To her fans, Martha Stewart is a source of inspiration.

The media mogul, whose latest book, "Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts," has just been published, met with fans and signed copies April 29 at Costco in Norwalk.

People from as far as Massachusetts swarmed the store, which was filled with crafts enthusiasts who wanted a chance to meet one of the domestic dynamo. They brought books, sat on folding chairs in the store's aisles and discussed their idol's work.

Paula Moses, who held the coveted spot at the front of the line, arrived when the store opened.

"I'm a long-time fan," she said. She drove down from Ellington, about a half-hour northeast of Hartford, to meet Stewart. "I've been to a couple of her book signings before; it's always fun to see Martha."

Karen Wirima of Stamford has been a Martha Stewart fan for years.

"I used to watch her on the Food Network," she said. When Wirima heard Stewart would be making an appearance a few towns away, she knew she had to stop by. "I said, `Great, I'll come to see her.' " All morning, Wirima chatted with fellow fans, some of whom drove hours to get to Norwalk. "We've just been hanging out, talking to people."

As time for the book-signing drew near, customers and fans got ready. Eva Padilla was near the front of the line with her daughter and granddaughter. "I love [Martha Stewart's] arts and crafts," she said. "She's the best." Her 3-year-old granddaughter Lauren enthusiastically agreed. "Do you know who Martha is?" Padilla asked her. Lauren pointed to Martha's crafts book as her relatives laughed.

As Stewart approached the throng of people waiting for her, excited fans waved and clapped.

"Thank you all for coming," Stewart said as she posed for pictures. "It's good to see everyone."

She signed copies of her books and chatted with fans as they approached her table. Some brought gifts for Stewart, others asked her to sign books for their daughters and friends.

"We were very pleased with the event; it went well," said Kate Waldon, Costco's assistant general manager.

"She signed hundreds of books," said Brooke Sittmann of the Susan Magrino Agency, who organized the event. "The turnout was great -- people were really excited to have her there."