Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yarn Harloting at BookPeople

On Thursday I rushed from my doctor appointment to BookPeople to see The Yarn Harlot. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I got there from North Austin. A few minutes before the reception I arrived and had enough time to take this picture.

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The Yarn Harlot had her name in lights. (At least it was in lights after dark. I think.)

Once I was inside, I ran into Elizabeth, and discovered that they had already sold out of Stephanie's most recent book.


(You could tell the staff was tired of explaining to people that they were out of the book.)

I ran upstairs, passing the crowd on the second floor that was already waiting, and up to the third floor where the reception was. Stephanie had not arrived yet. I ran into Suna, and asked her to watch my stuff while I used the bathroom.

I was going down the stairs to the bathroom, when I saw Stephanie Pearl-McPhee coming up the stairs.

"Oh my God!"

I introduced myself, shook her hand and excused myself. I wasn't too embarrassed, but it was an interesting way to meet the Yarn Harlot.

When I came back I stood on the outside of the group surrounding her and took this picture.

Photogenic Scarf

It was a very Harloty picture.

And now you see why I wound all that Misti Alpaca. I wanted a photogenic project that I could work on without a chart or paying too much attention. I bought this yarn specifically for an Eve's rib scarf ages ago, and I cast on the night before the event.

When I got in closer, I asked her to pose with it, another Harloty move.

The Yarn Harlot holds my scarf

I explained to her how I cast on this project just so I'd have a photogenic project for the event. She thought that was funny, and now the scarf is called the Photogenic Scarf.

I alternated between hovering around Stephanie and the group that surrounded her, and mingling with other knitters. I saw Birdy wearing the original Flit 'n Float, a cute baby in a cute hat and a Lacewings shawl in Handmaiden Sea Silk.

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(Oh, and Suna and I decided to be on each other's blogs.)

The crowd waits for the Yarn Harlot

A few minutes before the reception ended, I headed downstairs to claim a spot. This is just part of the crowd. Of course they were out of chairs, so I claimed a spot on the floor.

Out of Chairs

(I ended up moving to another spot on the floor so I could see better, but you get the idea.)

While we waited, I ran downstairs and picked up a copy of The Secret Life of a Knitter, and I took a few pictures for other people with their cameras. And I knitted. We all knitted.

Spike introduces the Yarn Harlot

This is Spike, introducing the Yarn Harlot. She told us to "put down our knitting damn it" to clap for Stephanie.

The Yarn Harlot and her Sock

The first order of business was for her to take pictures of the crowd with her sock in front, just like she does at every stop on her book tours. This is where things got interesting.

The Yarn Harlot and my giant sock

This is the reason I wound the KnitPicks Cadena. I read on Ravelry that they were trying to get people to knit giant socks (or parts of giant socks) to hold up when the Yarn Harlot held up her sock. You can get a better view of how far I got here. I attempted an improvised heel turn to make them look more sock-like (or at least like little booties), but I ran out of time during my break at work to finish them.

And get this.

I was the only one who held one up in my section.

I wonder is she even noticed. Or just thought I was weird.

As she went around the room, a couple of people held up socks in on the opposite side of the room. At least one was fully knit. I think she kind of chuckled and got the point, but I don't think it made the impression we were hoping for.

The Yarn Harlot

(Yes my camera does crappy close ups.)

First, Stephanie talked about how non-knitters don't get us, which is something we all know. She read some headlines from stories about knitting. Everyone thinks it's weird. She said a really weird hobby would be shaving weasels, which I think would make a great name for a band.

After all, if knitters are just people amused by string, aren't fisherman* just people who stand in the middle of a lake all day, and isn't football just throwing around a ball?

Ironically, a couple of co-workers talked about planning a fishing trip on Friday. I tried to relay this tidbit to them, but I don't think I got my point across.

(*I realize being a commercial fisherman is something different entirely.)

The Yarn Harlot and my Scarf

(Another Harloty pic.)

The most interesting part, IMHO, was about brain waves. There are four kinds of brain waves, Stephanie said. Beta is when we are thinking hard or doing a complicated task. (Stephanie said she was probably in Beta as she was giving her talk.) Alpha is when we are "hanging out." Delta is when we are asleep. And then there's Theta.

Theta brain waves happen when we are in sort of a trance like state, like when we are falling asleep or just waking up. Theta brain waves are good for you. They make you smarter and happier. If I remember correctly, Stephanie said that Buddhist Monks tend to spend the most time in Theta. Einstein tried to spend a lot of time in Theta. Runners tend to go into Theta when they are running. Repetitive tasks tend to put us in Theta.

Like knitting.


Stephanie also talked about a study showing that people are less traumatized by disturbing events when they are doing repetitive spatial tasks (I think that was the phrase.) The study had people hitting keys on a keyboard. However the study specifically mentioned knitting as one of these tasks.

It also mentioned that this information doesn't have practical applications, because no one would ever carry emergency knitting.

If they only knew.

During the Q&A, I asked about being a professional knitter. Stephanie said it was hard. Like being a rock star, only a small percentage make it. However, I have a good chance of going "semi-pro." I could do that. I could go semi-pro, and then do something else.

After the talk it was time to wait in line and get my book signed.

The Yarn Harlot signed my book

Check it out.

While she signed my book, I told her that the Theta brain waves stuff is a good way to battle depression. She could use this evidence to encourage knitters to knit through their depression. She said she would use it. I don't know if she will. (I'm sure people throw ideas at her all the time.)

Me and the Yarn Harlot

Here we are.

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And look how far I got on my scarf. (Compare that to the pictures from the reception.)

You can see more pictures of my trip to see the Yarn Harlot (yes, there's more) here.


Suna said...

I love all your parenthetical comments. And I was glad you summarized the talk. So I didn't have to. All my photos were pretty bad: the camera I borrowed from my friend was confused most of the time and made all the pictures horribly red, when it did manage to focus. Ah well, it was fun interacting and listening!

Cobbalicious said...

You have better pictures and more of them than I do! I'll totally link to your post, once I get around to posting on mine. (You know, like, next year sometime.)

Cobbalicious said...
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Wendy said...

Your photogenic scarf is really yummy! I hope your medical issues are straightening out. Keep us updated! Sending you hugs from Ohio. :)