The Sock Summit 2009
Hi, my name is Michèle and I am a lucky person. I admit that I am, enough people kept telling me over and over again that I was lucky, so I started believing it. But sometimes it’s upsetting, because I feel that the amount or the importance of the efforts I make to accomplish or get something are being underestimated since they think somehow everything comes to me easy, it’s just pure luck. In this instance though, it WAS pure luck.
For you Muggles, you the uninitiated, the non-knitters, this whole post will make no sense at all. You have my permission to move on with your life and return another day when I have something for you to read that you can really appreciate , unless a descent into the mind of a fiber-crazy knitter interests you. But for us, the knitters, the passionate yarn addicts, the sock-a-holics, the ones who understand the appeal and the pure joy of creating something wonderful, wearable, out of a piece of string and two needles, the Sock Summit was the epitomy of coolness, the event you wanted to attend so much, you would have given your first yarn skein to do it.
Registration didn’t go as planned, the number of knitters interested in the 1800 spaces available at the Summit was underestimated, and in the first minute after the registration opened, 30,000 knitters tried their luck at getting one of these spaces. The server crashed, it was pure chaos, but! Yours truly, the lucky one, actually got in! I didn’t get the class I wanted with Lucy Neatby, but I did get to register for two very interesting classes. It was official! I was going to be an attendee at the Sock Summit 2009! The first one ever! I was doing the happy dance!
Sock Summit, Day 1
Registration for attendees of the summit were opening on August the 5th at 1:30. We boarded the MAX train (the very cool public transportation system in Portland) and in less than 20 minutes, we were at the Convention Center. It was 11:20 AM. We realized that we were a little early. There would be some waiting time, but not to worry, Bear had a book, and I had plenty of knitting. There were other knitters around, waiting, like me, incredibly, we were not the earliest ones. After loading up on Starbucks, we sat down, and watched as Tina and Stephanie (the two organizers) were running around with their 2-way radios glued to their mouths, trying to get everything ready on time.
What does a knitter do when she waits? yeah, you got it, she knits….
I was the second one to register! wooohooooooooo! Armed with my badge and my tickets for the events, I was ready to conquer the Summit!
I was registered for a 6 hours class on day 2. The class was “Sock Heels” with Heather Ordorver . I was sitting in class waiting for it to start, when I saw someone who looked very familiar to me. She came and sat 2 seats from me, and I kept wondering where I had seen her before…so I worked up the nerve to ask her. I took the plunge, and asked: “Why do you look so familiar to me?” answer: huh, maybe because I started Ravelry? Yup I answered, that would totally do it! Secretly I wanted to kick myself in the butt for not knowing that from the start, but hey, when I see famous people, I tend to become a total idiot. All the neurones in my brain freeze like if they were back in Canadian winterland…
She was cute as a button and gladly posed with Chicken and her own mascot of BOB, the Ravelry dog.
We had lots of fun in that class,but of course, being my crazy-self, I somehow managed to knit a sock heel that looked strangely, humm.. well… kind of…. hmm obscene? Really… not kidding here, I kept knitting and knitting and looking at it, the more I was knitting the worst it was getting. I tried to dismiss it at first, then I thought maybe I was seeing things because I am French you know…but Dude! At one point I just had to crack up! (no pun intended), I laughed so loud the teacher wondered what was happening, so between giggles and tears, I showed her my sock heel,and she just lost it!
At lunch, I had a very pleasant conversation with Jessica (of Ravelry) and Sandi Wiseheart, former editor of Knitting Daily, now writing What’s on Sandi’s needles for Interweave and also a personal blog called Wiseheart Knits .
We returned to class and things started getting really strange! My neighbour at the table decided that you couldn’t knit that many heels in one day without the help of some Whiskey… Chicken totally agreed and appropriated the shot glass.
As if that was not enough, Kay the Woollie Mammoth decided she wanted some whiskey also… Chicken in his haste to keep her from drinking his booze jumped on her!
Well.. This mascot party was just too loud, BOB the Ravelry dog noticed and joined the party, the three friends celebrated merrily…
OK. OK, I admit, this is a bit bizarre, but not as bizarre as you think, things like that tend to happen a lot when you put a bunch of knitters in the same room, it is called imagination, and knitters do not lack in that department!
At the end of the class, Chicken, having calmed down, was allowed to pose with Heather Ordover for another “knitting celebrity picture”.
That night, at the opening reception, Tina and Stephanie gave us an hysterical account of how the Sock Summit came to be.
Friday!! Market Day! Shopping Day! Wooooooohoooooooo! What’s better for a yarn-addict than a room filled with 150 vendors of yarn? The largest collection of hand-painted yarn ever assembled? Tools for the trade? We arrived early (Bear and I). The doors to the market opened at 8:30, there was a line in front of the door at 8, which shows that I am not the only fiber-nut out there, I am in good company.
I bought some gorgeous stuff, and some useful stuff, a good mix I think, and I am very very pleased.
Then, around noon, I headed to the Oregon Ball Room for the “Guinness Book of World Record” attempt for the “Biggest amount of knitters knitting simultaneously in one room”. A group in Autralia owned the last record, at 256 knitters. I don’t have the official numbers, but we packed over 940 knitters in that room and we beat their records hands down! Well, not really, we had to knit for 15 minutes so there was actually no hands down, just busy hands, but you catch my drift there…
Then we had lunch with Erica, from Tallahassee, she was there shopping for yarn, with Mercy June, who was wearing a very fashionable “Dragon Skin Wrap” knitted by yours truely!
After lunch, we went to the “Book Signing event” where we had the chance to talk with our favorite knitting book authors.
Chicken was lucky, he scored a lot of pictures with very famous knitters.
I had a class Saturday morning, with Clara Parkes, called “Finding your true sock yarn happiness”. It was a very interesting class, Clara Parkes is a fiber expert and she is very entertaining while she shares her knowledge.
I sat in class with another celebrity, Deb Robson, better known in the spinning world, former editor of Interweave’s Spin Off magazine.
She thought Chicken made a very pretty hat
Sweet Clara Parkes, author of “The book of Yarn” and “Knitter’s Review” e-newsletter.
After another little shopping trip in the market place, we headed home and rested that evening.
Was the day of the Luminary panel conference
Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, Lucy Neatby, Deborah Robson, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker and Anna Zilboorg talked about their experience as authors, business owners, and women, and the changes in the knitting world. We also celebrated Elizabeth Zimmerman 99th Birthday.
The Sock Summit ended on that sweet note, with a piece of Birthday cake. All was well in the sock knitting world.