sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 23, 2009

sock summit, day 3: the thing about sock knitters
posted by soe 11:48 pm

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.

Portland Saturday MarketI 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.

Kitchen BugsAbolian Harp

They do sell lots of fun things, ranging from art to food to musical instruments, so I recommend a stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. I came away with a couple of things, including a jar of marionberry jam, which had been on my list of things I wanted to buy while in Oregon. I would have bought huckleberry, too, if they’d had it, but no such luck.

Coconut DoctoringAfrican Lunch

The visit to Saturday Market also presented me with the best eating of the trip — a coconut to drink from and East African food to eat. These are green lentil sambusas and a bajiya, which is chickpeas and split peas smooshed together and fried. Delicious!

Beer at the MarketI did think that Eastern Market could learn one thing in particular from Saturday Market: we need our own beer garden. It really did seem to add something to the bonhomie of the marketplace. And, honestly, don’t local readers think there’s a place for Dominion or Shenandoah to pitch a tent on 7th Street or in the parking lot just off it?

(If someone runs with that idea, I’ll take my suggester’s fee in microbrewed root beer, please.)

IMG_4239There was also, of course, knitting. During the final 48 hours of Sock Summit I had two hour-long classes scheduled each day. My morning class was KnitteRx with physical therapist Carson Demers. He gave an informative talk about wear and tear on the body through repetitive movement, as well as a fascinating section on how energy transfer dictates the best posture for knitting has both feet planted on the floor. He also shared that the absolute worst thing you can do when knitting is to rest your elbows on your armrest. Who knew ergonomics could be so riveting?!? (That was one of the things I loved about the snafus that Sock Summit registration presented: I never would have signed up for this seminar if I’d had other options, but I learned so much from it!)

RingMy second class was the Grafted Bind-Off for 1×1 Rib with Deb Barnhill. One of the things I struggle with is keeping the top edge of my sock cuffs stretchy — not so tight that you can’t get them on or that they cut off your circulation, but equally not so loose that they sag around your ankles. Knitting top-down, I’ve solved the problem with the cast-on technique I use. But going toe-up (a newer method for me), I found I was having a tougher time. Deb’s class gave a good overview of her style of binding off (as well as a cheat sheet for home use) and is one I can see using on a variety of garments, not just socks. Plus it gave me my first piece of wearable Sock Summit classwork!

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the Sock Summit Marketplace. I mentioned in my reporting of Day Two that I’d gone into the commercial end of the summit with good intentions and a plan of attack. I just totally failed to take into consideration how wearing such a large, yarn-filled venue would be on my own apparently weak will. I bought yarn. I bought a lot of yarn (although it has since come to my attention that I did not buy as much as some other knitters). But I may have bought as if I were under the impression that sheep had suddenly become an endangered species. I certainly bought as if I’d forgotten I worked for a non-profit.

By the end of the afternoon, I was horrified by how much I’d bought and slightly ashamed. But I do love the yarn I bought. I love the colors. I love how soft the yarn is. I love the idea of all the socks I can make. It’s all good.

I do not have photographic evidence of the yarn binge. Instead, I will attempt to distract you with a pretty picture of the skeins of yarn that won the Dye for Glory competition:


RavelrersOn Saturday night, Ravelry hosted a party out at the Forestry Center. Hundreds of knitters convened on the spot and spent the evening chatting, drinking wine, and, of course, knitting.

This kind of event is not my forte. I’m not good at making quick friendships or at inserting myself into groups. I suck at small talk and am self-conscious about overstaying my welcome. But I don’t want to miss the fun I imagine everyone else to be having, so I go despite my tendencies. So, instead, I haunt the outskirts of large parties when I attend them by myself. Having a camera with you seems to help a bit, because then it seems (at least to me) that it’s less obvious that I’m uncomfortable and lonely.

I am especially grateful to Vickie Howell, who came scooting up to me at one point to hand me a button. I’m not sure if she saw the collection growing on my knitting bag or if she was just being kind to someone who looked a bit wistful, but it was the highlight of my night.

The knitting highlight of my night was getting to see this dress:

Hand-Knit Dress

It’s entirely handknit. The girl wearing it said that she worked the top of it in one spring and the bottom in the next. It was absolutely gorgeous, and my picture just does not do it justice.

The party started breaking up after the door prizes were handed out and the alcohol sales ended. I followed the throngs back to the MAX station. This station also is home to the OMNI Science Center, the Portland Zoo, and a variety of gardens, and it clearly takes its educational mission seriously. Its walls are covered in interesting designs and facts and artwork. I leave you with a photo of the part of the timeline that I found most fascinating. Who knew that catsup was nearly as old as soap? (And aren’t we messy eaters glad they were invented in that order?)


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