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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Adventures in Knitting...meeting Famouz Knitters.

Warning: picture heavy...

Thursday my husband and I left San Antonio for our trip to Austin to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot. The plan was to hit several yarn shops on the way up, peddling out Birdy's Knits goodies. (The biggest benefit I've gotten due to Jamey's increased interest in Birdy's Knits and the creation of Birdy's Baubles is that now he takes me to yarn shops without me asking {read: begging, pleading} and willing with out grumping buys me yarn). Before I left the house I made sure to dig into my personal stash of Shiner Black: I've been keeping up with the Yarn Harlot's blog and knew she's had an extraordinarily hard week. She needed the beer...she needed Beer O'Clock to be NOW!

We left a bit late so our trip to The Yellow Sweater in Buda had to be skipped and post-poned. I have been dying to go and support this particular yarn shop because she started and is running her business without any debt what so's a purely cash funded business. I LOVE this. We are currently trying to get out of debt and have eschewed getting into more debt for the past 3 years (we had a small hiccup when we had that car accident and had to take out a loan to buy our van. 2006 was a BAD year that ate our savings and our emergency fund).

We hit The Knitting Nest, in south Austin. In which I found some LOVELY and red lace Malabrigo.

Lace Malabrigo

I am now the proud owner of 6 hanks of Malabrigo lace...some browns, blues, lavenders, greens, and now RED!! One of these days I will make some very pretty somethings. I love this lace so much...I just want to make a nest out of it!

Then on to Hill Country Weavers...Yarn Heaven!! I always forget to take pictures of this lovely space. I think it's the yarn fumes and the yarn overload. It swipes my mind. There's yarn coming at your from above, below, straight at you...everywhere you look you see yarn. I rescued these two luscious hanks.

Baby Alpaca Lace

More RED!! I am seeing a gorgeous wee shall. Maybe with cherries.

I almost walked out of the store without this sock yarn...thank dia I saw it because the LOVE!!

Araucania Sock Yarn

I love it so much that I made a collage. Just to show y'all every beauteous wonderful angle this hank possesses. I am not sure what sort of socks I'll make. I am leaning toward plain stockinette socks, but depending on how it winds up I may make up a simple pattern.

Yarn Collage

It's Araucania Yarn Itata Multy. It's 70% superwash wool, 15% silk and 15% bamboo. I didn't realise the content until I got home, I was so mesmerised by the colour way.

Okay...yes, I did meet the Yarn Harlot, but come on ya gotta enjoy the YARN LOVE!! I need another moment with the pretty fiber. So pretty.

Yes, after a teeny detour we made it to Book People to hear Stephanie speak at about 5 pm. Two hours before her talk, but I wanted a good seat. And who did I see, but the lovely Diane! I sat right next to her front and center. I have missed her...but she is nearly done with school and we all know how tough that final sprint is (so I forgive her. Grin). By getting there early, I was trapped by Book People's rigid no large bag rule (others skated by), so for the evening this was my knitting "bag."

My new Knitting Bag

It was amazingly heavy: I carry too much stuff. BUT, I need all that knitting, what if I get bored? What if it's the wrong sort of knitting: I need more or less attention. A knitter must always be prepared.

Unexpectedly, my Austin friend, Becky (a fresh law school grad!) snagged me to go upstairs to a private reception for Stephanie. Woot!! Private time with Stephanie and the Doctor!!

Stephanie was always surrounded by gads of Knitters...

TinyTen posingTinyTen  Posin'TinyTen, Knitters, and the Yarn Harlot

But Becky and I got in there. Pretty much by throwing beer into the mix. We were waiting out turn and one of her friends from Austin was apologising that she forgot the Shiner for Stephanie. Seeing her much put out, I piped up, "Oh don't worry! I got some Shiner in here," pointing to the TinyTardis hanging off my arm, "for you!" She was so relieved and incredulous, she grabbed by arm, "Really!?!?" Yes really just for you!

She was also thrilled with TinyTen.

Yarn Harlot holding TinyTen

She even remembered meeting TinyTen's cousin (or is it brother) KnitTen. (TinyTen is crocheted). She agreed to pose. And she even took a picture of me and Ten for HER blog. Woot!

Yarn Harlot, Me, and TinyTen

(So! I figure THIS out that night. I met and touched the Yarn Harlot. SHE was on The Graham Norton Show. And David Tennant was on the Graham Norton Show! It's sorta a connection, like only 3 degrees of separation! Yes, I am nuts and grasping at straws but it gives me a tickle.)

Becky also taught Stephanie the Hook 'Em Horns hand gesture.

Hook 'Em Horns!

Suna was also there. I am so proud of her: at first she said she was too shy to go up to Stephanie. And before I could grab her arm and drag her over there; she dived in head first and had a great chat with Stephanie(they have lot's in common).

the Yarn Harlot posing with Suna

I also got to see CJ and Judy from my Lone Star State Knitters yahoo group. I love catching up with far flung friends.

Okay down to the reading.

Lookie at all the knitters...the coolest thing, they are all knitting in sync. I have never been around this many knitters ALL knitting. It was fabulous.

TinyTen with KNITTERS in the wildKnitters!More Knitters

I did forget all the knitters that sat to the left of us. Sorry!

Okay the main event. Spike introduced Stephanie. Spike blogs for Hill Country Weavers at Knit Buzz.

Spike, introducing the Yarn Harlot

Stephanie waiting in the wings to make her grand (read second) entrance!

The Yarn Harlot before her Grand entrance.

Pay no attention to the yarn hoarder behind the curtain!!

Sock Pictures!

Stephanie's talk was AMAZING! She talked a lot about how misunderstood knitters are and how we span across all the boxes society seeks to place us into. We are a rainbow of deliciousness. We are not one religion, political ideology, gender, race, age group, economic position...we represent everyone--with one thing tying us together: our love and passion for knitting.

She also shared some AWESOME studies with us...specifically how smart and accepting knitting makes us. My favourite: A study from Cambridge, England (a report of the study and the actual study, for the brainiacs). It explains those that do repetitive, visual and spatial tasks while enduring a trauma are less traumatised. Meaning, knitting helps you cope in the aftermath of a traumatic event. Awesome.

Our favourite (and most ridiculous) part of the study was this:

The question is, how can this knowledge be used? It's not necessarily practical to carry around worry beads or "emergency knitting" for times of stress.


I always have knitting on me...heck I have 2 to 3 knitting projects with me at all times. Mainly because I NEED something to do with my hands at all times. For me no knitting would be trauma. Practical? My knitting keeps me from going ape shit from boredom. I also like the new scientific term for knitting: visuospatial task.

All in all Stephanie is a brilliant speaker, humourist and writer...I encourage y'all to see her if you get the chance. And at the very least read her books--they are full of win.

The Books!

Because I got a change to meet her earlier, I took to the very end of the long line to have my books signed. I got a chance to gab and catch up with my mate David (the other SA knitter that drove up for the event). She signed both my books (I bought her two latest books--Book People ran very short on copies of her book), one for me and one for Anne.

The AutographThe Autograph

And then she signed the TinyTen's Travel-log...with a special message for her geeky fans:

The Yarn Harlot Comforts the GeeksA Word to Who Fans...

I had a lovely time, the Yarn Harlot is delightful and funny and is a treasure. I am glad we have her as a fellow knitter.

I have made a few edits (a few pics and paragraphs) since I first posted: because while knitting supposedly gives you a better memory and recall--I, apparently, am too brain damaged to get that benefit.

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10:33 AM -- Email -- Link -- 6 comments

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Sounds like a great trip!
thanks for travelog..i couldn't go here so it is nice to read such details!
It really was fun, too (I was there, even if you can't see me).
Suna! Of course you were there--I totally forgot!! Will edit the blog some more. (I knew I should have written this blog Thursday night, but I was knackered!)

I felt like I got to meet her too. Thanks for all the pictures.

~Stephanie Cunningham
WC Mercantile
I think this is such an amazing talent!
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