Some cities, it turns out, have nicknames for no reason. Like… Chicago being the windy city. Chicago really isn’t that windy. It’s average. (Boston is the windiest US city, and It turns out that calling Chicago the “Windy City” might be a marketing ploy from around 1880.) Also, I’ve heard people call Cleveland “The Mistake by the Lake” which, after visiting, I can say it clearly isn’t, unless you are a Washington Wizards fan (or so I’m told) and that hardly seems like a fair concensus. All of this is to say that when you hear a slogan like “Keep Austin Weird” you think.. yeah, well. How weird can it be? I mean, people are the same all over… right? I was only in Austin from 4:30pm to 9:00AM (and the booksigning stuff started at 6pm and I was in the airport from 7:30am) but I still gathered the following.
Austin is weird. Good weird, but definitely weird.
Evidence 1.(As always, click to embiggen.)
(That last one is still more of a good shot of my sock than the knitters, which I’m sorry about, but the screen on my camera is still broken, so I’ll take what I can get.) They totally overwhelmed and surprised the bookstore, who ran out of books and were lovely and welcoming, but pretty shocked. (I know that Hill Country Weavers and The Knitting Nest tried to tell them, but dudes, nobody believes it till they see it.) I actually take my hat off to everyone concerned. Awesome job. Book People is a really awesome indie with pleasantly weird staff. Loved them, and they stuffed knitters into every available spot.
David, in all his kilt-clad glory, showed up to exact revenge. A few years ago at Rhinebeck I councelled him to buy a cone of wool for kilt hose. I can be pretty compelling, and David walked away with that yarn. Now immediately thereafter, the poor little dear declared it “scratchy” and began plotting his retaliation.
It was this. A thong out of the allegedly scratchy wool, which I assure you, I will never, ever put on. Not because that wool is scratchy (because it is not, David just doesn’t like it rough, which is all I would expect from a man in a skirt) but because I’ll die before I concede the point.
Not one, but TWO independent knitters decided, for no other reason than that it would be funny, to knit enormous socks to demonstrate that “everything is bigger in Texas.” I’d agree. (And it is funny. That’s Elizabeth with the first one, and Carol with the second. Elizabeth worked toe up, Carol… top down.)
This is Lauren, Gardiner and Patrick.
They are unrelated to each other, but Lauren somehow converted Gardiner into a knitter anyway, and then Gardiner spread it to Patrick. Clearly, Lauren emits a knitter vibe that is deeply, deeply contagious.
Evidence 5: (Which is not really evidence that Austin is weird, but that knitters are the same all over, no matter where you find them, which I find reassuring)
Sue and Kristi with their first socks,
Jelayne, who, although she couldn’t bring me her young knitter Andy, did bring me a picture of him. 7 years old, and totally competent.
And finally… a message:
Always happy to help a knitter out.
From there, I slept briefly, and got on a plane to Dallas where the good times kept on rolling. (Seriously. I think I love Texas.) Part 2 is tomorrow, since this post is long enough.
A quick note about The Sock Summit. Tina, me and the whole team are reassured, touched and bolstered by the outpouring of love and support we’ve received in the last few days. We can’t tell you how much we hate our server, and how much we love all of you back. We’re still working through the emails we’ve gotten at our Contact us forms, and if you haven’t heard from us soon, you will. We can’t thank you enough for your support and patience. You made up for the bad stuff in a big way. (The donations to KWB were an outstanding touch. You’re all made of kindness. I’ll be adding those to the tally and thanking you individually when the SS09 inbox isn’t such a pressing concern, but know that we see and love every one of them.)