City of Knitters

Last night’s event was just outside of Los Angeles, and boy, was it a doozy. Just being in LA always freaks me out a little.  The palm trees, the cars – the outdoor swimming pools open even through it’s almost November… it’s a lot for a Canadian to absorb.  I walked to the event, and even that was weird because I swear to you, without a word of a lie, me and a homeless guy were the only ones on the sidewalk.  I got the feeling that walking places isn’t really a Pasadena thing.  I arrived and went upstairs and could see that things were already going to be a little out of control in the way that freaks non-knitter bookstore people out – and I was right.  They were dong a good job, but you could tell by the looks on their faces that the realization that this many knitters walk among them was a big of a leap.  Behold.  The knitters of LA.

I did my thing, and then I got a surprise when the signing line formed.  Turns out that knitters are sneaky, and the reason that the store seemed more worried than I was had to do with all the knitters I couldn’t see.  Knitters behind the stacks, on the stairs… knitters lurking all places.  It was a horde, for sure, but a horde that I like.  

First off, I met Jean and her lovely baby Daphne.

Daphne was (except for the odd man who burst in mid-reading worrying about some problem with the police) the only person not smiling, I think.  (I respect her seriousness.  Clearly Daphne is doing some big thinking. Probably about fine motor control and when she can learn to knit.)
Then came the parade of first sock knitters.  Cindy, Aty and Christine had beautiful first socks.

So did Pat and Teressa.

…and with that, the veneer began to crack. Next up were Debra and Sandy, and their first socks –

as well as what Sandy said was her "last sock" which made me think she was giving it up, but I think what she meant was that it was her most recent.
Then came Catherine, who (FINALLY) represented for those of us who have trouble getting things together sometimes, and brought me:

A truly crappy, misshapen first sock.  Sing it sister!  She was followed by Linda:

Who brought her "third first sock".  I reminded her that we call third first socks "third socks" but she told me that this is her third attempt without getting anything that looks like a sock, which is my kind of knitter.
Finally in the first sock department we have Mary Ellen.   Mary Ellen walked up to me and said "I don’t have a first sock, so I knit a tiny chicken"

Alright then.  You know, I couldn’t make this stuff up.
For the record, it was a fantastic tiny chicken.

Karin brought me a little Canadian stocking for my Christmas tree,

Rowan and Jason showed up to show off her first pattern – Chromatography.

Mary brought a picture of her friend Angie, who was supposed to come, but got stuck at work,

Even though she dressed up in her best knitter stuff.
Allison fixed a spot on her sweater by snipping and grafting – she’s another Black Ops knitter.

Loren did something really sweet.  She started a scarf at the signing, then passed it all around while I was talking, and the whole lot of them put in a few rows for me. 

I love it, and isn’t she nice?
Christine brought her picture of her getting Allan Tudyk (from Firefly!) to hold a sock.

And finally, there was Danielle, who’s son works at the bookstore, and is an avid crocheter.  Her son called her from the store and told her there was "a big yarn thing"

So she ran over, like we all would.

Next stop, Seattle!

105 thoughts on “City of Knitters

  1. You’re over the hump, time wise. And travelling closer to home every segment. Gwen is lovely socks are too, so is scarf. Thanks for the “virtual” road trip.

  2. Several questions spring to mind: Did you teach the homeless man to knit? Did you calm the odd guy by having him huff some wool? What gives with the no-sock-in-progress-in-the-group-photos? Have you finally had a decent vegetarian meal? How is your wardrobe holding up?

  3. Please tell us that someday there will be Canadian tour stops. I know your book publicist sets these things up, and I’m hoping she (he?) reads your blog comments.

  4. What an awesome group of knitters! I really like that tiny chicken and that actor that portrayed Wash on Firefly holding that woman’s sock! Really, fantastically awesome! 🙂

  5. It was so great to finally meet you! And how lovely it was to steal your attention for a few minutes and have an actual conversation 🙂 (Although I think I was too excited to converse in a manner becoming a lady… oh well). Also, Jason and I walk everywhere (grad student + lab technician = no car), but we are definitely an LA anomaly! Safe trip up North, Say “hi” to autumn for me!

  6. To Pat or Theresa who is pictured in the blog( the one holding purple socks). Please email me. I need to know the name of you shawl pattern!!!!!!!!!

  7. Very sad that you aren’t stopping in the bay area, but I’ve been twice before and completely understand that you can’t visit every time. Maybe for the next book! I have to say that I love the tiny chicken!!!! If anyone knows the pattern, please send a message!

  8. Pasadena is actually a very walkable city, and there’s usually a lot of foot traffic in that area, especially on weekends. It was a real treat to have you there, especially at our beloved Vroman’s! Here’s hoping you’ll be back often!

  9. Great fun to see you last night! I was standing behind the “odd man” who later started yelling about the police. He was there from the beginning of the event, even clapping a few times (although he clearly was not a knitter or accompanying a knitter–my “knitdar” knows). He moved away from me after a little while, and I don’t know what he was doing, but it looked like a bookstore employee soon approached him and asked him to leave. That’s when he burst out with, “They’re going to call the police! He’s trying to touch me. He wants to fight me…” And he was escorted away without incident (as far as I know). Maybe having all that yarn near him had a paradoxically enraging effect.

  10. Hi, Stephanie (virtual wave)! Just posting a word of gratitude, encouragement, and appreciation for you. I’m enjoying reading your tour postings very much as I sit comfortably at home knitting some wide stripe socks. Thank you for sharing your travel experiences. I took a trip recently to visit family, which I enjoyed greatly, but I’m old and don’t like airports, planes, long lines, delays, stress, or any of the other negatives about travel. You however are young enough to do it with a smile, and we appreciate it. Spoken as one who met you on a book tour in 2008 and was thrilled to bits!
    It’s only a short time now till you get to sleep in your own bed. Safe home.

  11. Welcome to Southern California –land of pools in November, traffic, people who only walk for exercise (not to get somewhere) and nuts like myself who are fanatic about knitting sox and wearing them with our Birkenstoks or sending to realatives who live in the north.

  12. Like all the others, I’m enjoying “accompanying” you on your book tour! All the photos are great and hearing about all the people you meet, knitters and non-knitters alike is fun. Love Gwen—beautiful color and cables–WOW! Thanks for encouraging us in our knitting by being real with us, triumphs, mishaps and all!

  13. Sounds like my kind of crowd! I have been knitting continuously for just over a year, and have finished 5 sweaters, almost done with 6th. But I absolutely can not manage a sock. I have tried at least three times, and have decided that I need a third hand to manage all those double points. Anyway. enjoy the restof your tour!

  14. There are some pretty neat yarn stores on the way from the airport to downtown. And check out the piggies in the Pike Place Market, but look out for lobbed fish. Have fun! Perhaps Salt Lake will fit in some time. Perhaps it’s time for me to make a trip to Denver or even better, Toronto…on the train…with my spinning wheel…

  15. PLEEEEEEEZE come to San Diego sometime! We’re not LA and SD is California’s 2nd largest city (it’s not San Francisco!). If you have already been here, it was before I started reading your blog…which has been at least 3 years I think…

  16. egad. I really think I have need of a tiny chicken – or a Cheshire Cat. I need to check in with Ravelry.
    Looks like you’re having a really good book tour now that Gwendolyn has decided to behave like a lady.

  17. My first attempt at socks took two rippings and reknittings before they resembled anything that belong on feet, so Linda is my kind of knitter, too. And isn’t it great that people are bringing you PRESENTS!

  18. Too bad you have no time to spare – the Seattle Weaver’s Guild sale is on this weekend. There is usually some great knitting there, too. Sometimes from handspun. 🙂

  19. Personally, I think this whole South of the Border book tour is just a complex scheme to avoid turning your heat on at home until a more honorable date. Palm trees. Pssh.

  20. I had a similar experience in Pasadena (for a conference) — asked the hotel guy how far to walk to CalTech campus (to buy nerd son a sweatshirt) and he said “15 minutes.” Now, I am a NY’er (New Jersey, really) but a city walker none the less. That was no 15 minute walk.
    and there were no people walking, just jumping out of their cars to go to the ATM or Starbucks.
    I came to the conclusion that people in CA say something is “around the corner”, jump into their cars and drive several miles.
    Wish you were coming back to NJ!!!

  21. I love following your book-signing tour. The babies are too cute! As a knitter that has to know, what is the shawl name for Cindy’s(the 1st first-sock knitter) gorgeous green shawl?? Other knitters are so inspiring. Safe travel on the last few days of your tour.

  22. I got all dressed up to come see you, made a I (heart) Gwendolyn sign I was going to show you with my Gwendolyn, went to verify the time and realized you’re going to be in the Third Place Books in Bothell, not the one actually in Seattle. 🙁
    The Third Place Books in Bothell is a lovely place…just not always easy for us Seattlites to get to during rush hour, especially this week. Don’t ask. I’m sure you’ve already gotten an earful on your way from the airport, but….touchy topic.
    I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful signing and I was very sorry to miss you.

  23. I’m disappointed. I was hoping to see that gorgeous sweater on you. I guess LA is not exactly the climate for it.

  24. Yes, we Californians can be a bit much… as we are for the rest of the US, but given that we represent a third of the US economy and our whole state is about a third of the entire US population, we should get better “press.” Southern California (LA/Pasadena always gets you for a book signing, this time, in a really small place. Might your publisher, just maybe, recognize that California is a really, really big state, with lots of people in it who love you and wish they could take off work and drive 300+ miles to see you, to drive back for work the next morning. I know you’d like to see your family, be home and have more knitting time….(wouldn’t we all) but we only get one opportunity every 2-3 years? Come on, a smaller area of the East Coast gets multiple opportunities — and TX gets 2? (They vote Conservative, that should count for something — bad, no?)
    Love you , and regret I had to work when you came anywhere near…..”the rest of California”

  25. Some of us Californians walk! But many other strange things go on at the Caltech campus (also in Pasadena) in addition to using feet for transportation (we’re often barefoot on campus, for example). Glad you were able to enjoy a little piece of La La Land.

  26. Thank you so much for the awesome evening! You brought the house down! I’ve been fretting that when you asked if Daphne was always this good and I said “no” that I wasn’t being very nice to you or her. She really is a super sweet little baby, but she did not like the car ride to the event and I think I was still recovering from the stress and guilt of driving a screaming baby in rush hour. But I want you to know that I had a blast, it was an absolute treat to get to talk to you and I’m honored you posted our picture. Wishing you safe travels until you are back home.

  27. Aww, you were in my old neighborhood! I miss Vroman’s! It is true there isn’t much foot traffic right there but I swear, there is further down the street where there are a lot of restaurants and shops (tons and tons at night. They even have diagonal crosswalks to accommodate it). Where you are is mostly offices so those folks would have gone home in the evening.
    Pasadena rules!

  28. Glad to see that you’re enjoying the trip. Holy crap what a whack of knitters.
    I’m going to ask an off the topic question though. If you’re gone, how does the your family no furnace/central heat contest work? Currently in a stubborn no central heat thing of my own at the moment, so I’m curious. PS my family thinks I’m nuts to do this in near freezing temps.

  29. Thank you so much for such a fantastic evening. My daughter was a little reluctant to come with me but wound up having a great time. She even said that she wants to borrow all my copies of your books. You impressed my 13 year old which means you rock! Thanks again!

  30. First thought when I woke up to clouds in the sky on Weds a.m. was Oh no Stephanie is coming and I wanted one of our beautiful fall days for her to enjoy. This a.m. was spectacular so maybe you got to see part of it. Really enjoyed the evening Thank You

  31. It was a fun, if VERY crowded, event in Pasadena! It was daunting to see all the really beautiful things people had knitted and crocheted, including those of some of the folks whose photos you posted. Really inspiring, though. And I just felt incredibly privileged to meet you. Best book signing ever! Vroman’s may never recover. (Oh, and Danielle has the Best Son in the World.)

  32. I’m pouting because you didn’t have a stop in the San Francisco Bay Area! Show NorCal a little love!

  33. Holy freakin’ crap, Deb and Sandy made the blog! When I lived in Los Angeles, I’d go to their house on Friday nights for quilting. They weren’t knitters back then, they were just starting to knit when I moved back east. Thanks for the pictures of friends I haven’t seen in years!

  34. I turned on my furnace yesterday here in southeastern BC and it mades me wonder, what happens to furnace wars when you’re on book tour? It doesn’t seem like it would be fair to compete from Pasadena 🙂

  35. Ah, I’m missing my visits down to the area where I grew up. Love that Vroman’s — hope you got some good eats (lots of great restaurants in Pasadena).

  36. Two things:
    Have you tried Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk? They have a light version that might be magical for your hair. Also I’m trying to get my sister to come see you in Portland. She met some Sock Summitteers on the bus and told them how jealous I was 🙂

  37. Wow I saw the Alan Tudyk picture and just did an involuntary face fanning thing. There may have been some drool. I’m a bit of a fan…

  38. Oh, Seattle is so close. My son is stationed in Oak Harbor and I begged him to get a book signed for me. He said something about not leaving his post – like the Navy is more important than a Harlot signing.
    Maybe next tour…
    Mary, in Ohio

  39. Stephanie, I read somewhere that Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in response to being questioned by the police because he was walking in LA and that was obviously suspicious behavior. (I guess I should say “behaviour,” eh?)

  40. Seattle, curly hair & a good hair day….one of these things just doesn’t belong here…

  41. I was soooo tempted to ditch work and fly down from Sacramento for the day! Looks like a great turn out for the crazy California people but seriously next time come visit us in northern California where the weather does get cold on occasion…we still have open pools year around though.

  42. A Black Ops Knitter. That’s terrific, and thank you–It sounds much better that way than “obsessed” or the other adjectives most people use when they hear that not only did you knit a sweater, but also (from knitters & non-knitters alike) that you took scissors to it in order to keep it from winning!
    Initially, they had only set up chairs for, oh, maybe sixty or so people. Those chairs were filled three hours before the event.

  43. Glad you enjoyed Pasadena yesterday. We definitely enjoyed having you at our little Vroman’s, even though crazy yeller guy showed up and made a bit of a scene. Good luck on the rest of the book tour and come back soon! Next time, I’ll offer to take you to Huntington Library and Gardens which has gorgeous gardens, a fun tea room, and count Blue Boy and Pinkie as part of their collection.

  44. Hi Stephanie (or is it Ms. Harlot?) I’m Mary’s (& Joanie’s) friend Angie. I was so excited about coming to see you speak and equally disappointed when last minute it all unravelled. I am a paralegal and putting out litigation fires is something I should be accustomed to after 20 years, but it never fails – the one day out of the year that you absolutely must leave the office at a certain time is the day that Alaska airlines loses the luggage of the attorney you just sent off to a deposition in MT. You guessed it. All of the documents she needed are in the LOST luggage. No Yarn Harlot for me! I’m really glad that Joanie and Mary got to go though. We had a great time at KC lunch today hearing all about it and clutching our new YH books, which Mary insisted on paying for. You Canadians are so sweet! (Did Mary tell you she’s Canadian too?). I can’t wait to read it! Please come back soon. I would really hate to think that I missed my one chance at meeting you bc of work.
    Enjoy Seattle and post pics of you wearing the sweater please.
    PS Hi Wendy & Rabbi ( 2 of the lovely ladies I met while volunteering at VKL – sitting in the front of the room in your group shots)

  45. Enjoying following you on your tour. I’m with the other Canadians – we’d love it if you would tour around here. There a bunch of us in Manitoba that would love to have you come to Winnipeg. 🙂 We would make sure that the weather would be perfect for wearing beautiful, warm sweaters and perfectly knit socks. 🙂 Keep sharing! We love it.

  46. I got to the bookstore 1 1/2 hrs early and all the seats were almost full. This was both my first ever knitting event & book signing. It was the most amazing thing to be in a room full of knitters knitting and wearing hand knit. It has hilarious when the guy started yelling almost the whole room was shushing him. I was the crazy one with the hexipuffs. 🙂 Thank you for such a terrific & entertaining evening.

  47. Pasadena! I knew you’d love it. The people were great and the vibe was warm. You make your tour sound like so much fun. I enjoy reacing about it so much. Thank you!

  48. Pasadena! I knew you’d love it. The people were great and the vibe was warm. You make your tour sound like so much fun. I enjoy reading about it so much. Thank you!

  49. I forgot to ask a favor. Some day could you show us how you can fix a complicated cable crossing by clipping one piece of the yarn? I’m at a loss! Maybe when there is a lull in cool and interesting things to write about….

  50. Stephanie, thank you so much for coming to Pasadena! It was awesome to get to see you. I think Vroman’s would love to have you back–I tried to go back and buy another couple of copies of your book to sign, when I was waiting for my group to get called up, and they told me that they were sold out of all 170 copies. The cashier told me that the next time there’s a knitting event, she’s going–she could hear all the laughter coming from upstairs.
    I feel kind of bad mentioning this, because I didn’t mean to mislead you, but I did–I had the picture of Alan Tudyk holding my knitting, but my name isn’t Christine–that’s my mother-in-law, the book you signed is for her Christmas present. My name is Juanita. 🙂 I hope you can forgive me for unintentionally leading you astray.
    Again, Stephanie, thanks so much for coming to SoCal. It was awesome to hear you read from your book and to get to chat with you a bit. You are amazingly gracious, being so generous with your time with each person in line, when there had to be at least 100 people in that line.
    Oh, and for other people, I think the tiny chicken is from the book Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec.

  51. I once saw an interview with Ashley Jensen (a British actress) in which she said she loves to walk (Brits like their outdoors) and when she moved to LA chose to walk around the city whenever she could. The problem was that she was constantly being mistaken for a hooker because they were the only other women out there with her.

  52. Not understand the “sock” thing but guess it must be fun if so many people are holding onto theirs 😉 I tried out one sock today & hope the second matches the first when done. 4dpn works better than 2circular for me. I put in a lacy pattern on the top and realised (too late) why socks should be closely knitted – the toes come thru if one puts on the socks in a hurry !! Thank you for sharing and putting knitted socks in the limelight.

  53. What a fun time we had with you in Pasadena! Thanks so much for coming. I thought you made a great recovery from crazy yelling guy – you just picked right up in the same sentence. Please don’t think that’s typical California craziness! We’re not crazy. Really.

  54. Hey! It looks, from the pictures, that there was some serious shawl and scarf knitting that has gone on in LA! Beautiful stuff, for sure.

  55. I’m so sad – I’ll be in Seattle a week too late to see you. I’m going for a work conference, but I would of gladly skipped out on a session (or two) to see you again. I was able to see you in Indianapolis a few years ago and you were lovely! Maybe I’ll catch you again on the next book tour.

  56. Thanks so much for photographing and sharing your book tour with us. You make me feel like I’m there with you instead of stuck in my office in West Virginia. Still have not recovered from the Gwen repairs….scary but wonderful. You are SuperKnitter.

  57. Everyone’s knitting was fantastic, but Teressa’s capelet is CALLING ME. Somebody pleeeeeeeeeeease help me with information where I can find a pattern.

  58. LA looks like a lot of fun. I haven’t been in California in *cough* decades.
    For your sake, I think that you should have a reprise of LA when the February doldrums start sapping the will of even a winter loving knitter to live.

  59. Is that a nautilus needle gauge Pat is wearing around her neck? I’ve seen the flat colored aluminum ones (coloured aluminium ones?) but this one is beautiful!

  60. Gosh, we love you Stephanie… thanks for your wonderful take on the world! It just makes my day to read you first thing!
    Kepp doing what you do, please! (like you could stop, right?) heh heh

  61. Doncha know that the sidewalks in SoCal are for hosing off (with all that water they don’t have)?
    Many years ago, while staying with friends in LA, my husband and I went for an early morning walk in the neighborhood while our hosts still slept. A helpful neighbor called the police about the “suspicious persons” in the area. Luckily we got off with a tongue-in-cheek warning – the sidewalks are for the water run-off when one washes the car!

  62. OK, I think you have to make certain entries on your blog are required reading for bookstores that are hosting a signing for one of your books. This one is probably a prime choice, along with other similar ones. When they haven’t done this before, and don’t have a clue what the turnout will be, this might be the only way to truly get through to them.
    I think it’s a hoot – and boy would I have loved to be there before the event and watch the faces of the staff as people stream in.

  63. walking in LA? nobody walks in LA – they even wrote a song about it! Also the movie LA story.
    Love to see all the knitters around the country Thanks YH!

  64. You’re in the home stretch now! Almost through!
    Also, if someone can at least name the pattern for Allison’s sweater I can search wildly for it. it’s beautiful!

  65. I really love how you share your talks with us, and show us what the knitters have knit (or as in the case of Daphne, are thinking of knitting once the fine motor control is mastered). Seattle awaits.

  66. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this event and brought my 1st sock with me. But in the interest of time (since the store was already closed when I got my book signed), I decided to refrain from sharing it. I will share here instead: I used self striping yarn and was admanant that the stripes match. I spent one evening drinking an entire bottle of wine and turning the heel of the 2nd sock – in bad lighting no less. The next day I could see that the skein I was using had a distinct flaw…one of the stripes was considerably thicker with a wonky bit in the middle. Lesson 1 learned: do not drink and turn heels! Then after I wore the socks once my dog chewed holes in one of them! Lesson 2 learned: keep knitted objects away from pets! Thank you Stephanie for an absolutely amazing evening!

  67. someone please track down the pattern for teressa’s capelet. i’m in love!!!!!!! (with the capelet, not Teressa, although she looks nice)

  68. Thank you so much for coming to Southern California. This was my first ever book signing and first ever knit event! I can’t wait for more
    And Sarah, Allison’s cardi is the Sophia Cardi, a free Caron pattern, and she did an awesome job!

  69. Yes, I do believe you and the homeless were the only walkers in L.A./Pasadena (well there are other walkers, but I suspect they were in a different part of L.A.).
    As a former Californian, let me say I’m proud of those knitters for knitting up that scarf on the spot for you.

  70. I love Mary Ellen’s tiny chicken! It reminds me of my mom, who loved all things miniature and knitted. Thanks for such lovely stories!

  71. Just had to pop in and say that I am loving your photo essays of your book signing travels. Maybe one day you can make it all the way up to Anchorage?
    Do first socks count if you started them 3 years ago – as the third project ever – and then put aside for other knitterly goods? Oh, someday I’ll get them finished.
    Love the photo of Allan Tudyk holding the sock – I can proudly say that I am a Browncoat!!

  72. Cincinnati! Cincinnati eagerly awaiting the arrival (and the scheduling of) The Yarn Harlot!

  73. Thank you for coming to Vromans. It’s been part of the Pasadena since 1894. I think the hugh number of us was a shock to them. I can tell you that from past book signings I’ve attended they never filled that room like we did! I got there over an hour early and ended up in the childrens chairs near the floor way in the back. It was fun and thanks for all the laughs. Hope you get some peace when you get back home.

  74. You know, next time you’re in SoCal I really need to get there. I’m in Anaheim, which really isn’t that far from Pasadena, but getting there on a weeknight when I have to be at work at 5 the next morning is a bit daunting. Oh well. Maybe next book you’ll be closer to Anaheim.

  75. Love love love the tiny chicken! Made me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants. You do realize that is the kind of thing that sticks, right? If I ever get a chance to meet you/see you speak/book sign/whatever, I am knitting you a tiny chicken. Or maybe a penguin. Not sure yet… Some sort of flightless bird, at any rate. It was so adorable! So sorry I couldn’t make it to Pasadena for the signing – I hope you come to San Francisco sometime!

  76. Hoping the knitter of the little Canadian Christmas tree ornament will read this and could share the pattern. I have a canadian sister-in-law and she would love this little ornament. Thank you.

  77. I came to the book signing with my friends Kim and Allison (the Black Ops knitter). We made a day of it, going on a “yarn crawl” from San Diego to Pasadena. We had a day of fun wrapping up at the reading and book signing! Thank you!

  78. PS. Teressa’s shawl is the Whippoorwill
    by Carina Spencer. I know you can buy it off Ravelry and I think I bought my pattern at my local yarn store.

  79. Thank you Stephanie for such a fun reading! I was busy getting ready to leave for a trip to NY when my Son, Chris, who works at the book store called me up and said ” mom, there is a book signing and a whole lotta ladies with yarn tonight!” so I ran over having no idea who the author was and what kind of book, except that it was yarn, and I am so glad that I came! Stephanie is Hilarious, and I am so happy to find this blog! Now, I am a crocheter and was informed by Stephanie that I am a “Hooker” and that once I learn how to knit, I will become “Bicraftual!” um…now my husband can’t stop mentioning this and I have something to look forward to! 🙂

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