The Yarn Harlot Book Launch

It was a fairly busy week, and the only crafty thing I have to write about is the book launch of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s new book Things I Learned from Knitting … whether I wanted to or not. It took place in Toronto at the Isabel Bader Theatre, at the University of Toronto. The theatre is relatively new, so although I graduated from U of T, I’d never been there.

I went down to the big city with a friend, a trip that included driving, and then a ride on the subway (about 1 1/2 hours in total). We arrived to find the theatre quickly filling up with knitters. There must have been at least 200 people there. And everyone who sat down pulled out some sort of knitting to work on.

knitters in audience

Beginning around 6:30 pm, we were entertained by Andy Maize and Michael Johnston, of the band Skydiggers. As Stephanie later pointed out, it was pretty cool that a knitting writer had an opening act. They were very good. They sang a few tunes, and joked with and about the audience full of knitters.


Following the music, Rachel H awarded the prizes for the knitting scavenger hunt, which kicked off the theme of the night – inexplicable knitter behaviour. The pictures from the contest are on a flikr group here. It sounded like a lot of people took part, and had a huge amount of fun touring around the city, taking pictures and acting inexplicably.

Finally Stephanie took the floor, and an appreciative audience settled down (if you could call it that) to listen to her. After some of the most humorous thank-you’s I’d ever heard, she spoke for a while on the idea of knitters as a diverse demographic – one that is pretty much impossible to pin down. This segued into her theme for the evening – inexplicable knitting behaviour. Included in her speech were summaries of the results of some studies about the benefits of knitting (or knitting-like activities), and how validating those were to us and our obsession.


Stephanie spoke, and we listened (and knit).


After it was over, a large number of us decamped to a local pub for beers and snacks, and more chatting about knitting, Stephanie, and even Ravelry, which most people around me seemed to belong to. It was about 10:30 pm when my friend and I left, and things were still going strong.

This was the first time I’d been to a book launch. It was a lot of fun. I’m sure there are many people who would be simply astounded to see how many knitters turned out, and what a huge range of people they were – old and young, hip and dorky, outgoing and shy, and male and female. Stephanie was certainly right in saying that you can’t just pigeonhole the knitting community – we are just too diverse.


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