Sock Summit! Has it been a week already?? I miss you so…
Sock Summit took place Thursday – Sunday last week, and it was awesome. This was my first time attending, so I don’t know how it compared with 2009, but I loved every minute of this year. I loved my classes, learned cool new techniques, saw friends from many different (knitting-related) parts of my life, saw sheep being shorn, danced in a flash mob, watched a speed-knitting competition, ate at Burgerville (mmmmmmm, milkshakes…), and generally lived it up. One of the best parts of Sock Summit was just being surrounded by hundreds of people who share my non-mainstream hobby and who understand when you want to pet their clothing or examine its construction or stitch pattern. People who want to ooh and ahh over your yarn purchases and who get excited about meeting famous knitters. As soon as I walked into the Convention Center on Thursday morning I knew I was with My People.
“Strick-ly socks” class in progress, plus a sock-shaped cookie
On Thursday morning I had “Strick-ly socks,” a toe- and heel-construction class with Candace Eisner Strick. I keep hearing about her “revolutionary new method” for sock construction and had yet to knit a pattern where it was used, so I was looking forward to the class—I’m always interested in new construction methods and sock architecture. Candace was lively and entertaining, and I learned some bonus stuff like the Channel Island cast-on and the tubular bind-off. Plus one of my classmates brought us homemade sock-shaped cookies!
Thursday afternoon I got to meet Amy Singer and learned about what Knitty is looking for in pattern submissions. She even took a look at one of my patterns (Cheshire) and declared it Knitty-worthy! Apparently they’ve got a dearth of lace socks right now, so if you’ve been hoping to get into Knitty, there’s a free tip for you.
After Thursday classes ended the Marketplace opened… and some GothSocks craziness ensued. She’d sold out within minutes at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival earlier this year so I’d been hoping to check out her yarn at Sock Summit, but she sold out again before I could even find the booth. :-( Happily this led me to discover a new dyer I’d never heard of—Amy Klimt/Out of Step Dyeworks—where I got this yarn that I love so much I had to start knitting it immediately:
It’s my first vanilla stockinette stitch sock, but I’m livening it up with some techniques I learned in my classes: arch shaping (from Lana Holden, designer of Skew), Candace Eisner Strick’s heel, and the tubular bind-off at the top.
Look at that tidy little bind-off!
I was so exhausted after browsing the Marketplace; why is shopping so draining? Maybe it’s the pressure of not wanting to buy too much “unnecessary” yarn (after all, I already have a wonderful stash at home), and simultaneously wanting to buy everything. :-) I could’ve bought 20 skeins from Fiber Optic alone.
Let’s see… Friday was the Sock Hop, which didn’t really end up being my thing. I wish I’d have gone to the opening night reception instead. I love listening to Steph and Tina tell stories. On Saturday I took a really informational class about accounting and running a small business, from Kat Wilson; and laughed long and hard during Stephanie’s evening lecture about knitting and brain chemistry. The best part was her quoting a study that showed that repetitive eye-hand-coordinated movements (like knitting) do all these good things for your stress levels and brain chemistry, but concluded that there wasn’t really any way to put this into practice since “it’s not practical to carry around emergency knitting with you.” (Ha!)
Sunday may have been the best class day of all. I learned from Anna Zilboorg how to make the most lovely little buttonholes, which I will put into practice if I ever, ever finish my Cottage Garden cardigan. In the afternoon Anne Berk taught an ingenious intarsia in the round class. Ironically she started it by saying that there is no such thing as intarsia in the round, it’s just not physically possible. But then she proceeded to teach it to us. :) It’s gorgeous and clever and simple (once you get over all the crazy strands hanging off your knitting, and the fact that she makes you cut your yarn and work from a-few-yards-long strands instead of from the skein). I’ve already got a new pattern in the works that uses the technique!
Here are the goodies I ended up with after four days of strolling the Marketplace:
Left to right: Huckleberry Knits Silk & Silver in Crème Brûlée, Fiber Optic Yarns Kashmir in Twilight Zone, RainCity Fiber Arts Pilchuck Sock, Out of Step Dyeworks Merino/Nylon Sock in Glimpses of Serannian
From top left: notions tins from Miss Purl, stitch markers from Knitifacts, recycled knitting needle earrings from Sassafras Creations, sock-sized cable needles (finally!) from Carolina Homespun, stitch markers from Mamateja & Slipped Stitch Studios, pin from Amy Singer, bottle cap magnet from Miss Purl
As many have noted, it’s been kind of sad to leave all this excitement, energy, like-minded people and lovely yarn behind and to come back to real life. So I’ll leave you with the video that keeps making me smile every time I remember it—hundreds of knitters (I’m in there!), dancing joyfully with skeins of yarn: