Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hoofin' it on up to see the Harlot

For the uninformed or unenlightened, you may not have known that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known as the Yarn Harlot, a relative rock star in the world of knitting and knit-blogging, was touring the U.S. to publicize her fourth book, and made a stop in the mid-Atlantic region on Thursday.

I, of course, felt compelled to go see her, and managed to wangle myself a ride with my friend (blogless) Lou, who graciously did all the driving:
- Thanks, Lou!

We left Richmond around 2 pm, and with a little help from Nigel, my British-accented GPS, had a unbelievably trouble-free drive to Falls Church, (and if you know anything about D.C.-area traffic, you know this is nothing short of a miracle). After one quick stop in Quantico to pick up a late lunch, we arrived at the Bailey's Crossroads Borders bookstore around 4 pm, and one of the first things we saw in the parking lot was a car with this painted on their side window:

Not sure if you can read that, but it says:
"Yarn Harlot or Bust!"


We knew then that we were in the right place, which was confirmed when we saw this sign on the front door:


After walking in the door, we saw these two knitters patiently waiting and knitting near the table where they'd eventually hand us our numbers for the book signing:

At first we thought those two ladies were the only knitters there, so far. We were wrong. They were just the first in line. Here are more of the folks who got there before us:

Lou and I were numbers 22 & 23 in line, and made ourselves "comfortable" in this aisle:

Here are a few of our fellow aisle-mates: of whom was wearing these adorable shoes, which only fiber-folk can appreciate:

Lou brought the Rooster she knit for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Camp this past spring:

Roddy McFowl, as this rooster is called, has his very own pair of Socks That Rock:

Roddy & Lou got their 15-minutes-of-fame back in April when the Yarn Harlot blogged about Camp Cockamamie.

While we waited a little over an hour for the book signing number line to open, sitting on the floor in the Science Fiction aisle, I actually knit for the first time in about six weeks. Lately I've had some kind of mental block (fog?) about knitting, and haven't wanted to knit nary a stitch for that long. I have Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, knitting evangelist-extraordinare, to thank for busting that block and getting me knitting again while I waited to hear her speak. So, thanks, Stephanie! (We don't call her Yarn Harlot for nuthin!) I worked a few repeats on my Chevron Scarf, and it inches along towards completion, which I expect will happen sometime in 2010.

Lou worked on a hat, and I just had to get a picture of this cute stitch marker she's using:

While sitting in line, we saw Amy, better known as Crazy Lanea, whom Lou and I met at the Knitter's Review Retreat last year, showing her pretty mitered square blanket:

And after we got our numbers and our seats in the cafe, I looked up and saw Amber, a Northern Virginia knit-blogger whom I read but have never met.

Of course I had to go up and introduce myself and give her a hug. Amber is wearing a top-down sweater she knit a few months ago -- it looks adorable on her.

Here are a few crowd pictures of folks waiting in the cafe before Stephanie's 7:30 arrival:

It was a kick to be in that room with hundreds of knitters, all furiously working on one project or another. There was some good knitting mojo in that room, and it was a wonderful opportunity to see some really fabulous WIPs and FOs. I wish I'd taken more pictures of people's various projects, but there were just too many to adequately document. Everyone was polite and gracious to one another, as we all eagerly and happily awaited the guest of honor. Fun times.

We got to watch a beautiful sunset while we waited:

Also while we waited, I tired of working on my scarf, (I'm not 100% back to being a knitter, apparently), and so I discretely pulled this out of my bag and read a few more chapters:

Is that tacky to read one knit-blogger's book at another's book signing?
(If so, then, shhhhhhhh..... don't tell Stephanie)
Look who joined Lou & I while we waited:

That's Beth, our fellow Richmonder and KR Retreat buddy.
Hi Beth!


Finally, at long last, came the moment we were waiting for. Stephanie had arrived. But first, she was introduced by Daniel, the Borders bookstore manager, who was wonderful and gracious and fun and really got into the spirit of the event:

Daniel wears a hat knit for him 30 years ago by an old friend

After some major microphone readjustments, (Steph is way shorter than Daniel), she was well on her way to providing us a delightful evening:

But before she got into the meat of her talk, she took care of a little business:

The audience takes pictures of the sock and Stephanie,
taking pictures of the sock and audience.


She then proceeded to regale us for the better part of an hour with her theories about C.H.O.K.E. (Cultural Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere). I tell ya, if you think she's funny in writing, you should hear her in person. There's nothing like a writer getting to read their writing in exactly the inflection they've intended. She's got a dry, deadpan delivery and a precise Canadian accent that makes her material hilarious, and reminds me of an experienced comedienne like Rita Rudner. Mainstream muggles and members of C.H.O.K.E. don't know what they're missing.

While she talked, there were a few things vying for my attention, like this gorgeous sweater-in-progress:

Cables! Teal!

and this adorable fella who flirted with those of us in the row behind him all night:

...but I still gave my primary attention to Stephanie.

After Stephanie's talk, and a short Q&A period, we then moved upstairs for the book signing.

Here's Lou, holding Stephanie's sock, while Stephanie holds Roddy:

(sorry it's blurry, Lou!)

And despite my long-held belief that the fewer pictures of myself on the blog, the happier everyone is, I will share this one, as it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:

rubbing elbows with greatness

All in all, a really fun day. We made it home in less than two hours, right around midnight, without running into traffic in either direction. Another miracle. Many thanks, again, to Lou for driving, and to Stephanie for visiting our fair state. (Read about Stephanie's perspective on the day, here.)


Liz R. said...

I'm so glad that you had such a great time!!! The photo of you and Stephanie is wonderful!!

I'm soooo jealous! What do you think of Laurie's book?

Robin said...

Just call me Kermit...cause I'm GREEN!!
I should have sent you my book to get signed...oh well! Maybe she'll come down my way?!?!?
Looks like you guys had a blast!

jane said...

Thanks for a great write up for those of us who couldn't go!!!! Jane

Anonymous said...

What a great time you both had!!

And Roddy will be the talk of the coop!

Nikki said...

It sounds like y'all had a GREAT time!!!

Robin said...

MAN! I want to see her in person! Love the pictures and LOVE Lou's Roddy! His socks rock!

emmy said...

WOW! I am so glad that you had a great time. Wonderful recap- thanks for sharing.

rho said...

What a lucky bunch of past KR retreat members - I am so envious.... ;)

Bess said...

What a fun post! and I agree - that photo of you and steph is wonderful. It deserves a frame.

Suzanne said...

Brilliant! you guys look great.

lmilla said...

oooo - so exciting! Thanks for writing it up!!!

Tif said...

color me jealous!!!!!!!!!

i'm glad you had a great time:)

(came over from ravelry BTW!)

Margaret said...

Great write-up and photos, and sounds like a truly fun time.

Sneaksleep said...

Hey, that's me working on the teal cabled sweater! If only I had known you were there! Wasn't it a blast? :)

Katrin said...

Glad you liked my car, it took me about an hour to get the lipstick off my car window, but it was totally worth it.
Katrin (also known as the Knithead)

Sangeeta said...

That's my friend Bryna's cabled blue sweater in your picture! It's Samus from knitty! You saw Bryna and didn't even know it!

lemmie said...

wow! look at all those knitters! hi lou - see you at cary town books soon!