A few weeks back, Christine had the super cool privilege of introducing one of knitting-doms premiere bloggers, the Yarn Harlot (aka best-selling author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) to an audience of fellow knitters at a pre-booksigning discussion at the L.A. Central Library.
Technically, Christine and her assistant manager Natalie, introduced L.A.’s own knitting blogstar, Ellen Bloom (pictured below with Natalie in the craft and knitting section of Christine’s bad-ass store) who then introduced Pearl-McPhee, but either way, it was an awesome event.
And since this was the Canadian author’s only L.A. appearance on her book tour, seats in the Library’s posh Mark Taper Auditorium were pretty hard to come by from almost the minute the event was announced.
Christine volunteered me to work the event with her (thanks, honey) and let me tell ya, it was crazy! Imagine a “Star Wars” convention with yarn and needles instead of crazy sci-fi costumes and lightsabers and you get some idea of the excitement level here. This crowd of hip, needle-toting yarn junkies was awesome! And the lines, good Lord, you’d think they were giving away hand-dyed Noro or something (trust me, knitters will think that’s hilarious).
The lecture itself was fascinating, with Pearl-McPhee lashing out at the inherent misogyny present in the current “cutesification” of knitting and speaking at length about how such catchphrases as “not your grandma’s knitting” really undermined knitting as an art form by ghettoizing it as a “woman’s art form”. “Besides, what the hell do you know about my Grandma?” she joked.
What I liked most was that so many of the things she said about encouraging knitting geeks to come out of the shadows and proudly embrace their craft, could just as easily be applied to any form of deep-rooted fandom. Seriously, her lecture made me wanna break out my action figures and cheer!
Later on, Christine and I kept the Yarn Harlot supplied with pens and fresh books while sitting behind her at the signing table for what was supposed to be an hour-long book signing. Ha! We were there for three-plus hours! Not only did the crazy-friendly Pearl-McPhee personalize every book she signed, but she also posed for pictures, accepted heaps of crafty gifts and best of all, gave sock knitting tips to the fans in line! So cool!
Christine was very pleased with the turnout — especially since she and a co-worker championed the event within the Library Foundation — and ended up selling tons of copies of the Yarn Harlot’ newest tome: “Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting”. Many of which went home with us…one for Christine’s mom, a couple of Pearl-McPhee’s other books for us and a few for our friend Tevana, who couldn’t make the event.
Walking Pearl-McPhee back to her hotel afterwards, Christine and I got to chat with her about “yarn stash” (hidden, unused yarn that builds up over the years) and how vital is to hide the stash from husbands, boyfriends and significant others, lest they think you even more obsessive and insane than they already do. Pearl-McPhee admitted to having roomfuls of stash, which kinda put Christine’s mere closet-sized heap in perspective. Thank you, Yarn Harlot!
To read more of the Yarn Harlot’s spirited and often hilarious views on knitting and life, check out her blog at: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/
Ellen Bloom’s blog, “L.A. Is My Beat” is also imminently click-worthy, so check that out at: http://ellenbloom.blogspot.com/