Leslie H Reports from Sock Summit 09

I'm sure you've all heard by now (you who are knitters, crocheters, sock fetishists, or merely curious Portlanders wondering who the heck was cramming up the Voodoo Donuts line) the sighs and fond reminiscing about the first-ever Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, the weekend before last. Even while vacationing, way up in the mountains on Peak #7, the following week, I heard the reverberations of that once-fabled Sock Summt, where socks from far and wide came to mix and mingle, share deep thoughts, and seek beautiful new patterns.

And, of course, to boldly go where no socks have gone...

Oh, who am I kidding? It was all about the donuts for some knitters. Here is Amanda from Lorna's Laces, with Natalia Apple of the  Purls Beyond Price blog, noshing on what looks like a Fruit Loop donut and maybe just a chocolate-glazed.

Let's contemplate the maple bacon donut...which I, fair-weather vegetarian, bit into, only to feel both joy and pain in a single delicious moment.

But nevermind the donuts, no full Sock Summit day could've been started without a deliciously smooth cup of Portland's finest brew, and so I started out my mornings religiously at the counter of Red Square Cafe. Thanks to our amply stocked supply closet back at the office, I also left them with a few packages of our Greetings from Knit Cafe coffee sleeves. I got around to a few other hip spots as well...

...including Powell's Bookstore cafe, and even the Convention Center's Starbucks. Cha-ching!

Mmm, now that we're fueled to the max on virtual sugar and coffee, let's have a look at some of the beautiful booths (and booth people) who helped us sell our STC Craft creations: the brand-new Knitted Socks East and West by Judy Sumner (displayed with samples of the socks , which folks just loved!), and the STC Craft classic-to-be, Knitalong, by Portland gal Larissa Brown.

Thanks to the wonderful Sandy Kay of Knit Purl...

...the lovely (and lucky) Shannon of Twisted...

...John (way back there selling!) of Village Spinning and Weaving...

...Dawn and pal of Fiber Rhythm Craft and Design...

...the folks at the Cherry Tree Hill Yarn booth,and Lisa of the popular Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks booth, where Judy Sumner spent most of her Marketplace hours.

Our books and authors got out to the knitting shops around town as well. Here's Judy Sumner signing stock at the lovely Close Knit (while the talented Nancy of the blog Getting Purly With It winds yarn and shows off her handknitted flowers)...

...and here's Judy enjoying conversation at the local designers party at Knit Purl.

Local STC Crafters Leigh Radford (One More Skein, AlterKnits, and AlterKnits Felt) and Larissa Brown (Knitalong) enjoy the party with friends...

...and (yay!) even a random cute boy gets lured into the mix!

Next highlight of the night...this crowd at Powell's Books' "A Night For Knitters"! Around 80 people!

Judy was a natural on the stage! Inciting laughter, curiosity, and even sympathetic awww's when she talked about having to reknit some socks because of color issues. Of course, the crowd also loved looking at the socks from the book closeup.

Larissa Brown got a chance to talk about her book, and her fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, the Knitalong Barn Raising Quilt Raffle, which ended up raising $600 (here are a couple of the gorgeous quilts, hanging out with Larissa at the Sock Summit author signing earlier that day).

By the time the authors finally finished with the line (and signing the massive amount of stock piled up for them), it was nearly time for bed...and for dreams of the next morning's Barbara Walker lecture. Now, I really didn't know much about Barbara Walker before this trip (I'm pretty new to knitting), so I just sort of expected to be sitting there politely, trying to stay awake while knitting my first sock ever. But seriously! This woman is hilarious and super-engaging, and she's done everything! Modern dance! Square dance! Feminist writings! Tarot card designs! And I so want to read her book The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets.

Well inspired, Judy and I headed off to Knit Purl once again, for Judy's Japanese sock technique classes, where everyone had a blast!

After such a busy two days, it was back to the hotel for Judy, who was finally feeling the effects of nonstop hobnobbing! I headed back to the convention to take random pics of this curious yarn culture!

Oh, and here are some crazy people posing with me. They claim to be my parents.

No, really, my folks surprised me and hopped a plane from Sacramento to Portland! Somehow they wrangled their way into the Marketplace, which they quite enjoyed! My mom bought giant glitter needles even though she doesn't knit, and my dad stood around commenting on the funny knitted hat/wigs he saw.

Eventually the parental units left to go dine at some place called Burgerville, and I moved on to the Ravelry party! I was pretty beat by this point, but I spread some STC Craft love about, and took in the awesome site of hundreds and hundreds of Ravelrers moving and shaking (and of course, knitting and crocheting) and winning raffle prizes from the fun-loving Ravelry mavens.

Sunday! Last day of the Sock Summit, and I got to experience the Luminary Panel. Did you know that Barbara Walker invented SSK? Did I know what SSK was? No. I've since learned that it stands for slip slip knit, and it's a way of decreasing and making your sock or whatever get narrower. One day I'll SSK like the best of them here: Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, Lucy Neatby, Deborah Robson, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Anna Zilboorg.

Look! A Luminary attendee is covering up with the Knitalong quilt they won. Nice! (Thanks to Mary-Heather of Rainy Day Goods for this great pic!)

And the closing ceremony cake? Well, I ran away before I could get near it. Toooo many dooonuuuts!!!!

Aside from all the extra calories and caffeine, this Sock Summit was an amazing endeavor and a fantastic success. I, for one, am really looking forward to next year's summit, where we will "sock it to 'em!" yet again. Thanks for reading!