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Archive for August 2nd, 2006

Ann Arbor & Stephanie Pearl-McPhee/Yarn Harlot

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

LynnH and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee/Yarn HarlotOK, I’m with you again. I promised a story about my Sunday trip to Ann Arbor and here it is.

I connected with several friends in Lansing about maybe going together on Sunday. I think in retrospect maybe I knew I’d like to not worry about where and when I came and went, because I gave up long before I’d tried all options. I used to go to Ann Arbor a lot, I adore being there… it’s the closest place to my home that feels like city energy, and I need to drink up city energy on a regular basis.

Kathy's BagSo I set out a little later than I’d wanted, mostly because nobody was waiting on me to be there at a certain time. I got to Ann Arbor 20 minutes before the talk, and by then the first large speaking room had filled and they were sending all new listeners to the 4th floor overflow room. I was one of the first up there, and luckily I right away noticed Kathy, one of my students, so I sat with her.

They had the room set up nicely with video and sound. At the very beginning of the talk, there were hiccups with both but they got it fixed (with a third microphone, bless them for having that many spares) and we could both see and hear Stephanie just fine.

In the days before we had blogs, Stephanie and I would write back and forth a bit. Now she’s so popular I do my best to not get in her way much. But I love it when someone can make a living by being their true and honest self. With a sense of humor, of course, for all the warts we all have but many of us try to hide. I’m so happy for her that she can write about what we (knitters) all understand but don’t have a way to put into words.

When we hear Stephanie talk or read her books, we laugh at ourselves, which is a healthy thing. And for some of us who knit relatively alone (luckily I am not one of those) it must mean a lot to find out that these thoughts, actions, habits, are shared with so many others.

Detroit Street/Zingerman's Ann Arbor at TwilightSo we sat in the mostly-dark room watching a screen, and belly laughing out loud… or at least I did. I have a loud laugh but what a gift it is to have that sort of emotion which could cause it to come out! Someone came over and said hi because she recognized my laugh. Well, that’s the way to be noticed, I’d say. There was a time when I rarely laughed. I’m glad to be past that now.

After the formal talk, we all piled downstairs. A bookstore had a table where we could buy books if we wished, and then there was a line two times around the large room to get it signed. The talk started at 2pm on the dot. The library barely got us out before the 6pm closing time. They said they did expect this many people but they never imagined how each knitter in line getting a signature would also chat with the author. They didn’t expect knitters to be such a chatty bunch.

What they don’t know is that the Internet can make a room full of friends who you have never met. Friends you do know. Stephanie knew many of us as we piled by with our books. We were given sticky notes to put our name on, to speed up the signing process. I put LynnH on mine, and she right away asked “ColorJoy LynnH?” We have never met, but our emails and blogs make us neighbors and friends. She knew Sarah Peasley and Rae Blackledge, too.

The library just did not realize the extent of it all before they saw it play out in front of them. The word “network” is used to describe something like this in business circles, but that word does not encompass the emotional ties in the online knitting community.

Kerrytown Ann ArborWhile so many waited in line to have a signature and a chat, several of us sat together and talked, waiting to join the line at the last minute and save our feet. Sarah Peasley and Terri M from Lansing, Pat from Charlotte, and Riin from Ann Arbor, all sat and knit and talked. Well, I didn’t knit but they did. I get too over-energized with that many people around so I mostly stood up and talked too fast and too loud.

I saw other folks I knew, too… Vicki from Royal Oak (I hope I got that right) from a Threadbear polymer clay class recently… Trish Bloom, designer of the Bloom Shawl, the B4 Bag and the Panes Bag, was there. It was good to see her.

Oh, and somehow I forgot to mention… not only did I see my student Kathy from Lansing, but she brought a felted purse she’d just finished. Not only did she finish it, she “made it up” herself. Very fine work, Kathy. Others liked it so much she’s in the process of writing out the instructions for test knitters. Go, Kathy!

When finally we’d all received signed books and said hi and got out of the library as expected… Riin and I decided to go to Zingerman’s Deli, walking distance from the Library, and get dinner. Both of us were low on fuel and it was the right move. She got a good sandwich (they have the best sandwiches, I remember from when I could eat that great handcrafted bread) and I got a very fine salad. And tea. Always tea.

Seva Restaurant, Ann ArborOn the way back to my car, it was twilight and I tried out the twilight setting on my new camera. I think it did a wonderful job.

Photos: 1) Me with Stephanie, both of us holding socks in progress. 2) Kathy’s new bag design. 3) Twilight view of Detroit Street… Zingermans is the furthest back/left in this photo. 4) Photo of Kerrytown building less than a block from Zingerman’s… I love how someone went by as I took the photo and it looks like her head is transparent. 5) Seva vegetarian sit-down restaurant, Brian’s sister Jennifer used to work there almost 10 years ago. It’s in an old VFW building, can you see the sign top left of the stone part of the building?