Friday, December 20, 2013

A trip into Cambridge

By Hand London pattern -- Anna

bike shop in Cambridge, MA

Since it was unseasonably warm day and I had a car (a rental) I drove into Cambridge to check out a sewing/knitting shop I've been itching to visit: Gather Here, just past Harvard University on Broadway. It was definitely worth navigating Cambridge's traffic-clogged streets and surrendering to its pitiful 30-minute daytime parking limit to have a look-see. And as you can see above, I got my hands on a pattern I've been dying to possess: the Anna dress by By Hand London. This style of dress is flattering to my figure, and I've loved almost every version I've seen on the 'net. Can't wait to sew it!

The service was excellent at Gather Here. I was greeted as I walked into the shop and asked in a very friendly fashion if I needed some help, then I was left alone to browse. When I did need help, it was cheerfully provided--really, a perfect mix for me. And for such a small shop, they really packed a lot in there: sewing patterns by By Hand London, of course, along with independent pattern makers Colette, Megan Nielson, Sewaholic, and even UK designers Merchant & Mills! However, the M&M patterns didn't suit my shape at all (they seemed boxy and angular, and this girl's got curves) so I just have to admire their aesthetic from afar.

As for yarn, I was impressed with the selection, esp. all the Swans Island organic bulky and fingering weight on display. If I weren't on a yarn diet, I would have gone nuts buying some up. But what really grabbed my eye was the large container filled with bolts of Liberty Tana lawn ... there was a multicolored floral on a cream background I was salivating over, but at just over $30 a yard, I could hear my debit card begging for mercy in my wallet so I resisted. I told the young woman who cashed me out I'd be back after the hols to buy some and she put the evil idea in my head to sew up my Anna dress in some Liberty lawn. Talk about luxury! I might do it if I had a swishy summer event coming up -- a wedding? -- but nothing on the horizon.

When I was heading back to the car, the cheerful sight of the Broadway Bicycle School and all those bikes racked up warmed my cold suburban heart. That's the one thing I like about Cambridge: it's even more bike friendly than my own town 15 miles out.

As I navigated through Harvard U's campus, I was also cheered by the realization of how far my driving confidence has come in 15 years. When I first moved to greater Boston, I was so terrified of driving anywhere near the city I avoided it at all costs, including driving to the airport, which is a fairly straightforward drive now that the Big Dig is finished. But now? I've whipped the rotaries into submission, and the one-way streets, crazy drivers, and narrow lanes can't budge my blood pressure. I didn't even need my GPS once I figured out where the shop was. That's a huge improvement!

I think it's the shortest day of the year, which means only one thing: the days will now start getting longer and SPRING IS ON THE WAY!!!!!! Cool

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