I’d better finish up my summary of Sock Summit and my trip to Portland before I forget what happened. No one else cares, I realize, particularly at this late date, but I don’t want to forget and writing it down seems like a good way to prevent that happening.
Sunday was the final day of Sock Summit and my last day in Portland. As such, I wanted to milk it for all it was worth.
The day began with a class from Anna Zilboorg, who is an expert in Turkish knitting. She gave a great talk about the history of knitting in Turkey and the various motifs that regularly appear in their knitting, such as the hook, which is the wave-like design you can see on some of the socks she’s holding.
One of the most interesting things she had to say had to do with Turkey being, until recently, a predominantly oral, rather than written culture. Instruction is handed down person-to-person, rather than being committed to and learned from paper. Because of that, she noted, there is a very strict interpretation of how things are to be done, and deviation from that way is not accepted, and this extends to handicrafts. To allow people to adapt designs and techniques to suit their own style would contribute ultimately to the death of the culture. And, of course, that totally makes sense, particularly as modern Western culture infringes more and more into their world.
She passed around many authentic Turkish socks, including this one with loops at the toe. She also showed us Turkish bridal socks, which were ornate and colorful. You could practically see the joy of knitting and wearing such an item.
She also shared a few knitting charts so we could practice some of the common motifs on our own. I knit one of them and can see creating a sock in the future that included at least one. (more…)
We’ve got company coming over tonight, which means we’re up early to run around, chicken-like, before work. But I don’t want to forget about TBT in the exhaustion that will inevitably spread over us after our friends head home; really, we’ll need all that memory to recall that Rudi’s mom needs a birthday phone call. So I’ll post now to free up some brain space.
Three beautiful things from last week:
1. There’s a new puppy in the neighborhood. The day I meet her, Rocky is learning “Come,” and there are treats involved. (She’s either a golden retriever or a yellow lab, is 10 weeks old, and has a person, whose name may or may not be Jim.)
2. Torrential rains delay Friday night’s baseball game, but let up after a bit so the game can finish. Fireworks set to painfully transitioned Beach Boys tunes are the highlight of the night, but the puddles on the way out are nearly as good. Apologies to the man in the pink shirt whom I splashed… I didn’t realize the water would go that far…
3. Karen sends me a photo and a video of Marshall (who is growing so fast!), and Jessica emails photos of her newly arrived daughter, Hazel. I love when friends share pictures of their children.
And the excitement I had about a finished knitting project that I couldn’t tell you about at the time?
Well, the secrecy is no longer necessary because the box containing the gift has safely arrived in Quebec.
I knit this:
(If I were a good photographer or blogger, I’d have moved the vacuum cleaner and the laundry (that’s the orange on the right side of the shot), or, at the very least cropped them out. Since I am neither, you’re getting an unadulterated shot straight out of my life.)
This is the market bag I knit for my Favorite Things swap partner, Annie. One of my favorite, most used knitted objects is the market bag I made for myself a few years back. I have learned a few things since that project, such as that having wool in the yarn, even when mixed with cotton, will allow the bag to stretch to a surprising length. While this is no problem for giants like Rudi and me, I had no idea about Annie’s height and suspected she might be of more average dimensions. As such, I thought she might like a bag that didn’t bang against her knees when she filled it.
So I knit this bag with hemp. The yarn is Hemp for Knitting Allhemp6 DK weight in the lilac colorway. Plant fibers, such as hemp, cotton, and linen, do not have the elasticity of wool, so they are ideal for making things that you’d prefer keep the dimensions they start with. (Liquid, gravity, and regular use will stretch plant fibers out. That’s why the knees of your cotton-only jeans bag out if you don’t wash them frequently enough. But a wash and air-dry will restore them to their initial size and shape, and this is also true, I hope, of mesh shopping bags.)
I did a better job of paying attention to the stitch pattern this time and do not have a wonky hole in the middle of the bag. I’m delighted with this non-development.
I used two patterns to help me with the design. The body of the bag is a fairly straight version of Laura Spradlin‘s Grrlfriend Market Bag. But I thought two handles were better than one if you’re making a shopping tote, so I consulted JoAnne Turcotte’s Fantasy Naturale Market Bag for help dividing for the handles.
The thing about sock knitters is that, while they’re nice and all, when they talk to you, they stare at your feet.
This is, of course, not rude, like when guys talk to your chest. My breasts don’t say a lot about me as a person, but, I suppose, my foot clothing does say something about me as a knitter of socks.
As such, one of my great regrets of Sock Summit is that I did not bring enough socks for the whole time I was there.
In my defense, Portland had just survived a 107-degree heatwave. I felt justified in assuming that half the time I’d want to be wearing my flip flops, which are my summer footwear of choice in D.C. once the weather hits 75. I just hadn’t counted on the fact that Oregon in August would not hit 75…
The Saturday of Sock Summit can be divided into five distinct parts:
The day began with a swim. I’d picked the hotel I stayed at because it had a pool. This was the only day I managed to avail myself of it, which was a real shame.
I spent my lunchtime at Saturday Market, a Portland institution Rebs first told me about back in college. I hadn’t made it to the open-air crafts market in either of my previous visits to the city, so I made sure to allot myself a couple of hours to head across the river to check it out.
Saturday Market is nice, but it’s not especially different from D.C.’s own Eastern Market. It does have more incense and patchouli and palm readers, but less African American art.
Part of the fun of the knitting community is that periodically swaps pop up where people send each other fun packages. The most recent one I joined was the Favorite Things Swap, where people send you things they particularly like. We were instructed to send at least three items — one handmade, one store-bought, and one that could be either.
Lisa in South Carolina sent me this lovely assortment of presents.
There’s new sock yarn that will make fun, self-striping socks in a brand I’d never heard of. Don’t they just demand to be knit up in time for Halloween?
There’s vanilla soap. We all know that’s my favorite scent, right?
These are stitch markers handmade by Lisa. Look how she made one different to mark the start of a round. And they’ve got smaller rings than many stitch markers I own, which make them perfect for knitting socks! Lisa actually sent me nine markers, but one’s already been put to use in a project.
And this is a yarn bowl (made by LASdesigns). See that little curl in the side of the bowl? You thread your yarn through it and it feeds the yarn to you as you knit along. It’s particularly perfect for yarn that is a bit slippery, such as the lilac hemp currently residing in the bowl. The cats find the yarn bowl fascinating, because in addition to giving them a view of my yarn (which is usually tucked away in a project bag), it also gives a fun zippy noise when I pull a strand out. They’ve all taken turns watching it in the last week.
Thank you, Lisa! These were absolutely fantastic gifts and receiving them was such a blast!
It’s Thursday. Really? I mean, I know the calendar says it’s Thursday… But that isn’t right… is it?
Oh, all right, fine.
But if it’s Thursday, that means it’s time for Three Beautiful Things from the past week:
1. Monday evening after work, I’m tired and grumpy and have decided to pass on a planned trip to the pool. But when I call Rudi to tell him so, he raves about how nice it is. I head down for a quick dip. The water is cool and refreshing — and exactly what I needed.
2. I borrow Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood adaptation of Jane Austen’s famed novel, from the library. It’s amazing how well an 18th-century author’s work holds up to the addition of saris and song-and-dance numbers. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to identify each character as they appear on screen.
3. Peaches are at the height of their season right now. I eat them in the mid-afternoon. The juice draws lines around my fingers and drips onto my desk.
Except that they’re not so much creeping along. Or maybe those are my yesterdays, now. I’m not sure anymore.
Anyway, I forgot that I had a deadline for a knitting project, so my hands have been pretty busy the last few days. Actually, I forgot there was a knitting component to that particular project, so I really was scrambling. But I can’t talk about the finished object yet, although I was tickled … lilac … by how it turned out. Until it arrives in Quebec, sometime probably early next week, that’s about all I can say.
And as for saying anything else, that’ll have to wait until the proverbial tomorrow. I was finishing that aforementioned project into the wee hours and found myself nodding at the computer a few minutes ago. I’ll take that as a sign that I should find it a pillow, rather than a keyboard upon which to rest.