Category Archives: sock summit

“Their record was for 256. Their record was doomed.”

Day Two of Sock Summit is behind me now, folks, and the whirlwind is still going strong. My feet hurt, I am 99% out of touch with non-knitting non-Portland world, but I’m just continuing to tell myself that’s OK because at the moment knitting world is going pretty great down here in Portland. Today, I got up, hung out with some knitters, listened and learned about design from Marjan Hammick (Yarnissima), and talked a little German with her, participated in a record-setting Guinness Book of World Records knit-in, bought more yarn, escaped to downtown for a delicious hamburger, investigated Powell’s bookstore where I scored a hardcover copy of Meg Swansen’s Knitting, bought cupcakes, and did a quick turnaround before heading out to the Sock Hop at the Portland Art museum.

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It continues to be pretty trippy, being here. At the Sock Hop I chatted with a few people and commented that “you know, this is all pretty hysterical,” and whoever I was talking to would nod vigorously. Someone (the Canadian gal above from Make One Yarn Studio whose name I cannot remember), added that it is hard to know “am I done?” at the end of the day/class/event/etc because it all sort of meshes and keeps on going in your head.

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At this point, any delusions I had about presenting photos or captions in any detailed or logical order is sort of breaking down, so I’ll just wing this a little bit. There are a few things about knitting world that this event is reaffirming for me, not the least of which is the community and shared knowledge.

Marjan, for example, takes inspiration from Bavarian stitches just as much as from the photography of Brooklyn Tweed. Cat Bordhi happily puts aside her circulars to knit on two straights if it means the World Record people require it. If you are any knitter at all knitting any particular pattern and need sudden help, another knitter will come rescue you. Everyone is learning from each other.

And if, say, you are Meg, and you are, say, knitting your own lace wedding veil, it turns out you can bring it to the Sock Summit and get people like Barbara Walker and Nancy Bush and, oh, EVERYONE EVER to knit a few stitches on it…

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And if, say, you are Meg and you pull out your lace wedding veil and realize there is a dropped stitch situation going on, in the middle of a Sock Hop, the other knitters will all stand around and support you while you go ahead and fix that.

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Also, if the Guinness Book of World Records shows up, this means that over 1200 knitters will show up and blow the previous Australian-set world record out of the sky, and still even feel a little bit bad about it for the Australians.

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Pretty cool, using yarn to set a record. Also it’s pretty cool to hang out with this many knitters for this many days. I’m sure we’re all going to go through withdrawl by Monday. Good thing it’s not Monday yet.

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More tomorrow, folks, more tomorrow.

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“Yeah, but we’re really talking about a lot of skeins, here.”

This morning I got up, got a Starbucks latte, and headed to the Oregon Convention Center. There, I chatted with Ravelry’s Jess and Stephanie Pearl McPhee before going on to classes with Janel Laidman, Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen. Then I bought yarn in the marketplace and went to the Opening Reception where, after a wonderful greeting by Stephanie and Tina, the entire reception room burst into spontaneous applause and standing ovations, and then we all hung out and talked and mingled and I shook Barbara Walker’s hand and had conversations with Lucy Neatby and Sivia Harding and Abby Franquemont and Ann Budd. And then I talked to Deb Barnhill about toe-up socks until the room was nearly empty, and then we all went off to our separate crash pads hotel rooms, and now I’m having difficulty believing that all of this is actually happening to me. I suspect I am not alone in this.

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Day One of the Sock Summit has passed, and already I am having difficulty recalling everything I have absorbed and experienced so far. It is a singular thing, being here. Anything else I try to compare this to has some level of institutional formality or structured system of recognition or higher levels of impatience or air of…well, normalcy, that really has no place at Sock Summit. Everyone I have met so far – attendees, teachers, vendors – absolutely everyone has commented on how much this is unlike any other event they have attended. I am trying to think of another event or gathering that I can compare this to, and am coming up short.

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Everyone has a smile, everyone is game, everyone is knitting.

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Rebecca and I keep having conversations throughout the day and saying things like, “Hey, you know [X knitter] I met/took a class with/talked to/shook hands with is the nicest ever.” And then the other will respond with, “But you know who is also the nicest ever? [Y other knitter] I met/took a class with/talked to/shook hands with.” And on it goes. And this goes for teachers, attendees, vendors, everyone. There are unlimited photos, conversations, and sock appreciation, and this weekend isn’t even half over yet.

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Today, I touched a sock knitted by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I learned about colour-work from Janel Laidman. I learned about knitting socks from Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen. I listened as Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Tina Newton described the Sock Summit journey in alternating laughter, delirium, and tears. I met dozens of people and many new friends. So far, Sock Summit is awesome.

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Can’t wait for more.

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Big Day Ahead

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Sock Summit is here, the knitters are arriving, and registration is already in full swing. There is a friendly energy around, whenever you encounter another Sock Summit goer. Today will be Day 1 of classes, activities, and general high-intensity frolicking…

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Yesterday I arrived, registered myself up, and then had dinner with my uncle who lives nearby who I haven’t seen in many years. It was a fun time, and I’m glad I did.

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More evenings of knitterly fun lie ahead. Now let’s pretend I’m on completely full night’s sleep, shall we? Right. More later…

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Look at me go

In exactly 3 weeks’ time, I will be sitting in the first of my classes at Sock Summit. This is equal parts exciting (knitters! yarn! classes! Portland! shopping! more yarn!) and terrifying (OMG when I come back from it the summer will be nearly over; also I have stuff to DO before then…) but mostly I think I’ll be so glad to have a fun trip with knitters as company. Naturally even those of us mere participants still have some prep to do, in the form of homework for our classes, which sadly I don’t think I can put off any longer.

Of the 4 classes I am taking, 2 have non-knitting homework (pre-prep to knitting), and 2 have actual knitting homework (knitting a part of a sock before class). The one that is the most involved is knitting the entire leg of a knee-high sock for the ‘Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Wearable Art’ class with Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen (the more complex arch and heel shaping is taught in the class itself). I’m totally whipping ahead. I mean, just look at how far I’ve gotten. It’s practically done already!

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Err, so maybe not ‘practically done’ so much as ‘just started’, but still, it’s good to be moving in the right direction. I’ve chosen Briggs & Little sportweight which is extremely wooly and therefore a bit rustic and scratchy, but I sort of like that quality sometimes and I wanted to choose a bit differently from the normal squishy-soft sock yarns I use most. This is a single-spun yarn which makes it less ideal for stranded colour-work, so I chose the simpler motif to just let the yarn speak for itself.

Since I’ve totally got those wearable art stockings in the bag (maybe), I decided to tackle the homework for Sivia Harding’s ‘Beaded Cables’ class, which involved stringing 120 beads onto the yarn. (The yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts DK, in ‘Moss’.)

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Now, just because it only took me half an hour does not make me any less triumphant. I am more than 25% finished my Sock Summit homework with 3 weeks still to go. Phew. This calls for a break. (Don’t want to stress myself out all at once).

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Unreasonable

A reasonable person, say, one who is going to be attending the Sock Summit in less than four weeks’ time, would probably start to worry about preparing for that. A reasonable person might have already started their homework for the workshops at said Sock Summit, particularly when one of them involves knitting the entire leg of a colourwork stocking.

A reasonable person would probably be working on these things, rather than thinking about things to wear at said Sock Summit, and would therefore probably be starting class homework instead of a pair of electric green and purple knee-high socks.

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It’s a good thing, then, that I’m not an entirely reasonable person.

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Phew

I’ve got enough superstition in me that I hesitated to post this logo on my sidebar, until now.

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I am going. I am registered. Bring on the sock knitting insanity. BRING ON THE MARKETPLACE. Bring on Portland in August! I am going and so is my Rhinebeck partner in crime Rebecca, and we are filled with much glee.

Today unleashed the insane frenzy known as “Sock Summit Registration”. I have the feeling that Stephanie and Tina are holding on by the hair of their chinny chin chins right about now, as the process of thousands of knitters trying to log on and register simultaneously was predictably chaotic! Heck, I’m feeling a bit shaky right now after waiting out the server timeouts and patiently clicking and waiting, so I can only imagine what the organizers are going through. I know there are many out there with a few sorrows right now at having missed their desired classes as things filled up at lightning speed, but I hope that once the dust settles things will move forward with all the joy and anticipation that goes along with such an enormous event as this one is sure to be. I have nothing but sympathy for those who didn’t get the classes they wanted, and can only imagine the heartbreak of wanting to attend this event and being disappointed.

Serious, serious props (and cake and beer and chocolate and maybe some poutine) go out to Stephanie and Tina and all of their team-members for their organizational efforts with this – I know they have been in for a world of stress getting this off the ground and that it is taking the energy of many committee members to operate the Sock Summit. I have never ever attended a convention that had this many people salivating at the registration opening quite like this. It is a testament, yet again, to what happens when the passion of knitters is released en masse!

What will I be taking? Well, I am pleased to have gotten two of my first choices – Beaded Cables with Sivia Harding, and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Wearable Art Stockings with Meg Swansen. I also managed to get Paint Your Toes (stranded colourwork) and Arch-Shaped Socks (also with Meg). It looks like I am in for a whole lot of colour-work sock knitting (hands up, anyone who’s surprised), and I am thrilled to be learning more about beaded knitting from one of the bonafide experts in the field.

Now, is it too soon to start my Sock Summit homework? Hmm…

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