Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The People on the Other Side of the Screen

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.

Fibertarians of Alabama

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.

Huntsville Cupcakes

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.

Huntsville Knitters

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.

Interlude

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.

Over Yonder

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.)

First in Line

And look–I finally got to meet the lovely Knitnat, who founded the Dolores Devotees group in Ravelry.

Founder of the Devotees

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.

Inscription

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.

Sincere Thanks

And guess who else was there?

Abby and the Sheep

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.

83 comments:

Angie said...

Once again I am going to say it was a pleasure meeting you. You may not be the Yarn Harlot but guess what? You are just as wonderful and special and I am still glowing with the excitement four days later.

Abby Franquemont said...

It's my understanding that it is very, very hard to be named Abigail, and *not* have kind of a thing for the yarny pursuits. Seriously.

I just saw Meg from Yarn Expressions yesterday and she told me just exactly how much trouble Dolores was, er, I mean, how very nice it was having you at her shop. ;-)

Thanks for the Rhinebeck writeup -- it looks like it was a great year there and I'm sad to have missed it. Your editor (who is indeed not a total bitch) almost had me convinced to go after all, but I just couldn't pull it off.

I hope to catch you and force you to sign some totally random books (I was thinking of picking up whatever's on the shelves at a random youth hostel) sometime soon. Big congratulations on your official launch!

Anonymous said...

Franklin --

I was lucky enough to make it to the booth on time and get a copy and your autograph. You were utterly charming. I was the lady in the bright many-shades-of-pink Surprise Jacket.

Valerie

Laura Sue said...

Ah, Franklin, I do so regret not getting to knit on the 1000 knitters scarf. Congrats on your official book launch. May there be many more. BTW, speaking as one on the other side of the screen, yours is one of the few blogs for which "lol" is actually true, as opposed to, "Oh, dear, come read this! I find him to be so je ne sais quoi and a bit amusant."

Bowen said...

Having met your wonderful self in person I can honestly say that I doubt anyone was disappointed to find you at the end of the line!

Little Knittin' Kitten said...

I thought I should let you know that instead of a link to your etsy shop, you put in a link to what appears to be a blog about music written in Portuguese that happens to also be called Panopticon. Was this a mistake, or are you trying to curry favour with the Portuguese-speaking, music-loving crowd by sneaking in subliminal links to their sites? :)

Missed Rhinebeck once again, otherwise I definitely would have stood in line for you.

Jemima Jones Beck said...

Ummm...Franklin? When I click on the link that you have provided to your etsy shop I am taken, not to etsy, but to "Panopticon a Place for Intelligent Music", a blog that currently has a post about "Boris" up, in Spanish.
I am that silly person who doesn't get the joke or...?
Thanks,
Rachele

Rooie said...

Well, alas, my copy isn't signed but I got your book in the mail on Saturday and it is a hoot and a half. I took it up with me to my LYS that afternoon and it was passed round the table with great snorts and guffaws. Wonderful stuff. Though I was hoping for more about Harry....the book was seriously lacking in Harry.

And the Immortality essay actually had me tearing up a little.

DataGoddess said...

I'm still bummed the book wasn't out in time for YarnCon, because I was hoping to get it autographed there. I did get it this week, and have been getting strange looks from my husband when I fall over laughing. I've shown him some of the cartoons, but he doesn't always get them, for some reason. Weirdo.

I am glad I got a chance to meet you at YarnCon - I was the fat lady in the "a daily dose of fiber" Ravelry t-shirt.

Lisa said...

So I heard this in line while waiting to get my copy signed: (in a wicked downstate/NYC accent) "what's this" "looks like a book signing" "don't know the book and never heard of the author". Philistines.... The deep south was only genteel hospitality? Was it a comfortable place to be?

anne marie in philly said...

GO FRANKLIN GO! (shakes her pom poms in rhythm)

you have arrived, darlin'!

can't wait to get my copy!

smooches!

Geek Knitter said...

I really think you should come out to Oregon for the Black Sheep Festival next year... just sayin'.

Congratulations on the launch!

Teresa said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time at Rhinebeck.

I picked up my copy of "It Itches" at B&N yesterday on the way home from work. It's totally wonderful Franklin! It's going to be the gift I give to my knitting group friends for the holidays this year.

Stacie said...

Your Exceptional Niece Abigail has the best smile.

Kerry said...

You certainly have arrived. It happened yesterday. In my mailbox. :-)

Loved the book! I couldn't put it down. Not even for Dr. Phil. I kept laughing and reading aloud from the book. My husband thought a new Yarn Harlot book had arrived.

Keep up the great work Franklin! You rock!

--Deb said...

It was great to finally meet you on Saturday, Franklin!

And, if you haven't seen it, I've got my review of "It Itches" up at Knitting Scholar.

Karen said...

Franklin, it was a pleasure to meet you at Rhinebeck. I was the person in line just as you were receiving that very "hot" hot mitt. It was drool worthy. Anyway, upon getting home, I read your book, or parts of it and have been laughing out loud with every turn of the page - thank you for that!!!!

Linda said...

Afraid I got a little tongue-tied there in Rhinebeck and didn't say hello properly. But thank you for sitting there in the cold, cheerfully no less, and signing book after book after book. I think I must have been there at the very end of your ordeal as there was no line... just me. Now if only I'd remembered I had my camera over my shoulder... doh!

Judi said...

Oh that Abigail, what a lovely smile - and the sheep smiling back just makes the picture.

quinn said...

You and Abby look like you're having just about equal amounts of good fun!

Well done, Franklin :)

Marsha said...

As one who lurks, but never leaves a comment (feeling like I am never clever enough) it was a pleasure to meet you at Rhinebeck, and may I congratulate you on your lovely handwriting, especially after sooo many signatures. My knitting pals and I howled late into the night over the book. Delores tried to break into our room to see what was so funny, but we would not let her in.

Carol said...

I had such a wonderful time. My favorite part was watching you have such a successful, wonderful event. It was perfect. You are perfect.

Jenny said...

Franklin - I think you are wonderful and deserving of every bit of fame and (hopefully) fortune this brings to you. God bless!

myboringblog said...

I'm still a bit bummed that I didn't get to see you for the signing. The fleece sale lines (to get in and then to pay) took up the entire time you were scheduled to sign plus some extra. :-( At least I got to meet you in Cambridge though! Glad you had an excellent time over the weekend.

Abigail said...

always nice to see when onesnamesakes turns out so cute ;)

and I must say I agree fully with Abby Franquemont about the name/fiber thing.

-abigail

Marcela said...

It was a pleasure to meet you and I love the book!

Bobbi said...

I'm SO looking forward to seeing you this weekend! My copy of It Itches arrived from Interweave Press yesterday and I have yet to open it in order for you to see how IP deals with their customers (the ones who pay retail just like they promised to when the book was a newly signed contract). See you soon!
And by the way...neice Abigail looks FABULOUS!

crazyknittinglady said...

Hooray for the Rhinebeck signing! I was so pleased to see you in person again and get a book signed. And to get the book. It saved me in Newark airport on Monday afternoon, that and Stephanie's book. My mother is now reading my copy and she has already pointed out one image that needs to be copied for a minister friend of ours (guess which). Thank you for the wonderful cartoons.

Misstea said...

I've typed and erased several times, because everything I say is so lame!


Anyway, what I was going to say in a humourous, moving comment, was that...

Oh cr@p, that's not working either. Let's try again:

Go, Franklin!

That will have to do. But it's still lame.

sprboston said...

And how could I have let myself miss the signing? I'm kicking myself. I could have met Abigail and Susan. I'm glad you had a great time and not surprised you were such a success. I think if I say it enough, it might sink in, People Love You!

Fujiyamamama said...

Damn the ballet! That's where I'll be instead of Arcadia, I'm so bummed. Congratulations Franklin!

Christy D. said...

I'm so jealous of all the folks who got to go to Rhinebeck! Looks like you all had a great time, and I'm so thrilled for you that you had long lines of folks who wanted you to sign their books!

Bevin said...

Franklin, your handwriting is spectacular. And also, you are most definitely an inspiration!! Congratulations on making your dream come true! What's next? A movie?

Kristen said...

Yay for Abigail! Somebody put some knitting needles in that child's hands--quick!

Benita said...

Your book arrived here in my office the day before yesterday, and I wish you could have heard the laughing. Even non-knitters were hooting and giggling.

I think my favorite cartoon is the Acrylic vs Natural Fibers. Good lord, man, you captured my knitting group in that one!

Would it be pressuring you too much to ask when the sequel is coming out?

~S said...

It was great to meet you in HSV and I'm glad to see the photo you posted of me looks awesome. Look forward to knitting with you sometime next year when I hear you might make a repeat appearance at Yarn X*. :)

*Yes knitting can be an extreme sport and yes many of us gov type workers here tend to rename places with acronyms and shorten store names. But everyone here knows what we are talking about. LOL.

Alwen said...

Don't forget you are coming back to Michigan in January! You'll probably need that striking piece of knitwear then.

LittleWit said...

Your adventures look so fun! :) I also love that hat.

wfuteach said...

I'm a relatively new reader, but wanted to let you know that I would wait in line for an autograph even knowing it was you at the end! ;) You're a knitting icon now, Franklin...get used to it! :)

TO in SP said...

If a Certain Someone's campaign is running on a shoestring, she can pick up some designer clothes cheap. Another female in the race got $150k worth of clothes for her visit here in St Paul and is selling them cheap. There's nothing hotter than a sheep in red heels.

Javajem said...

Congrats on such a lovely turnout!

I was happy to meet you briefly before your signing. Alas - I didn't get a book signed - but I hope to in the future! Great meeting you!

Sue said...

I can't believe the 1000 Knitters is almost complete. I live right here in Chicagoland and was never able to make it. So disappointed! If you find yourself short a knitter, please contact me.

Anonymous said...

You deserve all these lovely things which wouldn't have happened but for being the funniest man on the planet.

rams said...

Mussel Shoals, sweetie, Mussel.

Freud's looking the length of his cigar at you.

Helen said...

Your handwriting is exquisite - do you give lessons?

Anonymous said...

It was such a pleasure to meet you at Rhinebeck. You are so sweet and kind to everyone you meet. I wish you the best of luck with all your ventures. Thanks for making me laugh!
Connie

Sandy said...

Franklin,

I got your book last night (yea Amazon!) and after a very long, hard day at 9 p.m. I managed to sit in a chair, quietly, with a cup of hot tea and open the book. I laughed until tears ran down my face. True gut check laughing. I cannot thank you enough for the laughs that your drawings gave me. Boy howdy did I need them.

God Bless you Franklin. May the riches pour down on you for the joy that you are giving people with your talent!

P.S. Maybe your next book (hint-hint) can be about Delores and Harry's campaign tour? A behind the scenes? Just make sure Delores keeps her wool on unlike that Madonna retrospective. Tacky-tacky-tacky.

Cara said...

I'm glad you had fun in Huntsville! That was an awesome day. I really enjoyed meeting you. Y'all come back now, y'hear? :)

Anonymous said...

Just a note to let you in on how much I enjoy reading your blog (got It Itches last night, but haven't had the chance to dive in...) Glad that you do what you do- S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin.

As one of those "People on the Other Side of the Screen" ... which does sound rather alarmingly like the title of a derivative, low-budget horror flick, don't you think? ... I'm finally delurking[cue ominous screechy music and pregnant pause] simply to say that it makes me very happy that you are one of the people on the other side of MY screen.

I am, as always, awe-struck by the beauty you bring out in each your subjects -- and though you must be good and ready to put the 1,000 Knitters Project to bed, I'll be sad not to see those new photos pop up every now and again.

So glad you had a spectacular time at Rhinebeck. I'm already looking forward to your next adventure!

Ink.

P.S. If Dolores doesn't, in some strange twist of fate, become President this time round, perhaps she (and her entourage, naturally) would consider emigrating to the Great White North. We're sure to be having another election soon - and Canada's completely cool with dual citizenship, eh?

yarnaholic said...

Bravo Franklin! I just received my copy of "It Itches" and you will be pleased to know that my non-knitter husband spent quite a while guffawing at the contents. Your work deserves to be in the New Yorker!

SallyT said...

Franklin, I just bought your little book at my LYS. It was sitting seductively at the check out and had survived the perils of Hurricane Ike. The store suffered damage but made it back and I considered it an honor to increase their bottom line and to say thank you to you for all the laughs by adding it to my bag regardless of the fact that I'd just bought 2 pairs of addis.

PS My favorite story about not getting what you expected at the end of a line is as follows: my husband came back from a bathroom break at a Sugar Bowl game and said, "I stood in line 20 minutes to pee in a trach can!"

HatboxRose said...

Rhinebeck was wonderful, but having you sign my copy of "It Itches" was the best part of the day for me.
I love the cartoons/essays and there is a bit of James Thurber about you.
Congratulations on your first book, with wishes for many more to come.

DianeS said...

You and your book are absolutely charming. I was laughing out loud while reading it in line.

Sarah said...

I enjoyed meeting you in Huntsville. I was very nervous, and you helped put me at ease. I hope you enjoyed your time here as much as we loved having you here. Please come back again, soon! I did not even stalk you, and I live just a few miles fro the hotel where you stayed. Maybe next time!

deniasha said...

I can't say how much your wonderful, insightful book has meant to me ever since it arrived Wednesday. It's been, along with my loving family, a much needed ray of sunshine as I'm pulling myself through a very difficult time in my life.

Thank you for sharing so many of your wonderful gifts and talents with us. It is so rare to see someone give so generously of them.

Steph said...

It looks like Rhinebeck was a great time for everyone! I'm glad Dolores had some fun with it, too.

Kayten said...

Morgaine at Carolina Homespun was good enough to have you autograph a copy of the book for me, as we couldn't get out of our booth to meet you ourselves. I have been laughing all week, and even got my husband to read it last night. I love the cartoons, but particularly enjoyed the diary excerpts and Knittin' with a Whip.
You are brilliant! And charming...with a touch of the "slightly off center."

Anonymous said...

just finished the book!!!!! especially loved the essay on masochism. i'm just getting to that stage. hold my hand. i'm frightened!

m said...

Too bad you won't be at the Kid 'n Ewe festival in Boerne, Texas on November 7, 8, and 9. Maybe next year? :)

Judith said...

Franklin, I was able to purchase "It Itches" at my LYS. My husband (named Edward, by the way, so I especially loved the one about not opening the door on the yarn stash closet) has banned the book from the bedroom because I laugh so hysterically when I read the cartoons and essays that the bed shakes and he can't sleep. I'll be purchasing several more copies to give as gifts to beloved knitters.

jennifer said...

I have to apologize. At some point while gazing upon wonderous yarn, books, needles, fleece...or something I stepped back and bumped into someone hard. Without looking back I apologized and went back towards the display. Minutes later I stepped away and turned around. At that point my jaw dropped and I'm afraid I may have drooled. I desperately wanted to wait in line to get your signature but was too darned embarrassed. I love your writing--and your blog.

Emily said...

I bought your book! I bought your book! There it was, at Barnes & Noble....I grabbed it. I am so lucky!

Kate said...

My book came this weekend,...and I love it...and I laughed out loud at many points.

Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin,
I just got your book through the mail. It is - there are no proper words - gorgeous, funny. It makes me laugh and smile a lot. What a wonderful gift to the world of knitters. Thanks a bunch (or should that have been a ball or a skein or..... LOL)
Chris, Germany

Sam said...

Well - the eyes of your niece when she saw you = priceless !

Sarah said...

Franklin; I just got my 2 copies of the book. It is excellent. I laughed out loud so many times--how did you think these up! I especially liked the cartoon on p. 101. What a wonderful first book! I will carry it with me in hopes of seeing you around Chicago. Thank you so much for this humorous angle. . . you can buy lots of food 'er yarn.

Thea_Midnight said...

Franklin, your book is amazing as your blog has been FOR. E. VER.
You heartedly deserve that special twinkle from Abigai.

I could only wish to return with your creativity, your spirit and your humor in my next life.

Judi said...

From one of the peeps on the other side of the screen. I got my book and tote bag yesterday!!! The book was everything I expected and more - just not long enough.

Sue said...

I received my copy of your book from Interweave Knits today. It's hysterical! I keep making my son and husband read parts of it (even though they tend to mock my stash and knitting except when they need hats, scarves, etc.) And they totally relate to so many of the cartoons. I really love the tote bag I received with my book. This will be put to good use!
Sue in central NY (who did not make it to Rhinebeck but a girl in my knitting group did and you made her day by signing a book for her!)

LindaWD said...

I received "It Itches" today in the mail-I opened the package and sat and read it cover to cover in the front seat of my van in front of my house. Thanks for all your hard work-I smiled at every page. You have a wonderful talent, thanks for sharing it with us.

Nic said...

Franklin,
the chances are we will never meet, since I am here in the middle of Cheshire, England and you are there, so to speak. But I needed to tell you that I went to my local LYS yesterday (In Mrs Gaskell's Knutsford) for their Tuesday lunctime Knit Group. Now I seldom get to there (I'm a teacher) so usually just go to Thursday evenings. As a result, I suspect the Tuesday lunchtime group is a little more genteel. I'm afraid to say I picked up the copy of It Itches that was on the table and promptly disturbed the entire ambience by snorting at virtually every cartoon I saw. It is a delight! Thank you so much! Your book is an absolutely joy and I hope you can hear me laughing all the way across the pond.

Nic x

Eileen said...

I have just named my white sheep tape measure Dolores.

As in, "Than Chai [seal point Siamese cat], Dolores is not a toy. Leave her alone and get one from your toy basket!"

DH was nonplussed, but didn't ask for details.

I can't wait to pick up a copy of "It Itches". Wish I'd been able to make Rhinebeck this year!

traceyinmichigan said...

new book arrived, with perfect timing.. my back has decided to freak out- so the giggles and essays are cheering me up during my heating pad exile.

PS- you're generally funny- but when I'm stoned on pain pills? You're hilarious. :P

congrats on a terrific first book.

Anonymous said...

Note to self: DO NOT read "It Itches" in public unless you're around other knitters. The Muggles don't get it. They look at you somewhat strangely when you're laughing at cartoons with sheep and yarn. Well what do they know anyway! Franklin, the book is WONDERFUL and I'm enjoying every page! THANK YOU!!!
Maria

DorisM said...

Franklin,

My copy of the little book arrived today along with a very amusing tote bag from Interweave. What a hoot! Wish I could have been in Rhinebeck to get your autograph. I can't wait to share this with my friends. It was a lovely interlude before I had to go to my evening class that had absolutely nothing to do with knitting.

Thanks for the laughs and great writing.

Weird said...

I have found your book on amazon - quite by chance - and ordered it yesterday. I am more than halfway through now and I like it very much! Especially the essays are hilarious (though the mention of love translated into 180000 stitches made my eyes water just a little ;-)) and I have forced myself to stop now, so I have some of the book left for later.

Great work!

Best regards from rainy Germany,
Lhilydd

Knit Witch said...

Oh my gosh!! We were going to do a very similar calendar and call it "Knit Witch's Knaughty Knitters" calendar! I'm so glad to see someone else had the same fun idea!

Gail said...

So I went to a Fiber Fair last weekend and took my print-out of Dolores with me. This got me involved in a lot of silly explanations, which I expected, but the thing that people lasughed at wsa, "...and her running mate is Mrs. Teitelbaum from across the hall."
Thank you for a story that made people laugh.

Benita said...

We miss you!

Margaret said...

I love your book! I showed one of the cartoons to my husband. He was not amused, because I did come home with two llamas last year! (We already had the sheep.) Fortunately we have a farm.

Keep up the good work and give my regards to Dolores and Harry!

Happy knitting

Captain said...

I simply can't believe you didn't wear the nosewarmer I made for you.

www.orense-3d.com said...

In my view one and all may read this.