August 1, 2011

The Last Day: Bittersweet Goodbye

The last day. Almost always a sad phrase, and saying good-bye to Sock Summit was certainly a bittersweet farewell. Even though people were getting tired, especially the instructors, designers and organizers (and understandibly so!) and attendees were slowly beginning to pack their yarn into their huge pieces of luggage purchased for the sole purpose of toting beautiful fibers back home, we all stuck it out for one last day.

And it was so worth it.

On this day, I spent a little time at the sock museum, which was amazing. There were pieces ranging from today--even as new as "Almondine," which is a new design from Anne Hanson and one we saw in her class--and extending all the way back to around the year 1500--with the exception of a replica of a Roman sandal sock, which I am sure may very well date all the way back to Christ.

The Sock Museum was very well done, in appearance and variety. There were huge, huge socks for display only and socks for no purpose except display and beauty. I would guess these were the sort of thing someone came up with while they were sitting around one day, surrounding by lovely Chilean yarns. The creator looked around and said to herself (or himself, as the time and place may be...), "hmmm...what strange and imaginary thing could this fiber become?" 

My favorites were the very old examples of baby booties, one enduring as a common style from today, while one I have never seen before.

All of the colors, textures and interesting historical information were worth a second--and third or fourth--look. I walked through the museum several times.

It truly was inspiring, as was another pass through the lovely marketplace where people were madly finishing up their shopping before heading home. After all, an event like this one presents a wonderful excuse for spending money. Where else would all of this lovely, high quality stuff be collected in one convenient location?

Before heading to my final class, I headed out to the north side of the building. It was still early and the crisp, sunny air felt good as I made my way to the north courtyard. It may have been my imagination, but I felt the energy of the flash mob lingering there. It was peaceful and energized at once, just what I needed for another class.

I sat on a shaded bench with my book, sketch pads, graph paper, calculator and oh, so many balls of yarn. As I pulled out my paper and pencil, I noticed other people enjoying the sunny morning out in the courtyard as well. People quietly smiled at one another as each new bench-sitter arrived, then went on with their knitting in the serene breeze.

I began working out the math for a design idea for a Harry Potter inspired sock and before I knew it, I was engrossed. Using my hank of Socks That Rock in a dark purple and black colorway (a nearly solid Blue Moon Raven colorway that, to me, whispers : Harry Potter) I worked out some lightning designs and then began working on some sizing before I realized that I had to go.

My class was going to start in about 20 minutes.  It was a class on designing with variegated yarn-- preventing pooling, using stitch designs and sock architecture to their best advantage, etc.--and it was given by my favorite designer, Chrissy Gardiner.

Chrissy's CSK Indie Socks website at
Contains info on her latest project, to be released around
September, 2011
 She was the person who showed me how to do toe-up socks when I hardly knew how to even knit a sock about a year and a half ago. She spoke to me in such a logical and clear way, I was turned on to socks forever. She is modest and brilliant and I couldn't wait to see her.

It wasn't until I sat down in class and began pulling out my sock examples that I realized what an embarrassing Chrissy groupie I was. I had several socks in variegated or self striping yarn in my bag, all right. And they were all her designs. When she wanted to display a particular ribbing pattern from her toe up sock book but had no example, well, I had more than one. I laughed, then dismissed my embarrassment--if I like her, I like her. It's not like I'm a stalker. Yet.

I sat next to a wonderfully enthusiastic girl from Canada, Lindsay, who was hilarious. She ran out of class before the marketplace closed just to quickly buy a Japanese stitch dictionary she had been wanting. When she returned, we opened it and laughed out loud. Some of the stitches were crazy zig zags like the mouth on Domo.

We dubbed these stitches, "Monster Teeth."  We laughed all the way through class, and now I've made a new Ravelry friend.

That was really a theme this weekend: sisterhood in knitting. (Guys, you can be included) Solidarity and energy was to be found around every corner.

As I left my last class, I took another walk to the north side of the building. I spent another hour knitting and looking at my own design ideas, enjoying the gentle summer afternoon. After a time, I realized that I really needed to get home to my family.

I bid goodbye to the magical breezes that lilted and swayed the trees hovering over the park benches and slowly wandered back to the Convention Center. I took a last photo of the lighted sign outside that said "Sock Summit, July 28-31," and entered the building once more. I passed many people rolling out their huge bags. The marketplace was now silent.

I stopped and considered some of the sculpted pieces inside the building. I had seen them so many times in the past at various events. I had always admired them, but today I wanted a photo of them. A record of the moment I saw something new in them: design possibilities.

I walked on past the darkened Starbucks and into the parking garage. There was a group of four people standing outside a minivan.

From what I could see through an open sliding door, the van contained two spinning wheels that took up the center seat, and the rest of the vehicle was almost completely filled with bags of lovely yarns that were peeking out due to straining drawstrings. On the ground nearby, there were several similar bags.

The group looked haggard--eight collectively slumping shoulders--and each one fixed their gaze on the open minivan door. They were all strangely silent. I could see they were attempting to solve an insolvable puzzle:  Four adults, already overflowing cargo, and two apparent seats remaining in the minivan.

As I passed them, they didn't notice me. It seemed that they were underwater in a way, sort of in a dreamlike state.

I went on to my lonely car still thinking of this little group, one of the last in the garage, and I thought: isn't that the way? This has been like a dream. But then all good dreams must come to an end, an awakening.

And hadn't both those things happened for me? A dream and an awakening?

If Sock Summit holds this sort of power for people, imagine what can be acheived next time around.

Hello, 2013. We wait for you. Anxiously.


Lindsay said...

What a beautiful recap! It was so wonderful to meet you, and I'm so glad you had such a magical time!

I was so inspired, I started designing "Monster Teeth" in my hotel room Sunday night, and couldn't stop knitting it on the plane on Monday. What fun!

So glad to have a new friend!

The Knitting Muse said...

I cannot WAIT to see what you do with Monster Teeth!!!

I was very glad to meet you, too--how cool to have a friend far away! : )

Mokihana said...

You really captured a lot of what Sock Summit was all about.. it was a bittersweet ending for me, too, and I didn't even take classes! But next time I will!

The Knitting Muse said...

The classes were rare! Hard to find anywhere else. I definitely plan to cram in every single day with them next time! Let's take one together!