Last night Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka The Yarn Harlot) made an appearance in Portland in support of her latest book - Things I Learned From Knitting (whether I wanted to or not). It was a pretty cool and informative experience on many different levels.
Things I learned last night (in more-or-less chronological order)
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Puts on a Kick-Ass Event
Blue Moon is a locally based yarn purveyor that many people know for their Socks That Rock yarn and their Rockin' Sock Club. They were the one that hosted the Harlot. Proceeds from book sales that evening went to Doctors Without Borders - a charity that Pearl-McPhee personally supports, and has called on other knitters to support as well. They also has a special sock yarn available for purchase at the event.
The colorway was, appropriately, named "Knitters Without Borders"
I need more sock yarn like I need another hole in my head, so I TRIED to resist, but the line was long and they really are my colors. The red is much more prevalent and vibrant in real life, and I am so enamored with the colors the only thing preventing me from casting on a pair of socks right this minute is the fact that the appropriate needles are in use with another sock right now. But don't think I didn't consider frogging out that sock so that I could cast on the socks immediately last night.
The other really fun thing Blue Moon did was an Inexplicable Knitting Behavior Scavenger Hunt, inspired by a similar Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Pearl-McPhee. One person scored 88 points on the Portland Scavenger Hunt. She awoke at 5 am and has a 3-page schedule and cross referenced maps. Once the Harlot posts about the Portland event on her blog you can see a photo of the winner. Truly astounding.
Knitting Can Help Break Down Social Barriers
I had my first taste of this lesson on the train on my way to the event. A high school girl noticed my knitting and started talking to me about it. She was a knitter herself, and it was obvious through our conversation that her fellow classmates didn't know fully what to make of her.
It also showed itself at the event itself. Although I knew a couple of people there, I had gone on my own. And ended up sitting next to two other people who had gone on their own. We waited and knit and chatted and had a very lovely evening. We had some big differences between us, but some strong similarities as well (and not just the fact that we were knitters). I've never experienced anything like that at a book signing in my life.
There Are Some Very, VERY Odd People Out In The World
I'm speaking specifically of the woman who had a knitted (and beaded) mauve colored rooster's comb that she wore on top of her head the entire evening. I don't know that anyone could say anything that would make me understand that one. There was also one corner of the room where random squealing would emanate while we were all waiting for no apparent reason. I do not understand at all.
The Yarn Harlot Is Not Only Funny, But Also Quite Profound
Pearl-McPhee is a very entertaining person. She can spin a good story and does it in such a way you feel as if she's your BFF even though you've never met. But the humor was just the candy coating on a pretty strong, inspiring message. Knitting can make you more patient, can help you with processing difficult information, and can help prevent Alzheimer's and dementia. The process of knitting can help increase the size and functionality of your brain, can tap into your most creative brain waves, and can help you develop the ability to tap into those creative brain waves at will. Knitters are a demographers worst nightmare (since we're such a diverse lot), which leads to why we're such a misunderstood and marginalized lot.
I decided to let my inner geek out in preparation for the event, so there's a strong chance my photo will be showing up on her blog once she posts a recap of the event.