Thursday, March 22, 2007

Look at all the knitters! I was fortunate enough to attend the Yarn Harlot's book launch and "Show the Muggles Night" at FIT tonight. Nearly all the seats in the 750 seat auditorium really were filled. And for once I wasn't the only one in the audience knitting! I went ahead and bought a signed copy of her new book "Cast Off." Originally I thought the premise was her traveling around the country and writing about the knitting related places she saw and people she met. Then I realized it was actually a trip to the fictional land of knitting. I havn't had a chance to read it at all yet but will give a review when I do.

They handed out these pins to everyone who entered the auditorium. It took me awhile to figure out that the "Y" in knyitters was for "NY." Am I the only slow one this wasn't obvious to? Every chair had a bag on it containing a pair of Boye size 8 straight needles and a skein of Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) yarn. There was a pattern for making a square for Warm Up America. The stated idea was for everyone in the audience to make a 7x9 square during the evening and hand it in the end to make into a blanket. I think this was a thinly veiled attempt to quell Stephanie's nerves by talking to a room full of bentover heads rather having to look anyone in the face as she spoke. I finished about 6 inches before my arm started to hurt. I'm not used to using straights when the seats are so close together. But I'll finish it at home and mail it in.

As for the event itself Stephanie came out wearing her Bohus sweater and jeans as I and other readers had recommended to her on her blog. I took pics but I was so far back that you can barely see her in them. The sweater did look really nice in person and fit well. At one point she started overheating and took the sweater off tossing it on the floor of the stage. The New Yorkers in the audience called out to her to pick it up off the floor. Apparently in Toronto the bitter cold keeps all the floors clean (note hint of sarcasm).

Her response was that wool is washable. I guess she has never lived in a NYC apartment where your bathroom is the size of a moth's balls, your two tables are constantly covered with clutter, and even if it's superwash you still have to treck to the laundromat and pay $2 for what they claim is a doubleloader. Sorry for the tangent but if you haven't lived here you just don't get how 8 million people can live together in such a small area and only kill each other occasionally (more so in certain neighborhoods). Things get dirty...really we don't put our handknit sweaters on the floor!

Anyway she was totally nervous in the beginning. But once she opened up she gave a really funny speech; part standup comedy routine, part rallying cry for people to see knitters for who we really are and how many of us there are and not succumb to stereotypes. She used the acronym CHOKE which stands for Constant Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere. She told some really funny stories of people's reactions to her such as when a man literally withdrew his business card after a ten minute conversation with her when he realized she wrote knitting books. One of the funnier bits was when she told people what they should say should a non-knitter come across your stash in all its glory without any preparation. You could say something along the lines of "Thanks for noticing. It took me a long time but I'm almost there" or "This is only the amount of yarn I need for the week" or pick up and stroke a skein of yarn and call it your kitten.

The only downside to the evening was the so called "Question and Answer" part. Only about 3 out of 15 people who took the mic actually asked questions. The others all just gushed to Stephanie about how great and funny she was and then competed by comparing how far away they had traveled to come to the book launch. I think she liked this because she didn't get put on the spot but I really wanted to call out "She's just a normal person. Unless you want to go backstage and feel her up under her Bohus just ask a simple question and then shut up. I know we're all these happy feel-good knitters but it's getting late, I haven't eaten dinner, and I don't care that you caught the red eye from Sweden or that your 5-year-old cracks up when you read Yarn Harlot books as bedtime stories." Wow, I feel better now that I got that off my chest!

To end on a more positive note I was interviewed for the "Let's Knit2gether" podcast. You can access it here. I was kicking myself for forgetting to bring my fliers for UES Knitters but the interviewer was happy to let me put in a plug for my group on her podcast. Hopefully it'll get into the final version. I'm going to go read my new book now. Now I don't have worry about finishing "At Knit's End" and having no other good knitting humor to read!


Lucinda said...

Finally someone who mentions something about the Yarn Harlot tour that I DON'T mind missing. Sounds like the Q & A turned into "Hogging air time & gushing"

I did not manage to make it to NYC all the way from St. Louis, but reading about it on other people's blogs is so much fun that it almost makes up for not being there.

misplacedpom said...

Ha ha! I had the same reaction, the groupies kind of freaked me out a little. She may be cool and have written books, but she's still just one of us! As my Dad likes to say, "Even the Queen farts".

Kimberli said...

Thanks for sending me the link!! I'm sad not to have been able to hear her semi-stand-up bits as her books (although edited to death I'm sure) crack me up!

Sounds like I would have been frustrated at the Q&A that you seemed to capture so well in your description.

Cheers from China!

Anonymous said...

ha, ha, ha- I am glad I did not go. I have a hard time with groupies.

aruni said...

i'm a little sad i missed it, but i ended up getting out too late to make it to FIT in time to get a seat, let alone a good seat. i can't believe the thing went on so long! by all accounts, stephanie is a great speaker, but i agree with you in not having patience for comments rather than questions during Q&A.

Camlin said...

Thanks for writing this.