Walking in Memphis

Memphis is going to be a hard act to follow. I loved it. Yesterday morning I ate grits (grits are pretty good) and biscuits. Forgive me southerners…I believed until yesterday morning that I had eaten a biscuit. I was completely wrong. All pretenders served to me in my life prior to my epiphany yesterday were nothing that even began to resemble the wondrous item served to me yesterday. Crazy good.

(Please do not tell me it’s because they make them with lard. I don’t want anything to come between me and a real biscuit.)


The socks enjoyed Memphis sights yesterday, rolling around in a bed of azaleas. (Note to Canadians: Azaleas are not a houseplant. They are a huge bush, some as tall as the houses.) I have never seen anything like them. These ones are in Pat’s garden (Pat was my lovely guide) and she let me visit them when I was absolutely gob-smacked by the size, number and glory of them. I kept rolling down the car window and saying “look at that!” She finally stopped the car, poor thing.


This one is for my Mum. Roses…in APRIL.


The sock visited Elvis on Beale Street. I loved Beale Street, they have streetcars, and the smell of bbq was intoxicating. (Even vegetarians know a good thing when they smell it.)


This one is for Joe. I went to Sun studios just because Joe couldn’t. (Joe? This place is the size of the main floor of our house. I have no idea why we are paying for that huge space.)


Now…the best part. The Memphis Knitting Guild. I loved these guys. They co-ordinated with Sarah to get me to Memphis (I understand that Lisa was invaluable. Thanks so much Lisa) and helped get the word out. The signing was packed….I was honoured and stunned, and after the signing…


Dinner with the guild. I’m so delighted to discover that no matter how different you might think a place is…the knitters are the same.

Memphis was a pleasure and a delight. I don’t think I have ever met nicer, more welcoming people…it could not have charmed me more.

Today I’ve already flown from Memphis to Columbus Ohio. Then driven through the prettiest countryside to Mount Vernon. The yarn shop is cute as a button and I can hear the church bells from my hotel. I can’t wait to meet everyone this evening. On an another note, yesterday I visited four yarn shops. I bought something in 2 of them. I’m starting to do the math on this tour. I’m going to need a way bigger suitcase.

90 thoughts on “Walking in Memphis

  1. Sounds like you’ve gotten over your “village idiot” misconception. I’m glad you had fun in Memphis. So far, so good, just keep breathing.

  2. Stephanie, forget the larger suitcase. Just have them mail it. That way, you don’t even have to worry about exceeding the weight limits on your flights.

  3. Yehaaaa!!! Stephanie is in the state!!!!
    Have a nice rest!! See you later!!
    Man… they have roses in August down there??? I need to move!

  4. Oh Lawdy… She used cute as a button.. Bless her heart. Sounds like she’s gotten herself a good case of Southern Goin.
    Well, hush my fuss. I didn’t think it could happen.
    Glad you are having fun

  5. Glad you are beginning to enjoy the south! Yes, the gardens are amazing, but you don’t have to put up with the humidity in the summer where you are, either. When I visited a few times, I found a lot of differences from California, but very sweet people, and of course, you are mainly meeting knitters. I hope that you earn enough in book sales to pay for all the yarn shop visits.

  6. Don’t feel too bad about roses in April – here in Oklahoma June arrives in mid April, May lasts one week, and July arrives May 1st and stays until October. There is something to be said for cooler climates.

  7. Grits one of my favorites had them last Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t care for the cheese ones though give me the real deal.
    Oh I can’t wait until you run across a camellia bush. I fell in love with those while living in Virginia but temps here in southern indiana just are a tad to chilly.
    And heck as Carol said “mail it” you even mentioned learning that trick in your bookbookbook ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Wow! What a beautiful place! I’m so glad you’re having a great time and that you’re sharing the pictures…:) We can live vicariously as we suffer quite the drop in temp from last week.
    Isn’t it nice to know that no matter where you go you’re amongst friends when you’re with knitters? Keep on having a blast!

  9. Hey! I just noticed you are going to Kalamazoo on your book tour. That’s my hometown. If you need recommendations for things to do here are a few:
    1. Go to Water Street Coffee Joint on the east end of downtown. If Mark (the owner) is there tell him Heidi the librarian sent you.
    2. A good place for dinner downtown is the Arie’s London Grill Singapore. (http://www.london-grill.com/main.html)
    3. The only yarn shop I’m aware of in that area is actually in Portage, a “suburb” to the south. But Kzoo has a long history of fiber arts, and there is a large weaver’s guild there. I’m sure you will be well received.
    Now I’m going to see if I can convince my mom (a non-knitter) to go see you!

  10. Yay for biscuits, Sun Studios and the Elvis statue on Beale! Glad to see that you hit the good spots and enjoyed my college town. Aren’t azaleas the best? Now get on up here to Maryland!

  11. Thanks for the flower pics…it is nice to know they are blooming for someone somewhere. Have some serious fun tonight!

  12. Probably not lard, just Crisco (flaky crust every time). Don’t read that label either, just go with it – at least it’s vegetarian.
    Is that Flower Basket Shawl I see over your shoulders? Very nice. Glad you had fun.

  13. Stephanie: So glad you enjoyed Memphis. I have to tell you that here in beautiful No. Calif., I have mounds of pink azaleas in bloom, and 14 tree rose bushes in glorious bloom along my driveway. I’ll still be picking roses on Halloween. I agree the flowers in the south are gorgeous, but I am glad I don’t have to put up with the humidity. Anyway, you must be having so much fun seeing so much of the US. and we are glad you are here. Have fun in Ohio, where even though one comment yesterday said they speak “normal” English, I have to tell you there is a discernible Ohio accent. My daughter had a boyfriend from Ohio and she couldn’t stop laughing at the way he said “mom.” She even called me to have him say it to me on the phone to prove her point. I have to admit, I laughed too. There are innumberable regional differences to discover. Betsy in Sacramento

  14. It says something a little disturbing about the relationship Steph has with her blog friends that when I saw the picture I thought “Oh, she’s got on her new pants! Too bad we can’t see the way they fit in the back.”
    I mean….really. That’s pretty scary. Scary, too, that everybody reading this comment knows what I’m talking about! *smile*

  15. Expense that yarn on your taxes, definitely…
    I’m the village idiot in my neighborhood too…I’m a Yankee as in a US person, transplanted to Montr๏ฟฝal. And my husband is from France, so we both have no clue what people are saying here…ostie…and who knew saying the French word for “same” could actually sound like you were planning to hurt yourself (m๏ฟฝme in French is maym in Qu๏ฟฝbec. I still wince when I hear it. It just sounds so…painful…).
    I’m from Boston and I can’t understand a word people say in the South either. It’s a whole nuther world ๐Ÿ™‚ Weird how people who carry rifles can still be so friendly ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Oh pish. Try moving over here from a different continent.
    Cannot wait to see you in NYC!!! It’ll be coldish here, so keep knitting that sweater. And yes, I do want to know how the heck you pronounce ‘huge’.

  17. Save some room in that suitcase for the great yarn stores in New York. You’re almost here — can’t wait!

  18. My first thought was also the boxing up of yarn and mailing it home — purely due to the book!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    SEE YOU FRIDAY!!!! how exciting for those of us in boston! ๐Ÿ™‚
    yay!! circles!! pot luck! woo hoo!!!

  19. Ok I have to ask this. What the heck are grits anyway?
    I lived in Albuquerque for a year surprisingly I could understand practically everyone. Though I was asked if I was french once. Ermmm nope I’m English. And dammit I’m planning a trip to San Francisco just so I can pick up cool supplies.

  20. Lucky you – I love me some Southern food. My dad is from Georgia, so I’ve been exposed to it most of my life! Try hush puppies too, if you can – they are wonderful. Glad the tour is going well. I just got a copy of your book and am thoroughly enjoying it.

  21. Just mail all your goodies to yourself. You’ll have to fill out a customs form. (Not sure when that started) Then when you get home, you’ll have all sorts of goodies waiting for you.

  22. Glad you enjoyed Memphis so much…and Ohio is great in it’s own way too! Have fun!
    I’m also looking forward to the Circles event on Friday…sure hope I can get in!
    Have fun! And thanks for the pictures! Love seeing where you are going!

  23. Looking forward to seeing you tonight in Mt Vernon…my knitting buddies Lisa and Mary Beth and I are driving up from Columbus (Dublin) to see you and have your sign your book for us. I hope we’re making you feel as welcome as you did in Memphis. I can’t walk into a yarn store without purchasing (maybe that’s why I have way too much sock yarn)…Take care.

  24. I think I speak for all the Connecticut knitters when I say…
    *throws tantrum and consoles herself with yarn*

  25. Oklahoma Ellen,
    Have you heard about the seasons in Vermont (or Maine or . . . )? Nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding!! And I hear West (by God) Virginia has a season called Mud. And Canada has the Chinook, which I have only read about in the Little House books. Weather diversity and accent diversity and food diversity, too. The world is a wonder-full place.
    The swamp azaleas in southern New England are skimpy in the numbers of their delicate pale pink flowers but they have the most beautiful scent. But not til May.
    Connecticut Ellen

  26. Ship it home but then Joe and offspring might discover how much you’re buying… Send it to a trustworthy friend then smuggle it into the house later. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for airline weight limits. pish. Yarn is already pre-weighed, just calculate the balls of yarn and equate that 70 lbs. or 32 kgs (air canada) is a goodly amount of yarn (plus lightweight duffel bag). So how many 50g/100g balls equals overweight luggage?
    BTW, I’m loving the travel reports! Lots of reading delight but ya know, I’m not all that familiar with your hometown (or Canada for that matter). How about writing about what you miss, too?

  27. I second Eklectika, substituting “Wisconsin” for “Connecticut,” of course.
    It sounds like you’re having a blast! Yay for you!! As I recall, the azaleas and rhodies are fabulous in Ohio, too. (And Oregon, are you going to Oregon?) Can you believe the colors??

  28. Oh, Eklektica, Boston is only two states away – you want a ride with us? We are leaving the greater (ha!) New London area at 3:30 this Friday.

  29. To answer Sam – grits are a form of corn, I think they’re mushy and gross and I’ve lived in the South my whole life, but hey, I’m kinda weird anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Stephanie was great here! She was charming, witty, entertaining and terribly patient, esp since I had 3 extra books for my co-workers who couldn’t make it to the event! And she’s very tiny & cute.
    She was even gracious when everyone (non-blog readers I assume) tried to convince her to eat BBQ. It’s an obsession here, I don’t know why.

  30. I once mailed a box of yarn to someone in western Canada, and told UPS the retail value for insurance purposes. Huge mistake. The poor woman got hit with a customs fee equal to that amount, apparently–and it was well over $100. Ouch! Under $20 value, they’ll let it go unscathed. Something to know. Oh, and, US postal service was, at least then, slightly more expensive on the shipping, but, I got told later, far less likely to get dinged at customs than UPS.

  31. If you like streetcars, you should come to Philadelphia. We’ve got trolleys that are underground in some places and on the streets in other places. (At least MDSW is close!)

  32. Sounds like you better ditch Mr. Washie for Mr. UPS. Unless you think you’re woman enough to handle them both.

  33. Stephanie…I have to babysit my gal pal’s two kids, so Mt. Vernon is out for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Which simply means I have to be ridiculously impractical and drive from Ohio to Kalamazoo on May 6th to see you.
    Cross your fingers…I’m hoping this trip will work out.

  34. Mary B: it was the first thing I checked out at the launch – no, that’s not sick, that’s what friends do for each other – and I’m happy to report that the pants fit spectacularly. Never seen her in anything remotely like it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. Damn it, you’re heading in the wrong direction! Florida is south of Memphis. Oh well, next book tour.

  36. Flowers in April???!! We haven’t seen a tulip or a single blade of green grass yet. I’m hoping by this weekend, but it isn’t looking good. Have a great trip and good luck tonight.

  37. Forget mailing them because of the weight issue, mail the yarn because then you don’t have to declare the value at customs.
    Take it from someone who discovered this in New Zealand, and you can really buy wool there. It’s much easier to ship it. And then it’s like Christmas for a couple of weeks when the mail arrives.

  38. Hey, you’ve had real biscuits! That is what Tim Tams are! Not cookies. Cookies are soft chewy things. Biscuits are crunchy. Tim Tams are crunchy (unless you slam em).
    Wow, Harlot does Memphis ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. I second Natalie from Cincinnati’s comment! I would be on my way to Mt. Vernon right now, except that my dear husband is already there on a business trip. He told me that he was going to be out of town today, and then said that he was going to be about an hour north of Columbus. I asked if he might be going to Mt. Vernon, and he looked shocked that I might guess that destination. “I knew it,” I said. “You’re going to go and see the Harlot without me.” And how scary was it that he knew what I was talking about! Have a good time in our state! Come back anytime!

  40. How do you pronounce “out”, “about” and “huge”, in Memphis, anyway?
    Did they let you take those knitting needles on the plane to the States?
    I’m loving hearing about your tour. I read your Village Idiot entry outloud to my daughter. She enjoyed it.

  41. I grew up near Memphis. No matter how many years I’ve been gone and how many wonderful things I see, smell, taste, and hear, nothing beats Memphis, period.

  42. Well thats a mighty fine howdoyado!!! Just a fast note…re: Canadian customs…don’t ship…you’ll get hit with the value added tax, plus the duty and customs….so…Steph all that yarn is really a gift that you received for each of your family members including the cat and that solid perennial Mr. Washie…and it is for each of them valued at less than 20 Canadian dollars…Each person I understand can receive such gifts and not pay any duty or taxes….Unfortunately, I have never heard of used or worn yarn…but that idea does work with clothing……..See ya Thursday NYC!!!!!

  43. I have to say that I was worried about you and the yarn stores. It’s going to be interesting. You know that we expect a full disclosure in the future. And by the way, save some dough for Grafton Fibers. Linda Diak and the Grafton crew will be at both Maryland AND NHS&W, (her hand-turned drop spindle pendants are fantastic, as are her beautifully coloured batts) so if you miss her in one place, search the other. I fear that I might not be able to guide you to her booth at NHS&W, so you’ll be on your own. I’m going to make Norma promise that you’ll get over there. And be careful in Ohio.

  44. I, too, say Cincinnati please! Sorry for the lousy weather in Ohio. It was gorgeous here just about a week ago. So happy for you that you had real biscuits. My Mommaw’s (that’s West Virginian for Grandma’s)is the best I’ve ever had. Now I’m drooling at the thought. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Biscuits…MMMMMM! Mine always turn out somewhat like whitish “hockey pucks”— so I asked a genteel Southern lady pastor’s wife how to make biscuits since her’s were raved about by her entire congregation…and she told me “Pillsbury Grands!” LOL!!

  46. Wish you were coming to Minneapolis.:( To borrow a phrase from another blogger: I’m not bitter.
    Have a wonderful time on the tour Stephanie!
    Oh, and just a suggestion..at the airport maybe you could wear a few skeins around your neck like leis. That way you could get more yarn home and start a new fashion trend.:)

  47. You didn’t give in to the bbq did you? I couldn’t blame you if you did. I know I can’t get out of a yarn store without buying something, I wouldn’t expect you to be any stronger. Ship some home if you run out of room ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. I hope you’re enjoying yourself in Ohio! My sister, Carol, (whom you should have met by now) taught my other sister, myself, and our mom to knit! She’s created MONSTERS!!!! *wink* So did she tell you she, too, is a yarnaholic? MmmHmm! Just don’t tell her husband!!!
    Enjoy your stay and come back soon!!!

  49. Oh Steph, holding my sides laughing here – It sounds like you are thoroughly enjoying yourself. Now about the west coast… Does your tour planner know that there are 600 miles — 600! between your two points of call in CA? – ever heard of a little place called the central coast? you know … hwy 1, CA scenic coastline… see if you can work in a little town called Atascadero, or at least Santa Barbara in there … I know I know, keep dreaming

  50. It has been a pleasure to read about your trip. It sounds like you are having an amazing time. I remember when my mom heard about the azaleas down south. She just kept screaming “AS BIG AS HOUSES” at me, completely convinced that I wasn’t grasping the scope of what this meant. They sure are beautiful!

  51. I just found out today that you are coming to my LYS in Essex Jct, VT…..I cant wait to meet you!!!!!!!

  52. Did you fall off the wagon and have bbq in Memphis? Having eaten all over the south, I can say with certainty that Memphis has the best bbq ever! Rendezvous….oh uh, sorry.

  53. My Georgia-born/Tennessee-raised father said it’s never spring in Michigan until it’s snowed on the tulips. I just got home from a month away, but I understand they took care of that detail this weekend.
    Heidi, we’re now up to three yarn stores in Kalamazoo — an embarrassment of riches — and two Water Street Coffee Shops! If you persuade your mom, remind her to call Athena (269-342-4508) to reserve a spot — we don’t want moms having to stand on the espresso maker…

  54. Welcome to Ohio from Carol’s other sister (or MONSTER as Ellen refered to us as)! As far as the yarnaholic is concerned… the first step is admitting it! She has sure turned us on to the great relaxing hobby of knitting. I hope you enjoyed your stay in Mt. Vernon along with the company of our sister!

  55. Man, do these posts sound like the happy train. I think we’re all on a vicarious high.

  56. Lucky you, to visit the south in spring. I moved from Maryland (not exactly northern, but still…) to central North Carolina in March (10 years ago), and was absolutely blown away. The whole city was in bloom. Absolutely beautiful.
    -Jean in Perth (you don’t have any Australian stops planned, do you?)

  57. i read in IK that you’re doing ANOTHER book? this is too cool. now i know what to ask for for christmas (if i can wait that long!)

  58. So sorry you couldn’t enjoy southern fried chicken with your biscuit, two of the best things about the south. My mom made the best biscuits I have ever eaten and she made them from scratch, only using some of this, a little of that and a handful of something else. I have never been able to make biscuits like hers and I have tried for 40 years.

  59. Go ahead, ship your yarn, mark the “gift” box on the customs form and you’re all set. Happy mailing!

  60. I will miss seeing you tonight! I’ve caught the flu so I can’t come. Anyways, I hope everything goes well in Mt Vernon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. The biscuits probably didn’t have lard in them. They make them plain old delicious in the south.
    Try turnips/greens mixed with cornbread. When we say turnips in the south, we don’t mean the root, we mean the green part. YUM!
    Our azaleas have come and gone now in south Georgia – and yes they can be tall as a house!

  62. Stephanie-
    I’m glad you enjoyed Memphis, I live in NC. My knitting group and I are trekking to the Maryland Wool and Sheep Festival next weekend. I saw on your schedule that you will be there! I would way love to have you sign my book! Where can I find you there?

  63. Pfhhh! Don’t worry about the purchases – two balls of sock yarn fit nicely into an envelope to be mailed to yourself – and just think of the educational value of the stamp collection!
    No, the most important thing to buy yourself before you leave the south as a bona fide cast iron cornbread pan. You’ll never be sorry. Corn bread is good. Corn bread baked in the right pan with all those crusty edges is unbelievable.
    Oh, and the idiocy is all relative to the village. “Buddy Whasisname and the Other Fellers” were on “Madly Off…” on Sunday, and hubby completely tuned out after two minutes. Couldn’t understand a word of Newf, might swell have been Assyrian. Lucky for me, Cape Breton is a dialect of Newf – I speak fluent “B’y”.
    Happy travels.

  64. Damn. Missed this post’s heading; what I should have posted is:
    “…and she said,
    ‘Girl, do you
    eat barbeque?’
    and I said
    ‘M’am, I am tonight.'”

  65. just wanted to say that I was in Borders in Eugene, Oregon yesterday & saw your book. Had I not already committed to buying it from whatever bookstore you’re reading at in Portland in August, I would have gotten it on the spot, but you’ll be there on the 3rd, which is 20 days before I turn 23, so it’ll be a birthday present to myself ๐Ÿ˜€

  66. Spotted at the Waterloo Chapter’s today:
    Mother’s Day display featuring (among other things) the “Girl’s Night Out Poker Kit”, the “Kama Sutra for Parents”, Amy’s “Knit Wit” and STAXXX of “At Knit’s End”.
    Y’all keep good com’ny, Miss Hahlot.

  67. Lordy, there may be shortnin’ in them biscuits, but no lard.
    By the way, “How’s your mom-n-em'”?
    –Ingrid (Georgian by birth)

  68. Just wanted to send you this link to the article in our local paper done on the booksigning. I usually don’t read the local but since my picture managed to get into the article too my mother in law called me (at 5:15 in the morning no less) to let me know. I also wanted to let you know we all had a great time at the booksigning – I hope you come again with your second book. The link is below:

  69. Wishing you were coming to Minneapolis, I’m not bitter either. My hubby commented as we driving home from my dd’s violin lesson that everyone’s lilac bushes were blooming better than mine were. I said that’s because theirs are azaleas, He said that would explain it then. I’m rather envious of all the flora they have blooming in the south, we have azalea’s but not rododenrens. We’ll have lilacs soon that will cheer me up some. P.S. I like the idea of wearing the yarn as a lei.

  70. Oh, oh, oh, I’m having a panic attack. Only 2-1/2 hours till the Harlot does Lord & Taylor in Manhattan. I prayed all night last night for a freak thunderstorm to pass thru and cancel the big T-Ball game I will be attending tonight instead of listening to Harloty fun stuff and getting to meet Stephanie. And shopping without the kids, at L&T. And going for a cappuccino. But, nooooooooo. Clouds are overhead but the game is still on.

  71. You can rest veggie-easy: ‘most everybody in the South uses Crisco in their biscuits. Southern biscuits are the best: huge, flaky things sopping with butter, you can make a meal of just one (IF you could eat just one).
    And grits. They MUST have grits (and biscuits) in heaven, alog with cats, yarn, dogs, wine, rockabilly music, horses, and coffee with real caffeine.
    Seriously, you are NOT the village idiot. The real village idiots come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in February, step off the plane wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sandals, and step out of the airport into sleety rain. I am not making this up.
    Dez, in Baton Rouge, where we sound a whole lot different than Memphis, and who is disappointed that the train (which is the best way to see America) did not take you further South.

  72. Stephanie,
    There is nothing better than a true homeade biscuit.
    my recipe
    2 cups flour self rising
    1/4 cup of crisco (solid form not the liquid oil, or you could use butter for even richer fattening biscuit)
    mix the 2 above together until you have what I would call lumpy sand (evenly mixed so you can’t tell it’s crisco)
    Do the majority of your mixing before you add milk.
    Milk (or better yet buttermilk, if buttermilk is not available add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar to regular milk, though I will say if buttermilk is available use it as it’s fat free)
    Add enough (1/4 cup or so) for you to be able to form the dough into a ball, but do no, and I mean do not overwork the dough or you will have tough biscuits
    Roll on a floured surface without overrolling to about 1/2 inch thick. but and cook in a 350 degree preheated until just beginning to brown. brush biscuits lghtly with melted butter, and finish cooking til golden brown.
    Now you can wow your family with homeade southern biscuits. Not that you even asked for this but anyways. Have a fun trip. Great book BTW, we just laughed and laughed.

  73. It is our desire to provide positive, long-lasting memories for every individual who visits Memphis. While we hope that many will stay with us, we equally desire visitors who will return to enjoy the many facets of our City time and time again.

Comments are closed.