Hello Portland

I’m on my way out the door from Portland as I type this, but as usual, Portland brought it last night, in it’s own wonderfully funky way.  (Where else can you get gifts of coffee, beer, fabulous wool underpants, yarn and blackberry jam?

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That says Portland all over it, if you ask me.)

I don’t have much time to talk with you, but I can tell you a few things.

1. One of the coolest things about being on a book tour is seeing repeat offenders, people that I haven’t seen in years, especially if they’re kids, on account of most grown-ups aren’t changing fast enough to be really exciting that way.  Last night I had a bunch of returning readers, but I loved these especially.

That’s Katie, a little knitter who played “Mary had a little lamb” for me back in 2011.

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This is her last night.

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I love the teenager that’s come over her, and that she’s trying to shove her photobombing mum out of the picture with one hand.  She’s still a knitter.

This was Ira, Libby and Gertie, back in 2011

iralibbygertiethen 2014-03-05

And this was them last night.

libbyiragertie 2014-03-05

Still all knitters.  Crazy, eh? It’s like a time warp. (I like the way Libby’s hair is exactly the same. Very grounding.)

2. I still like seeing first socks, but there’s a kind I like especially.  Terrible ones.  You’re supposed to be terrible at something when you start, and I love the knitters who bring me first socks that look like they were recombined out of a malfunctioning teleporter. Such was the case last night when Tara brought me these to see:

tara1stsocks 2014-03-05

They’ve got heels that don’t match, the toes square and on sideways, and the best part? They’re well worn and loved.   Gotta love knitters man.  You gotta love them.

3. I can tell you that so far, so good.  Last night on the way to the event I was so nervous, so worried,  and then I got there, and it was great. Really great.  The reading was scary, like it always is, and especially scary because it was the first time I was reading from the new book, and until last night, really the only person who had really read it was my mum. (This probably helped a lot, now that I think of it, because I don’t have the lying kind of mum. If the book was bad there’s no way my mother would have let me leave on tour without telling me.) People seemed to like it though, and I think it’s going to be okay. The biggest mistakes I made yesterday were getting lost in the PDX airport (did you know there are tunnels under it? Don’t go down there.) and the fact that I’m the idiot dragging a wool coat,  scarf and mittens all over Portland, where it’s 16C and raining.  The winter is so entrenched at home that it didn’t even occur to me that it wasn’t like that everywhere, which is so ….

I’m going to look like a moron in Arizona.

(PS. Debbi and I have opened registration for the April Strung Along Retreat at Port Ludlow.  Just drop us a line at StrungAlong@yarnharlot.ca if you want a little more info.)

95 thoughts on “Hello Portland

  1. I am so sorry to have missed you! I had no idea you were going to be at Powells last night! I would have drove straight up after work! I am excited to read your new book though and suggested it for our read and swap club!!!

  2. Looking forward to seeing you in Exton, PA on the 15th. Drove to NJ several years ago to see you. Exton is much closer to where we live in PA.

  3. See? Once the initial stage-fright is over, you find you’re just reconnecting with old friends – how awesome!

    Reposting this part (sorry I didn’t think of it sooner, Portland):
    Hey, all the knitters attending the book signings? How would you like to make Stephanie a memento of this Book Tour, by knitting her a collaborative scarf?
    – Take with you one yard of yarn in a colour you know Stephanie would like (earth/autumn tones? neutrals?); somebody donate a 5mm circular or pair of needles.
    – begin at one corner of the room, and one person cast on about 20-25 stitches, and knit to about 4″ from the end of your yarn.
    – pass it to the next person, who ties in their yarn and knits until 4″ from the end of it.
    – repeat until everyone who wants to has had a chance to knit on the scarf.
    – let Stephanie take it on to the next signing, so the scarf keeps growing along the tour route.

    What do you think?

      • I hope someone will take the idea and run with it — all I can do is put the thought out there, since I’m in Canada and won’t be at any of the events – maybe someone at each venue could coordinate that evening’s efforts? If nothing else, get all the yarn knotted together in one big skein or ball, to be knitted up later by a volunteer or two (and yes, I’ll volunteer, if I’m needed to.)

    • And, such a wonderful teenager she is. She was really torn because there were so many books and she wanted to listen to Stephanie talk at the same time!

  4. It was great to see you again at Powell’s last night and this is your best book yet! You were your usual charming and funny self, but I am most impressed by your vulnerability and how you have stepped forward to run your business and create the life you want. I wanna be just like you!

  5. I love seeing your pictures of people and their knitting and their kids on your tours! I’m sitting at home with my kids knitting on my sweater and thinking of all the fun you are having 🙂

    • Just the vest? I want to see the scarves she was promising to knit (one out of merino and copper, one out of merino and stainless steel), plus the asymmetric vest (I’m excited to see that one, I like the look of the pattern), plus the three pairs of stripey socks.

      Well, where are they all?

      (I’m so going to be struck by lightning at the Boston signing…)

        • I was going to ask someone to post a picture of her newly dyed hair (maybe when they get the vest). So sorry I couldn’t get a ticket to your talk in Iriving. Even though I was trying hard–they sold out in 3 mins! Have a great time and enjoy the knitter love!

  6. 1. Anyone who doesn’t love you or knitting would not surround themselves with a sea of people who do — way too dangerous.
    2. I read a bit of your book. It is fabulous. Read it out loud proudly.

  7. So envious of all the knitters who will see you in person! Read your new book in one sitting last night. Loved it! Safe travels!

  8. You should have been in Tempe this past weekend and you would have needed all your rain gear. We promise you sunshine for this weekend! And warmth. 81F expected tomorrow.

  9. I had a wonderful time at your reading last night.

    Recently I had a conversation with some friends about which corners of the internet have had the most persistant presence in our lives and your blog was near the top of my list. I started reading shorty after I moved to Portland, so it must have been early 2005 or so.

    I came for the knitting but stayed for your wisdom and humor about all of life. Your writing about housekeeping and personal presentation have helped me to know that there are kindred spirits out there. (My new years resolution for 2013 was to look in the mirror before leaving the house. After a full year of practice I manage to remember about 75% of the time.)

    But more than anything your writing about parenting has been helpful and inspiring as I moved into having both an infant and a teenager in 2011. (One I gave birth to, the other I gained guardianship for.) Thank you so much for writing with honesty about the joys, struggles, and end-goals of having these little, infuriating, people in our lives.

    There was no way for me to say this in person after you had already been signing books for 45 minutes, but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the work that you do. (I was the one with the purple hair.)

    I hope the rest of your tour is even more fun than Portland, though I don’t think it is just pride to think that we set the bar pretty high here.

    Also, I laughed out loud while reading your book several more times on the bus ride home.

  10. Gosh, it seems like fo-o-r-rever, since I’ve seen a pair of unfinished socks with book event attendees in the background. Best luck on a successful tour!

  11. Coming from a cold place myself I understand the problems of traveling to warm places with winter coats, etc. Too bad Michigan isn’t on the schedule, you would feel right at home. Its the first week of March and was -6 Fahrenheit. Having said that I understand why Michigan didn’t make the tour- you wanted to go somewhere warm! Congratulations on the book. I can’t wait to read it.

  12. Wish I could be there, but living vicariously through the blog. (while trying not to sound too creepy, can you give us more info on your wool undies?) Tour on, with you in spirit !

  13. I am dying to get your book but waiting until you come to PA so I can support the bookstore. And much of the US is still cold, though we are hopeful it will warm up – if Mother Nature decides that you should look like a fool, I hope you don’t mind suffering on our behalf since it’s been a rough winter in the Mid-Atlantic.

    Here’s hoping (and expecting) knitters at all your stops try to outdo Portland!

  14. I did a blitz reading of your book during the no sleep hours of night. Now I’m going for a savor the moments reading starting over. It’s a wonderful, amazing book…I love it.

  15. The crew was so excited to see you last night. I was very hopefull that Portland would help set the tone so that you knew that you were just going out amongst your people. You are safe and welcome with us!

    Did anyone tell you we were freaking the Powell’s lady that introduced you? She couldn’t get over that we were all knitting. She marveled at it out loud about 5 times.


  16. I just bought your new book. Love, love, love the first chapter. I’m sure I will enjoy every single word. Keep up the good work.

  17. I wish you were coming to Kansas City, Missouri this year — guess I might have to make a trip to St. Louis to see you.

    • If we can come down from Iowa you can come over from Missouri! Of course you’ll need some time off. It is still cold and ‘flu season. Cough, cough, hint, hint.
      Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

  18. Yeah!! Book tour, you are doing it!
    One crazy tip from a traveller from Winnipeg. A down parka…it can squish right down into a pocket sized thing when you don’t need it. My folks live in Virginia, so I need the coat when I leave Winnipeg, but not when I get to my parents’ house. So, I leave my wool coat at home, wear the parka to the airport, and stuff it into a very small pouch while travelling. Out it comes when I get on that last flight home to Canada! (Oh, and you better believe I will be doing this times 2 for my twins. We have neon 3T parkas all ready for the squishy treatment on the trip in April. It will likely still be snowing here in April….)

    • Joanne; if you’re coming to Virginia you might want to hang on to that parka this year. We’ve had record cold temp since January

  19. Loved the book!! Had pre-ordered it and it was delivered last weekend. Not able to get to see you on the tour, but enjoy your blog, books, and patterns! Have fun…

  20. Hey, my hair has looked exactly the same for the last 25 years! Thanks for including us–we all had a great time. Gertie started reading the book out loud to us on the way home–that is, when she wasn’t laughing too hard.

    • My captcha failed, but I was stating how cool that is your son knitted in the 1st pic. I assume he still does since he attended last night. Were the men in the audience knitting too? Sounds like you live in a really nice knitting community.

  21. The first time we met was at Powell’s in Portland and after your talk, the PDX knit bloggers was born. I’ll see you in Tempe this weekend, but it won’t be the same without all my Portland peeps.

  22. I bought the book last night at Barnes & Noble – they had to go to the BACK ROOM to find it for me. I told them they were going to miss out on a rush of sales if they didn’t get them on the shelf. And that they should put a note on the knitting books shelf to tell people to go to humor and buy it.

    I have only just begun reading, but I love what I’ve read so far. Very funny and illuminating. If you like sci-fi Armageddon movies, you might want to watch Star Crash. It has some of the cheesiest special effects in existence and stars David Hasselhoff and – brace yourself – Christopher Plummer. (He has a pained expression on his face during much of the movie.)

    I brought your book to work with me today and my supposedly leak-proof travel mug spilled coffee on the cover! Ack! It’s so heading for the garbage or recycling center if it’s recyclable. Leaking on your book is intolerable.

  23. I have a passing acquaintance with the woman who gave you the Malabrigo underpants, so I could find out what the pattern is, but I’d much rather see a photo of them here. (You don’t have to be wearing them, for sure!)

  24. You did great, it was fabulous!

    Again with the messages here instead of holding up the line. Love the blog and your previous books, you’re a staple in my wooly life. And wanted to thank you for Sock Summit, I know it takes so much to put on something like that. It was wonderful and the last one happened just as I had somewhat unexpectedly moved to Portland. I got to participate last minute by volunteering and buying a class off someone who couldn’t make it. It made me feel at home in my new city right away and even helped get me a job teaching at a local yarn shop! A girl couldn’t ask for more. You definitely went out on a high note.

    Thanks, and enjoy the underpants!

  25. Read the first three chapters last night and love it! Plenty of warm in Arizona for you this weekend, but don’t worry, you’ll still need the coat when you get to Denver.

  26. 😀 SUPER exciting that your book sold out on Amazon. I was bummed but then remembered if I got it for my Kindle that it would magically arrive at my house before I got home from work.

    You are an amazing woman and I can’t wait to read pieces of your heart, one word at a time!

  27. Stephanie, words can’t express the fun I had last night with my daughter. I had no idea that when we went to see you that it would be such a life changing experience. Muggles will so never get that our community is so much more than knitting. I read your book immediately instead of cleaning my home today. Your words mean more than you will ever know. I hope it to be a start of a new way of thinking for me and guide my actions in the future.

    Katie still has no idea she made the blog again! Her parents are so very proud of the smart, sweet and charming young lady that she has become. I have to say that I am glad you chose that picture of my daughter and I instead of the other one! I laughed so very hard at your cat puke stories and snorkeling with your Mum. Just so you know … Folex carpet cleaner is those kind of messes best friend.

    And finally, the socks in that picture are of my current SIP “Brucie.” She is a first time designer too! Here is her link of the completed sock if you would like to see the finished sock. {waves so excitedly at Amy!}
    She was so excited and you have made her first sock design something that will be so much more memorable. I just saw that I got to hold the sock in yesterday’s post too! I hope to one day have such perfectly stitched projects!
    Thanks for sharing my life with all of us.

  28. I am so happy you were here in PDX. I could not come to the meeting last night but just knowing you were in my city somehow made me smile with delight. I love me some knitters. My 4 year old twins are finally at an age where I am resurfacing again and next time you are in town I will be there with my 8 year old knitting son in tow 🙂 Have a great tour!!!!!!

  29. I am loving your new book! I know you hate to hear, but I wish you would write one a month.
    So I collect all of them, and reread them.
    You taught me how to knit socks in knitting rules. And for that one thing I thank you. You make me laugh, cry and think.

  30. No need to worry about what people think here in AZ – I moved here 6 months ago, and I’ve seen more Canadian license plates than in all the rest of my life combined.

    I just hope you have an opportunity to enjoy a bit of sun while you are here – it’s likely going to be around 80 (F) this weekend. If there is any way that you can spare a couple hours, I highly recommend a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden (it’s about a 10 minute cab ride from the airport). Not only can you soak up sunshine, see wildflowers, and cozy up to butterflies, but you will also have the chance to see the magnificent saguaro cactus up close. I still marvel at them – they’re not only insanely enormous (especially for something growing in the desert), but they even seem to have personality – my favorite one looks like a tall skinny person waving hello.

  31. I second the Desert Botanical Gardens visit — spectacular. Or, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the Heard Museum has fabulous artifacts of several indigenous peoples.
    As for the wool underpants, inquiring minds want to know . . .

  32. I read your new book last night–ALL of it, since once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. Loved it, naturally! Thanks for your clear take on life’s issues, and for sharing so much with us.

    I don’t live near enough to any of the tour stops to see you this time around, so have a great tour, and maybe you’ll get back to North Carolina again soon. 🙂

  33. Wow! 16C *is* winter here in Australia – well my part of Australia. I would be looking for a coat if it was 16C – except I don’t posess a coat. A cardigan usually gets me through what passes for winter in my part of Oz. It’s 25C here today and people are complaining about the cold. Mind you we had 45C only a few weeks ago!

  34. And, right next to the Desert Botanical Gardens is the Phoenix Zoo, where my dad was the veterinarian from 1971 until his death in 1990… It’s a beautiful, important place. But I don’t suppose you’ll have a lot of time to hang around. This is Arizona’s prime time of year; hope you get to enjoy it!

  35. That isn’t a music note, it’s a treble clef.

    I just got back from a conference in Chicago, where I took my heavy coat, and when I was running back and forth between the hotel and the conference, on conference buses, I was dying of heat stroke. The only time I needed that coat was when we were walking outside and shopping. The rest of the time it was a complete nuisance. A pair of gloves and a scarf would have been just fine.

  36. Nice to see that the person who gave you the wool panties commented — I was thinking you were being stalked by Franklin from The Panopticon!

    As for Arizona: Carry your coat draped over your arm, and put the scarf and had in your bag. People in warm climes are used to seeing us Northerners doing that. They also get very, very envious of our gear on those rare occasions they get very cold weather!

  37. I love that you still have the young pictures of the repeat readers handy. Not that we needed another thing to convince us. This says amazing things about your character.

    It’s gives me hope in this world that there are
    People in the world like you.

    Thank you for bringing you and sharing with the rest of us.

  38. Pingback: Hangin’ with the Harlot « frivolitehandcrafts

  39. I so wanted to drive up and see you tonight, but couldn’t get away from my non-knitting family. So glad Oregonians treated you well, though; I LOVE this state!

  40. Thanks for making your first stop to our wonderful city of Portland! Even though I’ve been reading your blog and books for years, hearing you speak was a first for me. I really enjoyed listening to you read from your book. Everyone else on the tour is in for a treat!

  41. AH! I work at the PDX airport and could have helped you navigate your way around. It would have been fun to randomly bump into the Yarn Harlot lost in some elevator somewhere. I could have gotten all your knitting needles past security, hehe. Have fun on tour!

  42. I so enjoyed your talk. As nervous as you said you were you were marvelous and funny and I loved it. My non knitter daughter came and loved it as well. Thanks for being such a good sport about all the pictures. Can’t wait till next time!

  43. I was thrilled you mentioned my blackberry jam! It was wonderful seeing you at Powell’s on Tuesday. Have a fabulous tour and safe travels. Hope you find your shawl…

  44. I saw Stephanie speak in New York State at The Finger Lakes Fiber Fest last Fall. I think she would present a magnificent TED talk. Just putting this out there. Knitting Universe: let’s just ponder this for a bit.

  45. I can’t wait to see you in Baltimore. I hope the fact that your book is sold out everywhere in this area and the Kindle version is all I can find is a good indication that the book is doing really well!

  46. I’m so happy to hear that things have been going well and I love seeing all those returning readers with such big smiles on their faces! Would it help to glance at those photos every time the tour feels a little crazy?

  47. I had your book delivered to my kindle this morning and it will be waiting patiently for me when I get home from work. BUT I will also be buying the “real” book to go with my Yarn Harlot collection. I am so very excited because, while I am not going to get to see you on tour, I was able to squeak into Squam (can you believe someone cancelled?) and you are teaching there!!! I wasn’t able to get into any of your (immediately sold out) classes but will be bringing my book for a signature.

    Stephanie, you are so very respected, admired and loved. I am tickled pink that your tour started out with such a wonderful start. Flying across a continent cannot be an easy thing, even if it is the first stop and you are fresh and prepared and have all clean underpants! Your legion of fans appreciate it.

    And let me be the first to say it… FOLKS, I THINK WE HAVE ANOTHER NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER!!!!!

    You rock Yarn Harlot. You truly do.

  48. Hi Steph! I know this is unrelated, but I can’t think of anyone better to ask this favor. My sister sent me a link about knitted sweaters needed for penguins that have been in oil spills, so they don’t ingest the oil trying to clean themselves off. The request is from The Penguin Foundation. I’m afraid if I try to put a link in the post the blog wizards will think it’s spam, but if you google penguin sweaters oil spill there’s a number of links. I’m going to post this on Franklin’s, Doc Steph’s, and Rachael Herron’s blogs as well.

    On another note, I sure hope one of these days we can get you to Boise Idaho! I was talking to my LYS owner the other day, saying how jealous I was of the lucky folks in Portland. How DOES one get you to come to their town???

  49. Love the book. Received my preordered copy from Amazon yesterday. Hope I can get it signed when you are back in TO.

  50. I’m sorry I missed you. I figured the last thing you needed to get from Portland was the oobleck from me. I’m glad you had a grand time and we started your tour with a bang. Virtual hugs!!

  51. Enjoy AZ. My son is out there for two more weeks, then he comes home. It’s lovely warm there – just enough to burn out any creeping crud you may be hanging on to as we are in Ohio. If he was a knitter, he would go see you. Maybe I could talk him and his girlfriend, who went to visit on Spring Break, into going to see you. They could show you the hat I made him last year.

  52. Steph(ie)- you were great as always. Please know:
    1-anyone that can ride that many miles for charity by definition has great legs as well as heart
    2-the eyes are the windows to the soul. Yours are warm & brown & when you speak I feel like you’re actually speaking to me- not always the rule.
    3-when you come to speak is not the time to get your woolies in a twist. Those that come to see you do it because we like you & think you’re funny and smart and we can relate to you. Seems like you’d be more scared taking the bus than talking with a room full of knitters.
    4-if you had a different face you wouldn’t be you & we’d be worse off for it.
    Thanks for coming to Seattle. Hope you find your lime green scarf soon so that the coat will be worth having. Fyi:to the blog steph lost her scarf between Portland & Seattle. Please return if found. Steph. Could you post pic of scarf so we know what to look for.
    Glad your fly was zipped so you can come again

  53. Pingback: Sock Inspiration | Tara Choate

  54. So cool to see the pictures from a few years ago and the ones now! What is warm weather like? We, like you, haven’t see it here in upstate NY for some time….

  55. it was wonderful to see you and hear you talk. Joe is a lucky guy and I hope the girls appreciate all that you do! Thanks for signing my famous knitter shirt.

    I went home are read the book and then read it aloud to my great grand child Alliah the next night. She is seven and thinks that you really are a “fun” person.

  56. Pingback: Whyfor Smitten? | Ordinary Times

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