July 27, 2011

Finals Week

It feels like Finals Week to me. All the preparation, dreaming, planning and waiting that had led up to this Sock Summit weekend feels like it is coming down to a few final moments of intense anticipation, at once speeding toward me and at the same time, threatening to pass too soon.

Like Christmas Day for sock knitting fanatics.

I have only been a sock knitter since last January and, having taken to it with a mad and passionate fervor, I can't even express how much I am looking forward to this weekend. For me, it feels like some sort of culmination of everything I have learned and everything I hope to achieve in the future--a potential pivotal point during which I may learn things that will help decide how to move forward, and all in a place where important information is delivered by great minds in concentrated form just every other year in a powerful blast.

How awesome is that?

To prepare for this moment, I have been working very hard, mentally and physically. Not exactly like getting ready for a sports event (which I would never do, having failed the President's Physical Fitness Test every single year in my youth....if I never hear the phrase "bent arm hang" again it will be too soon...)  but more like studying  for finals.

I have considered my learning style and my current skills (which are not really much) and laid out my plan of attack from there.

I have read sock books containing design elements like those from the amazing Cookie A., not to mention what feels like a thousand stitchionaries by greats like Barbara Walker and the awesome group at Vogue.

I've been to the library, Barnes & Noble, and online frequently checking Amazon's used book prices (I got Jonelle Raffino's Socks A La Carte for $2!) in order to amass information to help me learn.

Knittingwise, I've tried out top-down and toe-up socks, short row, after thought and Dutch heels, heels with ornamentation and without, star toes and regular. I've made sure to memorize Kitchener stitch and whipped out the graph paper to try my hand at charting stitch patterns out of stitch dictionaries.

My husband has even gotten a pair of socks out of the deal--his first, ever!

Part of me believes I should be ashamed of this, considering I have given away so many socks as gifts to adult friends or as baby gifts, but I wasn't trying to avoid giving anyone socks, it's just the way the learning cookie crumbles.

I have learned this much in my short time as a knitter: our world is vast. When you learn on new technique or style, you realize quickly that within that avenue there are minute--and not so minute--details and thing you simply must learn in order to fully understand the bigger picture. Like sweaters: you may be able to knit the fabric, but can you seam it? block it? achieve even tension?

I have tailored my learning this way: I focus my knitting on what I think I need to learn next, not who will be the next recipient of socks. I figure that at some point, the gift part will get easier and my family will stop eyeballing me askance as if to say, "hey....how many pairs have you made for yourself??" with not so many words.

I believe this because I have met so many skilled and talented knitters who casually can whip out lovely and elaborate Christmas stockings for multiple grandchildren while simultanesously making felted clog slippers for a few other folks, all in the space of a couple of months.

While I can dream of that future--at least the faster knitting part--I still must hunker down and keep working on the basics of what I want to learn. I love math, for example, and for me, that means trying out design.

Graph paper, pencils and erasers couple with algebraic type story problems? That's for me.

It was really fun to try out the Fountains pattern, which I know is really tweaky, but will hopefully be a good learning experience for me and not too irritating for all of you.

Incidentally, I already have plans to smooth it out and add 2 more sizes.

I also worked out this piece thanks to Fleegle's blog and so many Ravelry helpers--thanks, guys!!

I am blown away by peoples' collecctive knowledge about computers and software. (note to self: obsess about that next...)I am still slow at it, but I am really hoping to have a much more polished Fountain pattern for everyone after the summit.

So, as the end of the waiting nears, we all will be finishing up our reading and our swatches and other details.

I hope you all have had a safe journey here if you had to travel and, if you are watching from afar, we are with you in spirit.

I am planning on taking lots of pics starting on Friday as I got the day off.

Anything in particular you all would like to see? Louise? I will try to take a pic of it!!

Happy Sock Knitting!


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