...So the Yarn Harlot asked the crowd at her book launch last night. It was a super fun event and I'm so glad she finally got to do one in Toronto. The theme of her talk was all about representing the culture of knitters and all the embarrassments and terminal stereotypes that still haunt it. I don't know if I can do a just & accurate recap of the night. It was exciting and entertaining and enlightening and relaxing and... funny. Just so much laughter and good times in the crowd. By the end of it even the staff were enjoying it. (Once they got past that crushing bewilderment.)
Mom and dad drove in to meet Glenna and I and we had dinner on Yonge. Then we got to Indigo around 6pm and met Kate, to join the line for seats.
And that was a long line, yup. And it seemed like everyone, and I mean everyone had a sock just for the occasion. It was so neat. When I think about Knitting Rules!, that was the book that made me learn about socks. It changed my knitting life because it taught me how to make a sock and not follow a pattern, because you could just do it in you head. Because anyone can just knit a sock, just like that, and she tells you how. What a super testimonial to Stephanie.
As seats filled up (about 100), more people (for certain, at least 300 in total) filed through.
I wore the Brennan cardi (it was a little warm), and had a few compliments on it, which was totally nice. I think I forget sometimes that, um, other people sometimes notice what you knit? Like, it's not just that thing you're really glad isn't haunting your WIP list anymore? (I mean, it's possible someone somewhere someday will like my thesis for what it is too. I'll be happy enough when it's done, yanno?)
Now, with about a half hour to go, the place was seriously starting to crowd in. And it's important to remember that this is also a store that handles Harry Potter midnight book launches. All the staff I talked to were polite and accommodating and very diligent about making sure as many people got a seat as they could. The girl at the desk where I bought the book from cheerfully said her aunt was coming too, and since Stephanie hadn't done signing in Toronto yet, so wasn't this nice? That said, I'm not sure they knew what to do when the empty spaces filled in. Behind the desk, behind shelves, behind stairs...
Even on the stairs above, where you could just barely get a sightline. Hard core, yo.
Then she showed up and all 300+ of us went berserk.
See the store guy trying to subdue the crowd? "Settle down, girls, settle down..." Psh. But he did then admit he knitted once in school because there was a cute girl on his floor who did it. Heh.
Stephanie gives a great talk. She's clear and confident but humourously self-deprecating and comes off just so comfortable with herself and her craft and her culture, you would never know she had posted just hours before about how stressed she was speaking in her home town.
She told the story of the Blue Moon Fiber arts bank troubles, her experiences talking to people who don't "get" knitting, about one store in the USA that put out only 10 chairs for her signing because it was "just a knitting book", and the wild and unexplained paranoia of a worldwide blight that will render all sheep suddenly and permanently hairless.
The crowd was wonderful, had a great time, and knit like pros. I saw so many socks and shawls and scarves in progress, and gorgeous sweaters that I wondered what they were knit out of. And a few little ones that were so well-behaved. This little girl had a knitted skirt and bloomers on. Oh, squee.
When I got to the desk Stephanie was cool enough to hold one of R's socks for me. I mentioned we were hoping to teach him to knit while he recovers from surgery. So she gave it a little mojo from the tour sock. There's a lot of knitters who've touched that sock, she said, so that's some good juju right there. We had to bail on the afterparty, but had a small one on our own with a movie and goodies and some drinks. Finished the socks too!
In conclusion, Stephanie rocks. She's smart and talented and funny and confident, knows her craft and has a remarkable ability to pinpoint the identifiers of knitting culture. And the thing is, she's one of us. She represents us so well because she reflects the culture so many people contribute to. Three cheers!