Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yarn Harlot in Chicago

The row behind me, waiting for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to arrive. Very industrious. And the row in front of me. Tiny needles, double-pointed, moving like mad.
I lacked the nerve to take a picture of the knitter beside me, who was moving almost as fast on a pair of toe-up slippers. I gestured to them and said to my friend Christine, who stays more abreast of knitting happenings than I do (maybe it's because I'm deleting anything yarn-related from my email before I am tempted) and graced me with a ticket, that I wished that I could knit like that. That being Continental, and I'm a thrower of yarn.

The knitter looked at me, raised her eyebrows and said "You can't do this?"

"Well, it's not a character flaw," I quavered. "Hmm, I'm not so sure," she said. But in good fellowship, she was a nice knitter and we were chatting a bit by the end, especially after she told me not to look and I did and she was trying the teeny toe part of her slipper on her bare foot, in the ballroom of the Hilton hotel.

Here's a terrible picture of the speaker herself: And another.
The thing to know about this woman is that she is smart, funny, thoughtful, and she appreciates knitters and knitting and yarn and people, not necessarily in that order. Did you know that the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's is lower amongst knitters compared to the general population? Or that the simple, repetitive work of knitting helps shift our brains to theta waves - in which the brain is at its most creative? After Buddhist monks, according to Stephanie, knitters are next in line for experiencing theta waves on a regular basis. Take that, bridge players.

Also, and I identified with this one: knitters are not patient people. Instead, they create a bubble of patience around themselves by always having something to do during those endless waits.

Here's a dark picture of the line of knitters waiting to have their books signed. It started at the front of the ballroom and wrapped around two walls. The line ran on a very smart policy, which allowed those with babies inside or outside (the body, that is, not the hall), anyone who had to make the train, and others with special dispensation to go directly to the front of the line, while others politely acquiesced to moving back a few spaces. What an orderly and willing crowd. Is it like this at appearances out East, or is this knitting politesse bolstered by that particularly Midwestern unwillingness to make waves?
After the talk, Christine took me to the Original Rainbow Cone shop in Evergreen. Five kinds of ice cream in one cone: orange sherbet (have I seen it since having my tonsils out in grade school?), New York cherry, pistachio, chocolate, and I think that they hid some vanilla way at the bottom of the scoops. Yum.

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