sock summit was such an incredible event and an amazing experience—i was honored to be asked to teach at the convention and had looked forward to it for over a year. i don’t think i can ever find the words to thank tina and stephanie and all the ST-2s
for including me in the group of instructors invited to teach alongside lifelong heroes such as barbara walker, anna zilboorg, priscilla gibson-roberts, meg swansen, judith mackenzie mccuin, and so many professional peers who i have come to know and love through the fine art of knitting.
by the time august 5, 2009 arrived, i was giddy with anticipation. i’m still pinching myself that i was actually mingling with all of these great knitters at the teacher’s dinner that evening.
after we ate and had a few little speeches, introductions, and some pictures, we each received a surprise commemorative tote bag containing goodies from the event sponsors. the bag was big—generous with pockets and roomy inside. little did i know that by the time the summit was over, it would be filled to overflowing with yarn, fiber, and sundries. so much so that i would have to send it home by post—no way could i carry it all with my luggage.
yesterday, it arrived safely on my doorstep and now i can share the treasure trove inside with you.
isn’t it gorgeous?? i’m so happy i got one! i promised rachel h. that i would design a sock with it (and you know, i don’t have a sock on the needles right now . . .). i even thought of the perfect thing; i just have to play around a bit with some stitches to make it happen.
digging around in the bag some more, i found a bundle of yarn from webs
the knitmore girls tape measure was actually not in the bag; i received that the next morning when i did a little interview for their podcast. i’m not sure when it will air, but i’ll let you know as soon as i know.
oh, but it doesn’t end there—more yarn to go (and we are still at the teacher’s dinner—the market hasn’t even opened yet).
zauberball sock in rich, deep plums and brick reds; a soft, fuzzy singles from schoppel wolle. i’m not sure i’d knit socks from it, but then again, maybe . . . it’s got nylon, so it might wear better than some other singles. or it might make a beautiful scarf.
a bundle of louet riverstone, enough for maybe a vest or a boy sweater, was at the bottom of the bag, packaged up with some SOAK.
this was all totally unexpected—at least by me . . . i was thrilled and awed just to be in that room and then we all got present too?? wow.
the next few days were sort-of a blur; i had a lot of classes to teach and not much time to spend in the market. i’m afraid most of my time there was spent racing around, trying to see as many people as possible and failing, hehe. you know—the yarn fumes.
but now that i’m home and able to think a little more clearly, i’ll try to describe the market as best i can. first of all, it was very, very big. i’ve never been to stitches or to a convention for knitters, but i’m assuming this market was bigger than most. and really really special.
the reason i say that is that this market was almost entirely filled with hand dyers and handcrafters of specialty knitting tools and accessories. the sheer artistry was palpable at every turn. it was entirely clear that this market was handcrafted by someone (that is, someone whose initials are TINA) who cares a LOT about exposing us to the best that our community has to offer.
you might say, “well, of course!”
but even my very favorite shows include exhibitors that are merely so-so. not true at the summit—not by a long shot. if anything, the outstanding quality in each booth was almost crippling—how could one choose amongst them?
(then, as evidenced by my own carryout bag, there were those of us that simply didn’t, ahem—we just got one of everything, hehehe).
where should i begin?
i know—let’s look at
the accident i had when josette put a spell on me what i scored at enchanted knoll farm. but first, i just want to say that truly, it isn’t fair what some dyers are up to these days—some of them are absolutely ruthless in their production of beautiful things.
i ask you—is it any wonder that i weakened?? just look at those colors—i’m already plotting how NOT to knit them for david. well, maybe one; but only for the anniversary socks. josette’s BFL sock is the softest i’ve ever felt and still, i can see it is a good strong yarn. i can’t wait to dig in. i bought that blood-red mix specifically to knit socks for david, but i’m wavering, selfishly, now (oh, c’mon; i know you do it, too). i think i could see my way clear to letting him have the brown ones, but the red . . . i could burn in hell for it, but i may end up saving that one for me.
on friday, someone brought this lovely skein of anzula sock yarn to class as a gift from the dyer—so nice of her! i know a little boy who likes blue very much and who now loves handknit socks as well—this will be perfect, since i had nothing like it in my stash.
which brings me to another thought about sock summit—how very very nice everyone was to me throughout the weekend. i just love meeting people i’ve known through the blog and i have fun teaching classes, so i am always thrilled when students share that, too. and the vendors were amazing—we received such generous gifts of yarn and time all weekend long, as dyers invited us to browse their booths, explained their yarn lines in detail, and listened to our ideas. collaboration is so important in our field and i find the enthusiasm of other professionals an exciting and vital part of the design process. it was very good to touch base with lots of dyers and vendors in one weekend (though sadly, i did not get to talk to everyone i wanted to).
on saturday i finally hooked up with ronni, who flew in that morning for a quick two-day weekend at the summit. we had so much to catch up on; i was excited to see her again. she was helping out a friend by working in the tactile fiber arts booth (one of the dyers i never got to speak to, darn), and brought me a gift of some gorgeous fiber
actually, i picked up a few spinning goodies over the weekend—just a few—there were so many tempting things. at the miss babs booth, which i visited with cookie on sunday, we were absolutely blown away by the array of yarns and fibers (ooops, i think i turned cookie on to a whole yarniverse she hadn’t seen before)
babs herself was on hand to show us around and it was a real treat to finally meet and hug her in person. you might remember that she provided the gorgeous yummy sock yarn for the bricker socks i designed this past spring (a yarn i enjoyed knitting with immensely). and she has lots of other beautiful yarns in sooo many colorways. including that rusty-gold skein of yet merino/silk laceweight i picked up.
what i didn’t know is that she also dyes fiber—a smoky batch of BFL in the moat colorway caught my eye and she quickly pulled it down and pressed it into my hands (the vixen!). it’s a blend of dark and light BFL fiber that is overdyed in dark tones of charcoal, green, and black. we stayed for quite a while in that booth—babs is a charming and delightful person to talk to and so interested in working together; i feel really lucky to have met her and hope to spend time with her again soon.
while i didn’t get to see most people for more than a few minutes over the whole weekend, i did run into liz bernstein of mackintosh yarns several times, who always met me with a big wave and a warm smile—i just love that about her. liz sent me yarn last winter that i have my eye on but haven’t had a chance to use yet (though something is brewing there). she and her mom, cathy, offered a beautiful array of fibers and colors for knitting and spinning from their bright, tiny booth.
once again i was taken with the darker shades of sock and fingering yarn and walked away with two skeins. the top one is celtic sock yarn in colorway cauldron and the bottom one is skye sock yarn in colorway safari.
as we were walking through the market on sunday, a very nice rep from berocco (whose name i didn’t catch, but thank you!) ran up behind me and pushed two skeins of ultra alpaca light into my bag (this really did happen). i’m telling you—people are just too nice. these are lovely colors that will make wonderful socks for the guys—you can’t go wrong with a great green and a nice spicy rust. or a flashy metallic sock when a cute boy asks for it, hehe.
(i was really glad he picked that one, since they were so generous to me at the summit.)
i bought a copy of chrissy gardiner’s new sock book, toe-up!
she and her business partner, donna, have become friends to me over the last year or so; we meet at TNNA and i always enjoy spending time with them, though sadly we did not have a chance to have dinner as we’d hoped.
i can certainly use some expansion of my toe-up sock techniques, so i’m looking forward to reading it. chrissy has lots of cute and sophisticated socks included, along with some great step-by-step instructional passages.
another attraction of the book is that our good friend gail
photographed all the patterns and techniques contained inside—in her always-beautiful style. i’m so excited for her; she did a great job. yay, gail.
and last but not least—one booth i kept going back to drool over was a verb for keeping warm. kristine had a great spot right near the front of the market and i couldn’t help but pause every time i passed by—it was that good. first of all, kristine herself is just lovely—perpetually calm and collected, she has a thoughtful sensibility toward her work and her fibers. her intense interest in natural dyes and a passion for collecting dye methods is fascinating to listen to. i could have taken home half the booth—she gave me free rein in that regard, bless her—but i restrained myself to just a couple of things; we will have plenty of time to work together, heh, no need to be piggy about it, now.
i selected a skein of wishing wool/silk laceweight for a specific project in a colorway she created new for sock summit—filigree. this antique gold-and-rust colorway will look really pretty, i think, in a lace pattern i swatched back when i was beginning thee nightingale stole—i’ve kept it in mind for a heavier lace yarn that had a little more depth and i think now i’ve found it (hattie, are you psyched??).
i also took the opportunity to try a bit of kristine’s gorgeous spinning fiber—two very special ounces of her baby camel/silk blend in colorway taboo. taboo indeed—if i’d had this one on sunday, it would have been my top-choice, hands down, as a spinning treat. now i’ll have to wait, but maybe it will be nice to take along to rhinebeck in october . . .
so yes, i came home with quite the little haul. i’m not ashamed though—so much of it will be used right away in projects that i have lined up. you might not see it again for a bit, but when you do, you’ll be amazed at the array of lovelies it will become.
haha, i’ve been having a funny exchange with my older brother all summer about sock summit—i think it was just really really hard for him to get his head around the whole idea of thousands of knitters flocking to oregon to . . . knit socks. and to maybe take a class from me (i am, after all, forever his annoying little sister).
oh, i made comparisons with rock concerts, where legions of fans flock to a stadium to have just one group blast their eardrums out for a few hours. i talked about economic impact, the growth of small business, passion, scholarship—all manner of directions that might drive the point home.
when i started sending photos of the luminaries sitting across from me at the opening ceremonies and the rush of attendees into the market, he began to form a better picture.
but the thing that REALLY drove home the magnitude of the event??
lanyards with “sock summit 2009” printed on them.
no joke—all of a sudden it was not a knitting bee any more. go figure.
suddenly he was bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have one from the inaugural sock summit event (he lives in korea and sadly, that’s just a little too far for a weekend trip, heh), and boy that would be a real conversation starter at work, where he needs to display a badge at all times (HINT). that’s my ultra-cool big brother for ya.
fortunately, i have two, since i was both a vendor and a teacher, so i’m sending one to him. i’ll keep the vendor card, but he can have the neckstrap. heck, i’ll even send him a button.