sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 30, 2009

sock summit, day four: the end!
posted by soe 1:19 am

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.

Anna ZilboorgThe 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 Toe Decorationadapt 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.

Lucy NeatbyNext up was my final class of the Summit, with the brightly bedecked Lucy Neatby who was teaching her way of closing the toe of a sock.

Lucy’s method involves the sock chimney, which is knit in a different yarn from your working yarn. It gives you, she says, a sock toe without any unseemly and uncomfortable corner stitches.

Sock Toe ChimneySock Grafted

Above, on the left, you can see how it looks on the inside. The purple would be the sock, the green would be the chimney, and the brown would be the grafting of the sock toe. On the right is the finished toe, with the green yarn totally removed from the project.

With classes done, I dove back into the Marketplace. I was hunting down yarn for Sarah and wanted to buy a few mini-skeins from a couple of the Dye for Glory contenders. This is the CraftsMeow booth and the dyer’s daughter. Gwen, the dyer, also had her 12-year-old grandson with her, and he was a riot when I met him the first day.


At 1 p.m., the Marketplace closed, and my time at Sock Summit drew to a close.

But my fun time in Portland was not over yet.

It turned out that my friend Laura was in Portland at the same time I was, visiting her sister and her sister’s boyfriend. They kindly agreed to drive to the hotel so Laura and I could see each other for lunch.

Two Binder Women

BW and Me

The top shot is Laura and her sister Francie. The bottom is Laura and me.

They took me to a great little cafe that served a tasty lunch and had outdoor seating where we could enjoy the blue sky and sun. We talked for hours, and I was really glad to get the chance to spend some time with Laura and her family. It was a very laid back way to spend the afternoon.

Just before 5, they dropped me back at my hotel. How to spend my last night in town? Well, I’d gotten a number of brochures, so I quickly scattered them across the bed to see if any of the local attractions was open late on Sundays. The International Rose Test Garden stays open until 10 each night and a shuttle ran from the MAX station, so I hopped on the train and took it back across town to where I’d been the night before for the Ravelry party. But when I arrived, I discovered I’d misread the brochure and the shuttle bus was pretty much done for the evening.

What’s a girl to do? Well, when you’re a city girl used to walking, you look at the map and figure you’ll just meander your way down. It couldn’t be more than a mile or two.

What I neglected to think of was, however, that this was a mile or two down a mountain road lacking sidewalks and any extensive street lighting. Ten minutes into my dusky journey I decided that the adult, safe thing to do would be to forgo the visit this time and turn back. But I opted to use the remaining daylight to walk back to the MAX station through the Arboretum. It was a good decision because these were some of the sights along the way:

Queen Anne's Lace

A field of Queen Anne’s Lace

Maple Leaves

A type of maple I was unfamiliar with

Buzzing with Bees

A tree buzzing with bees



Clouds at Dusk


Tree Canopy

Tall Trees

And then I came around a bend. Before me, I saw a deep basin and a pathway that spiraled to the bottom of it. Next to me was a granite tablet with the names of Oregon’s MIAs and POWs from the Vietnam War.

I had found the Garden of Solace:

Garden of Solace

The garden is dedicated to the 57,000 Oregon soldiers who served in Vietnam between 1959 and 1976. Its plaque reads, “So long as we are not forgotten we do not die. And thus this is a garden is a place of life.”

Each year of the war has a bench and three walls of granite. The names of the Oregon soldiers who died are engraved there, as are important or memorable events of each year in local and national history.

I started at the wrong end, though, and instead of ending at the conclusion of the war, I walked back through it. All I could think was of all the mothers who probably wished they could do the same thing. Walk back through the years to when their children were alive and playing in the backyard. And the waste seemed beyond belief.

Some of the happenings ... not to [be seen] again

Apparently I was not the only one who thought so.

By the time I reached the entrance to the memorial, the light had faded and twilight was nigh.

Twilight in the Trees

I took the train back to my hotel, packed my bags, and, the next day, headed home.

Good night, Portland! Thank you for all the memories…

Good Night, Portland!

Category: knitting,travel. There is/are 4 Comments.

I enjoyed reading your Sock Summit posts. Very nicely done.

Comment by Karen 08.30.09 @ 9:06 am

Well, you’re wrong. My reaction to seeing a sock summit piece is always ‘oh good’. When you write one, I settle on my stool knowing it will be a nice long read – not a standing one. I’m sure many have enjoyed reading these summaries.

My one sigh is when you refer to yourself as a city girl.

Hope the beach was lovely.

Comment by Mum 08.30.09 @ 2:00 pm

@Karen: Awwww, thank you!

Comment by soe 08.31.09 @ 10:16 am

@Mum: Thanks! Most of them were very wordy, but I tried to balance that out with lots of pictures to look at.

And as for the city thing, let’s face it: I have now lived in downtown D.C. for nearly seven years — nearly a fifth of my life!

Comment by soe 08.31.09 @ 10:29 am