Friday night, I joined more than 300 knitters for the Canadian, Toronto launch of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's fourth book, Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting.
It was a hoot. Stephanie was a witty, insightful speaker, and the book looks to be the same. But the real story of the evening was the herd of knitters. I have never seen - and I doubt I will ever see again - the sheer number of knitters crammed into one not-so-small area of a bookstore. I dragged my friend Jen from work, and she joined in with the bookstore staff in goggling at all the excited people gesturing dangerously with their sharp needles.
We arrived about 40 minutes early, which was not nearly early enough to get a chair. But we had a decent view, and got the added bonus of also being near the outside of the group, meaning that we could see the occasional non-knitter wander past with a very confused look on his or her face.
After Stephanie spoke at length about the culture of knitting, and the ways of knitters, we all lined up to meet the Yarn Harlot. I wasn't too far back in line, but was there for at least an hour, I think. But it wasn't a hardship at all - I got the chance to meet some other knitters, feel some great yarns and talk about sock addiction, which I've been assured will soon take hold, as I am currently on my second sock.
I got my book signed, handed over a few hats, and even got a chance to hold the famous sock. We couldn't migrate with the herd over to the Spotted Dick for the after-party, partly because I didn't want Jen to feel she'd been made to be part of some strange, yarn-based cult, and partly because we hadn't had a chance to eat before all the standing about, and were feeling kind of rickety by this point.
But it was a great night, and it was exciting to feel like a part of the vibrant, active community that is Toronto knitters.
There are lots of great posts about the event, with much better stories and pictures. Including Stephanie's own blog. I can't really pick myself out in the group picture (I know I'm in the second group picture, just to the right of the first pillar, but there are far too many people - in a good way) but I can spot my hats in the big pile that was donated.