A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Squeeeeee!!!! Fun is infectious! I am home now and had a better time than I could have ever imagined! I woke up this morning and was a little disappointed when I realized I could no longer walk a couple of blocks down the road and be in sock knitter nirvana.

Don’t know what I enjoyed more–the massive market, the wonderful dyers,

1. SS Yarney, 2. SS Yarn Garden, 3. SS Yarney, 4. SS Twisted, 5. SS Susan’s Kitchen, 6. SS Splityarn, 7. SS Periwinkle Sheep, 8. SS Market, 9. SS Lotus, 10. SS Knitting Bee, 11. SS Good to Be Girl, 12. SS Giant Swift, 13. SS Frog Creek, 14. SS Dragonfly & SanguineGryphon, 15. SS Dicentra Designs, 16. SS Creative Dyed, 17. SS Coloratura, 18. SS Blue Moon, 19. SS Show Book, Tag Strap, & Buttons, 20. SS Boxes
…the interesting and amazing panel,

From left: Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, Deborah Robson, Anna Zilboorg, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Tina Newton, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Judith MacKenzine McCuin and Nancy Bush.
the fabulous knitters, the friendly people,

…a chance to contribute some work toward making the world’s largest traveling sock (15 feet wide?) from England, organized by Puffy-Mondaes

…or the beautiful city of Portland. All I know is that the well-organized Sock Summit 2009 has really raised the bar and raised it high! I was amazed, amused, and delighted to meet some of my heroes and make some new friends from my old town (Lafayette, CA) like Maryanne Adams, owner of The Yarn Boutique. Did you know Lisa Souza and her handsome husband lived in Lafayette for 25 years before moving to their 8+ acre home in Placerville two years ago? Why didn’t I meet her when I lived there? **Sigh**

I must tell you–elated and exhausted–I was totally blown away by folks from all walks of life…who traveled from far corners of the globe or across town–strangers that share one common bond–fiber–and for some Ravelry too, and in true knitter fashion, were as approachable as if you’ve known them always. It really is fiber overwhelm, sensory overload…but what a way to go! I was impressed that people on the whole were upbeat, polite, and full of goodwill. Thank you, Jennifer, for picking us up at my front door at 6 a.m., chauffeuring, and keeping me awake. Big thanks also go to my dear friend Kristin for putting us up in her hotel room for Saturday night, twisting my arms for buying a ticket to Luminary Panel, and sharing a part of SS history. It could not have been more wonderful..the vendors, their merchandise, their kindness, and the opportunity to mingle and rub elbows with all these terrific people. OOOOOH, how I spent mucho dinero (shameful to recap and confess to hubby–$1,080 in two days!)–but am glad I did my share of stimulating the economy 😀

The things that stood out for me were things that were unique or something other than yarn, needles and patterns. Sassafras Creations takes recycling and repurposing to a whole new level. Nancy Thompson, a knitter & beader for many years, was looking for ways to combine her two obsessions. She began using pieces of aluminum knitting needles to create unique jewelry. I love the colorful needle bangles and the geometric needle earrings are fantastic.

I urge everyone to check them out.

Here is bubbly Brian at Skacel who is knitting seven pairs of socks–14-at-a-time on a special-order 120″ Addi circular needle.

What do you think of his remarkable organizational skill! You may read more on Brian’s multi-sock, magic-loop knitting adventure on Skacel blog here. I would die for a pair of the special circular needle!

I also loved Jennie the Potter’s yarn bowls and mugs. Jenkins Woodworking had beautiful Tunisian crochet needles, which I had not found before. I loved the vintage knitting tools too. As for fiberlicious yarn, roving, and needles, yes, I did splurge with some of each. Like others, I’m finding myself not so into socks these days (until fall arrival,) so I was not a great customer for the many, many indie hand dyers (although I saw beautiful, gorgeous things.) Whether I bought from a vendor or not, I saw lots of things in person that I had only heard about before. Now that I’ve met the vendor and fondled the product, I am much more likely to seek those people out online when I have recovered from vast amounts I spent this weekend. One regret was I didn’t pick up a copy of Jared Flood’s latest release

The sheer number of vendors was staggering. It was tiring walking through the marketplace. I only made it through the whole thing by making 6 or 7 separate visits in two days. Due to my predilection of starting off in the same direction, I hit the vendors in some areas a few times (like my favorite LYS here now stocks Handmaiden Silk for lace-knitters and Lorna’s Lace rovings for spinners) and ones in other areas only briefly. I truly enjoyed the event–the marketplace, the Sock Museum,

the luminary panel, and having a grand time with my friend Kristin. I feel like this weekend was the culmination of a whole series of right-place-right-time events and feel incredibly blessed to have had this experience. What’s not to love. By far, the best thing about Sock Summit 2009 was the palpable energy that was emanating from the convention center. I’ve never smiled so much, laughed so much, and been amazed at so much as I have been in the past two days. I think I need to sleep for about a week. Sock Summit was truly a magic place.

I came away from SS with a respectable but not an extravagant haul. Some of my favorite finds were

fondle and make notes on copious amounts of yarn I would not otherwise have had access to.

1. 1. SS Blue Moon Handpainted Merino & Tencel Roving Treehugger, 2. SS Wolf Creek Merino & Silk Wools 4.1 oz Hot 72709, 3. SS Wolf Creek Merino & Silk Wool 4 oz Foxglove, 4. SS Happy Hippie Optim Painting Merino Roving 4 oz Free Love/Flashback, 5. SS Blue Moon Silk Thread II Jubilation, ST2, & Bejewelled, 6. SS Blue Moon STR M ed Wt Moody Blue, Kalish, & Fire on the Mountain, 7. SS Blue Moon Lite Wt 2 Kalish, Bait-a, & Alley-oop, 8. SS Buffalo Gold #12 Bison Down/Cashmere/Silk/Tencel 2 LUX Huckleberry
This stuff really does rock, but I think Jitterbug is still my absolute favorite. I mulled over whether I want to say anything, but I think I really do–one of the main reasons STR cannot be my favorite right now is…this whole hunting down colorways on people’s blogs, then calling to find out what’s available is a huge turn-off for me. There are way too many wonderful yarn companies out there and I have way too little free time to play along. If it weren’t for SS, these would never made it to my stash.

Turkish Spindles by Jenkins Woodworking. Ed makes each item starting with a blank of wood. I really should receive a commission from Ed as I spun everywhere I went and recommended it to everyone who bothered to ask!! Clearly, I am not to be trusted when it comes to sweeping proclamations of gadgets I’ll never acquire. Imagine my surprise when I broke down and got not one, but two Jenkins Bottom Whorl Turkish Spindles. I had been admiring my friend’s and several folks pictures on Ravelry (all evil, evil people) until I finally had to head over to Ed and Wanda’s booth to see what was available. The two spindles I got were a small- and large-sized Turkish Delight in Purple Heart and in Bloodwood. Both are a joy to look at and have perfect balance. I was able to start spinning immediately upon opening the package and spun up an ounce of Wolf Creek Foxglove Merino and Silk blend roving by the end of Saturday. I might be getting some additional Turks (and potentially niddy noddies/top whorls/wpi tools….) at OFFF in Canby next month. My bank account and budget can breathe a sigh of relief…for the time being.

Luminary Panel was well worth it. I especially like Anna Zilboorg’s dry wit. I didn’t realize she went to Harvard and taught at MIT. I have her original Magnificent Mittens and Socks book. Knitter’s is working with Anna on a revised/updated edition (plus 25% of new projects added) scheduled to launch during Stitch West 2010. You bet I’ll gladly add it to my private collection!

One of the questions addressed to the panel was about how mono-chromatic (in terms of racial and cultural diversity) the knitting culture is. Even though, as Judith MacKenzie-McCuin pointed out knitting isn’t a part of all ethnic and minority cultural background (rather a rich folk’s hobby,) many ethnic folks do knit because it is a practical way to clothe their families. Most of them just do not communicate through cyberspace as we do. There are many amazing ethnic fiber artists on this earth that are unknown to us–we just haven’t have the luxury to expose to their works–thus invite them to be on the panel. Would you have spent $25/ticket, travelling from near or afar, to hear a panel of unknown fiber artists? This talk, however, made me want to start or become a part of a regular outreach group that teaches all people how to knit and make it accessible and affordable to some creative wrangling and selections of yarns. The notion that knitting should be available to groups in rural areas. It reinforced my thought that online shops are good for people who do not live within close proximity to a local yarn store. Here I am living in a small town in High Desert has four stores not including spinning shops. It’s easy for me to forget that someone in a smaller town or rural area may not have access, or the comfort-zone factor, or that yarn store in a city may not be in a neighborhood where some ethnic minorities feel welcome or comfortable. Knitting should be universal. I was somewhat irritated by Priscilla Roberts hijacking the panel more than a couple of occasions. Today, I thought this might be her last public speaking engagement ever–I am so glad to have heard her sharing openly her life story.

The Luminary Panel wrapped up with cake to celebrate Elizabeth Zimmermann’s 99th birthday. All the panelists were asked What was the biggest influence Elizabeth Zimmermann had on their knitting? Meg Swenson was last to simply reply You are in charge of your knitting. How ironic…it’s what I do exactly. She has left an indelible mark. I have a good collection of her books, use them often, and go to them first for inspiration always. Perhaps, that’s exactly the influence she had on me from reading all her publications too. Thank you, Elizabeth.

I’ve over heard Babara Walker didn’t think anyone would know who she was. Incredible, right? Such a humble, gracious lady. She has no idea what an impact she has on the knitting world for last 20+ years and more to come.

Some of my favorites said during the luminary panel:
If knitting were wide spread there would be no wars.~~Cat Borhdi
If you want me to listen, let me knit!…You have to put on your own oxygen mask.~~Deborah Robson on tending one’s craft, body and soul while meeting demands of motherhood and career
Just as bird’s wing evolved to fly, the human hand evolved to manipulate. An idle hand is not a happy hand.~~Barbara Walker
Julia Child used to say you needed a well-stocked pantry in case company came by and you needed to prepare a fabulous dinner. I think you need to stock your pantry in case a good idea comes by.~~Judith MacKenzie McCuin, whose stash weighs 6,000 pounds, on avoiding yarn-accumulation guilt (works for moi.)
In Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Wearable Art Stockings class, Meg says to Barbara Walker, sitting in the back of the class, “Barbara, I’ve always wondered, and said I thought so, but did you invent SSK?” Barbara just nodded yes, with a small smile. Amy Detjen cried.~~shared by Yarn Harlot

Kid you not, these are my heroes! Lashings of gratitude to the lovelies that organized this incredible event–from ST 1 (Stephanie/Yarn Harlot) and ST2 (Tina/Blue Moon,) to Team Ravelry for the great Saturday Meet-up night, the teachers, sponsors, vendors, volunteers…everyone who gave of their time and talent to help put this together. You all deserve whatever your hearts desire. This was a huge undertaking all for the benefit of a bunch of people you don’t even know. It was truly remarkably wonderful.

Outside of SS, Waffle Window, off the side of Bread and Ink Cafe on SE Hawthorne, created the Purl Two entree for Sock Summit! On it, you’ll find fresh berries, orange yogurt panna cotta, with house made Oregon apricot jam. I’ve heard it’s YUMMMMMMMMY fantastic!

1. SS Waffle Window Breakfast Banaza, 2. SS Waffle Window Razzle Dazzle, 3. SS Waffle Window Berry Waffle, 4. SS Waffle Window 3Bs
I went for the vegetarian-friendly version of the Bacon, Brie, and Basil waffle–light, fluffy, crispy on the outside and a bit of sweetness in the flavor. It’s heavenly. Mmmmm. I hope you will be able to go and try a delicious Purl Two someday.

We had Pok Pok in mind for Saturday dinner. It’s different than any food served in a typical Thai restaurant–street food instead of curries and pad thai. Unfortunately, our time was limited, we didn’t want to miss Ravelry MeetUp in Forestry Center at 7 p.m. So, after walking around Chinatown for a block or two, we settled quickly for Ping–it was okay but a bit pricey $82 dinner for a party of four. I’m glad my 13-year-old whiner and Chloe ate what we ordered after all. Who would’ve thought potato skewer could be so delectable! Between the two girls, they consumed a total of 7 skewers. Lunch ($12 for two people) at Burgerville was much better than having pizza or taco at the convention center and was well worth the long waiting line. Before heading back home on Sunday night, we had dinner at Pastini Pastaria next to the Guild Theater; including my daughter’s friend Elizabeth Thorn. Surprisingly, dinner for five came to only $63, thanks to its stimulus dinner offer.

There is a salve for post-Sock Summit depression. Mark your calendar for the last weekend in September–Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival at the Canby Fairgrounds. Blue Moon has a booth there and I will get more Blue Moon fix then. So will Cheryl Newhouse of NewHueHandSpuns–her angora/merino handpainted roving is delicious and soft…now that the tally of total spending is in, not sure if I can afford another splurge. Having money for groceries is overrated. Having money for yarn and fiber is not. I’ll be eating the dregs of my pantry for a couple of weeks (or months,) but it’s worth it.

Happy creating!


Comments on: "Sock Summit…Still High on Wool Fumes!" (3)

  1. Your post ALMOST made me feel like I was there!! Sounds like a wonderful time, maybe next time, but I will have to travel to the other side of the country, living in southeast FL!! Vicky aka enabling-ewe

  2. You are so funny Sarah! What a great post. I just can't seem to make my posts feel so alive. Thanks for the mention, it was fabulous for me to have company at SS. Have you shared this post on Ravelry yet?

  3. I don't know if I saw *you* with your Turkish spindle, but I know I saw a lot of them, and on Sunday morning I bought one! I'm just learning to use it; I'm not a spinner. But I went to Portland Spinnerati's meeting on Saturday, and came home with some actual yarn on my spindle. Too cool.

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