Saturday, May 26, 2007

"So how many people tried to explain to non-knitters where they were going tonight?"

...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!

23 comments:

Marianne said...

Ms.M, I've been waiting for this, loved reading about your evening over at your sister's and here. I'm so glad so many folks showed up, seriously, there would've been lots more if those 'teleporters' were up and running!
Brennan is a beauty!
Great photos as usual!

Aven said...

Great post -- it's hard to recap her talk, isn't it! But it was a very fun evening. And thanks for the photo of my little one!

Lee Ann said...

I just played that video and my husband, who is playing World of Warcraft next to me, sort of jumped in his chair and said, "What the hell is that?" I told him it was Steph's entrance in Toronto...with a duly impressed look on his face, he said, "ahhhhh, okay," like all was now clear :-) He's met Stephanie a few times, and after Rhinebeck, well...let's just say he's well-trained to recognize a whooping, hollering whack of knitters now :-)

Amanda said...

I'm glad that you posted so much on this talk. It's nice to relive the memories. She was truly fantastic.

Reaching back a little, I love the colour you chose for Icarus. I've been staring at those LK skeins for a while and had a little bit of a panic when they were gone. I am releived that they went to a good home and I managed to get some of the same from Romni for a Swallowtail shawl at some point.

Stephanie said...

This is terrific. I love seeing it from the perspective of someone on the other side of it!
Thanks for coming, see you at LK.

Em said...

Hey, that's *my* head in the front of that first linup photo! It was great to meet you in line, and to help contribute to the tremendous turn-out there. Happy knitting!

MizCat/Catriona said...

I love your accout and your pictures. I was in the audience and she was as the Brits say Brillant thanks for sharing your story

Marti said...

This was a great post. Although I wasn't able to attend, it was nice to hear about what a great time it was. Especially love the video! Too funny.

Isis said...

Loved your account--especially nie for those of us reading from a distance. And don't worry about your thesis: it will soon be an FO, and before you know it, someone will cite it, or come up to you at a conference and tell you how great it is.

MonicaPDX said...

Wonderful post, and oh, that video! Thanks for such a great report for those of us who couldn't be there. (And I love the captions. Mad giggles.)

ccr in MA said...

Very nice job summarizing! Good photos, good write-up, and the video was such a cool touch. Thanks for making me feel like I was there!

She's coming near me (Burlington, MA) in July, and I hope to do near as good a job as you did at capturing the feel of the event.

Ceithern said...

Hi Martha - I don't know if you remember me, but I used to hang around with your twin in first year at Trent, and I have an online journal called Book of the Amber Dragon. It was so funny to run into a link to you from one of my daily reads (especially as a couple months ago I found Glenna through her pattern on knitty!). Sounds like you are doing well, nice to virtually run into you! -- Kate

Kate said...

That video is hilarious! Thanks for letting we folks who are GI (geographically impossible) share in the fun of last night.

Debbie said...

great post! Loved the video! I almost feel as if I was there. Hope one day Stephanie will come down South.

AlisonH said...

I kept looking for whichever blog had that video, and now I found it. Cool. And you know what? I've bookmarked this page and I'm sending the URL to the guys in Petaluma. They didn't send me tickets for the event when I ordered mine and my friend's books, and I went, hey!!! I paid for my reservations by ordering those books like your site said I had to do, so, where are they?

I got this, Oh--was this a ticketed event? For a knitting book author??? Why... Huh. Manager didn't mention that, and I didn't think...

And then they sent me my silly tickets. But do they know how many knitters there are in California, fer cryin' out loud?

(Blogger doesn't like that I changed my address to spindyeknit.com and keeps blipping out. If this suddenly goes through more than once, I apologize.)

heather t said...

Oh, wow, I totally agree with you on Knitting Rules! I had read sock patterns before with a big "huh?" - could not get it. Steph's step-by-step details explaining not only what, but also WHY, made so much sense, finally. Now I am signed up for a sock trade/KAL, which I never dreamed I would do. I wish I had had the nerve to mention all this to Stephanie when I met her in Ann Arbor!!

Liz said...

Well said! Love the pictures, and the video, WOW!

Julie said...

What a great post - and thanks to Stephanie for the link. Love the cheering crowD!

Dr. Steph said...

Great re-cap of the night. I'll send people here instead of doing it myself.

Kellie said...

Thank-you so much for such a wonderful post. I couldn't be there and 'am trolling the blogspere living it through others. I played the video and my daughter called out "too loud" to which i gave her a raspberry! I don't often get the chance to be "too loud" around here.
again, thanks

pacalaga said...

Brilliant. Thanks for that~!

jacquieblackman said...

Nice post! And thanks for proving that I was there. Since I didn't really take any pics it's nice to have something to reference before my memory fades.

(If you're interested: In the "constantly knitting during talk" photo one of the arrows is poking me in the head. Heeee!)

Nicole said...

Sounds awesome. Brought a tear to my eye, literally. I'm jealous that I wasn't there. Thanks for the great recap.