It's not finished yet–the "hometown" launch party for It Itches is coming up this weekend at Arcadia Knitting*–but October 2008 has already felt like a carnival ride that combines in equal measure the thrills of a roller coaster, water slide, merry-go-round, haunted house and one of those gigantic swings that makes you fear you might throw up all over the person next to you.
It's not just because the book is out, though. I'm happy about that, of course. But the real excitement in October has been meeting the People on the Other Side of the Screen.
That's how I think of you, the folks who read what I write. Usually I'm here and you're there, and you can see me but for the most part I can't see you. Some of you leave comments, so I know you're around, but I've never actually heard you laugh–until now.
Way Down South
I was still buzzed from YarnCon a week later, when I headed down to Yarn Expressions in Huntsville, Alabama for the final 1,000 Knitters Project shooting day.
At the shop I discovered that as usual, a Certain Someone had preceded me. Indeed, she had established her party headquarters on the premises, apparently with owner Meg's full knowledge and permission.
Helen (Knitter 0982), Vice President of Propaganda, was responsible for the striking campaign posters, in which Dolores looks uncannily like Josef Stalin. Helen presented me with a rather striking piece of winter knitwear, which you can see in her blog post about the weekend. I intend to get a lot of wear out of it, especially if I have the chance to travel to Minnesota.
This being the South, every sort of hospitality had been arranged. We had appropriately spooky, Octoberish spider web cupcakes prepared by Alexandra, whose mother Jill (aka Knitter 0988) is part of the Yarn Expressions crew.
The 45 spaces had all been claimed in advance–and what a collection of beautiful, warm people filled them. They came from Alabama, they came from elsewhere in the south (including a wagonload from Muscle Shoals). They even came, in the form of two adventurous sisters, all the way from New Mexico.
The scarf isn't finished yet. A few more knitters and a few more rows are still to come, but all the spaces have been allotted. Knitter 1000 should bind off in November, and then I'll finally have the courage to measure this thing. I haven't done that yet. All I can tell you is that after Huntsville, it takes up about a quarter of my big suitcase.
In between Hunstville and the New York Sheep and Wool Festival I packed and shipped orders for the Guys with Yarn calendar. It is presently out of stock but new copies will be available in the Etsy shop later today or tomorrow morning.
Then it was time to go to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival to officially launch It Itches, and to see old friends–including QueerJoe, who spearheaded the incredible act of generosity that made my first trip to Rhinebeck possible.
Since childhood, I had dreamed of this day. In my dreams I was taller, thinner and hadn't just stepped in sheep droppings. Aside from that, however, reality surpassed imagination.
I had the good fortune to travel to the festival with my dear friend Carol, her friend and co-author (on the fantastic Knit So Fine) Laura, and the handsome Jim, a knitter who should have a calendar of his own next year called Jim with Yarn.
Carol's detailed account of the weekend may be found on her blog. I don't remember any of what she wrote about, but then I was preoccupied with trying not to do or say anything too stupid with so many people watching.
Carol and my sister, Susan, took pictures of the signing, and I'm glad they did because when we got to the fairgrounds I realized I'd brought my camera, but left my batteries and memory cards at the hotel.
First in line was a family group: Ravelry folks DonnaHaddad, her daughter-in-law ErickaJo, and her son MackDaddyHaddad. (Imagine, a family that can go to Rhinebeck together without having to drag anybody by the scruff of the neck.)
And look–I finally got to meet the lovely Knitnat, who founded the Dolores Devotees group in Ravelry.
Susan took a few pictures of me in the midst of the hubbub. I'm pleased with the way the Turn-a-Square hat looks paired with the Edo Scarf.
Upon request, I was happy to provide specific inscriptions.
The line got so long at one point that I'm pretty sure people must have been expecting somebody else at the end of it.
And guess who else was there?
My Exceptional Niece Abigail® arrived in grand estate, mother and grandmother in tow, to wish me well and meet the sheep. From the looks of this picture, the pleasure was mutual.
If she loves sheep...can yarn be far behind?
*Noon to 2 pm, with a reading at 1 p.m. Contact the shop if you'd like to reserve a copy.
PS. Note to reader SB, who gave me a beautiful card and gift–I would like to thank you properly, but it turns out I don't have any contact information for you. Please drop me an email, won't you? franklin at franklinhabit daht cahm.