The Harlot takes Madison!

Remember how excited I was when I found out that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was going to be in Madison for a book-signing? Well, the event was last night and there was NO WAY I was going to miss it. I admire her in so many ways - as a knitter, as a writer, as a person - and even though I knew I would only have a minute or less to meet her, I really wanted to.

All day yesterday, I was undecided about whether to take Anya with me. On the one hand, I know that Stephanie likes babies and wants them to be welcome at her events, especially when they're little and breastfeeding. I've had to get both kids to bed in the evening by myself and it's quite the challenge, so I didn't want to burden Stuart with that responsibility when he would have to warm up a bottle of milk whenever she got hungry. On the other hand, if I left her at home, I would actually be able to KNIT at an event for KNITTERS and I would also be able to sit in my seat the whole time. In the end, I took Anya with me to make things easier for Stu. I figured even if it was getting close to (and past) her bedtime, if she was with me, she would be okay. I was mostly right, though by the end of the Q&A, I was squatting behind the Country/Pop CDs to breastfeed her.

And Stephanie? Was amazing. Not only was she funny and witty and charming, she had the energy to met hundreds of people and sign their books an be nice and gracious to every one of them. She had lots to say about how knitters deserve more respect in our culture, and how we deserve the acknowledgement that what we do is complicated and valuable. She also spoke at some length about brain function and how knitting enhances it. She's done some reading about the research out there concerning meditation and how it affects the brain, and how knitting relates to all of it. I was really impressed with that part because she talked in a very intelligent way about scientific research without trying to sound like a scientist. In my family, there are several trained scientists in various fields, including my husband, so I am rather sensitive about this. Anyway, I thought Stephanie did a real nice job. When I got home, I even ran some of her points by Stuart, who got four years into a PhD in biological neuroscience before bailing to program computers, and he said it all sounded all right.

I discovered that even though walking around with a baby for 2-3 hours in the evening is a little tiring, it also gets you right in front of the line to sign books. I felt a little guilty about that, but everyone else with babies was right up there with me. When I got to the table, I suddenly wished I'd prepared something really clever to say to The Yarn Harlot upon meeting her, since it was my one and only chance and everything. Instead, I stammered something really and totally stupid like "Uh, I'm a blogger, but I don't think anyone reads my knitting blog." She took my picture, and my friend C took a picture of us (which I'll add to this post as soon as she emails it to me), and then I thanked her and went home.

It was really, really great, and I was grateful for a chance to get out in the evening (something I never do these days). And now I better quit ignoring my family and finish my breakfast.

I really will show you some knitting next time, I promise!


Anonymous said…
I'm so glad you got the chance to go and see her talk! And that you and Anya got to meet her. Also, her new book is just great ;)
Steph said…
Jealous. Very jealous.

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