A Creepy Subculture

All right, time for my more detailed post of Harlotry. I eventually found a drive back to New Brunswick from Halifax. I emailed Deb, who was able to take me as far as Truro but suggested emailing Jennifer, who wasn’t sure if she could make it and was probably taking the bus, but suggested I email Kelly, whose husband was driving her to Halifax and back, and they were willing to take me back as far as Norton because they are kind and generous souls. Ah, I love both knitters and the Internet. Since we don’t have a car, my boyfriend rented one to get me from Norton to Saint John, because he is also a kind and generous soul.

So last Tuesday morning I got up at 5:30 a.m. in order to make sure I could catch the bus at 6:45 a.m. Due to my unexpected negative bank balance, I had to put the bus ticket on my credit card. I slept during almost all of the bus ride, although once I woke up I knitted maybe two rounds on the Thing on DPNs. (Its actual goal is sockhood, but I feel too ambitious when I say that, so for the time being, I prefer to refer to it as the Thing on DPNs.) I decided the day before the trip that I would like to experiment with double-pointed needles, because I wanted to feel like less of a pussy when surrounded by people who are actually good knitters. (It’s okay to be a kitten, but not a pussy.) I just wanted to mess around with the DPNs before I went to play with the big girls, in the hopes that it would improve my self-esteem, which it sort of did. It is actually easier than I thought it would be to knit a tube on DPNs, just like everyone says it is, but I am terrified of things like toes and heels. (On the sock. Not on my feet. My actual heels and toes don’t scare me.) It could wind up as a very small legwarmer.

I got into Halifax around 1:20 p.m. and did a tiny bit of shopping that afternoon. What I actually had to do was run around to all the stores I wanted to check out (The Loop, Woozles, Little Mysteries, Venus Envy, the Jade W, the Bookmark) to see what books and yarn I might want to buy, and then, once the money my parents deposited in my account actually showed up in there, run around all over downtown again so that I could purchase a few items. This is not in any way a complaint, because I realize that I am very lucky that I got to do any shopping at all.

Then around four-ish, I headed to Your Father’s Mustache to meet up with members of the Halifax knitting group Knitting Out Loud. Some of them I had never met before, and others I had met when I went to KOL a grand total of twice during my last semester of grad school (and Steph I’d met a couple more times than that ’cause she works at a yarn shop… ’nuff said), but I asked the day before if I could get together with them anyway ’cause it seemed way less intimidating than showing up at the Lord Nelson all alone. Anyway, they are fun and welcoming.

I met Deb Barnhill in person, which was considerably more relaxing than when I was sending her frantic transportation-related emails. Deb is the designer of the Knitty pattern Babe, she is very nice, and she knits at the speed of light. This photo is actually from later on, because I was too lazy to take any at Your Father’s Mustache.

Deb the Pharmaceutical Speed Knitter

Rhonda designed an awesome KOL logo and the girls silkscreened matching T-shirts to wear to the event. They had an extra one, so they gave it to me. Squee! So much squee! And serendipitously, it is robin’s egg blue… I have this little obsession with any turquoise-y colour… Oh, and guys, I’m way sorry I didn’t contribute $3 or so at the time to the silkscreening fund. I know details about that were on the KOL blog, but I didn’t read them beforehand as I didn’t expect I would have anything to do with the T-shirts, and I was just getting back from the bathroom when you were chipping in money at the pub and didn’t know what was going on. They made a shirt for the Harlot as well, a green one, of course. You can see a picture of them presenting the T-shirt in Terra‘s post The Fibre Dorks Leave Their Houses.

Lesley has great photos of the evening in her post An Evening with the Yarn Harlot, including one of the infamous battering ram. I did not see the battering ram in person; I think I was still at Your Father’s Mustache not eating my potato skins because I was way too excited to eat.

When the rest of us got to the Lord Nelson, Jennifer, Kelly, and Kelly’s husband were there. Yup, Jennifer had made it after all. Yaay! The waiting to be let into the ballroom was agonizing, but knowing that we were confusing hotel staff and guests helped a little bit.

The KOLers grabbed seats in the first two rows and then posed for group photos. This is yoinked from Lesley ’cause there wasn’t enough time to get pictures taken with everybody’s cameras:

Halifax KOLers

If you look at the embiggened picture (it’s a perfectly cromulent word) on Lesley’s blog, you will also be able to tell that the thing that looks like a hole in the crotch of my jeans is actually my watch clipped onto my belt loop, thankyouverymuch.

In this group photo, my eyes are closed, but I don’t care because I usually have my eyes closed in pictures. I am not what you’d call photogenic. Usually in photos, my eyes are closed and there’s a weird look on my face, but in this one, my eyes are closed and I’m actually smiling, which, coupled with my sitting on the floor cross-legged, makes me look kind of serene and meditative. Ommm. For a who’s who of the faces in the photo, check out Steph’s post Harlot Hangover in Halifax.

When Stephanie Pearl-McPhee took the podium, we learned that the Yarn Harlot in person is just like she is on her blog, only more so: interesting, down-to-earth, and very, very funny. I can’t remember ever hearing more people laugh more times at any other speaker I’ve ever heard. She’s also a lot less grainy and faded in real life than she is in this crap photo I took.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at the podium

I was working on the Irish Hiking Scarf while she was talking, and at the end it was only four rows longer than it had been at the beginning of her talk, because I kept getting distracted. Mainly ’cause I had to laugh so often. Blah, I suck. We heard quite a lot about CHOKE (Cultural Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere), but fear not. CHOKE has no real chance against us… because we are A CREEPY SUBCULTURE!

Afterward, I of course got my books signed. Yep, I brought all four of Stephanie’s books with me to get signed, plus Ria‘s copy of Casts Off, since Ria had to work and couldn’t come herself. No, I couldn’t just bring one. Yep, I’m inconsiderate like that. Hey, I once got Tammy Pierce to sign twenty books for me (and a lot of those were hardcover and I had to bring them in a huge duffel bag).

Although I lived in Nova Scotia for twenty-six years and have lived in New Brunswick for less than one, it seemed likely that someone else would knit Stephanie a Nova Scotia washcloth, since it was going to be a bunch of Nova Scotian knitters in Nova Scotia. So I figured I’d knit her a New Brunswick washcloth. While a person can never have too many Nova Scotia washcloths, variety is also the very spice of life, innit? I’d rather have one NS and one NB washcloth than two NS washcloths. This is one of the very few times in my life that something worked out the way I had planned. Someone else did knit her a Nova Scotia washcloth (blue, this pattern) and I represented with my New Brunswick washcloth in a colour very aptly named “Hot Green.” Despite my usual procrastinating ways, it was all finished a couple of days before my trip, unlike the cloth I knit to go with my friends’ wedding present last month, when I was still weaving in ends minutes before I had to leave for the ceremony.

All my wacky washcloth pictures were in my post before this one. Oh, and despite what it says in this Yarn Harlot post, my name isn’t May. That’s a typo. Anyone who ever actually reads my blog knows what my name is, anyway.

That evening I also finally got to meet Henry, who hadn’t been born yet when I went to those two KOL nights. I’d been looking forward to meeting him for quite a while. He is a much more accomplished sock knitter than I am, despite… oh, I don’t know, his LACK OF EYES. And also LACK OF FINGERS. This is humbling.

me and Henry

Yes, again despite what it says on the Yarn Harlot’s site, that is Henry, not Mr. Happy. Mr. Happy is Steph‘s husband. Steph is Henry’s mommy, and the Knitting Out Loud logo is on the back of her shirt, ’cause the incomparable Henry is on the front.

Steph and Henry

Here’s Jennifer buying a book.

Jennifer the Loopy Knitter

I took a picture of Kelly by herself, too, as well as one of blogless Halifax knitter Jen D. and the Hallowig (don’t ask… but if you must, there’s a picture of it on Terra’s blog), but my camera gave them red devil eyes and I am too lazy to bother Photoshopping their eyes into normalcy, so those photos will just stay on my hard drive and off the blog.

Jennifer, Kelly, and me

I don’t have any photos of Kelly’s husband, “Moose,” but you can see him on Kelly’s blog, of course, as well as in Jennifer’s post I’ve Been to Halifax to Visit the Harlot.

Kelly and I had to leave right after getting our books signed so we could get back home that night, but Jennifer and the KOLers went to the Victory Arms pub with Stephanie and her friend Tim afterward. There are pictures on various people’s blogs, such as Alison‘s. It was of course dark during most of our ride home, but when we stopped to get gas, Kelly used those two minutes in electric light to knit, which seemed to freak Moose out slightly.

In short, it was totally worth getting up at 5:30 a.m. and spending large portions of the day travelling. Totally. I knew it would be.

So now I am back in the regular world, where a friend of mine (also named Stephanie, which makes her the third Stephanie in this post) asked me if the Yarn Harlot is related to the String Jezebel or the Crochet Whore. While I would like to roll my eyes at that… honestly, I think it’s pretty damn funny.

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6 Responses to A Creepy Subculture

  1. Ria says:

    O_O You met Tamora Pierce? I am SO jealous of you right now!

    Not that I wasn’t jealous of you before, given that you FREAKING MKET DAVID USHER!

  2. Kitten says:

    Check your email, Ria. I sent you a photo of me with Tammy, and one of me with David. Muhuhahaha.

  3. Terra says:

    Sounds like planes, trains, and automobiles. I’m glad you made it there and home in one piece!

    The NB dishcloth is very cool.

  4. Deb says:

    Great recap, Mary. It was so great to meet you and hang out. Aren’t knitters the coolest people ever?

    I loved what Stephanie #3 had to say. I was KIP yesterday, and someone told me they’d heard a knitter on CBC radio the other day. “The Yarn something…” My reply? “I’m going to make you say it. It’s Harlot. She’s the Yarn Harlot.”

    I love freaking me out some muggles on an early Sunday morning…

  5. Steph VW says:

    Do not worry about the $ for the t-shirt fund. Your t-shirt is a gift!

    Henry sends his love and he says that he can show you his method for knitting toe-up socks any time you want. (That seems like a pick-up line to me)

  6. Alison says:

    Henry, that’s what you said to me when we first met! I thought I was the only one you were willing to share your two up method with. Now, it seems, you’ll share with any kitten or harlot around!

    Mary, don’t listen to him, he’ll only break your heart!

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