All-Nighters and Second-Hand Yarn

It’s hard to grasp that I am almost halfway through my Executive MBA program. The last eight months have flown by or perhaps I didn’t notice the time passing. The days are filled with meetings that need to be attended, decisions that need to be made and people who need to be met. Nighttime is school time. At this stage of life, I am once again pulling all-nighters. And like those college days, the next day feels euphoric as if I just climbed a mountain or won a marathon. Then comes the crash on or about mid-afternoon of the third day.

There have been the moments of wondering why I chose to do this to myself. There have been stretches of dread trying to figure out if I should fail to reject the null hypothesis and whether the price of a good causes a movement along the demand curve or shifts it entirely, either to the left or to the right.

Having survived the “quants,” we are now in the midst of courses about launching and leading business ventures. I have learned a tremendous amount and despite those twinges of regret that usually come between 3 and 5 in the morning, I am so glad I am doing this. The academic learning challenges me and keeps me sharp and the case studies and classroom discussions round out my experience. Plus, I now have approximately 180 new friends from all walks of life and careers all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Santiago, Chile and from the west to east coasts of the United States.

We recently had our second residency on the Cornell campus. Between work, school, family and the occasional nap, my time is consumed. But such is my passion for yarn that I arrived one day early in Ithaca so that I could visit the local hipster yarn spots. If you read my last Ithaca post, you may recall that the yarn shop closest to campus was closed. This time, I made it there twice in one week … in the snow.

I learned that Homespun Boutique has been an Ithaca gem for over 40 years. Every surface is covered with all types of wool, both spun and unspun, and many other fibers. Upon entering, a cardboard cutout sheep displaying lovely balls of yarn greets you.

There are baskets and bins neatly arranged on almost every square meter of floor, like these skeins of organic wool in various weights.

I found a whole shelf of earthy pure Alpaca undyed to showcase its natural hues.

My favorite was the lo-cal yarn – fewer calories, less fat, and tastes great! The Looney Tunis label is for the wool from a flock of tunis sheep located on a farm in nearby Spencer, NY.

Then there were these swoon-worthy displays and the ubiquitous wall of yarn.

Not to be outdone, the other half of the shop was filled with bolts of fabrics grouped by shades of red, yellow and green and all the other colors of the rainbow.

The shop’s only drawback was that it did not have a space for wool-gathering. If they moved a few fabric displays to a back room, they could easily fit in a table and some comfy chairs, and perhaps even an espresso machine for those chilly Ithaca winters.

Homespun Boutique is located on one end of Ithaca Commons, a 4-block pedestrian shopping area flanked by boutiques, restaurants and second-hand stores. At the opposite end of the Commons is SewGreen, a non-profit focused on upcycling fabrics and yarn. Very cool.

Because it relies on donations for its inventory, you never know what treasures you will find at SewGreen. They had cubbies full of yarn, cones of thread, knitting patterns, vintage hooks and needles, embroidery hoops and buttons.

Most of the space was devoted to fabrics. Someone had recently donated several yards of fabric with various bird designs which covered an entire display table.

SewGreen has a boutique of gently used Eileen Fisher clothing. The staff will carefully mend any flaws and the items are cleaned and steamed before being put out for sale. I love their tagline – “We Make ReUse Beautiful.”

My visits to both stores resulted in the following souvenirs: 2 skeins of Zen Serenity Silk Singles in two colorways; 1.5 yards of the red, teal, and yellow fabric; some vintage straight knitting needles; and a few fat quarters.

Now back to studying.

20 thoughts on “All-Nighters and Second-Hand Yarn

  1. What finds you have there…. love the wool shop and Sew Green is like heaven! If I was any closer, I’d raid it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and well done for getting through your MBA – I’ve gone into higher education as a “mature student” myself, so what you’re saying sounds very familiar 😉

  2. Auwwww, I’m so jealous!! 🙂 That’s just a textile heaven! But you’re right about the espresso machine. Although then I suppose some people would never leave out of their free will and would have to be ushered out of the store by force at closing time. Not that such a thing ever happened to me, mind you. 😉

    1. Thank you for the encouragement – need it sometimes. It was fun to go exploring. We had precious little down time and I used it all for yarn!

  3. I lived in Ithaca for about 5 years. It’s really a fantastic place with a ton of character. I miss it immensely. At the time, I was not involved in fiber arts at all, and regularly feel sad that I missed out on an area that’s just full of such artistry. I am glad you’ve shared some of that, at least I’ll know where to go if I ever get back to visit.

    Good luck with your continuing studies!

    1. I consider myself lucky that there was snow ❄️ when I was there last. I had visions of sitting in front of a fire with a heap of yarn next to me while I knitted.

  4. Congratulations for getting halfway through your MBA 🙂 Good luck with the rest too!

    Thank you for the lovely pictures of yarn, they are so relaxing even just to look at!

    1. Definitely worth a stop. They had an excellent yarn selection. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am learning so much but it can be stressful. 😳

  5. This makes me want to hop in the car for a trip across New York–Sew Green appeals to me especially, from your description! Good luck with your grad program–reading your description took my thoughts back to my Ph.D studies . . . and pulling all-nighters.

    1. I thought the concept of SewGreen was fabulous and should be replicated everywhere! I was able to handle the all-nighters better when I was younger.👩🏻‍💻🛌

  6. What an inspiring place, wish I was that side of the Atlantic, what fantastic shops! And congratulations on getting so far in your MBA, but make sure you don’t burn yourself out.

    1. Thank you, especially for the advice. It’s easy to forget to pace myself when so much is due. Thankfully, I have a very supportive manager.

  7. 🙂 I’m from Ithaca and know that shop well! A lovely post about all of the nooks and crannies, there. I was bummed, too, that the shop by Cornell closed a while back. Good luck with you studies!

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