Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NYC + Knitting=Love

Hi Knitters,
Where to begin, where to begin? I can hardly contain myself when I think about this portion of my tour. I flew in to New York City in the early morning hours of last Friday. It was a beautiful flight and that scenic descent into the airport is breathtaking. I have actually only been to NYC one other time with my husband for a few short days when he had a business trip. We had a great time just running around the city. I relied on him heavily to shuttle me around the city to see all of the sights and restaurants.

This time I relied on my beloved Jaime Harder, publicist extraordinaire (pictured above on the right). She is a treat and a half I'll tell you. I can't say enough about this beautiful, warm, sweet, smart, friendly, capable young woman. She is a catch on any level. I just love her and she is fantastic to work with. I have never worked with a more charming soul. Jaime is a calming force in the constant battle of demanding chaos that is the publishing world. She handles herself with grace, poise and most importantly, a wonderful sense of humor. We laugh every single time we talk. There is so much to laugh about you wouldn't believe it.

Before we left for lunch I got to meet with Ann Bramson, the publisher of Artisan Books. I have such deep respect and admiration for her. Her comments and guidance mean so much to me. When she talks to me I take her words to heart. It is hard to describe the experience of meeting with Ann. She has the sweetest, warmest face. We went into an empty office and I pulled out my beast of a suitcase containing my trunk show. Inside I had a few projects from a new book idea I have going. I was seated on the floor due to wrangling with my dreaded suitcase and Ann was seated on a chair right next to me. Jaime was seated on the floor with me which I loved. The projects were a hit! Ann loved them and it made me feel so good. I am proud to announce that the next book is officially on! That is some big news and it means there is a lot of work ahead for me. I am very happy about all of this. I'll keep you posted on all of this as it comes to fruition.

Jaime spent the first two days in the city with me. She took me out to lunch with a couple of others from Artisan. It was delicious food but we had to get it wrapped up to go so we could get over to SoHo Publishing for an afternoon meeting. We jumped in a cab and scurried over to the Vogue Knitting offices. SoHo Publishing houses many magazines like Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Adorn, and Crochet Today. They also publish books under the Sixth & Spring imprint. Anyway, it is an impressive knitting gathering of talent in one building.
Jaime and I met with Faith (left) and Tanis Gray (middle). They work on the magazines for the SoHo group. They are wonderful and friendly and so down to earth. I brought some samples from itty-bitty nursery and from my next book to share with them. They loved the projects! We had a fun chat and it looks like I may have the opportunity to do some work for them in the near future. I just have to figure out how to fit all of this into my crazy schedule. I will keep you posted on this as well. I haven't done any magazine work thus far and I think it would be a fun thing to work on for the future.

It was funny at my event at Knitty City the next day, Adina Klein, the editor in chief of Vogue Knitting sent one of the SoHo Publishing staff members, Jane, to have me autograph my books for their library. Jane told me that while I was at the office Adina wanted to meet me but was meeting with Nicki Epstein and couldn't get away. See I love that stuff. That's good stuff. Autographing books to Adina, Nicki in the next room...that's excellent. I'm just a little knitter from Madison for goodness sakes.
Jaime whisked me off to Purl. I signed some books they had in stock and of course Jaime and I shopped a little. I think I will have to do a separate post about the goodies I have collected while out on the road these past weeks. I dragged home some pretty fun finds. See that guy in the green shirt? His job was to wind yarn for customers and he was winding and winding and winding the entire time we were there, skein after skein. It was really busy the whole time we were in there. I told Jaime that I didn't want that job anytime soon! What a charming spot, a thrill to see again. By the way, the Purlbee did a feature on Itty-Bitty Nursery a couple of weeks ago. This is a great blog to keep up with if you haven't checked it out before.
This is Purl Patchwork which is just down the block a bit from Purl. It is the fabric store sister to Purl. Wow, is this a fun spot. There is even a little elephant in the window from Joelle Hoverson's new book Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. You all know Joelle's first book Last Minute Knitted Gifts one of my all-time favorite books. It is wonderful to see her shops in person to say the least. After visiting these shops we headed back to Artisan to pick up my suitcase/beast and I got in a cab headed to my hotel. It was a swift hour-long journey where the traffic moved about an inch at a time. I honestly even loved that. I got to look at the people and buildings and just absorb it all. Oooph, was I tired. I crawled to my room, pulled out the lunch I didn't eat earlier and ate a quiet meal in my room. I had such a feeling of excitement from the happenings of the day that it felt good to have some peace to let everything sink in.
The next morning I headed out for a brief walk with my husband...what? Okay, just kidding. Do you know who this is? I'll give you a hint: supermodel and NFL superstar. Yes it is. They walked right by me, really next to me for a ways. Then I looked over and realized I was walking next to Gisele Bundchen and on her arm was the one and only Tom Brady. A lady next me started shouting to her friend, "That's frickin' Gisele!" They started chasing them down and then I quickly snapped this blurry shot because I thought that my boys might get a kick out of me seeing Tom Brady up close like that. I thought it might start getting crazy for them as people recognized them. I know the picture is blurry but can you see how skinny Gisele's legs are? They are like toothpicks, literally. You could knit with them if she pointed her toes. Pretty funny stuff, right?
My hotel was right down from Times Square and just off of Central Park. What a spot! I loved just walking around. It is all so exciting for me just to be there. I met Jaime for lunch and then the best thing happened, my sister, Dawn, arrived. We met her back at the hotel and boy was I happy to see her. She is a wonderful sister, so fun and smart. We always have fun together.
This is where the story gets really good. Jaime took us around to a couple of knit shops to sign books. We ended up here at Annie and Co. This is a fairly new shop in town and it was spectacular. We fell in love with this shop. One of the workers went to school at the UW in Madison and although she said she didn't study much, she had fond memories of our city. All three of us shopped everywhere we went. While Dawn and Jaime were shopping and I was signing books, I happened to notice a small woman knitting quietly in a comfy looking chair. She looked so happy knitting away there that I looked closer. All of a sudden I realized I was looking into the face of Cicely Tyson, one of my all-time favorite actors. My mother loved Cicely and often talked about her and her movies. We especially loved her in Roots, when I was a middle-schooler. I remember my mom talking about her from the time I was a young child. I had just recently watched Winn Dixie with my girls where I fell in love with Cicely all over again. Well, to make a long story short (I already blew that), I quietly told Dawn about Cicely and she looked like her knees were going to buckle. When I was telling Dawn this news, her back was to the door and you are not going to believe who walked in....
Bette Midler.
Bette Midler.
Bette Midler.
Here is the beautiful shop and the front door....
And here is the one and only Bette Midler talking it up with Cicely Tyson! We are right there. We love Bette Midler. She is really one of our favorites. We had her albums and nearly wore them out. We watched her concerts on HBO when we were teenagers. We watched her sing Johnny Carson off the air. I thought Dawn was going to have a heart attack. Really, she had to sit down. Jaime and I laughed so hard at her. It was so cute and sweet, her reaction. We had to get going to the Knitty City for my event and my sister just looked into my face and said, "I don't think I can leave right now." I loved that. We left Dawn behind and she quietly melted into a chair at Annie and Co. to knit with her friends Bette and Cicely.
This is Dawn playing it cool with her knitting. Eventually the shop worker invited her over to sit right next to Cicely where they conversed about literature, Oprah's school for girls in Africa (Cicely joined Oprah for the opening event), the topic of obesity and how it has affected different families. There was a group of women at the table knitting the whole time we were there. Bette didn't stay too long, but it was long enough. Bette is working on a needlepoint stocking. Annie and Co. has a needlepoint store up one floor and Bette was headed there. I was so happy for my sister to get that opportunity, a once in a lifetime experience. Isn't that cool? My sister was laughing because at one point the needlepoint store workers came downstairs and yelled at the knitters at the table, "Traitors!" They were their former customers who are now knitting. Too funny.
Jaime and I could not stop laughing about Dawn ditching me for her celebrity knitting friends. I don't blame her one bit. I had a great time at the Knitty City. What wonderful hosts Phyllis and Pearl were! The knitters were wonderful and smart and curious. We had a nice time chatting and I signed lots of books. I met lots of wonderful New York knitters and they are a fun group.
People kind of came and went and some stayed the entire time I was there and even sat right next to me the whole time. I loved it. These are some warm, kind knitters. They envelope you with their genuine interest. I really enjoyed all of them. Thank you Knitty City, I hope I can come back again. It was a pleasure and a treat. This shop is one you cannot miss if you are heading to New York. They have great space and great materials. Just look at that wall of books! The yarn is a spectacular blend of just about anything you could ever want. The staff was the best, they could not have been any nicer.
I have to make a special mention of this sweetheart, Leah. She made a special effort to visit me at the shop and has corresponded with me off and on for awhile. Getting to meet knitters on the road like this is an experience I will never forget. Thanks, Leah, and let's keep in touch even after you leave the big city! It was great to meet you.
My sister showed up just after the event was over. Jaime and I thought that was so funny. Every time the door opened we both turned to see if it was Dawn and it never was. She rode a bus all over the city to get to the shop. She is a hoot!
Jaime, thank you! Jaime and I bought matching crocheted scarves from Knitty City (see the first picture) to commemorate the wonderful day! Actually she bought her's first and I just copied her. Ha! It was fun, it was real, it was real fun. I will never forget it.
Now I have to run and watch the first episode of Project Runway. I am an addict to this show. We will discuss later and, "Make it work!"
best, susie