Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How the Yarn Harlot Saved My Life

*Ok, so she didn't really.  But she totally could have.

Rewind to the beginning.

Monday, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was doing a book signing for All Wound Up in Park Slope.  Sweet!  Julia had told me about the event but could not make it.  So I had to go for the both of us!

I was pretty lazy that day and left the house in such a rush.  I had to walk to the train station (still no car) which is about a half hour walk except that I had about 25 minutes before the train was due into the station.  So I speed walked and actually made it there with enough time to get my ticket and take a breath.  Except I was pretty sweaty and gross.  All I could think was oh man please don't let me smell bad when I meet the Yarn Harlot!

I spent the train ride working on my Bluerose socks and Traveling Woman shawl.  It was overall uneventful.  When I got to Brooklyn I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Subway before walking towards Barnes and Noble.  Yes, I decided to save the $2.25 on a subway ride and walk the half hour to the store.  It worked out well though because I needed to deposit a check at the bank on the way and thought I knew where a branch was located.  I was rushing though because it was quite the walk and I wanted to be sure to get to the bookstore and have time to find a seat.
Reading an excerpt

After all that rushing, I made it there with plenty of time and went straight to the customer service desk to ask where the talk was going to be.  Right after the employee told me where to go, I turned around and headed to the escalators.  Just then she walked in.  I didn't know what to do.  I just, well, froze.  I whipped out my cell, pretending to look busy and then hurried off down the escalator.

I found a seat and waited.  I was really shocked how few people were there at that point.  The store had set up about 35 seats set up, 5 of which were facing the wrong way.  Ridiculously, they were zip tied together and the store employee would not let us cut them apart** but would let us turn the entire row of chairs around.  Cause you know, zip ties are so darn expensive these days...

After a while it really filled up.  I mean, standing room only.  I was glad to have a seat and a decent view***.  When SPM took the podium, she was much different than what I was expecting.  I was expecting her to be bigger.  Or maybe taller.  Somehow more intimidating and less down-to-earth.  I guess that's just a result of seeing her big personality online.  But she's actually close to my height (5'3"****) and size.  She was also so much nicer than I expected.  Not that I expected her to be mean or anything.  But she just jumped right into talking to everyone.  I guess, though, when this is your career it's more like second nature for you.  I was a bit in awe.

She talked a little, then read 3 excerpts from the book, answered questions and chatted with us, and then started the book signing.  I was in no rush so I sat with some other ladies for a while knitting and chatting.  I don't actually want to give anything away from the book in case you're waiting to purchase it or see her in person.  But we found it funny that one of her stories involved her looking something up in a medical reference book at the library and that was the section of the store we were squished into.  She took a picture of the wall behind her once it was pointed out.  She also took a picture of the crowd and you can see me way in the back of it on her blog post of the event.

Now, I know I've never mentioned SPM around here before.  That's probably because I'm not the typical Yarn Harlot fan.  When I read a blog, I like to start at the beginning.  Sometimes I don't and just jump in, but I do the same with podcasts and TV shows.  Which is why I'm about 3 years behind in listening to CraftLit at the moment.  I've tried to go back and read SPM's blog from the beginning.  And I've made it through quite a bit.  But she's been blogging for a while now, and she blogs often.

Working on my Traveling Mermaid Shawl

And the other problem?  Sometimes her blog rambles a bit too much for my attention span.  I admit, I scan a lot of blogs rather than reading every bit, especially when people are writing about their projects and the mods made and yadda yadda.  But with her blog it's different.  Maybe it's because she's a writer by profession.  Trust me, I've even tried to read her books.  They just don't hold my attention.  But Monday night, I was eating it up!  SPM needs to make audiobooks of her publications.  And if I had my way, she'd be the one to be reading them aloud.  Let's make it better, we'll make it a video- she had the best facial expressions while reading to us!  It made it so much better.  It made the stories come alive in a way that her blog and books never had for me.  I mean, I know she was standing right there actually alive in front of me, but the stories were just so much more intriguing to me.  Now how do I convince her on my plan??  Any ideas out there?

At the end of the night, she was super sweet and signed two books for me so that Julia could have one even though she couldn't make it.  We chatted with her a bit and she did not try to rush us at all even though we lingered a bit.  But eventually we left her to sign copies for the store and head upstairs to pay for our books. The girl I had been standing with checked out fast but there was a problem with the guy in front of me and it took forever.  And then SPM and her friend were 2 people behind me in line.  With the book.  SPM was standing in line to buy her own book.  Apparently she left her copy of it home and needed another for her readings.  I was much amused by this.

Now, onto the saving part of the story.  I checked the train schedule and realized once again, I had less than a half hour to get to the train station to make the train on time.  And yes, the walk takes about a half hour.  I booked it down 7th Ave towards Flatbush and then decided I could probably make faster time going down 5th Ave (it would take me closer to the station) so I cut down 4th St.  And then I remembered.  All the stories I've been hearing on the news and warning my Park Slope friends about.  Over the past few months there have been far too many sexual assualts on women at night in that general area.  Ugh of course I remember this walking down a dark not very busy street.  I walked faster than I think I ever have.  I reached 5th Ave and was disappointed to see it was less busy than I was expecting.  But it was lit and there were people.  I avoided the men on the street, especially those who fit the suspect descriptions.

Addicted to knitting?  Maybe that's me...
I started walking a little more at ease, swinging my arms as I speed walked to the station.  And then I remembered- I have two hardcover Yarn Harlot books in a shopping bag.  Well, that could make a good weapon.  Obviously I have my sharp pointy knitting needles but they're buried in my purse.  But this bag.  Well, it could make a good defense against an attacker.  I could imagine it- someone coming to bother me and I would just turn around swinging that bag.  And then when I knocked him down, I could quickly grab my knitting needles just in case.

The girls with the best name EVER!  (She agreed)

Thankfully, I did not need to worry so much about it.  I made it to the station just fine though very parched.  But she totally could have saved me had I needed a defense.

We have the same name.  You would think they would look the same in her handwriting.

Now that I'm safely at home, I'm looking forward to reading this book.  Maybe now that I've seen her in person, I'll just hear her voice as I read them and my attention will stay with the stories she tells.  Oh, and yes she says "aboot" and "eh" and other cute Canadian things :o)

**At least 5 people turned around and offered their scissors.  I love knitters.  We always come prepared.

***I had a great view when I offered the seat next to me (I was saving for a friend who couldn't show last minute) to a lady when her birdfaced baby mommy friend snottily asked can't I move down.  Ugh.  If SPM hadn't already speaking I would have said something but I didn't want to be rude unlike some people.  Birdface had to sit next to her friend, even though she had to keep getting up to soothe her cute baby and wound up giving up her seat anyway.  I hate people.  Her baby was really cute though.

****and a quarter but people don't usually count that.  But that was all the height I gained from 8th grade to high school.  So I was very proud of it at one time.  And I'll take what I can get in the height department.


  1. Love that you got to see the Yarn Harlot. And, I know at least two of her books are on ausiobooks read by SPM herself! I got them on iTunes.

  2. Sounds like a fun time. I wish I would have made the trek to Brooklyn.

  3. It sounds like you had fun! I heard about SPM when I first started knitting and I went down to the bookstore to get one of her books...only to find out that she had just been there the night before to speak. I was kind of clueless and had no idea. LOL

  4. She really is a lovely woman. I bumpend into her at the ladies's a funny story that I'll blog about one day when I have a chance!



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