I am a knitter

As we all know by now, your local Yarn Harlot is, to the general public anyway, Nobody. I go nowhere good, I don’t travel in celebrity circles and I don’t get invited to the kinds of places that you all hope for. My life is miraculously, quietly boring, and it is staggering to me that you come here every day. My Darling Joe, on the other hand, is wildly interesting. He knows people. He goes places, and he mucks about in the wilds of the Canadian music business like it’s the grocery store, largely unaware that he is So. Freakin. Cool. My favourite illustrative points about how Joe is unaware of his own coolness, is the year he won a Juno, he didn’t even watch it on TV. He didn’t know he’d been nominated (and lost…but he lost to “Snatch“) for a Golden Reel award until he discovered it while working on his resume.
Because Joe is so cool, I sometimes get to go to places where they don’t let ordinary people like me in. (Once, while at the opening party for Festival Express, I passed Sylvia Tyson toilet paper.) Since this sort of excitement only happens occasionally, there is always a wardrobe crisis of epic proportions when I am called upon to accompany my cool mate to the cool places. This time however, I was ready. When we got the invitation to Jose and Lily’s wedding, I knew that I had this.
We mixed, we mingled, we danced (well, I danced, it is better if Joe doesn’t) we ate little tiny foods, I dangled my drink and stood beside Joe as he talked to fancy people. It was terrifying. (It is a little known fact that I am shy. Horribly, terribly, shy. I manage to fake outgoing and confident rather well, but inside…I am quaking)
Ryan, the Dublin Bay socks came with us, and had a spectacular time, fearlessly hanging out with Canadian Rock Stars and dazzling locals. The Bride and Groom even took a moment to thank the sock-in-progress for coming.
Most awkward moment award: (and oddly, no..it wasn’t getting the Bride and Groom to pose with a sock in progress at their wedding, somehow that felt natural.) We were standing next to a Manager and Publicist, who were introducing us all around. Joe gets the big long introduction, that he’s a producer, that he owns a big studio, that he is formally “cool”. Then she turns to introduce me. Now at these events I’m really lucky if I maintain my name. Generally speaking, I walk through the door and I am suddenly no longer Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, fine and interesting person in her own right but merely the ornamental “Joe’s wife”. (I have leaned that it is counterproductive to fight this at the moment that I am being introduced. All attempts to maintain my independent role in the universe have resulted in episodes that end with me being more likely to be introduced as “Joe’s insane wife” at the next event.) This time however it appeared that the sweetie of a publicist was going to give me an actual identity….I was staggered, and shocked, and I waited to see which of my life roles I would be assigned today. Would she say I was a Doula? Childbirth Educator? An IBCLC? Perhaps in this crowd she would go with “Freelance Writer”? Or maybe she’ll mention how I worked for a Native Health Centre for a few years, how exciting! Perhaps after I was introduced with a job and a life I would be able to talk to someone instead of just standing next to Joe. The suspense is killing me when she leans forward out of the din of the band and says:
“This is Stephanie….she….is a knitter.”
The little hub of cool people stare at me, then look back at the publicist. Perhaps they heard her wrong? Knitter? Seriously? Like, with yarn? All day? They glance at Joe, perhaps hoping that he will explain what someone with his level of cool factor is doing with a “knitter”, or that perhaps that they had misheard, and I’m a “fitter” or “neurosurgeon”. Joe is not correcting them though, he is grinning like an idiot, nodding agreement with the publicist. Knitter it is. I decide that there’s nothing for it. If I try to tell them that I am more than a knitter, or that knitting is fascinating, or that it’s not like I “only” knit…for crying out loud, I’m going to look desperate. (Which I am, but I really thought it was better to play that at little closer to the vest).
The cool people wander off and I stand there, thinking that I might have been slightly better off when I was “Joe’s wife”.
It was right then that I decided to take the Dublin Bay socks out of my purse. What the hell, I had nothing to lose, I am a knitter.

33 thoughts on “I am a knitter

  1. Well, knitters we are and ain’t it wonderful! And I am glad that the dublin bay socks didn’t have to spend the rest of the wedding festivities stuck in your purse!

  2. How nice that the Eros shawl got to go out as well as the Dublin Bay socks! And why, may I ask, did you not simply waft your lovely shawl in their faces as you graciously accepted the accolade of “knitter”? Chin up, she COULD have introduced you as the Yarn Harlot!
    P.S. And in fact you are a WRITER and a knitter and a humorist and a sanity-saver and a mother and ….

  3. I have been there. I will learn from you and not argue the next time someone introduces me as “a seamstress.” Completely inaccurate, but arguing just confuses people. I mean, I own a sewing machine. What other interpretation could there be? Take solace– we know you are many things, and good at ALL of them!

  4. Hello, my name is Amie, and I am a knitter.
    As someone who is also shy-putting-on-the-act-of-being-remotely-social-when-she-really-just-wants-to-be-hiding-somewhere-with-a-ball-of-yarn, I can tell you “knitter” is a sort of shorthand.
    Designer, giver, creator, teacher…

  5. Be a knitter & be proud! Remember you’re also an artist. I’m still at “Chris’ wife.” When asked what I do, it’s a toss up between Admin Assistant for an environmental consulting company or art student. Took a while to get the “art” before student & I can’t wait to drop the “student” part. Every so often if I’m really feeling accomplished and fabulous, I’ll just say I’m an Artist and leave it at that. What are they going to do, argue? Question my credentials? The painting, digital graphics, colored pencil work and fiber arts fall under the artist heading, so there!

  6. And it really is no better when your writer-sister assures you “Knitting is creative, too!”
    Still, hell always contains lower levels. Go ahead, publish poetry. Have a loving friend (an architect, mind.) Find yourself being introduced as “my friend –, a poet!” When you try to persuade her later that this is A Bad Idea, she changes it to “a published poet!” I promise you, “housewife” results in riveting conversations by comparison. But now I know. I’ll say “And knitter — you know, like Yarn Harlot.” (Next time stick out your hand and while smiling say, explaining, “Yarn Harlot.” They’ll be interested.)

  7. Hee. I have to admit that lately I’ve taken to describing myself more in terms of my hobbies than my work. Saying that I knit and spin makes me sound so much more interesting than saying that I’m an administrative assistant. Embrace the knittiness! 🙂
    Hmm… given the trendiness of blogging, maybe you should have them introduce yourself as a blogger next time — if nothing else, it’d make them eye you warily as if you were there to sop up ideas for your next post (as you of course were).

  8. That is the lot of all women as we walk beside our men (guess we could be 10 steps behind and never introduced at all!). Maybe we are too complicated for someone to come up with ‘who we are’ in an instant. We certainly can ‘do it all’ despite the lack of credit.

  9. I have also taken to describing myself in terms of my hobbies since not only is what I do boring, but difficult and useless to explain in brief social encounters.
    Next time you can add Web-Celebrity to your list of titles…as I am a total stranger, yet have heard of your website numerous times in the knit blog circles!
    Thanks for making my work day interesting!

  10. Steph! Where’s the full picture of you? We know that the wrap is fabulous, but where’s the rest of fabulous you?
    Bah to the folks who are too petty to be interested in what we do. For a long time I was introduced as a “religion major.” This resulted in me explained that no, I did not want to become a minister, and that no, I didn’t attend church or act religious. No one understood that I was just simply interested in religion. They always ended that conversation with “and what will you do when you graduate then?
    I was dating a writer once, too, a poet. Since I am a writer, I thought this was exciting. I told my mother that my new friend was a poet, and she replied, “Oh. And what does he do as a job?” ARGH!!!
    Bah to the small-minded! Us creative types know better.

  11. How funny! This reminds me of 2 things. 1. When someone was looking directly at my knitted art in the gallery and asked where the art was. Then when it was pointed out to him he said, “Is this art?”
    2. When I went to a “Canadian superstar” wedding in Toronto on New Year’s Eve 1999. How great! I got to hang out with lots of cool people, like Mark from Kids In the Hall (my husband brought him back to our hotel room and I was literally in underwear and curlers) and Martin Krat who does the PBS animal shows.

  12. Woo-hoo, rubbing elbows with your dream self in the luxe wrap! I also want to see the whole picture.
    You knitted in public at a rock’n’roll wedding?? Is the fact that I find that so freakin cool an indication that I need to get out more? It seems so much more cool than just getting drunk and schmoozing.
    I wish someone would introduce me as a knitter. When they say “artist” I feel like the introducee thinks “unemployed”, and when they say “student” it just makes me seem immature for my 32 years. And besides, people don’t make the same assumptions about knitting that they do about art; for me, being introduced as a knitter would result in less painful conversations (why do they assume all artists paint pictures?)
    I hope the weather in Toronto was cooperative with your hair on the weekend; you wouldn’t want to be the only one who’s a little bit country at a rock and roll party. Heh heh.

  13. Darlin’ next time, just bat your eyes and reply, “Yes, I am… A KICK ASS knitter.”
    Because we all know you are…

  14. You aren’t “a knitter”, you’re “THE Knitter”! I don’t know anyone who knits like you do. You have redefined the entire craft. If you are “a knitter”, what does that make the rest of us mere mortals? We are the minions who worship at your feet, adorned in the perfection of hand-dyed, hand-spun and hand knit socks, and await the day you wave your size 6US/4.25mm scepter and pronounce us all worthy of the title “Knitters”.
    Knit On, Your Majesty.

  15. You guys must travel in more high-tone circles than I do! Around here, no one ever mentions someone’s job when doing introductions. Perhaps it is a small town thing or a black thing, but a person is more likely to be categorized by their relationships: “Remember Pookie from high school? This is his second cousin.” No one here really looks up or down at someone because of their occupation, mainly because we all work in factories, retail stores, or call centers. Jobs are just things we have to do to put food on the table; hobbies and interests are how we really identify ourselves.

  16. I…am…speechless. Never did I imagine in a million years when I posted the Dublin Bay socks pattern that a few months later, a bride and groom, on the day of their WEDDING, no less, would pose for a photo-op while lovingly kissing one of the socks. May one assume the sock is unworn and, at its worst, smells faintly of sheep and factory oils? If not, God help the poor groom.
    This also tells me that your mental list of things to do before the wedding must have looked something like:
    Remember Eros wrap
    Remember to bring Dublin Bay sock for groom to kiss.
    V. funny, Stephanie. The socks and I are enjoying this great ride!

  17. My husband now introduces me as a “blogger.” He thinks this is the ultimate in “cool.” So when I fly to Chicago for my rock star brother-in-law’s wedding to a rock star future sister-in-law, I’ll bring a laptop. Do you think I can get them to smooch it?

  18. I’m nobody’s wife these days, but I remember well the days of being “Guy’s wife” and the strange look on people’s faces when they were told that I was a “stay-at-home mom” at Silicon Valley functions. Add that to the age difference (he is 17 years my senior) and I heard the phrase “trophy wife” bandied around on more than one occasion. Somehow all of my talents, accomplishments, qualities got marginalized into a one dimensional description of my relationship to my husband.
    Now, when people ask what I do I say, “In which part of my life? I’m finishing my real estate license. I’m a mother. I’m a fiber artist. I’m a student of psychology. I’m a yogini.”
    How marvelous that this publicist saw more about you than just being “Joe’s wife.”

  19. We have so many identities, it is a shame to have to be pigeon-holed into only one of them. The one role I have most enjoyed and been most proud of was that of “mother” but it was probably of the least interest to people, except for other mothers of course. I did have one stellar summer in which I dabbled at daytrading. I got a lot of social currency with that one. And I do get a lot of respect now when I mention that my blog shows up on the first page of google. The things that impress people! Thanks for another enjoyable post.

  20. (I’m married to a former rockstar myself, I know how it is.)
    My party would be a select guest list of all the knitsmiths and my guild ladies, and my professional designer friend who knows the cell phone numbers of Pam Allen and Melanie Falick. Maybe Lily Chin would be there. And I would meet your limo at the front door, lead you through the flashbulbs, and say to a silenced and awed crowd “This is Stephanie, who knits and spins like a goddess and writes like a demon, and this is Joe, who takes pictures for her blog. He’s cool too”. And everyone would go “ooooh. What are you knitting?”
    It could happen. You come to Masachusetts. You just wait.

  21. My husband is a filmmaker and I always introduce myself at film events and get the blank stare. Then I say, “I’m Wes Kim’s wife.” “Ohhhh.” I then joke that I should make a nametage that just says “Wes’s Wife.”

  22. When their eyes glazed over at the term “knitter”, it was because they didn’t know you were THE knitter of the famous Dublin Bay socks! After all, what part of THEM got kissed by, fawned over and photographed with THE wedding couple? I am getting a giggle over the possibility of that photo appearing in their wedding album. “What’s that he’s holding…why it looks like a partially knitted sock!” To which the bride and groom would gush, “Oh, this is not just ANY sock, this is the famous Dublin Bay sock knitted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!

  23. I get a much different reaction when I’m introduced as a knitter. But we don’t need to talk about that. You are the coolest!

  24. Well, my friend, count me not among those who think you need your fragile ego shored up.
    You don’t have one, and you don’t need pats on the back for that.
    Okay, what I want to know is, which Canadian rock stars were you hanging with?

  25. That’s funny – I thought knitting was “cool” now. At least you’re not introduced as the “spinning nut” like me. That’s how I’m usually introduced to my husband’s co-workers.

  26. I am drooling with envy over all of you actually going out to adult-type places, sans children, and engaging in adult type things. I would kill to be introduced as “Kevin’s wife”.
    I have been known only as “Claire’s mom” or “Annalin’s mom” for so long now that I need to look at my driver’s license to confirm my first name.

  27. Steph, you ARE the coolest! Your writing is incredible – witty and clever. Your knitting makes me envious. You are….The Yarn Harlot.
    I’d stand in line to meet you and get your autograph! What do non-knitters know about knitting? Pity them for their ignorance, dear, and continue on.
    You regularly Make My Day. You influence people’s lives whom you have never met, cheer them when they are blue just by reading you – That is Success.
    🙂 Lisa in Oregon

  28. Stephanie: I mentally replayed that scene in slo-mo with a somewhat different spin. At the words, “this is Stephanie – a knitter” Joe pipes up with “a KICK-ASS knitter mind you” and with your thousand watt smile and a deep breath step forward with hand extended, and introduce yourself as “Hello, Yarn Harlot here…how d’ya do?” oh yeh. To the sound of clapping and quiet cheers our diva of knitting and spinning accepts her accolade from the hub of cool people with quiet grace,….fade to black and cut!! I like this so much, I keep replaying it, with me playing the role of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee…. Since i have discovered your blog, you have not failed to inspire, motivate and keep me sane! Thank you Stephanie for being ‘a knitter’!

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