Friday, June 10, 2005

The Yarn Harlot's Visit

I know I’m days late writing about the Yarn Harlot’s visit last weekend, but it’s awfully hard to know what to say. I don’t want to just gush and say that she’s as smart and funny in person as she is on her blog, but she is. Those of us who were there got really lucky: most of you stayed away because of the weather or the traffic or whatever, so we got to hang out with Stephanie. Everyone got a chance to talk with her one-on-one, and not just for the usual 30 seconds when you get to the front of the line and the famous author signs your book. Here she is wrapped up with Jim in his just-finished Sarah Blanch shawl from Folk Shawls.

(One thing about those sideways-knitted shawls: kinda hard to know exactly how long they’re going to be until you bind off. Surprise!)

Two of her most interesting observations: first, that the thing about knitting—the heart of its fascination—must be the act of transformation. Or as she’s saying in the picture below: we turn this (the ball of yarn) into this (the sock-in-progress), and that’s amazing.

And the other: that she’d set out to write a book about knitting, but turns out to have written a book about knitters. Without drifting into Yeats’s puzzle--How can you tell the dancer from the dance?—it’s still worth noting how the mind slides away from matters of history or technique toward the human element—“I met a knitter who . . . “ or “Isn’t it funny how we . . . “ Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It was great, Steph—come back soon!

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