the other hand, may feel their residential district just became a hotel district. Olivia cared about affordable housing for most of her career and AHEAD housing was not just her employer, but her passion. Affordable housing and knitting, that is.
Many knitters accumulate a “stash” of yarn, and Olivia was no different. We often wonder what will happen to the yarn that we not only invested in financially, but loved so much. When her daughter asked if I would like Olivia’s yarn after she passed, I told her I would figure out what best to do with it. Olivia’s Legacy is her stash in a bureau in my shop. The proceeds from the sale of her yarn will go directly to AHEAD; in fact, customers need to write a check to AHEAD for the amount. I’m going to track what we raise, and who knows, maybe others will want to contribute quality yarn to the project, and we’ll see what we can raise for affordable housing in the North Country.
Bethlehem is gearing up for a fun-filled Saturday on August 11th. Come to town with your chair and knitting/crocheting or spinning and settle in for a great day of entertainment. At Love.Yarn.Shop. we’ll be in a prime location on the sidewalk to enjoy the parade, help folks create the community felted rug from Tom Cuddihy’s sheep in the paddling pool, and wander up and down the street checking out the vendors. At 4:00 events shift to the gazebo for beer tasting, chicken barbecue and bean hole beans, with music at 6:00 from The Barnyard Pimps. Let’s cross our fingers for good weather and get ready to soak up the summer in style.
Last year, we received a thank you for knitting on the sidewalk. It read, “Dear Ladies, We drove by your shop Thursday last. A splendid day–seeing a group sitting in a circle chatting & knitting away was such a pleasurable and “homey” sight. Thank you for putting a smile on our faces! Warm wishes.” Knitting in public isn’t new. Men and women have taken their craft on to the sidewalk for centuries, but the recent revival has nothing to do with making a living and everything to do with making a statement. A statement about slowing down life, creating communities and preserving communities, enjoying a connection with fiber and partaking in the joy of producing fabric by hand. June 9th is World Wide Knit in Public Day, and we’ll be knitting, crocheting, and spinning on the sidewalk in Bethlehem. We will be starting a yarn-bombing project for Summerfest in Bethlehem, so if you have acrylic yarn you’d like to donate, or you want to get involved drop by or contact me at 869-2600. See you on the sidewalk this summer.
Groomed goats, sheep herding, hand-dyed yarns, lobster rolls…the trip to Deerfield for the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival is worth the 2-hour road trip on the weekend of May 12th and 13th. I wander somewhat aimlessly, appreciating the garments everyone wears to exhibit their skills, admiring the beautiful goats and sheep, delighting in the fibers, watching with respect the relationship between people and their animals in the competitions and the shearing and herding demonstrations. If you have never been, treat yourself and your family to an outing. The demonstrations and classes are free–you may be like me and want to learn how to darn your socks! Check out the schedule https://nhswga.org/lecture-and-demomonstration-schedule
We’ll be carpooling from the shop at 8:30 on Sunday if you’d like to join us!
The other morning on my walk with my dog, I was thinking about something I couldn’t solve, and I shrugged. I laughed out loud, as that little shrug, with a slight tilt of the head, I learned from a little two year-old that comes in the shop with her mom. I was retelling the scene to a customer, who shrugged, her turban delicately twined about her head. “Oh, that feels good, right here,” she said, indicating the spot between her shoulders. Sometimes it does us good to shrug, to say, “Okay, I can’t solve that one,” and let it go.
This reminded me how important it is for knitters and crocheters to take a break every 1/2 hour or so and do some stretches. Shrugging is one of those exercises. Tilting the head from one side to the other, and looking over the shoulder, first one side, then the other, also help relax the muscles in the neck and shoulders.
Another place we unwittingly carry tension is in our hands. Sometimes on my walk, I pay attention to my hands, which are fisted up, and deliberately relax them. Taking a break from holding the needles or hook, stretching the hands out, shaking them, and pulling the hands and individual fingers back, in the opposite direction they’ve been while you worked, will relieve tightness. Link your fingers and push away from you, palms out, then lift your hands above your head. This will not only stretch the hands, but will stretch the muscles in your back. Even just rubbing some hand cream into your hands will give them a break and loosen them up.
If your project is particularly intense, you may want to remember the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain for people who are on their screens a lot. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds, and focus on something 20 feet away. If you find yourself rubbing your eyes, you know it’s time to make a change. At the very least, get up, make a cup of tea, pet the dog, and smile. After all, you are doing what you love—knitting!
March, march, march!
Knitters are showing support for the March For Our Lives march against gun violence on March 24th by knitting/crocheting “Evil Eye” fingerless mitts. Krista Suh, who designed the Pussy Hat, writes, “Individually, to show the eye on the palm, you can put out your hand in a “stop” gesture – as in, we must stop gun violence, enough is enough. In a group, you can raise your hands above your head to show the eyes – this is the universal gesture of “hands up don’t shoot” and a reminder of how vulnerable our children are in a country with weak gun control.”
We’ll be knitting the mitts at Love.Yarn.Shop. (in the new location at Beannacht Books across the street from the Colonial) on Saturday, March 17th at 10:30. You can find the easy pattern here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/evil-eye-glove
The mitts can be worn at your local march or sent to the following address for the Washington marchers:
c/o Woman’s National Democratic Club
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
How perfect to have my yarn housed in Beannacht Books, kitty-corner to LYS, while the shop is under construction. I had forgotten that my first love affair with yarn began while I was working in Chapter and Verse in Bristol, England. It was an academic book store, so in the summer, my colleagues taught me how to knit sweaters (I didn’t make hats, scarves, or mittens until many years later). There was a to-die-for yarn store right across the street and that is where I bought my Rowan Yarn and Kaffe Fasset patterns. Those were the days of drop shoulders and oversized sweaters…the eighties. I have made a laptop case from fulling one unfinished Kaffe Fasset sweater. I still have the turquoise Lopi sweater (very popular color at that time!) and haul it out on appropriate wintry days. I regret donating two sweaters to a local second-hand shop, not because of the yarn, but the cool buttons I had used. I still have the fair-isle vest I knit for my father, fulled and fitted for me now that he has passed away. All these fond memories of the book store and my colleagues and the pubs are flooding back as I sit here with a view of yarn and books. Come join me in the cozy sitting area. My shop hours are the same: 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday and I’m selling both yarn and books!
That’s what I said when I looked through the new Interweave Knits. The cardigan by Sarah Solomon on the cover is so beautifully designed for me: long, loose, with cables and pockets, I wanted to cry, knowing how long it would take to knit it. Then there are these fabulous men’s cardigans and sweaters on gorgeous models and the tears started welling. Why can’t I just knit all day? This collection poses some interesting combinations—a linen stitch, zippered motorcycle-style jacket, a cable and fair isle sweater, a drop-shouldered sweater with a long sculptural hem, a truly elegant poncho. Even if you never knit one of these patterns, you’ll enjoy suffering and sighing as you linger over collection.