After almost five years of being your Local Yarn Shop Gal, it is with great sadness/excitement/trepidation that I write to inform you that the time has come for me to move on to something new. Getting to know all of you has been the highlight of my job — I don’t think any other business can claim to have such splendid patrons. Thank you all for sharing your stories, listening to mine, and generally being wonderful.
We’ve had some adventures, haven’t we? From yarn-bombing playground fences with flowers, to freezing our fingers off during wee-hour-of-the-morning shifts on the Blanket Marathon, to cozy heart-to-heart chats at Stitch ‘n’ Spins, we’ve had some glorious times. I value the energy that each of you bring to Over The Rainbow Yarn, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to get to know you. Those of you who met me when we first opened may remember that I started out as a very basic knitter. In fact, I originally told Mim and Kristin not to hire me — that they needed someone more qualified. Boy, am I glad that they ignored me on that one! I’ve learned skills right alongside some of you, and others of you have inspired me to keep stretching myself to learn new techniques.
Fun at work: sticker abs; swants!, Halloween
Now I’m leaping out of the nest in search of the next adventure. I’m not sure what it’ll be, but I’m hoping that it might allow me to use my archaeology degree, or involve museum work. I graduated from college almost 10 years ago(!), so I’m feeling like the time is now or never. Change doesn’t come easily to me, but the initial discomfort is usually worth it in the end.
Time to ride off into the sunset…
I hope I’ll continue to run into you all at the yarn shop and around town after my last day on April 6th. It has been a great pleasure to share these last five years with you, and I wish all of you the very best!
Making friends has always been a mystery to me, especially as an adult. I’ve always been the shy type, with quiet, solitary hobbies. I’m a classic introvert.
Crocheting fit right into my lifestyle, which previously involved reading, drawing, computer games, eavesdropping at coffee shops, and snuggling kittens. At first I didn’t conceive of yarn as a conduit to a bona fide social life.
This is how it works.
Shortly after I discovered the glorious existence of local yarn shops (which rocked my world after Walmart and Jo-Ann’s had viciously misled me to believe that acrylic yarn was the only kind and that even shopping for yarn was necessarily a lonesome experience), I met Jennifer at Over the Rainbow Yarn. Jennifer was kind, helpful, and polite. I liked Jennifer right away. I’d never talked to anybody about yarn before, and Jennifer was eager to talk to me about yarn.
Some of my favorite people at Stitch N Spin.
When Jennifer invited me to Stitch ’N’ Spin on Thursday evenings, I felt honored. I considered it carefully, picturing myself sitting amongst a group of crafty women, practicing my craft in their company. I weighed my newfound love of crocheting and the repressed yearning for friendship that’s always been in my heart against my social anxiety. The decision to go to Stitch ’N’ Spin was one of the best I’ve ever made.
Let me tell you why, from the perspective of a chronically shy individual:
First, when you’re doing something with your hands, you have an excuse not to speak up. It’s perfectly acceptable to just sit and knit in a knitting circle. When silence occurs, it isn’t awkward the way it would be if you were all sitting there not knitting. Second, it’s easy to talk about craft projects. Conversation prompts are right out in the open, sitting on everyone’s lap. Opportunities for sharing knowledge and opinions abound. Third, since crafting is a way of life for many, you’re starting with a vital common interest. It’s easier to get into the groove of chatting with people who think like you do and value the things that you do.
Stitch ‘N’ Spin was the indisputable highlight of my every week for years before I ever worked at Over the Rainbow Yarn. I continue to meet people with all kinds of experiences to share (common subjects: world travels, good food, babies, pets, thrift shopping…), but without any kind of pressure. It’s exquisitely laid back. It’s just hanging out. Friendship is almost automatic at Stitch ‘N’ Spin. You guys are all my best friends. I feel like I finally found my place.
Well, my best friends except for these guys (Catlin and Leo).
We’ve been looking through the results from our survey and have seen some interesting comments.Since we’re always interested in feedback about how we can do better, we’re also thinking of ways we can follow the advice we’ve gotten through the survey.At the same time, we’re realizing that asking questions about how we can communicate better are giving us results about how much we’re not effectively communicating now.We had a lot of requests to start doing things that we’re already doing.That lets us know that we need to do a better job of letting everyone know what’s going on.
We had several respondents say that they would like more beginner classes, more, technique classes, more design classes, more free classes, more classes.I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know what we’re already doing and what we’re going to be doing starting right now.
Our weekly newsletter is the best way to keep track of what’s going on at OTR.
For the downright beginner, we have a “Learn to Knit 5 Minute Guarantee” lesson that can be scheduled any time Mim is in the shop.It takes a little bit longer than 5 minutes to learn to knit, purl, cast on and bind off.That’s why we have Drop In Class every Monday and Thursday evening from 5-7 pm.You can come in with any question, project, goal, or agenda and we’ll tailor instruction just for you.We have so few people taking advantage of this time that you may be the only one there.That means you get 2 hours of instruction all to yourself or maybe with one or two other people, then you can segue right in to Stitch and Spin night until 8:30.
If the Monday and Thursday evening time slots absolutely don’t work for you, we offer 15 Minute Mini-Classes any time you care to schedule one.These Mini-Classes are also tailored to you personally and cover anything you want to cover.The only requirement is that we be open and there be two people here in the shop (that way, one person can devote all their attention to you and the other can help other customers.)From beginner basics all the way through to the most complex, advanced technique, you name it and we’ll teach it in one or more sessions.
Our comfy chairs up front get a lot of use during classes, social groups and spontaneous knitting time.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the absolute basics, we offer Technique Classes almost every Saturday from 2-4.There are single topic classes and series, there are project-based classes and classes that cover techniques only.The more popular the topic, or the more important we think it is for you to learn it, the more frequently we offer a class.For example, “Be The Boss of Your Socks” is offered at least three times a year because there are always more people who want to learn to make socks, and “Finishing School” comes around on the calendar at least three times a year because we think everyone can benefit from some attention to washing, blocking, and seaming.We let you know what’s coming up for classes on our Events page here on the website, the Events page on our Facebook page, through the newsletter, with in-store signage and through community bulletin boards.
If we offer classes and no one comes, we assume the topic is of no interest and shuffle it to the bottom of our idea pile.We’re always willing to expand our offerings or bring things back from the discard pile if there is interest.In fact, most of our class ideas come from customer comments in the store.You can tell us what you want through comments here on the website, or comments on our Facebook page, or in the shop. In addition we’ll be offering a paper evaluation form at each of our classes from now on, and one of the questions on that form will be, “What other classes would you like to take at OTR?”
Want to learn to make polymer clay buttons?
We’ll also schedule a formal two-hour private class on any topic you like at any time you like if you and four friends want to come together.Teens, retirees, families, veterans or circus performers who want to knit their own leotards, we’ll create a class just for you on any topic you like as long as there are five of you.Call the shop or drop by and we’ll discuss the details and schedule your own private yarn party.
Because several people have asked, we’ll be offering Tuesday evening classes as well starting next week.Beginner Lace will be February 9, 5:30-7:30 and Traveling Stitches will be February 23, 5:30-7:30.In March, we’ll be offering “Finishing School” on March 1, 5:30-7:30, and “Be The Boss of Your Socks” on March 15, 5:30-7:30.If those classes are well attended, we’ll expand the offerings.
We offer 12 original free patterns with free instruction for 12 weeks of every year.
In addition to formal classes, we offer The 12 Weeks of Christmas small project knit-alongs from the first week in October through the middle of December.The patterns are free and so is the instruction.We only ask that you buy your yarn from us as we’ve designed the projects around specific yarns.Many weeks during the season we have no one there.This leads us to think that there is no interest.But I promise, if folks really want to show up, we’d be willing to expand 12 Weeks of Christmas to 12 Month ofChristmas with small project knit-alongs, free patterns and free instruction if you get your yarn at OTR.Get back to me on when would be a good time to start and how many of you are willing to be here.
If you just want to be around other knitters to ask and answer questions in a social setting, we have Stitch and Spin circles on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-8:30 pm, Wendesday morning from 10 am-Noon, and a new group that has spontaneously started coming on Thursday starting at Noon-ish.You can come in at any of those times and be assured of lots of companionship and support.Or the comfy chairs are always here, and the staff is always willing, so you can come in and just sit and knit a spell and ask quick questions on the fly whenever you have the time and feel inspired.
For those of you who live far away and can’t make it in, we are looking into webinar formats to be able to offer online classes.We’ll be getting our first on-line class up and running by the end of March.Watch the Events pages for times and details.
A customer winds his yarn into a ball at Over the Rainbow Yarn.
As a side note, we had several men comment that they felt awkward or unwelcome being the only guy around.Notice I said “several men?”Well, there are more of you than you think, and if only one or two of you would come hang out, the others would no longer feel like they are the only ones.Paul?Daniel?Cliff?Steven?Chris and Cooper?Bill?Any of you want to sponsor a manly contingent and give the other guys permission to come out of the shadows?
We consider ourselves fiber evangelists.We want to do whatever it takes for you to start, commit to, or sustain a fiber lifestyle.If you have a idea that we are not already doing, please let me know and we’ll bend over backwards to fulfill your fiber dreams.