19 November 2007

Vermont Sweater

So, I finally got a job. In a church. This is what I've been working toward for the last two -- no, five -- no, seven years. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

The last several months have been a whirlwind. Yeah, I got married. I've also been searching for a job (a "call" in church jargon). At the same time as planning a wedding. Oy!

So let me tell you the story of the Vermont Sweater.

In June, my denomination had its giant bi-annual nationwide meeting. I went, knowing that my Enormous Application Dossier would be available for nationwide distribution in the following week or so, intent on Networking. I emailed Regional People-In-Charge in the states I most wanted to focus on, asking for meetings. Let's talk about opportunities in your state, blah blah blah.

I had six "meetings" and met a ton of new people, which made me feel like the $300 I'd spent traveling was worth it. I worked HARD that weekend: one night, I woke up my roommate by sitting up in bed and saying "Hi! I'm HolyKnitter. It's so nice to meet you!"

I am not kidding. I was sleep-networking.

That was the weekend that I left my Secret Knitting (the Clementine Shawl) at my sister's house in Boston. I flew to Boston to stay with her, then took the bus to Hartford the next morning. I discovered that I'd left my knitting when I got on the bus, all ready to settle in to a couple of hours of uninterrupted sitting time. Luckily, my sis had given me her copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off, so I wasn't completely out of knitting luck.

Fortunately, my first destination that weekend was a church in West Hartford, where I spent a day in a workshop with other clergy under the age of 40. Fortunately, I'm a good Yarn Tourist, and had already done my research... when we broke into interest groups ("Single Clergy," "Clergy in Small Towns," etc.), I organized the knitters to go around the corner to Sit 'N Knit. The original plan involved meeting up with other group members in the local pub (the "Clergy Who Like Beer" group), but had such a great time chatting with the women in the store that we lost all track of time and completely blew off our new friends. I guess that makes us the Clergy who Like Yarn More Than Beer.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself in West Hartford, go there. Because those women almost convinced me that I wanted to move to Connecticut.

Almost. I did meet with The Guy From Connecticut the next day. He almost convinced me, too. Almost.

Anyway, I left my knitting at my sister's house. And I was at a conference. Conference = LOTS of time to knit while listening to someone talk (talking heads included Bill Moyers and Barack Obama. Spectacular.) So I had to buy enough yarn for a sweater, just in case.

The yarn I bought was a Green Mountain Spinnery misty-forest-green worsted. Eight skeins. I cast on for Stefanie Japel's Cozy V-Neck Pullover that day. After three days of Conferencing, I had just about the entire body done. Yeah.

And the arms took another, um, four months or so. But then again, I was working on my Secret Knitting and getting married and looking for jobs.

(Also on the Yarn Tourism front, my hotel that weekend was at the same highway exit as Creative Fibers. I skipped church on Sunday morning to walk -- yes, WALK -- under the sidewalk-less overpass, breakfasted at Dunkin Donuts, and then continued down and across the road to Creative Fibers, which was closed. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the nose-shaped grease marks on the windows. Looks like a great store, just don't go on Sunday mornings, because they're not open.)

BUT! After my failed attempt at Yarn Tourism, I went back to my hotel, showered, changed, and met with The Woman From Vermont. And we lunched for an hour and a half. At the end of our conversation, she mentioned a little church just outside of Burlington, VT. "I know you're looking for a full-time job, and this is only three-quarters, but I think you'd be a really good fit for this church. They have a shawl-knitting ministry, even. I'll send you their information so you can give it some thought."

And give it some thought I did.

Y'all, I must have interviewed with ten or twelve churches. I must have read up on and NOT applied for ten. I must have gotten "thanks but no thanks" letters from twenty more. I know I turned down at least three who placed beautiful offers at my feet and tried to beat down my door. None of them felt right.

This little church just outside of Burlington did. And, thankfully, they felt as enthusiastic about me as I do about them. I'm moving in two weeks! We've already bought a house, now we just have to sell the one down here.

Throughout this whole process, I was working on my green sweater. From the Conference, through a couple of plane rides between home and Atlanta for wedding stuff (I must admit, it was nice to have a big "public" project to work on that wasn't the Secret Knitting -- my husband had NO idea I was working on something else), the car ride up and back, and then a trip up to Vermont to interview at this wonderful little church that liked me enough to fly me and my husband up there for the weekend.

The search committee knew that I'm a knitter. And they were trying to sell me on their town. So they took me to Kaliedoscope Yarns. These people are no fools.

I showed the green sweater to the search committee, and they were thoroughly impressed. I finished sewing up the second sleeve of the sweater as we drove away from Burlington (flew out of Boston, got to visit my sister too!), and decided that this is the Vermont Sweater. The yarn came from Vermont in the first place, and every stitch brought me through the job search process to the other side: Burlington! I still haven't blocked it, but that didn't stop me from wearing it to snuggle with my new nephew that weekend.

Meet Nando. That's short for Ferdinando. Silly name aside, he is the most adorable bulldog puppy I have seen since I was a little kid and our dog had puppies. Wow, he's a great dog.

Anyway, at Olivia's request, I'll be posting updates on our new house here, as well. We bought a fixer-upper in a historic district in Burlington (two blocks from Downtown!), and it needs a lot of work, because nothing's been done to this place for 40 years, and it's been sitting empty for at least three. Since it is a 1910-built house in a historic district, we're eligible for lots of historic preservation grants from the city. It's an exciting adventure, but it means I probably will have fewer knitting and more lead-paint-removal updates for a while. I'll try to keep up with both, but I will be a little internet-restricted for a while since neither my house nor my church has internet access, so we'll see about that. I foresee lots of coffee shop time in my future. Good thing I will be able to walk to, like, five of them from my new house!