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April 2006

If it hadn't been for Purl...

I want to share something that I read on another blog. This one paragraph, these 4 sentences, are what got me out of the house to see The Harlot, to Urban Knitters, to Seven/24, and to Free Candy this weekend. And it felt really good.

This is how it goes when you get your heart broken, and your ass increases in both density and volume, and you go to a place of solitude and wallowing -- a place where sure, if I were stronger and better and perhaps medicated, I would not have to go. But alas. I'm just a person, a pretty regular person, with challenges of my own and that's what happened. Locked the doors. Looked down.

Isn't it amazing and reaffirming and uplifting when you read something that explains exactly how you feel? Granted, it makes you wish that you could write like that, but it's a good, good thing to know that you're not the only one. So, thanks, Laurie, for your words, and for your friends who got you out of the house. They got me out of mine too.

Steph, have you seen this?

Yesterday I got a sweet comment from "Barbara in Nova Scotia" and I thought, "Hmm. Nova Scotia. How cool." Then I remembered the map. I put one of those clustrmaps on the blogs on Wednesday, the same day that Stephanie came to St. Louis. This is what it looked like after day one:


Then she linked to the blog.


Then the next day:


Now, I realize, of course, that this has absolutely nothing to do with me and is merely a reflection of the Harlot Power. But isn't it cool? When I saw the map on the second day, you know what my thought was? "Seriously? No one knits in Africa?" And who's that lonely knitter in South America? Singapore, Iceland, Egypt. So very, very cool.

So Steph, I'm thinking that the next time you need a ball of Kidsilk Haze from a particular dye lot, you aren't going to have any problem finding it.

The Almighty Harlot

The Almighty Harlot has touched this blog and the following has happened:

First of all, in the last 24 hours over 2200 people have come through Chez Spinster. Seriously. 2200 people. That's selling out the Pageant, folks, and counting the staff, and a few more. Visualize this: (it helps if you've been to the Pageant) Stephanie stands on stage in a packed house and says something like, "Jenn sent me this sock. It's in this little box. Take a look if you want." And one by one, aisle by aisle, the entire place lines up to walk across the stage, open the box, peek in, say "Hmm." and move on. Definitely makes a girl feel like a rock star for a day.

Comments! Beautiful, glorious comments! My last comment was received sometime in November, so when I opened my e-mail and saw all of the notifications, I had to think for a second what they meant. I'm a comment junkie who hasn't had a fix in a long, long while, so please don't stop now!

I found an old friend! Ann! We were in a book club together a few years ago, and I knew that she was knitting but didn't know that she has as blog. (I'm a little ashamed because a while back I think she commented on my other blog and I was more than a little snarky. So sorry, Ann. I prefer to only be rude to people that I don't actually know.)

New friends! Especially Anna, who was the first to arrive, moments before me, at 5 pm, like the Harlot Groupies we are. She is sweet and charming and so very, very nice. I'm hoping to see more of her before the next book tour. And she has blogging friends, who also gave me new local blogs to read.

So, this got me to wondering. How should we appropriately honor the Knitting Goddess that is Stephanie? The answer is obvious - build a shrine in our homes and worship it daily. Offer it little bits of chocolate on a sacrificial plate. Light candles (same candles used to test the content of mystery yarn.) Read a passage from bookbookbook one every night. And in times of knitting turmoil, when a stitch is dropped, when the cat knocks your coffee onto your knitting book (because you didn't make a copy and put it in a plastic sheet protector), when the credit card bill arrives after your trip to Stitches or a Sheep and Wool Festival, when IT is in full force (approx. Dec 23rd), or when, god/goddess forbid, there is ever another outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, do the following:

Light a candle.
Place a triangle (or triangles, depending on your state of desperation) of Toblerone onto the plate.
Take up your most precious Lantern Moon needles into your hands and cast on 10 stitches in the softest yarn you have.
Knit a row.
Say, in a calm, prayerful voice, "Oh, dear Harlot, goddess of knitting and all that is good and pure in the universe"
Knit another row.
"I'm in desperate straights (or circulars.)"
Knit another row.
State your petition - more yarn, more time, for your family to suddenly decrease by half (temporarily, of course.)
Knit another row.
"Please, help me to understand why things are the way they are, and how things would be if I really had what I think I want, and how I can make them that way if I think it's still a good idea."
Knit a row while pondering what life would be like if you really had fewer children, no partner/cats or, god forbid, no credit.
Eat the chocolate.
Knit a row, but DO NOT use the yarn to wipe the tears from your eyes. Just let them fall.
Remove needles. Frog swatch.
Blow out candle.

At this point you can kiss your kids/cats/partner, send money to distraught sheep farmers, open the fridge, take a bath or have a "little lie-down." It's all good.

I Snubbed the Sock

I have to admit it. I'm still a little giddy. I thought it was pretty cool when she links to your blog. That's nothing compared to when she actually speaks to you. And thinks you're funny. O...M....G.

I'm not usually the star-struck type. Never, really. I've even stopped going to book signings. After Meg Tilly looked at me like I was crazy and Susan Vreeland wrote something snide in my book insinuating I hadn't been paying enough attention to her (though I should note that Oscar Hijuelos is very, very nice) I just didn't want anymore shattered dreams of how cool I think authors really are. But I just couldn't miss out on seeing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee while she was in town.


This is not a great picture of her. It's a terrible picture of her, in fact. She's cute and animated and this picture looks like she's eating the microphone and not enjoying it. I post it only to demonstrate the folly of whoever arranged for her to be out in the stacks in front of the western-facing windows at 7pm. The sun was in her eyes. It was in the eyes of everyone in the first 3 rows. (Yes, I demonstrated very un-spinsterlike behavior by sitting in the front row instead of hiding my bulk somewhere in the back.) But she didn't say word about it. Classy, that woman is.

She is one of the funniest women I've ever seen. I know she probably gives the same speech everywhere she goes, and that it's really a performance for her more than a conversation with 100 people, but it just seems so spontaneous that you forget. I haven't laughed that much in a long time. Even the poor professional-camera-guy-from-the-library cracked a smile once in a while. The deer-in-headlights look went away after about 15 minutes. He was tough to crack but she managed it.


Then it was time for the signing. Obviously this signing wasn't a big deal for Left Bank, since they'd run out of books early on. When I'd gotten mine last weekend the clerk didn't even know what I was talking about, even though the signing was in 3 days. Again, the knitters are underestimated.

So, as I'm in line, I'm struggling to decide if I want to mention the sock I sent her last year with some books to be signed. Will she remember? Will she have to be nice because it was one of those hideous things that people send? Will I gush and sound so stupid and stalkerish and scary that she dismisses any conversation to get me to go away? Nah. She remembered, then even told the story to one of the, ok, THE knitting guild guy standing next to her. She thought it was funny. She thinks I'm funny. Squee! I still gushed and spoke as if English is my second language and it's all really fuzzy now, that 30 seconds, but I'm still so glad that I went and that I talked to her instead of cowering in my plus-sized shell of shyness and distance in my cave of an apartment.

Then, driving home, it struck me. The sock. She'd taken my picture with the sock. And I hadn't even looked at it. I remember how it felt, all the tiny stitches in my fingers as I held it up. It was blue. It was on metal needles. But I didn't comment on it, show it any appreciation. Damn. I am such a bad groupie. I hold the work of one of the world's best-known knitters and I say nothing about it at all. For shame, Spinster. For shame.