July 31, 2011

Sock Summit Day Two: Marketplace, Classes and a Flash Mob

Of course you do. This is Portland.

The Marketplace

It continues.

Friendly, excited women (...and even a few guys! I saw one in a class yesterday!! Right ON, Dude!!) running madly as though it were one of those department store sale scenes in a Looney Tunes Cartoon. You know, the "50's" ones, where the women, dressed in dresses, pumps, gloves and hats, are tossing aside their dignity to be the first one to tear the pantyhose from the sale table, clawing their way in to the middle of the crowd, crazily tossing out the ones they didn't mean to grab and plowing through to find their treasures.

Ok, no one was clawing. But it is getting crowded at the tables. I had a hard time getting in to the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth to get some medium weight Socks That Rock. (I think my class was not the only one singing the praises of this lovely yarn!) http://www.bluemoonfiberarts.com/newmoon/

This was hanging on a vendor booth, but applies to all of us!
 The books are beginning to dwindle and people are buying yarn at incredible rates. I saw folks yesterday with vivid, beautiful clear plastic draw string bags--floor to elbow high--showing their lovely contents to all who passed the hurrying shoppers. People could hardly contain their excitement about the yarns, "Oh! Did you see that?" one woman said to her companion, "I have GOT to get back to that booth!"

The excitement was anticipated, too. There were huge luggage-style pieces for sale, hanging out on display on the aisle ends of some of the booths, calling to the shoppers to buy more, as if to say, "Yes, you can check me as luggage on the plane."

And why wouldn't we go crazy? The smell of the freshly dyed yarns alone is enough to intoxicate. Add the colorways in vivid, bold variegations to nearly solid colors in enticingly rich hues will bring out the inner poet in anyone. Feel any one of these with your actual fingers, and, well, you're getting out your Visa.

One booth, Indigo Dragonfly, http://indigodragonfly.wordpress.com/available-yarn/mcn-sock/, took my heart yesterday, with their beautiful sock yarn. Not only was the quality high, but the titles of the yarn made me nearly pee my pants. No, really.

How about these:

"Never Go Up Against a Sicilian When Death is on the Line!"
"Captain Tightpants"
"And Then Buffy Staked Edward. The End."

That last yarn title can actually be found on a T-shirt online at http://www.jinx.com/. I may have to buy it. They also have the yarn and crossbones skull that says, "Yarrrrrrn!"

As yesterday, I couldn't help but listen in to some of the fun conversations.

1. One woman, speaking to her companions, lowered her voice almost to a whisper and said quietly, "....well..." looking around, "...you know, Jane...she doesn't really appreciate yarn..."

2. "Ok! That was the LAST skein I'm gonna buy!"

3. "It was amazing! At that last booth, they had this thing that you put in another thing, then it becomes this other thing. Then you put that thing in this other thing and it becomes another thing!"

I have no idea what that last one was all about...but I am going back for more.

My Class with Anne Hanson

I had a wonderful all day class with Anne Hanson yesterday. She is friendly, successful, incredibly knowledgeable and willing to share all these attributes with all of us.

I can't begin to say how much I learned from her--from design principles to marketing to business strategies and how to produce a quality pattern....it blows my mind.

There was so much information and I took so many notes that I felt like I was back in college. To complete this experience, all I have to do now is head to Starbucks, don my headphones and rewrite my notes. Today, I think I will.

She was very gracious, and complimentary about everyone's work. She was genuinely curious about our projects, which I think says this about her: she's chosen the right career. Nothing is more delightful than taking a class from someone who is passionate about their work.

Here is a link to Anne's blog. The green socks in this morning's entry are included in the Sock Museum at the Summit. http://knitspot.com/

And I get to do it all again today.

After lunch, I am heading to Chrissy Gardiner's class on desgin with variegated yarn. Can't wait to soak up more great information! Maybe she'll let me take a photo with her : )

Fiber Flash Mob

Step aside, Howie Mandel! You can have your surprise wedding proposal flash mob. We have a better one. A fibrous, joyous one. In the words of Linus speaking of the Great Pumpkin believers, we are "sincere." And sincerity makes for an honest--and excited--mob.

I left class freezing cold. Those of you who have ever taken an 8-hour corporate training class know what I mean. The type of cold that slowly freezes you, overcomes your bones from inactitivity and air conditioning.

I headed outside to the north side of the building at around 4:45pm to see if there were people out there yet for the 5:15pm mob. There were huge speakers set up facing away from traffic and what looked like a stage. But what about the crowd?

Not exactly a throng. There were a couple of people who were cold, like me, sitting face up to the sun.  But mostly there were just passers by, people getting ready to hit the light rail train that runs in front of the Convention Center, and a few knitters.

Boy did they throw me off.

The trickly began shortly after I arrived. Five minutes passed. More trickling. Then a little milling.

By 5:05pm, there were people unabashedly carrying around hanks of yarn, looking for something to happen, talking about their day and sitting down here and there.

Within the last ten minutes, there were so many people that you could hardly find a place to stand. People were excitedly talking and strangers to the Sock Summit were appearing, puzzled.

I was standing off to one side when a young woman and man approached from my left, "We heard something about a flash mob, " they said, pulling out a camera.

I explained a little bit to them about what was happening. They laughed. They thought it was awesome.

Then the two people from the instructional video appeared. One with a headset. They stood between the speakers, waiting for the music to start. I looked around. The very young and the very old stood side by side. This is what it's all about, I thought.

Then a young woman caught my attention. She was near me and I could hear her saying, "anyone not doing the flash mob have a skein of yarn I can borrow?" She was hurried as it was about to start. I had a skein of Blue Moon in my bag. I had purchased it for a design idea for a Harry Potter sock.

I called out, "I have one!" I planned on taking pictures instead of dancing. She came up to me and I handed her the yarn. She said, "Oh! But you're giving me 'Socks That Rock!' " We laughed at the idea that she might run off with it.

You're never to young for a fiber flash mob.
 Then I saw her name badge: Mary Potter. 

No way. It's a sign. I must complete this design idea.

Mary Potter moved to her place, and I took mine.

The huge speakers began to play "I Had the Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing and everyone screamed and cheered. Then the dancing started.

Earlier on, I heard a lot of people worried about their ability to do the choreography. But when it began, it was as though they had been practicing together for days.

Smoothly, joyfully, everyone turned, waved and moved in time. The crowd went wild. By the end, everyone was cheering and having a great time. At the end, everyone threw their yarn into the air, like so many high school grads tossing their hats into the air.

What a day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOUL_S6tVr8

You can see my idea for a knitting flash mob in my wishful thinking Portlandia script blog entries. Scroll down this page and check out "Popular Posts." There is a part II, not listed there, but can be found under "older blog entries."

We all had the same idea, apparently. And what an idea it turned out to be.

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