Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Knitters Are Coming!

On Friday night, I had the most fantastic time. My new buddy Meghan swung around to my house and off we drove to Powell's. Why? To go see Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot, do a book signing. Now I've been lucky enough to meet her twice before, and knew there were good things ahead.

I came prepared with a bag of Hood strawberry scones (have to share some Oregon goodness, now), cream cheese to spread them with, and of course chocolate covered coffee beans in case of very late or very early flights. I did feel a large twinge of guilt, since the last two times I've seen Stephanie I brought samosas. I wanted to make them this time, I truly did, but I ended up working over 30 hours this week checking coupons against a database and banging my head against the computer desk when the %$&# thing ATE ALL MY DATA. I spent the week in a bleary haze, staring at a computer screen and hoping that eventually I'd all get it done, interspersed with wrangling the boys. Wasn't even sure I'd get to go to Powell's on Friday, but darned if I was going to try. So in a rare moment of sanity I ditched the samosas plan and decided on scones, something I could do quickly and well and that should at least be tasty.

Meghan and I found parking and trotted over to the book store around 5:00. The original plan was to go find seats, get some dinner somewhere close, and come back in time for the signing. Well, when we got there the room had one row of benches, benches with knitters perched on top. The rest of the room was completely empty. We were told they planned on putting chairs out around 6:00, though eventually we managed to convince them to put chairs out earlier. We all sat, knitting and mingling amongst ourselves. I happened upon Rodger, the perfect fearless partner in crime. I look forward to many knitting adventures in the future. I chatted with Pauline, who sadly is blogless but was lovely to talk with. Then off in the corner I spied Bobbie, carrying the most glorious Argosy shawl. Everyone gathered around, stroking it and admiring the colors. Bobbie is sweet and funny and wonderful in person, and I was happy to finally meet her. I giggled over this little miss (her name is Charlotte). Her mama is Heather, and her dad bought her the shirt. I love it!

Eventually, we realized it was far too fun hanging out to leave and grab food somewhere else. Meghan and I illicitly, one at a time, slipped downstairs to purchase our books and grab sustenance from the coffee shop. Food was slipped into knitting bags and smuggled back up into the "Pearl" room, where we munched while no one was the wiser. I love breaking rules.

Finally, Stephanie arrived. Resplendent in her brand new sweater (which was flung off moments later - the room was really hot), she quickly lowered the microphone and began to speak. She warned against the "crochet marauders", spoke of her worries about a wool blight that would lead to yarn store riots, and detailed the machinations of CHOKE (Cultural Humiliation Of Knitters Everywhere). She was funny, endearing, and had us all laughing until our grins hurt. Then she spoke of what knitters can do, of how much money we have all raised so far for Knitters Without Borders, of the friendships and bonds so many of us have formed, of how special it is in this day and age to make something by hand. It was a beautiful speech.

Then we all lined up to have books signed. This is where sitting in the front row became a problem: there was no way to get to the line aside from walking all the way around the aisles while everyone else quickly hopped up into place. Seemed fair, though. So we stood in line and knitted and visited. I got to see Rodger's new sweater. Also met the very bubbly blogless Terissa, who suggested we all go out for tea and drinks later. Excellent idea! I met Christy, who talked of the Single Sock Liberation Movement and showed me a bevvy of proudly single socks. Carry on the good fight, Christy!

And then, it was my turn. Stephanie looked at me, smiled, and said, "you!" And then right after that, "where are the samosas?" We both laughed and I offered up the scones. She asked what I was working on*, I told her it was a shawl, to which she quickly remarked, "it's got a long way to go then, eh?" Then I had her feel it, and she may have said something like, "evil, evil woman." Heh, heh - I take great pride in my evilness! Meghan took a picture of both of us (note that she is still fondling the shawl) and I'm pretty sure I was in the middle of saying something. Better picture over here (squee! Yep, I'm on the blog). She gave me a big hug after that, and you know what? Stephanie gives a really good hug. Not a big surprise - she's a pretty neat person all 'round.

Afterwards Meghan and I walked over to the tea/lounge place (what was the name of it?), meeting up with Rodger and Terrisa later on. I actually got carded. At 38 years old - what a compliment! We all sat and gabbed and Meghan worked furiously on a wee baby sweater and had a blast. Many thanks to Meghan for the ride and for being my knit event buddy, and thanks to Stephanie for once again making us all laugh and think and feel proud of our knitterly ways.

* (I knitted! For the first time in over a month! Fittingly, it was on my sister's almost cobweb crepe shawl, since I need to finish before August. It felt strange, and my hands trembled as I did it, but I managed. I'm just going to bite the bullet and keep working on it even if knitting feels strange and uncomfortable for a while.)