Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday Wonders #9: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I grant that this is a pretty obvious choice for a Wednesday Wonder. I have no doubt that nearly every modern knitter thinks she is a wonder. Everyone reads her books. Everyone reads her blog. I have her calendar sitting at my desk, telling me stuff about knitting every day. She's everywhere. So, why did I pick her? It's because this week I have been thinking about how much like me she is, and began to wonder whether every knitter thinks to herself or himself, "Wow, she's so much like me."

In many ways, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is "Everyknitter." Her best talent is not knitting (I think she's right around me in her knitting skills level), but it's her wonderful ability to look at knitting and draw parallels to the rest of life and to see the humor that results in not taking your hobby too seriously. (Plus, she educates Americans on how the Canadian government works.) By using her admirably informal writing style to its best advantage she's attained the goal so many of us secretly have: she's turned enjoying her knitting into a job that pays a living wage! Right there, the fact that she did that makes her a Wednesday Wonder!

I'm sure many knitters see a bit of themselves in Stephanie. I sure do. We have very similar backgrounds and interests outside of knitting--volunteered for the same organization for many years (did you know she is a doula and IBCLC*?), parented in a very similar style, view politics very similarly, are proud to be feminists who chose to stay home when their children were young…to name a few things. She's even sort of a linguist, since she coined the word "kinnear," which means to surreptitiously take a photo of someone, holding the camera low and out of sight--she did that to Greg Kinnear. And we're both writers and knitters, of course. Argh, I wish I were as humorous and as good at self-marketing as her, though (and I wish I could spin like her--dang, her February Lady sweater is incredible)! I also love that, like me, she will take a zillion times to get a shawl started, all for dorky reasons (this happened last week) or agonize over color choices for a project, just like me. It's so me-like that she marvels that anyone would really want to come hear her talk yet really enjoys doing those talks and meeting all those knitters and babies (that is exactly what was my favorite part of my Dysfunctional Nonprofit Organization job!). It just makes me happy, all the way through my soul, to know that someone like me can do what she has done.

Do I think I can do that? Well, no, and wouldn't want to duplicate her success. We don't need more than one Yarn Harlot, really, and she does a fine job of speaking for all of us knitters and making observations for us to enjoy. But, it gives me hope that maybe some day I will come up with an angle that will let me do what I love and make money at it. I am grateful to the Yarn Harlot for inspiring me to THINK about how I could earn income with what I am best at: knitting and teaching. I come close sometimes--I did get to teach knitting some when the LYS was going strong, but with that business dying down, I'll need to come up with another way of really making money from that. Maybe I could do those in-home knitting classes I'd thought about so many times--the one I did was great fun. I know I am not a "knitwear designer" because the people who do really well at that have had the chance to study textiles and the apparel business. I can do socks, but am no Cookie A! But, again, look at Stephanie. She is not a designer, just a skilled knitter. And she's done it. There's hope!

And that's it. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a Wednesday Wonder because she not only makes knitters happy, but she inspires us to find ways to do more than just sit and knit. At least she has inspired me. And just knowing that a truly GOOD, kind, friendly and thoughtful person had all these nice things happen to her restores my faith in humankind just a wee bit.

More on Stephanie

Bio (see, she is real famous, cause she is on wikipedia)
Blog, as if you don't know it already
All her books and stuff

*International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

1 comment:

  1. I discovered Knitting Rules when I first started knitting and was feeling a little weird about how it had captured my brain. I didn't know any other Knitters at the time and reading her book made me feel like I belonged, even if I didn't know anyone else in the club yet. I think that was the point when I went from being a person who knew how to knit to becoming a Knitter.


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