Sock Summit Part VI, In Which We are Refreshed

I realized the other day that I never quite finished writing about the second half of our trip to Sock Summit.  Since this is my blog, and since I totally use it as a substitute for the whole scrapbook/travel journal/calendar thing organized folks did in the pre-internet days, I’m going to swoop in and do it now before I forget.  Though I warn you, this half of our trip was a bit less yarn-drenched than the first.  Feel free to wander away if you’re not interested.

On Sunday morning we got up and set out.  We stopped by the Sock Summit market for just a moment so I could pick up the things I knew I’d miss if I forgot them.  We headed out to Cannon Beach for lunch (and crepes), and then ventured north.  We stayed in a spot called Seabrook, which is an odd but charming place.  It’s a planned community right on the coast.  It’s being built in stages, and isn’t finished yet.  Most of the houses are available to rent for vacations.  It’s nice to have a whole house to spread out in rather than a single hotel room, and it’s great to have a kitchen and a washing machine.  All the houses are new and attractive.  But the whole thing has just the tiniest hint of a Stepford Wives vibe.  It’s fine to stay in for a week or two.  I’m not quite sure I’d want to live there as it stands now.

Monday morning we stopped by Pacific Beach to splash in the water.  The first surprise was that you could drive right on the beach.  And not in a ‘this is likely crime but there is no barrier to prevent it’ sort of way but rather in a ‘there are posted speed limit signs and this is totally legal’ sort of way.  It was odd, yet somehow entertaining.  The next surprise was the fog.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  I’ve read accounts where people talk about getting lost in the fog and always thought them rather over exaggerated.  But this…this I could see getting lost in.  The final surprise, and by far the best one, was the sand dollars.  They were everywhere.

I’d seen quite a few almost-whole sand dollars on our trek around Hug Point.  I’d picked up one or two, but they got smashed during our ill-advised venture.  I’d never seen whole ones on a beach.  Here there were dozens and dozens of whole ones and hundreds of smashed ones.  There were even a few live ones.  The live ones had a coating of wiggly purple spines (soft, not prickly), and they tickled if they touched you.  I made the executive decision that the live ones probably didn’t like being out on the dry sand and spent the walk chucking them back into the water–but not until taking a picture of one or two of course (click to see the bigger version and check out the wee spines).  They have that cool-yet-creepy vibe that only sea life and bugs can pull off.

Later that day we went into Olympia.  We had lunch at Fish Tale Brew Pub, popped into Canvas Works yarn and fabric store, and finished up the afternoon at Browsers’ Book Shop.  All three were excellent establishments.  Lunch was delicious and the beer and cider were very good.  The yarn store was beautiful, spacious, well stocked.  Even more impressive, they talked to both me and The Boy and didn’t assume he was just there to hold my shopping bags or fund my purchases.  They worked on the theory that either or both of us could be knitters which was very refreshing.  The bookstore was full of tempting goodies (even after having been to Powells a few days before), and both The Boy and I found some things to bring home.

Once again, this has gotten overly long and wordy, so I’ll have to come back later to talk about the last few days of our trip.  Apparently I run towards the chatty side.  Who would have guessed?

Lest You Fear I’d Forgotten

I did actually do some knitting on the trip.  Not much mind you.  Between the classes, the beach stomping, the rampaging up and down the coast I didn’t have much time for knitting.  But I did finish up the first sock and start on the second.  And even more important, I totally took advantage of the biggest tree stump I’ve ever seen (easily twice as tall as I am and plenty big enough for you and three of your closest friends to climb inside) to snap a quick picture.  See?  All swoopy and soothing and sanity-protecting. They are likely to be called Rampant.  If you want to test them, you can volunteer here.

Sock Summit Part V, In Which Yarn is Obtained

I always feel a bit of a need to apologize for the yarn that I buy.  I feel like I should justify it or explain it or excuse it.  But really, that’s silly.  This is my business, and it requires yarn.  So I bought some.  I have a suspicion you might like yarn too, so I thought I’d share it with you.  And just so you know, Barry is not generally allowed on the table, but I was feeling guilty about having been gone, so I couldn’t bear to shoo him down.

The picture gets alarmingly big if you click on it, so if you’re trying to squint and see which yarn is which, you could just click instead.  Unless noted, all of this came from the market at Sock Summit.

First up, four skeins from Plucky Knitter in her MCN Primo base (two orange ones in Sticky Toffee on the top left and two gray ones in Barely Birch on the top right).  Plucky Knitter was a new-to-me dyer and she had fabulous semi solids.  This is a nice heavy sock weight yarn, just the sort of thing I love.  The gray ones are destined to be guy socks, and the orange going to be all mine.  I might just do some little bit of colorwork with the two together if I have enough leftovers.

Next up, two skeins from Solstice in their Midsommar Sock base (one sage green in Sea Mist on the bottom right and one sandy beige in Hay on the bottom middle).  I think Solstice is the yarn line done by the Portland yarn store, Dublin Bay.  The Midsommar sock is a merino, cashmere, silk blend that I’ve not seen before and am looking forward to trying.  I also picked up a skein of my old favorite, Casbah (in the color Peridot between the Solstice skeins), by Handmaiden in their booth.

I also snagged two skeins of Grinning Gargoyle’s Seda DK (both dark gray in Storm on the bottom left).  This is a 50/50 merino silk blend in a nice fat base.  The Boy picked out the color, and these will be socks for him.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lynae at Silk Retreat last year and am just delighted she and her yarn were at the Summit.

A skein of Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Smooth Merino Fine (the gray one peeking up the middle there in the color Dexter) also followed me home.  This is another of those bases with lots of tiny plies (like Wollmeise or Dream in Color Everlasting) and I tend to love those beyond all reason.  I have a suspicion this one will be no different.

Also new-to-me was Ancient Arts Fiber Crafts and her 4 Ply Sock Weight (the green one on the far right in the color Enchanted Forest).  Caroline is an amazing spinner and spinning instructor (the lovely spinning goodies first lured me into the booth).  But she’s also got a tremendous eye for color.  I’m not sure if this will turn into socks (the yarn is a bit thinner that what I like for socks) or something else, but I’m pretty sure it will be lovely.

And, in a break from the rather subdued color palette of the other yarns, I picked up a skein of Anzula’s Squishy (the purple — yes purple — one at the top in the color Boysenberry).  This is another merino, cashmere, nylon mix (it seemed everyone had at least one) and the color is just lovely.

The final marketplace yarn is Hazel Knit’s Entice (the slightly more subdued orange one at the top middle in the color Hazel Knuts).  I knew I loved her yarn going in (it’s going in Book the Second after all) but seeing it all in one place made me a bit weak in the knees.  It’s seriously nifty stuff.

I also swung by one or two yarn stores as we wandered around Washington and Oregon after the Summit.  I usually managed to resist (I’d just done the Sock Summit market after all, any yarn store would be hard pressed to compete with that), but I found one little treat that needed to come home with me.  We stopped into Canvas Works in Olympia Washington.  It was an absolutely delightful store.  They had great yarn, fabulous fabric, plenty of space and light, and a very welcoming staff.  They even assumed The Boy knit too rather than assuming he was there to either fund or carry my shopping.  While I was there, I found Manos del Uruguay’s Serena.  I got three skeins (two gray ones in the color 7311 and one multi-colored one in the color 6976R, all in the top right corner).  This is a 60/40 alpaca cotton mix, a blend I’ve never seen before.  The gray ones will become a hat for The Boy, and the multi-colored one will likely be a pair of outrageously cheerful mitts for me.

The final set of goodies didn’t come from a yarn store at all.  In Port Townsend, there is a building called Victorian Square.  It’s home to a variety of lovely little stores including Diva Yarn & Trim.  Last time I was there I picked up a bit of yarn.  This time, it was the bead store, Wynwoods Bead Studio, that I couldn’t resist.  I grabbed a few strands of beads (I blame Laura…she’s totally a bad influence) and some interesting cord-y…stuff that I plan to play with.  I’m not quite sure what it will all turn into, but I have an idea or two I want to experiment with.\

So, what should I cast on first?

Sock Summit Part IV, In Which We are Menaced by the Deep

The last time I came to Sock Summit, I rather over scheduled myself.  I booked a class for each class period, I planned to attend some of the after class activities, and I intended to explore the area a bit.  I should have known better.  I am only social in small doses, and I must retreat to a hotel room/car/cave to recover in between.  I’m sure this isn’t the most flattering aspect of my character, but I don’t seem to be able to do much about it, so I work around it.  Last time I ended up finding another student to buy one of my classes and heading out to the coast for the day.

This time I knew better.  I only booked three classes, and I planned to leave whole days for just exploring and relaxing.  One thing I was set on doing was going back out to the area of the coast I explored last time.  With that in mind, we woke up bright and early Saturday morning and drove out to Hug Point State Park.  It was lovely and foggy and gray and cold.

We wandered from Hug Point all the way up to Arcadia State Park, a distance of about 1.5 miles.  Now this wasn’t any sort of vigorous purposeful striding.  It was more of a meandering jaunt with lots of side ventures to look at rocks and shells and caves and creepy sea critters.  As such, it took rather a while.  At several points along the journey I made trenchant remarks about the tides and the direction they were going and the level to which they might climb and the likelihood that we would be able to get back out the way we came in.

For you see, part of our path had involved slipping out around a bit of a protuberance in the cliff that marked one side of the beach.  This was totally easy and safe when we scrambled over it, but the puddles and the various sea critters clinging to the ground and, um, wall suggested that the area might get a bit damp from time to time.  If you look at this handy overhead picture you can perhaps see what I mean.  We had not looked at that picture before we went.  If we had, perhaps my mentions of ‘tide’ and ‘stuck’ and ‘peril’ and ‘lost at sea’ and ‘total and complete waste of really good yarn’ would have been heeded.  Alas, they were not.

As something of a concession to my concerns, we did make the trek back down the beach at a much greater rate of speed than the trek up the beach.  This is where I got to discover that walking on sand uses rather different muscles than regular walking and that sand is a bit of an irritant when wedged into sandals.  We arrived just in time to see the path disappearing under the water.  It had looked like this an hour or two before.  Note the handy dry path and the complete lack of crashing waves of death.  For scale, please realize that the top of that light green band is just above my head.  (Mom, stop reading now, it’s better that way.)  By the time we got there, the water was up a bit past our knees.  It seemed like it might just be possible to scamper around in that without actually dying, so we splashed in.  A few steps farther along and the water was up to my hips, the waves were frolicking up around my ribs, and we were only a third of the way through.  This is when good common sense kicked in and I sounded the retreat.  I now rather regret that I did not take the equivalent picture of the area when it was under water, but I was too busy having hysterics and muttering about death and dismemberment and sea-ravaged corpses.

Of course we then began our walk back down the beach (third trip for those keeping score), except now we were soaking wet.  The weather that seemed charmingly cool when we arrived (58 F) was a tiny bit chilly when soaking wet to the elbows.  This was also the point where I made several realizations.  Namely, I was hungry, I had to pee, wet jeans chafe in all sorts of unmentionable places, and my feet really really hurt.  The less said about the next half hour the better.  I will simply record that I did not spend the whole trip whining, I did not pass out, I did not wander out into the sea in an attempt to end my misery, and I did not kill anyone and feast on their corpse.  We made it back to Arcadia, found a loo, and washed some of the sand out of our shoes.  We then made the executive decision that The Boy would hike back to the car by himself and come fetch me while I gnawed on a fruit strip and composed myself.

We drove into Manzanita and found a spot for lunch.  Then we went back to Portland, bathed (I deposited enough sand in the bathtub to make sand dunes), and fell into a stupor for an hour or so.  Later, and rather to my surprise, we roused ourselves and headed out to Stephanie’s lecture.  We finished the evening at Toro Bravo before hobbling off to bed.

Sock Summit Part III, In Which More Knitters and a Bit of Yarn are Located

The second day of Sock Summit was marked by less flailing and more shopping. I started the morning with the always-charming Mr. Habit’s class on tessellations. Then I hit the market to pick up one or two things I hadn’t grabbed the day before. Then maybe one or two more.  Along the way I ran into lots of lovely friends I don’t get to see often enough and made a few new ones too.  The afternoon was spent with the talented Ann Budd in her marvelously informative class on cast-ons and bind-offs.  Then I may just possibly have swung back by the marketplace once more.  Just to be safe you understand.

Oh, and as requested, one (very bad…the lighting in the market is just dreadful) picture of that little project I mentioned once or twice earlier in the year.  There it is, right out in the open at the Cooperative Press booth like a real book.  And I’m pretty sure a few folks even bought them, as Shannon kept handing me copies to sign.  Deeply surreal I assure you.  If you’re there you can swing by and see the socks in person, as well as a bunch of socks from some of the other upcoming books.

The Boy spent the day happily engaged at the Oregon Brewers Festival.  He also happened to spend the previous day there.  He assures me he was quite content and somehow managed not to spend the entire time lamenting my absence.  He’s stoic that way.

That evening we were far too tired to be good responsible visitors to this fair city, so we ordered in pizza to our hotel room.  It’s actually become something of a tradition on longer trips for us to occasionally summon food to us (as opposed to actually going out and finding it).  Every now and then, you simply need to eat dinner in your pajamas, and the finer class of restaurant tends to frown on that.

Up next, our little argument with the sea (hint, the sea wins but we live to fight another day) and the end of our Sock Summit adventures.

Sock Summit Part II, In Which Knitters are Located

As we wandered around the city on Wednesday, we had detected the faintest hints that there just might be knitters in the area.  I saw the occasional shawl (shawls being worn in public in July often mean knitters are about), someone was working on something at the restaurant where we had dinner, and of course Powells had a bit of a display.  But none of that is adequate preparation for the spike in knitter density as you approach the Convention Center.

The Boy drove me over Thursday morning.  As we approached, it quickly became clear that I was among my people.  Now I, of course, responded by sinking down in my seat, declaring I was too freaked out to go in, and asking if we could please go back to the hotel.  Now.  I do that.  Every time.  The last ten minutes before I go anywhere new or meet anyone new are always a living hell (mostly for those around me as they have to listen to me flail).  The best course of action is to ignore me and just shove me out of the moving car.  Once I get inside I’m fine.  More than fine really.  But you’d never know it to listen to me whinge immediately beforehand.

I did make it inside though (and The Boy was far too gentlemanly to actually shove me out of a moving car, we came to a complete stop first).  I registered (smooth and painless…the folks running this thing are on their game) and wandered off to find my class.  I spent the day in Cat’s Knitting Sleuth class, happily poking, prodding, and swearing at a variety of swatches.  The market opened shortly after class (somehow, no one was trampled to death in the stampede).  I displayed impressive restraint and made only one purchase.  The remainder of the evening was spent at the Opening Reception. Tina and Steph were funny and charming.  The amount of work and care they put into organizing this thing is astonishing.  Then, in what may be one of the more surreal moments of my young life, there was a little practice session for the upcoming flash mob.  Words fail me.  Alas, so did my photography skills.  This gives but the faintest idea of the spectacle I beheld.

Sock Summit Part I, In Which We Arrive and are Refreshed

In an attempt to prove my love, I’m going to try and keep up with the blog while we’re at Sock Summit.  I may instead fall into a yarn-based stupor and disappear completely.  If that happens, know that I died happy.

We arrived on Tuesday after a trip that was all you could ask for.  The plane got where we expected, when we expected, and with our suitcases in tow.  We did not have a personal encounter with any member of the TSA.  No one said anything about taking knitting on the plane.  We made our way down to Portland (flying into Seattle is quicker — non-stop flight — and cheaper than flying into Portland) and found our hotel without an undue level of navigational angst.

Wednesday we headed over to Clear Creek Distillery to sample some of the local good cheer.  Then we went to Powells.  Just to make it clear…if I have any say in the matter, this is where I’ll go when I die.  They had a Sock Summit end cap and had put little shelf tags up to highlight teachers’ books.  Then we swung by Cascade Brewing Barrel House for lunch (and what may be the single best beer I’ve ever had, a honey ginger rye…tastes like grown up ginger ale.  If you’re anywhere near the area go have some.  Now.  I’ll wait.)  We finished the evening by meeting some friends for dinner at Deschutes Brewery.

Then I turned in for the evening, as I had a rather important engagement the next morning.  I’ll tell you all about the first day of Sock Summit the next time I manage to sneak away from the yarn long enough to type.

Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis, Meet me at the Fair

So, anybody else going to this Sock Summit thing?  I’ve heard rumors I might not be the only one there.  If you are going, it would totally be cool to meet you.  I’ll be in classes on Thursday and Friday, plus the opening reception and Stephanie’s lecture Saturday night.  I’ll be in the market Thursday evening and Friday at lunch and likely Saturday afternoon too.  I’ll be the shy one standing in the corner trying to hide.  You can lure me out with yarn.

Cooperative Press has a booth (#206), and yes the book will be there as will many of the socks.  I’ll totally be circling around the booth and trying not to go ‘hey, look what I did!’  That would be tacky.  I promise to try hard.  I do not promise to succeed.  They also have some serious goodie bags (100, first come first serve, I may well have to buy myself one just to find out what’s in them)!

 

Packing

I leave for Sock Summit tomorrow.  Let us all pause for a moment to make the appropriate ‘squeeee’ noises in celebration. Of course leaving for a trip means packing.  I’m good at packing.  It’s not that hard.  The plan goes something like this:

1) do not get arrested for public indecency (pants, check: shirts, check: foundation garments, check)

2) do not offend anyone with your lack of personal hygiene (toothbrush, check: soap, check: deodorant, check)

3) strive for a basic level of presentably (hairbrush, check: face stuff, check: possibly some sort of jewelry, check)

4) be prepared to entertain yourself (computer, check: camera, check: books, check)

It takes an hour tops.

Then there’s the knitting.  I seriously put more thought and time into that than into the rest of it combined.  But, I do (finally) have it streamlined and sorted for this trip.

In the zig zag bag is the first Lithic sock, the appropriate needles and yarn for the second sock, and the tiny scrawl of a postit that is serving as my ‘pattern notes’ for that sock.  In the plaid bag is the green mental health sock, the appropriate needles for its mate (these start on big needles and go down to little ones so I need both).  In the pink and yellow bag is ‘class stuff.’

This one was the hardest.  I have four tiny snippets of homework knitting, plus a pile of yarn bits and needles and other tools.  I just want to keep it all contained to one small project bag to make it easier to lug it to and from class every day (along with the camera…and the ipad…and the purse…and water…it all gets heavy by the end of the day).

The green socks are going in the carry on, the class stuff and gray socks are going in checked baggage.  Everyone keep happy thoughts that the TSA follows their own rules and has no problem with knitting stuff on the plane.

Bingo

On 2:59 pm EDT on Wednesday May 4, I became part of an impressive crowd.  I was one of thousands of knitters, all poised — fingers hovering over our refresh buttons, waiting to register for Sock Summit 2011.  I had booked my air fare and hotel room months before.  I knew was going, no matter what classes I got (or didn’t get).  Somehow this did not make me want my chosen classes any less.

Thanks to the impressive efforts of the masterminds behind Sock Summit, the registration went smoothly.  Impressively smoothly.  Thousands of rabid knitters, more than a hundred classes and events, dozens of teachers, and it all went well.  This is not a small undertaking.  Tina and Stephanie (and the folks they hired) are all to be commended.

At 3:03 pm EDT, I got my confirmation email.  I got exactly the schedule I want.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I will be taking Cat Bordhi’s Knitting Sleuth class all day Thursday, Franklin Habit’s Knitting Tessellation class on Friday morning, and Ann Budd’s Beginnings and Endings class Friday afternoon.  I’ll also be at the Opening Ceremonies Thursday night.  Much of the rest of the time, I’ll be hanging out in the market (Cooperative Press has a booth) or the convention center at large.

Anyone else coming?  And how on earth will I manage to pass the time until July?