Sock Summit!

Well, I’m exhausted and all peopled out, but I had a great time.

First, let me say that I highly recommend the HI Hostel in Northwest Portland. It’s inexpensive and pleasant with good service, and it’s within walking distance of everything I needed, including free public transportation.

I got to Portland on Wednesday, checked in at the hostel, and then took the train over to the Convention Center, where I arrived shortly before they started registration. Everything was well organized – they had three lines (depending on last name), but when they saw how many people were there (and figured out that they had enough volunteers), they allowed people with any last name to form a fourth line in front of the Information desk. This speeded things up immensely.

Once I was duly registered, there wasn’t anything else scheduled for the Sock Summit on Wednesday. I could have stuck around just to be part of the crowd, but I’m enough of an introvert that I knew that I needed to go spend some time alone so as not to wear myself out before the weekend even really started. So I headed back toward the hostel. I think that was the day I stopped at a food stand and got a sort of Greek-style grilled cheese sandwich (spinach, feta, tomato, and something else I don’t recall). In any event, it was tasty.

I took note that Powell’s City of Books was on what looked likely to be my daily route, made it back to the hostel, dropped off the registration materials, and then walked over to Trader Joe’s for basic supplies. Then back to the hostel, where I puttered around online and read books and forced myself to stay up to 10 on the theory that even if I had insomnia, perhaps I could wake up at 4 am Portland time instead of 4 am Eastern Time.

And indeed, I was up at 4 am Portland time. Alas. At least I could make myself tea and access the internet and work out what time I needed to catch the light rail to get to my first class.

My first class was one of the short sessions. Chrissy Gardiner taught us her three favorite bind-offs for toe-up socks. I was familiar with a couple of them, as it happened, but hadn’t ever tried the third. I’m not sure I’m likely to use it much, but I do like having more knowledge, so it’s all good.

I went back to the hostel for lunch, and then made a stop in Powell’s. In any case, my afternoon class was with Star Athena, and covered a combination of methods of sock designing, how to write sock patterns, and how the knitting pattern publication process works. I think this was the class I took that had the most information that was new to me. It was extremely encouraging to me, and I’ve got a fire lit under me to get my Inset sock pattern finished. Not that far to go, folks, and then I publish on Ravelry.

Following the design class, the Marketplace opened for people who were registered for classes. It was overwhelming and amazing. I had some missions in mind, and so I headed straight for Carolina Homespun, where I nabbed some Abby batts (mmmmm) and the class pack for the spindle spinning basics class. Then I went up and down the aisles, spending friends’ money and a little of my own. I’m still not certain I made the best choices, but I think they were pretty good ones. And oh, there was so much beautiful stuff there.

Friday morning I got to the Convention Center before 7 so I could get a ticket for the World Record attempt. I am still bemused that I did this, but it seemed like it might be fun. And it was. A few hours later, the attempt started, and I had a good time chatting with the people around me while we knit. Then back to the hostel.

Saturday morning I walked down to the Rose Garden. I was really hoping for a visit to the Japanese Garden, but it wasn’t open yet, and seemed to have an entrance fee to boot, so I skipped it. It was a lovely walk regardless. Then I gathered up my supplies for the spinning class and the books I’d bought and already read. I stopped in at Powell’s, where I sold the books back to them and picked up another for the plane. (This was really quite convenient.)

Then off to Sock Summit again.

I wandered through the marketplace one more time, and then it was off to “Spindle Spinning Basics” with Abby Franquemont. I didn’t actually learn all that many new techniques, but it was a wonderful class nonetheless. Abby & Denny are very funny! But best of all, I loved watching Abby start with some history, and then move from the techniques used to teach children in the Andes (this was new to me, and I hope to use it with my son) to teaching park & draft spinning. Somehow she made the transitions effortless. I wouldn’t say that people found the actual spinning effortless; I mean that the shifts between techniques were natural.

After the class I was almost entirely wiped out. Back to the hostel, with a stop for dinner on the way. I got up the next morning, finally found out that there were other Sock Summit attendees there (we’d been on different schedules), then packed up, checked out, and headed off to the airport.

My flights were pretty much on time (which meant that I got home past midnight). I was exhausted, and seem to have managed to leave the camera on the plane. This means no pictures, alas.

It was an excellent trip, all in all.