Oh my. I mean…wow. I don’t know where to begin. This weekend was…wow.
Maaike and I left Saturday afternoon. I normally work until 5pm but my dad said I could leave at 4pm, so Maaike got dropped off at the store so we could leave right away, and we were off. We stopped in Burlington for supper, finding the route a nice, easy drive thanks to our maps and Artie (the affectionate name we gave to the GPS unit Maaike had borrowed from a co-worker). Everything was going fine, we passed the US border within 5 minutes of arriving, and kept driving. We didn’t think anything was wrong although we both kinda thought it was strange that we were taking the 7, a more residential-type road with a max speed of about 50 miles/hour, instead of a highway. Turns out that Artie thought the 7 was a better route because it was the straightest route to Northampton- as the crow flies. He didn’t understand that we wanted to take the highway so we could go faster. So we ignored Artie and Maaike directed me on a route to get back to the 89. It took an extra hour and a very scenic route over and down what I think was called Green Mountain, but eventually we got onto the 89. Artie kept sulking at us. The GPS unit beeps when it is time to get ready to turn or merge or whatever, and if you don’t do what it wants then it makes a little “why aren’t you listening to me?” noise, and recalculates. Artie REALLY wanted us to take the 7, and we REALLY didn’t want to, so Artie sulked and moped nearly the whole way there. From the 89 we took the 91, and by 11pm we had pulled into our hotel’s parking lot.

It was great to be out of the car, and after we’d settled in, Maaike pulled out her spindle and got her spin on. I pulled out Jakob’s sweater to do a little seaming, but we both quickly realized we were tired, and the adrenaline was wearing off, and we went to bed.

Breakfast was included at the hotel, and in addition to fruit, breads, coffee, etc, they had this wonderful little gadget. I’ve never seen this before- it’s a waffle maker! You put a little cup under the spout of the machine on the right and it gives you a pre-measured (I think) amount of waffle batter. You then take the Waffle-Off spray (um…Pam??) and spray the griddle (left machine). Pour in your batter, flip it, wait 2 minutes, flip it back and you have a huge fluffy waffle freshly made. It was really good!
We went to Target but didn’t find much (it looked remarkably like Zellers). Then we came back to the hotel and checked out, and went to WEBS.
WEBS! The rumors are true- it is huge and amazing and wonderful.
I have to preface the rest of this with a little backstory. See, there’s this online shop, called Nuts Online. They have a really good selection of snacks, but they don’t ship to Canada. Well. I got the bright idea to ask Kathy and Steve Elkins (the owners of WEBS) if I could have an order shipped to their store, and then I would pick it up when we drove down. Surprisingly, they agreed. (I wonder if it was the oddest request they’ve gotten?) We wanted to take advantage of this and get as many of the snacks we wanted to try, so in the future we could only order what we’d liked, and have it shipped to my grandmother’s condo in Florida, so when my mom goes down she could drive it back. I just didn’t want anyone else paying duty on a huge initial order. So Maaike, Yannick and I each went through the website and picked what we wanted. I think we ended up with a total of 35 individual 1 lb bags of dried fruit or nut snacks. Poor WEBS! I called them on Thursday to let them know the nuts were coming. (The food, not us). They never called back, so I assumed everything was fine.
Well, we get to WEBS around 11:00. We’d decided that we’d wait in line and have our books signed before the Yarn Harlot event at 2:00, so once the event was over we could come back to the store and shop at our leisure. We got into line for the signing.

This was the line ahead of us. We got in at a good spot.
This was the line behind us. It goes into the warehouse and all the way around.
While we were in line there was a woman going around with a post-it notepad, asking your name and writing it down, and putting it down on your book so it would be easier for Stephanie to sign your book. I over heard her talking to someone and immediately recognized her voice from the Ready-Set-Knit podcast- it was Kathy Elkins! When she came over I told her my name and said “You have nuts for me!” She started laughing. Apparently the nuts were causing some amusement at WEBS. She told me she’d show me where they were later, and said not to be surprised if the story about the nuts ended up in one of her blog posts. Maaike also introduced herself, and Kathy recognized Maaike’s name from an email she’d sent saying how we were coming down from Canada.
This was Maaike and myself upon realizing that we were standing in WEBS, waiting to see the Yarn Harlot (again) and having just chatted with a voice we feel we know because we’ve been listening to her for over a year. It was surreal. (It was also a remarkably good photo for one that was taken by me holding the camera over our heads and saying “smile!”).
We had brought offerings for Stephanie. We didn’t know if she had received any Montreal dishcloths when she was here in 2006, so I designed a few and we knit them up for her. You’ve all seen the Habs one already, and the Fleur de Lys one is to represent Quebec. The actual Montreal flag is extremely uncommon and unrecognized as being of Montreal, so instead our Montreal dishcloth has a bagel on it. 🙂 We also brought her a drawing from Maaike’s daughter, and 2 Montreal food offerings- a package of squeaky cheese (cheese curds) and a bag of fresh Montreal bagels.

We were really glad we’d brought the food for her, because we really doubt she was able to take a lunch break, so at least she had something there to eat.

Stephanie was gracious and friendly, and shocked the &#$^@ out of me by not only remembering who I was, but by telling ME what my website was. She knew who both of us were, and we were stunned. While we were getting our books signed Kathy came up to the table and let Stephanie know that we were the crazy nut people. Apparently the nuts really were becoming an ongoing joke at WEBS! Stephanie took a photo of us with the dishcloths, and took a photo with us and her travelling sock, and then we let her get on to the next person in line.
To keep up with the surreal-ness of the day, Maaike had a question about a pattern, and who did Kathy direct us to? Pixie!

Those of you who listen to Ready-Set-Knit know who Pixie is, and listening to her talk to Maaike about a pattern was EXACTLY like listening to the second half of their podcast, and I found it hard to not imagine I was actually at home in bed listening to this on my iPod. It was a very strange feeling. It was also really cool that Kathy just breezed us past everyone in the store to the “employees only” area, and ushered us right in to talk to Pixie. Then she took me to another area so I could see where the nuts were.

I forgot to take a photo of the nut boxes, but I can see why they were becoming a punchline. Two boxes each the size of microwave ovens! And heavy! While Maaike and Pixie chatted, Kathy helped me carry the boxes to my car.

We really were there. WEBS!
This is the parking lot area. And what’s that down at the end there?

Why it’s WEBS- America’s Bead Store! We didn’t get a chance to go in and check out Kathy and Steve’s latest project, but if it’s anything like the yarn store, it will be amazing!

We left there and went to a local tavern for lunch. Everything was delicious, and we had a great view of the Calvin theater across the street.

Why look at that…what’s going on at the Calvin? Why are there crowds of knitters showing up?
Ahh…THAT’S why. I can only wonder what people driving by thought was going on here! We’d already had people stop at our lunch table and ask us what was going on with the knitting.
We had some great seats in the very first (!) row, and the events began. First Kathy and Steve raffled off some prizes. (We didn’t win).
I got my knitting out and settled in. This is a project I designed and work on from time to time. Don’t bother trying to guess what it is- you’ll never get it. 🙂
A portion of the proceeds from that day’s sales at WEBS were going to be donated to a local midwifery clinic that had been closed and finally reopened, so a woman from there came by to talk to us and thank us.
Finally it was time to begin the real show.
Here we are being photographed for her blog with the travelling sock.
Here we are. You can’t even grasp how many people were here. It goes all the way to the back. I think the balcony was full too. I’m horrible at guestimating numbers, but I’d say we were thousands of us. It was crazy. (And sorry to the woman in front whose face I managed to blind with the flash in every crowd photo I tried to take).
Stephanie was a wonderful speaker (again) and was everything you’d expect from reading her blog. We laughed, we felt like a community, and it was wonderful.
We were some of the last to leave the theater because we’d been all the way in the front row. As we made our way to the door we saw a small crowd off to the side. I couldn’t see what was going on, but there was a woman giving stuff out. Maaike looks up and says “Hey- I think that’s Jess!”.

It was. Jess, of Jess and Casey- the owners of Ravelry. Giving out Bob stickers and Ravelry pins.

I can’t type any more right now…I’ve been sitting here since 9:00am and I need breakfast.

And I haven’t even gotten to the shopping yet!