Harlotorious Outing

This morning I hooked up with some of the ladies from the Yarn Barn and went up to Austin to bask in the quirky Canuk radiance of The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I have been wanting to meet her ever since the Knitting Olympics. Not to thank her, mind you – no, I wanted to throttle the wench for stealing two weeks of my life.

Search my blog for “kilt hose” if you don’t understand why.

Speaking of knitted footwear, the San Antonio contingent of knitters had, of course, all worn their finest hand-knit socks:

The church where she spoke was entirely populated by knitters that morning.
church of knitters.jpg

Anyway, there I was, cleverly hidden in an audience of about two hundred women and five men, planning my stealthy ninja attack, when she walked up to the podium and started talking. All thoughts of revenge left my head.

Holy crap, she’s even funnier in person that she is in her writing. We all sat there for what seemed like hours while she just talked to us about knitting and the way non-knitters look at us. (She used the term “muggles”, which I think is perfectly appropriate.)* She opened up by looking over the audience and saying, “You know, none of you is very scary by yourself, but in a big herd like this you’re kind of terrifying.” From that point on she had us all in the palm of her hand.

After the talk, the knitting equivalent of the secret service (i.e. the the women who run Hill Country Weavers) spirited her away to an air-conditioned garage adjacent to the shop, where she signed books, chatted, and received gifts for a couple of hours. Outside, knitters hung out and did their thing.
austin knitters.jpg

Finally, at the end of it all (for those of us *not* on a book tour, anyway) I got a shot of her sitting inside the shop and gabbing with the owners and the few stragglers.
happy harlot.jpg
The woman is a walking, talking smile. She’s just incredible.

She is, however, apparently unfamiliar with the native fauna of Texas. I can’t say as I blame her; I don’t know much about the critters of Canada, although I think I would recognize a moose if I saw one. Maybe. They’re kinda like deer, right? I bring this up because she says that there was a brown spider “the size of a Humvee” in her room which she had to dispatch with two whacks of her shoe. A lot of speculation went into what kind of spider it could have been. Since the only description we could wrangle out of her was “big, brown, and squashed”, the possibilities are pretty wide open.

The top two contenders as I see it are the Brown Recluse and the Wolf Spider. Both are fairly common in Austin, and both fit the description of big and brown. There are only two differeneces between the two species that should matter to a knitter. The first is that the bite of a brown recluse can be incredibly painful, resulting in everything from a necrotic patch around the bite to shock to death, whereas wolf spiders are harmless. The second is that wolf spiders don’t spin webs. (What’s up with that?)
Brown recluse:
Wolf spider:

I can hear a series of “eeek!!!” cries all over the Internet. Hee hee hee.

*’Muggle’, if you didn’t already know, is the name used in the Harry Potter books to denote a non-magical person. I think this term is especially appropriate for non-knitters because one of my friends (who, like Stephanie, is Canadian) watched me knitting once and asked if people used to get burned at the stake for doing it. Taking string and turning it into a sweater, or a hat, or even a freaking washcloth is magic.

No Responses to “Harlotorious Outing”

  1. Scout Says:

    I’m so sad your sister wasn’t here to see her at the JCC! Isn’t she just a hoot!?

  2. bonnie Says:

    Please tell me that last pic is photoshopped.
    If it isn’t I’m never coming to visit.

  3. Marnie Says:

    Like I told you, bro, I think Ms. Pearl-McPhee needs to meet Sarah before she makes any rash generalizations about Texas fauna. For those who aren’t members of our immediate family, Sarah is the resident tarantula at our mom’s house. Hee hee.

    And Scout – I am soooo sorry I didn’t get to go! Especially after talking to David… I really missed out.

  4. Aarlene Says:

    Bad Bad Man!

  5. deb Says:

    Hey, watch it there! Gaurding a Harlot is no small chore! Enjoyed meeting you and the San Antonio gang.
    deb aka secret service detail and webho for Hill Country Weavers

  6. Juno Says:

    No slouch in the funny yourself, dude.
    Working my way back through the archives a bit now. More yarn than clothing…hee.

  7. Kim Says:

    The wolf may be harmless but he sure doesn’t look it! Great to see you again yesterday.

  8. Cynthia Says:

    I’m soooo jealous that you got to meet Stephanie! Sounds like it was great.

  9. cari Says:

    Sexy pic on Steph’s site, my dear.

  10. knitteriam Says:

    I just have to tell you how totally hot you look in that photo on Stephanie’s blog. The kilt is awesome! I’ll bet you never hear that, huh?

  11. Stalker Angie Says:

    It was great to (semi in a rather non-chalant manner) meet you in Austin. And Steph is right. Kilts are HOT! Hehe

  12. Rachel H Says:

    Love your telling of the Harlot encounter. Don’t so much love the large sized spider pics. *shudder*

  13. Bezzie Says:

    I’ll probably be the first to say this–but THANK YOU for posting those spider pics! I’m new to SA and it’s nice to know the difference!

  14. AlisonH Says:

    OH! was my reaction. That’s what a brown recluse looks like–um, yeah, I’ve killed a fair number of them in my garage here in CA. Goodness. Thank you for that picture! I had no idea–and I know someone who lost a finger to a bite.

  15. Ranger Susie Says:

    My husband just asked “What! What!” from the kitchen, so horrified was I by the wolf spider picture. Came over from Harlot’s blog (go fig.).

  16. rani Says:

    So, my girlfriends had double-dog dared me to tell you that you look damn hawt in that picture that the Yarn Harlot took. :)

    Grr. :)

  17. Susan (aka Plum Texan) Says:

    Thanks for the lovely welcome, by the way. :)

    I was rather glad that Stephanie put your name on her post, as I too have photos of the Utilikilt (fantastic) and plan to use at least one of them. (In my *blog*, readers – I’m a married woman!) I figure I should return the favor for my face being here (right of second photo, dark hair, wearing red).

    At any rate, love the entry, love the blog, hate the spiders (but am willing to forgive them). Thanks for taking it all in stride.

    P.S. What model is your camera? The photos are great too…