Okay, this is the post where you see exactly how big of a knitting geek I am! This past Thursday was the official kickoff to Sock Summit. Sock Summit is basically what it sounds like, a yarn conference of sorts focusing on sock knitting. It has taken place one other time, 2 years ago, in 2009. As crazy as it sounds, people from all over the world (mostly North America…but from as far away as Australia!) flew into Portland, Oregon to take classes, shop at the wonderful marketplace, and participate in a flash mob (I didn’t, but I’ll post one of the videos so you can see!). There were approximately 1,800 knitters taking classes and hundreds more who just showed up to hang out and shop.
Initially I had planned to get a hotel room and stay up in Portland from Thursday through Sunday, but due to a variety of factors I decided to sleep at home and drive up to Portland on both Thursday and Friday. I was a little sad to miss the weekend events, but seeing how tired I was after 2 days I’m not sure I would have survived!
Bright and early Thursday morning, I loaded my spinning wheel into the car and headed up to Portland. I left extra early because I wasn’t sure how bad Portland traffic would be close to rush hour. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with much traffic and parking at the Convention Center was really easy (they have an underground garage that most people weren’t using because they could walk from their hotels). After registering and picking up my Sock Summit badge, I found my classroom and set up my spinning wheel so that I could take The Gentle Art of Spinning Socks with Judith MacKenzie. The class. Was. Awesome. She is soooo knowledgeable. And not just about spinning. She is a wealth of knowledge about the textile industry and it’s history as well as weaving, knitting, and other random unrelated tidbits! The class format was fairly laid back….she would show us things and then we’d all sit and practice on our spinning wheels. Then she would walk around checking in with everyone and answer questions and demo as things came up. We were able to spin with a variety of fibers that are good for spinning a strong sock yarn and even learn some raw fiber prep techniques. The full day classes have an hour and a half for lunch, so I was lucky enough to meet up with Anne (I still can’t believe I’m related to knitting royalty!) for lunch! We had lunch at a nearby cafe that was far enough from the convention center to not be completely mobbed with crazy, hungry knitters! The afternoon had more spinning and learning and then it was time for the marketplace to open!!
There was NO way I was going to lug my spinning wheel around the marketplace (it’s just too heavy and bulky), so I walked back to the car to drop the wheel off. Then it was off to the marketplace. Almost immediately, I ran into Alysha, a friend from Ravelry who I’d never met in real life. We recognized each other right away despite having never met! Alysha and I wandered the marketplace for a few hours, first to check it all out and then to go back to certain places and make some purchases. One of the places I knew I wanted to hit up on Thursday was the Three Irish Girls booth so that I could check out their new non-wool bases for some summer knits. I ended up picking up a sweater quantity for a short-sleeved cardigan of some sort in the Cotton/Bamboo Worsted base:
The Three Irish Girls booth was gorgeous and Sharon was just as lovely, funny, and tall in person as she is online! There was a wonderful selection of new bases, one-of-a-kind colors, mini-skein sets, and just plain gorgeous yarn!
I also picked up some luxurious yarn from Little Red Bicycle on Thursday, a merino/cashmere/silk blend and a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, as well as a skein of merino/nylon sock yarn from Hazel Knits.
On Friday, I didn’t have any classes lined up so I took my time heading up to Portland and arrived around 2pm. My first goal was to hit up the Plucky Knitter booth because I knew I wanted a sweater’s worth of yarn from there. As soon as I wandered into the booth I ran into some more lovely Raveler’s that I had planned on meeting up with for dinner, Jeannine and Erin. I think it would be a gross understatement to say that we went a little crazy at the Plucky booth! I could have spent a FORTUNE on Plucky. The Plucky Knitter booth was probably the most well stocked booth at Sock Summit. Sarah (of Plucky) had a second booth across the aisle that was filled with boxes of yarn that she used to restock as things got low. She had several “Sock Summit Specialties” that were released on Saturday and Sunday, as well. Honestly, my bank account is thanking me for not going back up this weekend!
Another booth that had a fabulous selection was Hazel Knits. I went back there on Friday so that I could pick up two skeins to use in a shawl together, and ended up with these two beauties:
After purchasing quite a bit of yarn (and a couple of other things!), I met up with some folks from Ravelry and we went to Mother’s Bistro for dinner. Out of the 7 of us that went, 6 of us ordered the Macaroni and Cheese! Delicious, I tell you. Two of the people at dinner work at Happy Knits (one of them was the owner, Sarah), a Local Yarn Shop in Portland, and they were kind enough to let us do a little after hours shopping! It’s such a lovely store, and I really need a make a point to get over to that side of town more often when we go to Portland.
So….how ’bout a photo of the whole haul?
SO….from Left to Right:
Bottom Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Blacklight, sweater qty of Plucky Primo in Bohemian Blue, 4 skeins (short-sleeved sweater qty) of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Worsted in Bramble, and Hazel Knits Piquant Lite in Violeta
Middle Row: Hazel Knits Entice in Spanish Wine, more of the Primo Bohemian Blue, 3 skeins of Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering in Shale Be Coming Around the Mountain, 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Garnet martini
Top Row: Little Red Bicycle Penny Farthing (jumbo skein) in Fathom, LRB Dapper (new base) in Lullaby, Sanguine Gryphon Mithril in Blue Green Music, more of TIG, and 2 skeins Plucky Primo in Can Can
The yarn bowl is from Hazel Knits (but made by someone else…there was a sign saying who made them, but I can’t remember)…fiber is TIG SW Merino in Sunday Berry Pie, notions pouches from Splityarn, stitch markers from Beads ‘N Poodles, Pint Glass swag, and some Soak because I’m almost out.
I’m a little bummed I didn’t take pictures at sock summit and during dinner. Many of the booths were really impressive, and the Beads ‘N Poodles booth had a couple of standard poodles and a black lab hanging out with them! Ah well, I’ll try and remember to be better about taking pictures at Sock Summit 2013!
On Saturday there was a planned flash mob in front of the Convention Center…I’m sure the folks driving down MLK Blvd. were a little surprised to see people dancing with yarn! Here’s a video that another Raveler took:
I’ve spent most of the weekend recovering from all the festivities, but I did break into the Three Irish Girls Cotton/Bamboo Fingering weight yarn to knit a swatch! Knitting and other craftiness to come later in the week!