How I Came To Work At OTRYarn (And Almost Didn’t)

Did you know that I almost didn’t end up working here at Over The Rainbow Yarn? Once upon a time (way back in 2012), I was a knitting newbie. I had made a couple of scarves over the years, but my skills were pretty basic. Nothing in the round, nothing more complicated than 2×2 ribbing. But when I saw that Mim was opening a yarn shop right in my neighborhood, I got this crazy notion: I could work at a yarn shop!

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The shop just before I saw it for the first time.

My first interview was going great, until Mim asked for a sample of my work. Like many of you, much of what I knit gets given away to friends and family, and I certainly wasn’t about to ask my ex-boyfriend to give me back that scarf he never wore. When I confessed that I didn’t have any samples to show her, Mim said, “No problem.” Whew. Then, she reached into a nearby basket of yarn and handed me a skein. “Knit a hat, and bring it back next week for your second interview.” Dun dun dunnnnnn!

Panic!

Panic!

If Mim hadn’t loaned me a pair of needles to go with the yarn, I wouldn’t have even had circulars to work with. I had never knit in the round before, and I had no pattern. All that week, I struggled with my hat. Finally, the day of my second interview dawned, and I greeted it with dread. My hat was a mess. My ribbing had somehow turned into seed stitch. And worst of all, the hat wasn’t finished! At best, it could perhaps be called a headband. Decidedly *not* a hat, and definitely not an interview-worthy piece.

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This is what I thought my hat looked like.

With a heavy heart, I showed Mim my “hat”, thanked her for her time, and told her that while I would certainly shop there once they opened, I clearly was just not experienced enough, and could be of no use to them, and that I was very sorry, and that they deserved better —

— At which point Mim interrupted my flustered ramblings. She told my that my hat was a good start, and that in fact, I had joined in the round so seamlessly that the join was almost invisible. Kindly, she explained where I’d gone wrong with my ribbing, and complimented me on my even stitches. With a great deal of patience, she talked me down off the knitting ledge, and suggested ways to improve my hat on the next try. When I left the shop that day, it was with a job, as well as the realization that you can make anything you set your mind to, as long as you don’t give up. (And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a teacher who knows everything there is to know about knitting, let’s be honest.)

I even finished the hat, and my sister wore it on our trek across Spain in 2014:

Photo by Charlotte Woodman

Ta-da! (Photo by Charlotte Woodman)

Written by Jennifer Woodman

10 Comments on “How I Came To Work At OTRYarn (And Almost Didn’t)

  1. That’s a great story and you give me hope! Glad that you are there.

  2. I am so glad you got hired at the same time I did.Miss working with you !! Glad we met.
    Remember when Mim tried to teach you to crochet and at the same time tried to teach me to knit?

  3. You are one of the delights of the shop! Always glad to see your smiling face… I remember meeting you the first time 3 summers ago and glad you stayed put! Nice article Jenn!

  4. This is awesome. I never knew that! We are very lucky to have you. Your smiling face, cheerful attitude and willingness to help everyone makes you an invaluable asset to the shop. SO glad we have you!!!!

  5. I never would have known that! You always seem knwlegeable, where to find answers, and a pleasure. It’s a good day when you are in the shop! Mim had the vision!

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