Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Yarn Harlot Represents in Cleveland

Oh boy where to begin? This weekend was off the hook. As my regular readers know my hubby Dave and I have a four year old little girl named Evelyn and a four month old little boy named Henry. We live in Central Ohio while 95% of our immediate family live up north in the greater Cleveland area.

We know I-71 really well.

I'd not been up north to see any friends and family for over nine months. I was so not up for the trip while I was pregnant with Henry and once the H Man arrived the thought of making the trip just freaked me out.

Time passed, Henry turned four months old and I started to feel ready to travel. But I hemmed and hawed about it. Kept making excuses to not travel.

Then Stephanie announced the book tour. No stops close by. Oh well. Then she added a stop on the East side of Cleveland. Ok, that's doable. But was I ready to travel?

I continued to debate going.

We made some phone calls to make tentative plans. I continued to waffle. Dave called his Paternal Grandmother and made plans. She'd not seen Henry yet. Henry's the only boy Great Grand baby with her last name. Great Grandma was itching to see the H Man. Ok, we had to go.

But I still worried.

I pretty much vacillated between going and not going right up until the night before we left. Henry had a little cough. Should we still go? Will he sleep ok?

Friday I got the house in order, love coming home to a tidy house, started packing and mentally preparing myself for the trip. Preparations went well.

Saturday morning we got up at what my sister likes to call the 'buttcrack of dawn' around 5:30AM to get the car packed and the kids ready. The morning went great. We got everything ready and were out the door by 7:45AM. No issues.

We arrived at Great Grandma's early and had a lovely visit. Henry smiled and gurgled much to Great Grandma's delight. Evelyn wowed Great Grandma with her singing and dancing. We had a great lunch then headed to Legacy Village to scope out The Yarn Harlot at Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

We've visited Crocker Park before while visiting family and we frequent Easton Town Center but this was our first visit to Legacy Village. We found the bookstore, parked and checked out the turnout. We first arrived around 1PM. There was a nice sized crowd, not too shabby, but not overwhelming. We decided to stroll Legacy Village a bit. That took about 20 minutes. Legacy Village is not very large. We checked out the Viking store and found Giant Eagle.

As it got closer to 1:30-1:45PM we parted ways. Dave and the kids headed back to the car to drive over to Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle has a play area. E went to play and Dave hung out with Henry while I headed back to the bookstore.

Back at the bookstore the crowd had grown considerably. I noticed a few knitters camped out on the floor stage right. No more room there so I headed stage left and settled down on the floor in front of some lovely ladies who were more then happy to chat a bit. We joked that it took The Yarn Harlot to get West Siders over to the East Side.

Those familiar with Cleveland know about the East Side/West Side thing. I have no clue how it started or exactly why it is this way but there is this imaginary barrier between the East and West sides of Cleveland. There is not a ton of mixing between the two. It's not openly hostile but it's there. Maybe Jeanne over at Life in Cleveland can explain it better.

Anyway. Back to the story.

A few minutes to 2:00PM I got up to take a few crowd pictures. This took three shots.

Of course I had knitting with me. The seventh Hedgie, the Grandma Janette needle stash dpns, and some food coloring dyed yarn. I started a Nantasket basket for Henry's room with the dpns and the self dyed yarn while we waited for the show to get on the road.

I'm going to try to not get too fan girl here. It was so exciting to find myself suddenly mere feet from The Yarn Harlot.

Stephanie came across much like she does on her blog, friendly, verbose, funny, and a bit snarky. The good snarky, not the cruel kind of snarky.

Stephanie took the obligatory sock pictures with the crowd.

Stephanie 'petting' her yarn during her talk. 'Yarn, what yarn, these are my kittens.' This was one of her suggested replies for when you are asked about your stash. Brilliant!

I'd love to give a quip by quip, story but story recap of the entire talk. But I did not take notes. I thought about it but decided to just knit and soak in the experience.

I really should have brain dumped this right when I got home but that was not an option so here are a few thoughts.

  • Knitters give and give big because they know the power of small actions multiplied over and over.
  • It's ok, and quite normal, to have a large yarn/needle stash.
  • Here's an idea for you. It used to be considered wasteful to go buy a hat when you could make one yourself. Now it's considered wasteful to make a hat when you can go buy one.

Of course there was more, much more. There was complex mother/daughter dynamics, a visual exercise to envision all of the yarn, everywhere, etc.

Then came time for questions and answers. How to avoid knitting related injury? Have three different projects going at a time, one small, one medium and one large, then you are using different muscle groups for each project. There were others that are just not coming forward in my brain at the moment.

Then came time for the book signing part. Here is where I want to publicly thank everyone in the line behind me for waiting. Stephanie has this book signing policy that basically says if you are pregnant, nursing, have little ones, are older, are physically impaired etc, etc, etc and feel the need to go toward the head of the line then go ahead. I knew that Dave was out there somewhere with both kids. Henry is a boob man and does not like a bottle. I knew that Henry would want to eat soon. So I headed towards the front part of the line. Had I been exclusively breastfed baby free that afternoon I would have gladly waited indefinitely.

So I'm waiting to meet Stephanie. I seriously did not want to come off as some blithering fan girl idiot. I knew what I wanted to say, sort of. I knew I don't want to start blubbering and crying over it. It was why I drug my husband and two kids 2.5+ hours to the East side of Cleveland to hear a person speak who's blog I read on the Internet.

It was my turn.

(be calm)

I basically told Stephanie that I wanted to thank her for hosting the Knitting Olympics. I knitted Shedir for my girlfriend Tracy who has Colon Cancer.

(do not cry, do not cry, get this out)

It is my hope to knit something for her again during the next Knitting/Winter Olympics.

(hold yourself together)

At this point Stephanie took my hands in her's, or was it the other way around? She looked me in the eye and said thank you for sharing this with me. These stories are important. Please say hello to my friend for her.

(oh my goodness I'm touching the hands that knit Bohus!)

'How about a picture? You need a prop! How about the sock?'

(the sock? The Sock? THE SOCK!)

Suddenly I'm holding THE SOCK, which is so incredibly soft and amazing and having my picture taken with Stephanie.

Most importantly I got to say thank you, in person to the woman who had no idea what she was getting herself into when she decided to Host The Knitting Olympics. The Knitting Olympics was really special to me. I got to knit a special hat for a special friend along with thousands of other knitters.

After my fabulous little bit of time with Stephanie and The Sock I headed outside in a bit of a wool induced daze to text Dave that I was ready to meet back up. We met up and headed to Grandma Madaline's house, much to Evelyn's delight and Henry got to eat.

We visited with Grandma Madaline and Aunt Katie. Spent the night. Henry slept well despite his little cough. The trip was going so well we decided to try to see Tracy and her family. I called to see if we would swing by while Madaline and Katie attended Mass. Jackpot! They were home and we were more then welcome to visit. We had a wonderful time at Tracy's. We got to see everyone and check out her sister and brother in law's new house.

Tracy's hair has grown back a bit darker and curly. I think she looks fabulous. She is tolerating chemo well but will more then likely loose her hair again. We shall see.

Then we headed back to Grandma's for dinner and finally home. Oh to be home! The house was inviting. Evelyn was very helpful unloading the car. We had everything unpacked and put away in less then 30 minutes. Bliss!

I'm incredibly glad I faced my fears to travel with both of the kids to see our friends, family, The Yarn Harlot, and of course, The Sock.


Just A Knit Wit said...

Ok, I teared up while reading this post. I'm glad that you got to meet someone who made such a wonderful impression on your life and I certainly hope that your friend continues to heal and respond to the different treatments.

All my healing thoughts towards her.

msubulldog said...

Glad the trip went so well. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see the Harlot in OR this summer. :)
p.s. Henry is such a doll!

Sourire11 said...

Great Post!

Ok the I-71 drive and I are very close... I lived in Cleveland for awhile while my then boyfriend, now husband, lived in Cincinnati - that and I went to school for 6 years in Cincy while my whole family was up here.... Aaaanyways we call the stop at Exit 169 the "Hill of Pleasurable Foods" b/c it has all of the fast food places you could want all piled up on a hill... and Exit 165 is clearly the foothill. And for awhile I was convinced the Speedway at that stop had the cleanest bathroom on the whole of I-71. Then the part between the foothill and the rest stop before Polaris is "The part of the drive that doesn't exist" because inevitably sometime during that stretch one of us will be like "Where the heck are we again?" Longest 40 min. piece of road Ever.

The picture of Henry with his great grandma is priceless. How lucky they both are to have met each other!!! I know my grandma would be very jealous (she really wants us to introduce her to some great-grandkids sometime soon).

And the Harlot... oh the Harlot. What a great speech. And the story about you doing the knitting Olympics for your friend is lovely. If she ever needs hats again (hopefully not) I'd be happy to make one for you to give to her.

Sending good healing vibes her way....

Judi P in Cleveland said...

Thanks for sharing - and not only because my daughter and I can see ourselves in your photo, although that is a big plus! (I'm the lady with the long lasagna-noodle scarf.) We loved seeing and laughing with Stephanie and we really loved all the communing with the knitting community, but I have to admit that I'd felt a tiny bit let down because by the time we got to the table to have our books signed, she was visibly tired and although perfectly nice and all, we just didn't have a "moment." But now that I've read about your moment, I'm totally satisfied.

Karen said...

Judi P in Cleveland. I'd email you but I don't have an address.

Love the scarf.

I felt REALLY guilty going at the head of the line like I did, even with Henry needing to eat. There were a ton of people there. I'm sure Stephanie was exhausted at the end.

I'm glad that you feel satisfied after reading my post.

Karen said...

A big thank you to everyone who posted. It was so much fun to see Stephanie in person. Thanks for all of the kind words for Tracy.