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Archive for May 26th, 2009

Portland, Here I Come!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

socksummitlogobutton.jpgIt’s official. A week or two ago I purchased a round-trip ticket to Portland, Oregon, the first week of August. Today I registered for Sock Summit.

I will attend two talks, one by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts about Ethnic Socks and Stockings; and one by Anna Zilboorg on Turkish sock stitches. I have met Anna (say “ahna” as in Spanish) but not Priscilla. Looking forward to this event is very exciting for me.

Meeting My Friend

I will also meet my online friend, Deborah Robson/The Independent Stitch. We somehow connected when she started reading this blog (and commenting).

I just naturally click with self-employed women of many industries, and since we are in the same realm it was easy to connect. We write often, but since I am in Michigan and she is in Colorado, this will be our first face-to-face meeting. She will be busy teaching and speaking, but we will sneak in a bit of chat there, somehow.

Why this Matters

A favorite saying of mine bears repeating: You can not buy passion. When you find it, run with it like the wind, with a smile on your face. I love socknitting. I don’t ask why, I just enjoy it.

You see, I have a very unusual career. I teach knitting and I design patterns, for the most part. I am very interested in colorwork and ethnic knitting. In particular, I am focused on Turkish socks. I have published 3 patterns inspired by this tradition (two pictured here) and an article on my experiences with the subject.

So not only am I a knitter, I am a socknitter, and I am sometimes focused on Turkish Socks. I was hired to fly to Dallas in 2007 to teach about Turkish sock design/structure. This, I admit, is a niche of a niche of a niche.

And Priscilla and Anna are the only two people I know of, who have published modern books on the subject of ethnic/Turkish/”eastern style” socknitting. They are both important teachers to me.

I learned about Turkish socks initially when a friend loaned me her copy of Anna’s book Fancy Feet (later re-issued in softcover as Simply Socks). Later, I acquired 4 pair of authentic socks from Turkey (with the assistance of a Turkish family I had befriended). I was able to look up the heel structure of one (which was different than those in Anna’s Book) by reading its details in Priscilla’s book Ethnic Socks and Stockings.

Luminaries (no light bulbs needed)

I also will attend the opening dinner event, and the “Luminary Panel.” Now, understand that socknitters will blow ukulele fanatics out of the water with their enthusiasm (I know that is hard to imagine) and Sock Summit is not in any sense exaggerating by using the word “Luminary.”

For those in the knitting realm, here is the roster for the panel:

  • Cat Bordhi
  • Nancy Bush
  • Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
  • Judith MacKenzie-McCuin
  • Lucy Neatby
  • Deborah Robson
  • Meg Swansen
  • Barbara Walker
  • Anna Zilboorg

And the Emcees? Stephanie Pearl-McPhee/Yarn Harlot, and Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts/Socks that Rock.

This list of names might be the contemporary socknitting equivalent of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, George Burns, Kathryn Hepburn, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe, all in one room. Really. HUGE names. And they earned their reputation in all cases, over time.

True Fanatics, in a Constructive Field

Here is an illustration of the level of enthusiasm in this realm. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a blog. She writes funny books and delivers funny speeches, and people buy airplane tickets and hotel rooms to be where she is signing her books. She had a New York Times bestseller, a funny book about being a knitter.

When Stephanie did her US book release a few books back, she spoke in New York City. Something like 750 people showed up. We are talking large auditorium, folks. Serious enthusiasm, group happiness, much merriment.

Rae and I went to the Canadian launch for that book. We drove 5 hours one way to Toronto and stayed the night in a hotel. We met other people who love doing what we love, saw the city, ate good food, visited five yarn shops (photo of yarn crawl group in front of Lettuce Knit below), and drove home.

Stephanie once asked her blog readers to help her decide what yarn to use for a project. There were 3 choices. I swear there were 1200 replies in 3 days. I swear I saw it. I can’t find it in her archives, but I swear this is true. Incredible.

A Bit of a Rush

I feel like it’s Christmas and I am 4 years old. But being an adult, and choosing my own gift to myself, and earning the funds to make it possible? Well, that makes it even better than a child’s fantasy day. It’s a real, tangible thing. Yes, “adrenaline rush” is the order of my day, but one I planned for and scrimped for. And it looks like it is really happening.

WooHoo! Anybody out there going? Anybody out there live near Portland? I sense some meet-ups in my future!