Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dog Days

Stephanie wrote:

With the dog days upon us it didn't take much to convince to me escape to the beach for a few days. It was hard to think of hitting the road again so soon after returning from Sock Summit, but once there I was glad we had make the trek.

I had completed my last pair of socks on the plane from Portland and had to start a new pair. I wanted something simple but not as mindless as plain stockinette.

While my knitting queue is overflowing with sock patterns to knit, I didn't even look at it. Instead I turned to my sock knitting books. My collection of sock knitting books is quite large - more than most libraries have. After leafing through several of them I grabbed Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.

Not only does this book contain a wide assortment of patterns, it also has a section on the history of sock knitting and the importance of Weldon's Practical Needlework. Weldon's was a leaflet published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was devoted to many forms of needlework including knitting. Nancy took several sock patterns from Weldon's and reinterpreted them for today's knitter.

I debated which pattern to knit and finally settled on this.

The Oak Ribbed Sock - a simple ribbed pattern with just enough variety to keep me interested.

The yarn is Luster Sox Medium Denim. Luster Sox is 100% Bluefaced Leicester, a fiber that has been getting more attention (if you don't want to read the whole report, scroll down to the paragraph next to the orange skein). I always enjoy working with this yarn - nice twist, great stitch definition, interesting color variation.

This sock accompanied me during our days at the beach. The five minute walk to the beach was colorful.


Rocks. The three smallest rocks look like claws peeking out from beneath the largest rock.

Sand and water, of course.

And a splash of bright color.

I came back from the beach refreshed, full of ideas for new projects and eager for the first crisp days of fall.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Savoring Sock Summit

Stephanie wrote:

The magnitude of Sock Summit was, at times, overwhelming.

This banner outside the Convention Center made me think this is real and this is big.

As with any event Mona and I get to meet some incredible people. The difference with Sock Summit was the number of ace teachers and designers gathered together at one time. It was nothing to see Meg Swansen and Lucy Neatby strolling the marketplace.

We met both Anne Hanson and Sivia Harding, designers for our sock club. Sorry there aren't any pictures - you'll have to take my word for it. Both of them have been wonderful to work with, and it was nice to have time to chat.

We saw Sheri from The Loopy Ewe again. It's always good to touch base with her.

Probably the biggest thrill was meeting several people who are members of our sock club. Until Sock Summit they were names on a list - now we have faces to go with those names. Thanks to all of you who stopped by and introduced yourselves.

One of the gems of this whole event was the Sock Museum. At the far end of the marketplace in a secluded area were several tables displaying socks arranged in chronological order. I love history. History combined with socks - what a brilliant idea.

I lost myself in the Sock Museum for a good long time, reading and taking pictures. Sorry, Mona, if you felt abandoned in the booth.

Here is a sampling from the Sock Museum.

The Coptic sock with a separate big toe for easy sandal wear. These socks were made using nalbinding.

Thrumming is one of my passions, and I've given several demonstrations on it. I was delighted to see these Newfoundland Thrummed Socks in the Museum.

These toe up Hook and Rose Turkish Socks were impressive.

A work of art.

Argyles in progress and completed. I applaud anyone who can see a pair of argyle socks through to completion.

Wearable Art Stockings designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann. These socks don't have reinforcement in the heels and toes. They are meant to be worn shoeless with feet up on a coffee table - a sock for lounging.


Note the unique toe.

That completes our tour of the Sock Museum.

Here is a larger-than-life swift courtesy of Paradise Fibers. In case you're wondering this swift was actually turning during marketplace hours.

While most of our time was spent in the Convention Center, we did manage to explore Portland a bit. I must confess I never made it to Powell's - the one place everyone said I had to see. I can spend as much money in a bookstore as I can spend in a yarn store. It's probably best to save Powell's for another visit.

We saw this interesting tree, the likes of which I'd never seen before.

This is a monkey puzzle tree. It looks like a naked pine tree.

I was very impressed with this use of space.

This is an ice skating rink in the middle of a mall - space that would otherwise be empty. If we'd had more time, I would have rented some skates and hit the ice.

I had been warned there would be a Starbucks on every Portland corner - not unlike our own beloved Dunkin' Donuts. There was a Starbucks on every corner - and one right inside the Convention Center. I was very grateful for the easy access to caffeine.

One evening we ventured downtown for a well deserved, sit-down meal.

The atmosphere was pleasant and the food was delicious - a nice change of pace from the on-the-go food we had been eating.

If you build it, they will come. Sock Summit proved that notion. People knitting anywhere and everywhere - from big groups of knitters to solo knitters. I saw them in the Convention Center, the hotel lobby, in Starbucks, on the light rail, downtown, on the sidewalks, at the airport. Many were knitting socks, some were working on other projects. They were all knitting. Knitting and enjoying the moment - the Sock Summit moment.

Organizing an event such as this is an enormous task. Many thanks to Stephanie, Tina and crew for a job well done.

Sock Summit was busy and hectic - at times a blur. In the days since Sock Summit I've taken time to absorb and process the experience. And I'm sure I'll revisit those memories many times over.