monicapdx (monicapdx) wrote,

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Sock Summit 2009 - Day 1; Day 2

Y'know, back in September of 2008, during the weekend the PDX Knit Bloggers were at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival for our second time, Blue Moon Fiber Arts had these handouts they were spreading around like crazy. Brightly-colored squares about twice the size of a business card, with gorgeous artwork of a ball of yarn surrounded by double-pointed knitting needles, above a pair of socks; and a blurb saying "Sock Summit 2009." (Remarkably like a heraldic device, in fact.) Whatever-it-was would take place in Portland - whee! - and it'd be about socks. But that was all we knew about it. Tina Newton of Blue Moon is actually a PDX Knit Blogger, so she brought over a stack of these for our little booth on Saturday, and we all ooohed. That afternoon, or maybe the next day, Tina came over again and sat down to just relax for a while, without being a celebrity. We talked about all sorts of stuff, and-- Well, I don't really remember for sure if she said much about Sock Summit. Me and my memory. ;) Besides, we were all kind of talking at once, and just having a good time. I do remember we mentioned that the PDXKB would be glad to provide volunteers. And I think most of us at OFFF that day decided then and there we'd be going to it, whether volunteering or not.

Then I was diving into getting ready for the trip to Rhinebeck. (Which I haven't forgotten about, although obviously that post will nearly be a twofer, since I'm recklessly going again this year; and it'd be nice to post about the first one before I take off for the second! Oh well. At least I uploaded the pix to Flickr, or those'd be gone too.) Plus life got even more interesting for me, after that, in the old Chinese curse sense. Anyway, I pretty much forgot about it until the Yarn Harlot and Tina really started spreading the word.

I'm pretty sure we all had faith they'd pull it off. I did, without thinking too much about any problems. Although after the bank thing with the Rockin' Sock Club, I should've. <g> Well, we all started hearing about it soon enough anyway. "How many crazy sock knitters are you talking about? Uh...are you sure about that? You don't really need that much room, do you?" And divers other questions along the same order from various and sundry business sorts you have to deal with when putting on a major convention...when the words "socks" and "knitters" tend to make said people smirk in amusement.


So on registration day, 30,000 avid sock knitters tried to sign up all at once, the server crashed, the IT guy nearly went nutsoid (Stephanie reported the man giggling somewhat crazily himself), and to a goodly majority of the knitting world, the rest is-- Well, history being made, since it's not over yet.

Yep. 3,000-plus sock knitters from all over the world, although primarily North America, have descended upon Portland and the Oregon Convention Center. (The 3,000 just being the ones attending classes. The rest are here to shop. And meet friends, and knit, and talk socks, and run around Portland when sessions are over for the day, and knit and talk and shop some more.) ETA Wups, I wuz rong; 1800 taking classes. Where did I get the 3,000? No clue. Our mayor declared it Sock Knitting Week in Portland, the media have taken notice, and while most of the city may not really realize, some people are getting the idea that there are quite a few people who take knitting socks pretty seriously. While having a heckuva lot of fun.

I'm having a heckuva lot of fun. The excitement had been building for the last couple of months, and finally, Wednesday I could get on down to the Convention Center - henceforth the CC - and register! Bobbie and her husband Toolman were planning to hang around as long as they could, and so were some of the rest of us, and we were going to get in the spirit of things as soon as we could.

So running late as usual...ok, I was handicapped by stopping on the way over to take care of some pre-op stuff for an outpatient procedure I'm having on the 12th...I gathered up papers, and some knitting, and the camera, and finally made it to the CC sometime after 2pm on Wednesday. As usual, I chose the wrong entrance at the CC. (I always do that. It's a talent. I don't get there that often.) After a little hike - not quite as far as from the tarmac to Immigrations & Customs at the Vancouver BC airport - I got in the right section, and started looking for the PDXKB. The registration booths were set up to my left, and down the big hallway - hah! There, at the last table set up, was the gang.

Then there were happy cries of glad reunion, because I hadn't seen most of 'em since last October. Anyway, after saying hi to as many as I knew, and a little catching up, I headed back to the Q-Z booth, and got in line to register.

Biiiiiiig line. One person ahead of me. ;) For once, being an hour or so late gave me an advantage. The earlier crowd had thinned out a lot. Though only thinned out; people kept coming in small but steady streams for as long as registration was open.

I was glad to get registration over, even though it was fast and painless. With the computer crash, and having had problems that prevented backups for about a year, I'd lost my registration email. And the two copies I know I printed out had been put in a safe spot when I cleaned up the computer table and surrounds for my computer guy to unhook it and take it for repair...and could I find those printouts when I confidently went to dig them out a prudent week beforehand?

Oh, please. You know me better than that. Of course not! They were gone with my backups, and no amount of searching in the "boxes of important stuff you'll need soon" turned them up. You'd think by now I'd have learned about putting stuff in a safe place, wouldn't you? Must be the hope that sometime in my life, like when I'm, say, 99...for once, I'll do that and be able to find things again. In a few minutes, instead of several years later.

Fortunately, the Sock Summit Team 2 (the support gang to ST1, the latter consisting of Tina and Stephanie), found me in their records and re-sent me the confirmation email. But there was a lot of tearing of hair and gnashing and wailing in the outer darkness before then, lemme tell ya.

Safely registered, badged, ticketed and official, I went back to our table and sat down to relax a bit before picking up my souvenir schwag. There was a lot of talking and catching up and the showing up of new people.

Mary McConnaughey from Arizona (maryquitecontrary on Ravelry), joined us - and bowled me over completely when, on hearing my name, said, "I read your blog!" (Really, I have no idea how many readers I have. Especially with a major hiatus such as lately. <g> I'm always flabbergasted when someone recognizes me, whether it's from the blog or Ravelry. Although I'm getting more used to being recognized from Rav, now. I babble a lot there, too. ::snicker:: Every time, though, it's quite a kick.)

Mary was working on some gorgeous mitered socks, from an older pattern: Allpinefee from Susanne Fledler. I think I've got that right; I made notes on it. But I couldn't find it on Ravelry, nor by Googling, so I may have something in the name a little off. (Mary, if you're reading after SS is over, please correct me if I'm wrong in any details, will you? I have a feeling people might like to track it down after seeing the pix. If it's possible. I can't remember if you said it was from an out-of-print book, or what. I'm out of practice in taking blog notes, obviously!) She pulled them out, and we all gasped, and she was showing us how the yarn wasn't all that exciting as stripes...but yowsa was it amazing in the mitered squares!

maryquitecontrary and the Alpinefee socks

Another look at the Alpinefee socks, and the yarn.

We really enjoyed having the chance to see these!

Angela (Girly With A Twist) and Karen (Knit Bitten) were both there.

Angela and Karen

Registration continued going on, a few people at a time. This doesn't look like much, but remember it went on all afternoon. And continues every day until the final registration for the classes on Sunday.

And after a while, the Famous Judy Becker - of the Magic Cast-On, of course - showed up! Being a teacher, she didn't get her registration packet until everything officially started on Thursday; but she wanted some time to visit before she got very busy the next day.

Judy in a casual pose

Judy when I gave her a chance to look at the camera. ;)

Rachel (Trtlgrl Crafts) and her new baby were there.

Rachel and project; cute baby hiding in stroller behind her.

So were Bobbie (Tiggywinkleknits) and her husband Toolman

Toolman, Bobbie

Then we got a visit from the Knitmore Girls mother and daughter team (podcast and blog)!

Knitmore Girls

They stayed and talked for a while, and posed for a photo with Judy.

Somewhere in there we all saw a face familiar from a Ravatar at the next table over, but could not for the life of us remember her name. We were all discussing it in low voices, trying to come up with who the heck it was. So finally-- Really, I have to say here, it's the result of me being among friends and in con mode. <g> You guys know I have agoraphobia, and I'm shy anyway. (Geesh, stop laughing already; you guys always do that!) I'm serious. I don't tend to do this sort of thing unless I'm very comfortable among the people I'm with. Well, I was with my friends. And as long as I have a friend close by, I tend to...uh...have a slightly different persona during a con. <g> SS is like a Highlander con, just with knitters instead of fans of a TV show. So after the discussion had gone on a few minutes, and no one seemed willing to speak up and ask the woman, I-- Well, yeah. I waved a hand while loudly saying something like, "Excuse me, you're on Ravelry, aren't you?" ::everyone at my table looks at me in surprise and mortification:: I get a surprised look from the person I've hailed, and a "Yes" back. I continue explaining. Loudly. ::even more surprise around me:: "We know you, but we can't remember your Rav name; who are you?"

It was LittleMousling from Toronto! (If you're on Rav and have the same face-vs-name dilemma we did - or vice versa - go look her up. You'll probably recognize her.)

So we all chorused hello, and good to see you, she said hello back, and curiosity was satisfied.

I'm still not sure the gang wasn't convinced I hadn't suddenly turned into a pod person, however.

Later, when we saw a woman wearing what appeared to be a Utilikilt, and everyone was wondering... Yeah, I did it again. ;) "Excuse me; is that a Utilikilt?" "Yes!" "Woo!" (Uh, yeah, that'd be me too.)

Like I said, I'm a leetle different in a con situation. As long as the crowds aren't too bad, and I'm with friends. And I've been there a while and gotten used to the feel of it again. <g>

A couple of times Stephanie walked by; once she stopped, I think, and exchanged a few words (memory's getting fuzzy on that, the woman keeps popping up everywhere). And definitely once she and RachelHoftheComments were passing, and I shrieked, "RACHEL!" Naturally she stopped and looked around wildly. I was on my feet, waving, and yelled, "MonicaPDX!" So she ran over and we had the greatest hug, while Stephanie pretended to crack the whip and was saying, "No hugging! No time for hugs! Come on!" <g> We still took a few minutes. ;) Rachel gives good hug; get one if you can!

Somewhere in there Bobbie and Toolman, and I think Angela and Karen left, and Cindy (Knit For Joy!/ Maxfun on Rav) showed up. She'd been helping vendors unload on the docks, so was glad to get back into air conditioning. And she had something new to show us. She got a tattoo!

Back of wrist; "Knit" from Cindy's POV, and the head of the sheep art on her blog

Inside wrist, a drawing of her spinning wheel. Very cool!

And after she got off work, Duffy (fiberqat) showed up to register, and of course stayed to talk for a while too. She  had something I covet.

Duffy's pillbox. Want.

Meanwhile, all this time, other Summiteers were occasionally joining us at our table, and the talk was good and the laughing loud, and one of the Center security guards extended one of those velvet ropes across the hall behind our table, and we all had fun speculating if they thought our rowdy group was going to start spreading down the hall or something. ;) This continued until around 8pm, when we finally said our goodbyes and took off. Tomorrow was the big opening day!

So Thursday I was getting text messages from CPaAG folks coming into town, and rushing around like crazy (yes, late), and finally got going. Also as usual, in a cab insted of taking the bus and MAX. My legs still aren't back up to snuff after that fall in Madrona, and despite good intentions again, I ended up with two bags - backpack and knitting tote - loaded down with enough stuff for a weekend trip. Except for the clothes. So I said screw it, took a cab. And in my normal babbly fashion, told the cabby all about what was going on. This ended up with him offering me his card, so I could call him every morning. (Which I'm doing. <g>) I stopped off on the way for a cheapie haircut, as I haven't had one since Rhinebeck (yes, really), and the bangs were driving me nuts. I had to send a couple of reassuring messages that yes, indeed, I really was on my way, and I'd be there, honest!

By the time I was, naturally people were in classes. So I found a table in the registration lobby again (out of only two or so this time; they'd taken out the round tables, and put in just a couple rectangular ones, and fixed seats. Although I was told later the trick to the chairs was to lift them, and then they'd separate.)

So I talked to some nice ladies and actually managed to get the beginnings of a sock cast on - and around noon or so, someone said my name or something behind me, and it was the first of my CPaAG buddies to show up: Aeranthes, down from Seattle!

Aeranthes, being - well, pointless and random ;)

After hugs and greetings - this is the first time I've met these CPaAGgers in person - she joined the table. And in short order was talking about the Darn It! class she'd just come out of. One of the first things she said was, "She made me cut my swatch!" <g> See?

Aeranthes' classwork, cut and repairs in progress; back side.

Front view.

We had a lot of fun with our first chance to talk live with each other; I love meeting online friends in real life! She'd come down on the train, and had a great trip. Then another Raveler showed up, a lovely lady, whose name I completely flaked on in my notes. Lila? Fitz-something? If you're reading, please comment, so I can get it right! Ahah! I found her card! It's lynnefitz on Ravelry!

? I get the bad blogger award of the day. Lynnefitz, correctly identified at last

Whatever the name,  She's a lovely woman and we all had a great conversation together.

Then later on Solveig (tundramor) from Tacoma showed up, to be greeted with glad cries and more hugs. No photo of her from Thursday, but I did get some today. Er, yesterday, as it's - holy cow, 3:19am? Boy, I'd better type faster if I want more than 5 hours tonight. ;)

We spent most of the afternoon talking, and knitting of course. Then at 4pm the marketplace opened for students. The line got pretty long, and there were some interesting goings-on we didn't see. But after awhile we sure heard. (Tina and one of the ST2's started them singing "99 Bottles of Beer", then Stephanie changed beer to skeins, and from the sounds of it, everyone was doing the hysterically laughing bit. (Since by this time Stephanie, Tina, and ST2 were riding the thin edge of sleep deprivation, I'm sure things were a wee bit giddier than even several hundred happy knitters could account for. But they had fun waiting, that was the important thing.) You can see a video of the action by the doors-- Uh, well, I need to get the link from Ravelry, it's slow for me right now, and I'm starting to feel like my brains are quicksand. Later for that. And then there was a mighty chorus of a countdown, the doors opened, and man did that line move fast! By this point, I can't remember if Solveig and Aeranthes went to the market or not, LOL. Both being students, probably. But right now, I'm pretty fried myself!

At any rate, the market closed, we all met up again, and when time came, headed upstairs to the room for the opening reception. We managed to get separated from Solveig and her friend, but to my glee we bumped into Lisa, the Tsock Tsarina. (And then someone else recognized me from my blog!) We all looked through the items for the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières silent auction. It raised a good amount; I think around $15K? Not positive, but I'm falling asleep here. ;)

The auction was closing while we were ogling items, so Aeranthes and I went on in the reception room, and found where Tsocky and her partner Jennifer of Holiday Yarns were sitting, and joined them. We all loaded up on munchies, and some fun was had. The room was not, despite those businesspeoples' fears, a nearly empty, echoing space. Not at all.

A few of those crazy sock people

About the only thing echoing, in fact, were the numerous voices of sock knitters in full cry.

Just a few.

Everyone grabbed a bunch of munchies and drinks and relaxed for a bit at our tables...

Lisa and Jennifer in a silly moment

We all looked at the cameraman set up at the back of the room, and wondered about the possibility of a video.

Then Tina and Stephanie came out on the stage, welcomed us all, and launched into the story of How They Got To Sock Summit. It was a great presentation! From the first discussions, to Tina's momentous phone call to Stephanie... (Deep inhalations from Tina. Stephanie asking "What?", and making frantic plans to fly from Toronto to Portland, because obviously something awful has happened. Tina finally coming out with, "I rented the Oregon Convention Center." Stephanie freely using language she refused to use in mixed company at the reception. <g>) discussions with the CC..."Yes, we know it's big. Yes, we know you have car shows. Yes, knitters. Sock knitters. We'll need the loading docks for trucks. Yes, a ball of yarn is really light, ha ha. We'll have trucks full. No, really."...notes about it being reeeely difficult to get people to take a loan for a sock yarn conference seriously...the CC again, telling them "We'll need more space."...hyperventilating about calling all the knitterati they wanted to have come and teach or speak, and needing a little lie-down when making certain calls...wondering if they could get any of them to come...and being stunned that everyone said yes...long hours and travel and roping in their friends on ST2, and all the time no one believing how many people would want to come, and the server crash, and the whole huge undertaking. It was quite a speech. They were both so tired they were in helpless giggles at times, and at least once started crying.

And they introduced all the teachers (we gave Barbara Walker a standing ovation, and for everyone, applauded so hard and so long our hands went numb), and thanked everyone who'd helped so much to make it a reality, these "few crazy sock knitters" gathered that night...and somewhere in there, when they had the ST2 team up on stage for introductions and thank-yous for their incredibly hard work, they turned around and had a team member read what they'd had printed on the backs of their official staff T-shirts...because they'd been hiding it all this time, and ST2 had no clue about any of it.

Their T-shirts said: "Knot Hysteria Productions."

We don't know what; but they're going to do something.

After that pitch of excitement, they thanked us all, and things started winding down. Well, almost. A lot of us hung around for a while. ;)

I got a shot of the Ravelry team posing for a photo.

Ravelry team

We found Rachel again

Rachel and Lisa in a candid shot

And Rachel, despite being exhausted, kindly posed.

I saw an opportunity for a photo of Lucy Neatby talking to someone - I have no idea who, but I think another one of the teachers. (I don't recognize all the knitterati. I haven't seen enough photos!) Thanks to Joe (knitguyla on Ravelry), now I can confidently say it's Michael Wade (WonderMike on Ravelry, of the Yknit podcast). Thanks for the help, Joe! ::hugs::

Lucy and Michael Wade

And there was this most amazing, intricate glittery sweater, which at first I thought was knit with thousands of beads


As I found out later, no, it was glittery yarn

Sweater again.

Sheer magnificence!

And while I was trying to keep up as she started heading towards the door, the wearer moved away, then must have caught sight of someone acting vaguely like a papparazzi, because she looked over at me and I caught her by surprise...(Not the best pic; my apologies. I don't think she was expecting a camera to pop out from the background, pointing at her! So I didn't get her best look. Bad photographer; no biscuit!)

But I got the pic. What I didn't know until today, though, was that...

It was Barbara Walker!

And I was stunned enough by the sweater...

So Aeranthes and I finally said our goodbyes, and bumped into Solveig and her friend again, I think, and made plans to meet Friday, and we both waited outside for a cab, because she needed to get some stuff at Whole Foods and a cab would get her there just before they closed, and I called for two of them, and we hugged goodnight, and headed our separate ways. And I climbed slowly upstairs, ate something, edited and uploaded the pix, then collapsed.

Which, frankly? Is what I plan to do as soon as I finish this!! Because it's 4:32am now, and I still have to post and double-check this. If there are any minor goofs, I'll fix them when I've had some more sleep!

Oh yeah, and upload the Day 3 pix. But those will wait until I can make another post. <g>

Two more days to go! (I wonder if they'd mind if we took naps on the tables???)
Tags: sock summit 2009, ss09
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