Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A hat...and sock Mojo (Yarn Harlot style)

RIB BRIM HAT (my own design)
Caron Simply Soft Shadows, "Autumn" (150 yds per ball) less than 3/4 of a ball
US 8 Denise circular needle, US 8 dpns

I knit this hat the other day:


Using this yarn:
...which, while acrylic, has interesting color changes -- and it's machine washable, a good thing (I hope) in a garment I knitted for charity.


It's convertible (if you don't mind forgoing the use of your vision):
291-9186_IMG 291-9182_IMG

I knit the hat to take with me to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot, this evening in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has been encouraging people to knit hats for local charities and bring them to her book signing events for collection.

My husband and I arrived a little over an hour early and decided to go get some ice cream (pistachio!) down the street from the Calvin theater. Newly fortified, we entered the theater to find a lot of knitters (and their friends and family members) already in attendance.

I was handed a ticket that told us what time we should get to Webs to meet Stephanie and have her sign our book. The Webs folks were trying to avoid the huge line (snaking around the store and into the 800 aisle) that they had last time Stephanie was in town, by spreading us out temporally. This was a good idea, however, I knew something was up when I learned that our time (7:45pm) was evidently the first time slot available -- and there were at least a hundred (I'm no good at judging crowds, so there could have been more) people already in the theater when we got there (all of whom had tickets for 7:45, if they had tickets at all).

We found seats toward the front left side of the theater and starting knitting afghan squares for Warm up America with the yummy Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and US 8 needles we received in our goody bags. We talked a bit with some friendly knitters, and Jess was passing out buttons for Ravelry, so I took one.

Around 6 pm, Kathy and Steve Elkins (Webs owners) introduced Stephanie to the crowd that had been growing steadily in size.

They gave her a big frosty glass of beer (which she didn't touch until the question period at the end). It sat on the podium throughout her talk (I guess she didn't want to speak "under the influence"!).

Here Stephanie takes a "sock photo" (we got gently chastized for all our cameras flashing while she was trying to take a picture):
Note the strand of yarn draped between her ball (on the podium) and her sock (in her hand).

Her talk was great -- very funny! -- as was the question period at the end. Stephanie almost had a heart attack when she learned that Kathy and Steve had two helpers with "roving" wireless microphones in the audience for questioners to use. Someone (UPDATE: Thanks, Leslie, for letting me know it was you) asked for an update on Sir Washy (her trusty washing machine), as she hadn't blogged about him in a while. Not to be outdone, another person asked why Stephanie's dryer lives in obscurity.

There was a guy who said he had knit himself a "manly" hat and was working on a "manly" scarf (which he held up for us all to see). He claimed he planned to stop knitting entirely after the scarf was done, but he said his knitter friends all told him he wouldn't be able to do it. He called them "yarn pushers" and accused them of exerting peer pressure on him. He was quite the ham and got a lot of laughs (he clearly enjoys knitting and the company of other knitters, so I think his "plan" is not going to come to fruition).

Then a woman described how her house burned down, and she lost everything (including her yarn stash). She said that a mention of her situation on a friend's blog resulted in people she didn't know from all over the country (maybe the world, I don't quite remember) mailing her yarn. Stephanie offered to hook her up with some Cormo wool (which she especially missed) -- "see me after" she told the woman.

After the questions were over, we headed over to Webs for the book signing. I dropped off my finished afghan square (garter stitch -- hey, we were knitting in the dark), the afore mentioned hat, and some food for the Kid's Summer Food Program, then started to search for the end of the line.

Just as I had suspected, a large number of people appear to have received tickets for 7:45, so a line quickly formed that, after not too long, extended into the warehouse and down the dreaded 800 aisle (I didn't see where it ended). It was a bit toasty in line in the warehouse (no a.c. in there), but the Webs folks brought around cups of water and had chairs available if people wanted to sit down. They were all working very hard.

Lots of knitting was going on the line. The lady behind us finished knitting a rose she would felt later. I worked on my first sock (!!) which I had started earlier in the day. I have been wanting to learn how to knit socks, so I signed myself up for Sockapalooza 4. I decided I should knit myself a pair (or at least one sock) before I start on my Sock Pal's, for practice. These 00 needles sure are tiny!

A knitter ahead of us in line entertained Stephanie with her cute little baby (who giggled and stared at Stephanie, who was holding him and bouncing him in the air, while his momma tried to get him to look at the camera). UPDATE: Thanks to soknitpicky I have learned the identity of the knitter and baby. See knit and purl mama for a great recap (with lots of photos) of the Yarn Harlot's Northampton event.

When it was our turn to meet Stephanie, I petted her gorgeous Bohus sweater (don't worry, she wasn't wearing it -- it was hot today!) and mumbled something unintelligible about my first sock. She told me I had first sock Mojo ...I'm hoping she gave me some first sock Mojo ;), and said I should let her know when I finished the sock (does she really want to know? jeez, her inbox must fill up quickly!).

Here's the super flattering (not) photo of our socks meeting:

It was a fun evening (though I wish I was less shy)! I hope Stephanie enjoyed it, too (I'm sure the beer made it all worth while).


lv2knit said...

I loved seeing YH when she was in St. Paul last fall. It was the absolute coldest day you could imagine and swarmed with hundreds of knitters. She was funny and very generous in her interactions!

Leslie said...

It was a really good evening, wasn't it? I'm the Sir Washy fan :) I asked Cathy Elkins how many we had; it was only a little over 500. 618 had pre-registered but with the heat, it being a school night, etc...

MonicaPDX said...

Great post, and not too long at all! Thanks for commenting on Steph's blog so we could come read. Loved the bits about the audience questions. Nice hat there, too. Good luck with the sock!

Rain said...

Your hat looks great. It sounds like you had an amazing time at the Harlot.

Stephanie said...

I really like the look of that yarn you used for the hat, and I'm so jealous of your awesome time! around here the only knitters I ever see/briefly talk to are the women in yarn stores :(

Iris G said...

Thanks for a great report! I haven't had a chance to meet YH yet ;-), but I certainly look forward to it.
Great hat, and I like your pose very much.

Mel said...

I love the descriptive post. It sounds like a great time....was it a fun evening for your husband? I don't think mine would have made it through.

Your hat is adorable. Seriously, when do you sleep? You shame me.

Mel said...

Sorry...second comment. Just curious - what is your first sock pattern? I am getting ready to start my first pair too.

soknitpicky said...

Sounds like it was great--I'm so jealous. Funny thing, I was reading earlier today--I wonder if that was the knitter & baby you mentioned?

melissa said...

awww, i was there too. i couldn't get there until 6pm, so i didn't have a chance to meet too many people.

your clapotis in the previous post is gorgeous, btw.

Octopus Knits said...

Mel, actually I think my husband enjoyed it. I taught him to knit right after I learned how. He knit two hats, but hasn't done much knitting since. But he's pretty interested in my knitting (and came up the idea to knit an octopus in the first place).

Since he hasn't knit in a while, he's a little rusty, so he only knit about 1/5 of his afghan square during the talk. (Also, he likes to mess with stitch patterns, prefers purling to knitting, and likes to twist his stitches on purpose -- he's a rebel, go figure.)

About the sock pattern, I decided to go super simple, and since I started my sock on the day the Yarn Harlot would be speaking, I decided to use her recipe for "A Good, Plain Sock" that starts on page 131 of her previous book, Knitting Rules.

Octopus Knits said...

Hi Melissa, Glad you were there -- and I'm glad you like my clapotis!