The kids and I did end up going to the Knit-Out on Boston Common yesterday. The event had more exhibitors this year than last, but attendance though decent looked to be smaller, even given the larger outdoor venue. This is probably the result of the relatively poor publicity, as most people I spoke to didn’t learn about it until only a couple of days ago.

There were a goodly number of local yarn shops represented, but by far not all of them. There were also several yarn manufacturers showing off knitted examples of their latest yarns. Because there’s no selling allowed at this event, the exhibitors just show tabletop and hanging examples of some pieces, plus a book or skein or two. They also collect mailing list addresses. I really didn’t see anything new or different, but I haunt my rather complete local yarn shop like a ghost, and usually get wind of new products long before more infrequent visitors do.

There was the usual fashion promenade, a show-and-tell, and just as we were leaving – the speed knitter/crocheter competitions. We didn’t stick around for them to finish (although in retrospect, we should have); but a gal with a yarn shop ID or volunteer sticker had a clear lead from the outset. She knit British/thrower style, with the end of her right hand needle firmly buttressed against her lap. I’d often heard that amazing speed could be accomplished using the throwing method, but before yesterday most of the throwing knitters I’d seen do it "in air" rather than with a fixed needle end. Hats off to her, and thank yous for expanding my world.

The highlight though of the event for us was the Kids Corner. In it a group of volunteers assisted children in making their own needles from dowels and beads; crafting small pom-poms from Manos scraps; and teaching basic knitting and crochet. Both of my daughters knit their first stitches, and both were so enthused they continued practicing long after we got home. Here’s Volunteer of Infinite Patience, Tamesin O’Brien teaching The Smallest One basic throwing style:

And here’s The Larger One mid-concentration and mid-row working away at Continental style:

The downside of the festival was the trip home. There was an "unknown powdery substance" emergency that necessitated the closure of the subway line. The whole incident?was handled particularly poorly by the?transit system. A total lack of public information, unwillingness to communicate about the extent of the emergency, and confusion/poor preparedness about shuttle busses led us on a hike from Boston to Cambridge to find an open station. It was an unpleasant way to waste two and a half hours, and left me with absolutely zero confidence on the ability of Boston’s transit system and response personnel to handle a real emergency.

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