The Creative Stitch invites yarnheads and needle novices to explore a vast selection of knitting tools, patterns, and books, or enroll in classes held in the shop's cozy confines. Learn such basics as purling, casting on, and crafting mittens from old bank statements during the three-hour beginning knitting class. Class sizes are limited to six to eight people, affording each student ample elbow room and individualized instruction from The Creative Stitch's skilled knitters. Though participants are welcome to bring their own supplies, the class includes yarn and needles but does not cover rent, food, and pet care neglected during marathon knitting sessions.
The stitch-passionate instructors at Heart in Hands help students patch together sewing and quilting know-how in relaxed and friendly classes. The Learn to Sew Series introductory sewing class gives students a stress-less start to stitching as teachers lead beginner basters through an easy sewing project. Over the course of the three-hour class, which includes materials, students pose questions to the professionals as they piece together a simple apron, wine tote, hamster wedding dress, or throw pillow that they may show off to friends and family.
Sharing a single art studio with 65 other artists, while inspiring, can get a bit crowded. So when the owner of the renovated factory building in the South End decided to renovate another nearby building, bead crocheter Andrea Garr put her dreams of opening her own studio and bead store into action, and Bead + Fiber was born. Wielding multihued beads, a fine selection of specialty yarns, tools and jewelry-making materials picked up from her travels around the globe, Garr sells her creations as well as those of the other teachers and instructs students on how to make their own, whether it's a pair of elegant earrings for a wedding or a retractable necklace for a fashion-forward pet turtle. A lifelong artist, Garr revels in the rhythm and meditative vibe of crocheting beads as well as the seemingly endless possibilities of making your own jewelry.
At WICHIT, patrons can draw up blueprints for their own sandwiches or choose from signature house specialties. Served on a choice of eight types of bread, custom sandwiches include meats such as seasoned pulled pork and new york sirloin strip and are covered in fresh veggies such as dill pickles, caramelized onions, and avocado. On the other hand, unique hot and cold house specialties brim with venerated offerings, from the sushi-inspired spicy tuna-maki sandwich to the oven-fresh Stonemill with sirloin strip steak and roasted garlic aioli.
Audiences can exercise laugh muscles and fill tear ducts with William Shakespeare's tragicomic The Merchant of Venice. Starring Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Amadeus), this production arrives in Boston after successful runs in New York, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, and the Iowa City Marathon. Directed by Darko Tresnjak, the former artistic director of the Old Globe in San Diego, The Merchant of Venice follows the lustful Bassanio, the wealthy Antonio, the rich heroine Portia, and Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. When the anti-Semitic Antonio asks to borrow money from Shylock, he agrees under the condition that should Antonio default, he must render a pound of his own flesh.
Like Don Quixote, veteran bookseller John Petrovato has embarked on a tempestuous journey spawned from a love of books. In defiance of chain and online bookstores, John is returning the human face to the neighborhood book shop, parsing out used tomes with a personal smile and, often, a few words from the author. And he’s succeeding. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this first incarnation of the new Raven Used Books—he made an amicable split with the co-owner of the original location—is located in Cambridge, where Harvard’s distinguished student body and professorship dwells. But even John's second store, located on Newbury Street, drew an equal number of book lovers, as well as speakers such as Noam Chomsky and a Best of the New nod from the Boston Globe. The reasons for John’s success in this struggling field are twofold. Many of the customers come because they appreciate the personal attention and literary culture that surrounds a local bookstore. And the inventory is nothing to scoff at. The Cambridge location stocks roughly 16,000 books—many of them from university presses—ranging in subjects from philosophy to social theory and poetry. The stock at the Newbury Street location veers towards more general subjects such as fiction, American history, children’s books, and children's books about social theory. And with roughly 2,000 new books arriving weekly between the two locations, the shelves are always packed with reading material for general readers and scholars alike.