Friday, August 14, 2009

Sock Summit Was a Blast or Knitters Are Wonderful People

I managed to drag my fatigued carcass to the Sock Summit last weekend at the Portland Convention Center. I actually didn't start knitting 'til after class registration for the Summit was closed but I finagled my way in by volunteering.

I had mentioned on Ravelry that I was going to go, and asked if anyone wanted to meet for lunch since I'm a local yokel to Portland. After all, people from all over the world showed at the Summit. None of my friends were able to make it but an online buddy, Joanna, asked me if I'd take pictures and write something up for her to be posted at So I did. What I didn't expect was a link from the article to MY blog. Wow. Maybe I should update this thing more often!
Here's me with team Ravelry at the Summit. Note the finger puppet representation of Bob, Ravelry's boston terrier mascot. I saw them walking down the hallway of the Convention Center and dashed out from behind the desk to snag them so all of us volunteers could take pictures with them. They were very gracious about it.

As a general update, yes, The Beast, otherwise known as the Bass Quilt and/or commission quilt is still in progress. I'm taking a break from thread painting and am feeling like starting the Mariner's Compass sashing blocks this weekend is a good plan.

On the needles right now is my fourth sock, giving me a whopping two pair of handknit. I lucked out and spotted a copy of Knitting circles around socks knit two at a time on circular needles by Antje Gillingham at the library so I snatched it and ran to the self checkout machines. It seems rather elementary since I already use two circs to knit socks. Now I know a way to avoid having to seam or graft anything on a sock. Yay!

My plans have changed slightly for next year's ichthyosis conference. Quilts are lovely and people appreciate them but I think hand knit socks will be very treasured by folks with ichthyosis. Any of us who have it on the bottoms of our feet tend to have the skin crack and get raw during temperature extremes, though children have an especially rough time as often their skin cannot accomdate growth as quickly as it should so the feet and palms crack. My feet didn't stop cracking regularly 'til I reached my whopp
ing final height of 5'1" around age 15. So, hand knit socks it is for the fundraiser raffle. I expect I'll be making strictly tube socks in generic man/woman/child sizes so they can fit anyone. But they'll still be more comfortable than store bought. Who knows, maybe I'll start a sock knitting revolution among the ichthyosis community.

Now this next tidbit is extremely important to me. Only once in my 37 years have I been somewhere amongst a large crowd of people for a significant amount of time and not had anyone stare at me or ask my about my skin. The first time was at the ichthyosis convention in Atlanta, GA in 2006. The second time was at the Sock Summit. I cannot express how marvelous it is to be able to walk through a crowd and have no one give me a second glance. I understand that for most people, seeing someone affected all over with ichthyosis is a rare occurence and it's natural to be curious. I however, am quite used to what ichthyosis looks and feels like but I'm not sure that I'll ever completley adjust to having people stare at me or unintentionally make me uncomfortable by asking personal questions about my medical issues. So. There it is. Knitters rock. Well, knitters, spinners, dyers, crocheters, designers, instructors, and all those other lovely folks that were at the Summit. Thank you so very much, you gave me a wonderful gift.

Now back to the Summit dishing.

I met some fantastic people, one of whom immediately comes to mind and that's Rita from Yarn Hollow. She noticed me drooling over one of the drop spindles and put some roving in my hands and that was it. I was a goner. I now have what I need to learn to spin yarn using a drop spindle. Wheee! By the way, the lusciously colored stuff you see in the photo to the far left is roving. It becomes yarn by using a spindle to rotate the fiber as you squeeze it down to the thickness you want. While it takes a bit of practice, it's not too difficult and yes, it is another lovely thing that one can do while sitting down. I really do need to stop acquiring more hobbies. Really! I can sort of blame this on Rita though, which I will happily do. I don't think she minds, though.

I did even get to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot who is a knitter, author and all around nifty person. She probably thinks I'm a crazy stalker lady as I handed her a thank you card as I never would have discovered hand knit socks without reading her works. I also met Tina Newton, founder of Blue Moon Fiber arts and apparently Stephanie's partner in crime. Fun! On a side note, I seem to be magnetically drawn to Tina's yarn as when looking through my stash, it seems like a quarter of it is hers. Mine. Mine now at least but created by her and her marvelous assistants but now in my posession as I have purchased more in the past few months than I can really justify when going over the finances. It's worth it.

I got to meet some of the other wonderful folks at Blue Moon such as Debra and JoAnn. I met oodles and oodles of fantastic knitters and I was so pleased to meet a great number of male fiber artists. You know you're out there, we know you're out there but sometimes it's hard to find you because there are so many women crowded around. There's always more room for fiber fans. Really! Whether it's knitting or quilting or crochet or cross stitch, the more, the merrier is always true. Especially if you let me raid your stash.