Thursday, August 13, 2009

We survived Sock Summit 2009!

We managed to survive the most exhausting, exhilarating, crazy week I've experienced in a heckuva long time, if ever. Wanna hear all about it? I thought so!

SS09 started on the 5th for me, with the lovely pre-Summit yarn tasting luncheon hosted by the very gracious Deb Accuardi at Gino's in SE Portland. We got several lovely food courses along with a hand-dyed yarn from an indie dyer to go with each one.

From left to right that's CraftsMeow, Abstract Fiber (and don't we just adore them), Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks dyed by Stevanie Pico and Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks dyed by Larissa Brown. Nice, no? Although I have no idea what I'm going to do with all that yarn... I don't usually get to design with indies since retailers can't always easily stock their yarn, but the next book project that I'm pondering may change that (hint, hint - could it be an indie sock yarn book?).

In fact, I may start with this skein that just won't leave me alone - somehow it ends up following me around the house and stares at me from beside my computer (like the money with eyes in the Geico commercials). Even though there are other projects that should take precedence, I think this baby might be going on vacation with me.

This is called "Ladies that Lunch" and is dyed by Knitted Wit. I love it. It makes me think of chocolate covered cherry ice cream. This one, I must make something with.

After lunch, which was extremely fun and a great way to dip my toe into the Sock Summit crazy-water, I went home to stuff patterns into sleeves for a few hours before heading back to the Red Lion for the teacher's dinner. I was having mini-panic attacks all afternoon whenever I thought about who I'd be eating with... Fortunately, everyone there was just as nice as pretty much everyone I ran into all weekend. The highlight for me was the fact that Barbara Walker came in wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. She is just a doll, and quite distinguished in the world of knitting and beyond. Of course I didn't get any pictures (that's a common theme from the weekend), but here's the goodie bag the teachers got after dinner:

It also had yarn in it. So much yarn. Yarn from WEBS...

Yarn from Simply Sock Yarn and Blue Moon...

So much yarn. We also got our all-access super-special teachers' badges, which got us into anything and everything SS-related. They came with lovely fabric lanyards that were great for cluttering up with "flair".

We contributed to the problem with our nice big "Toe-Up!" buttons that everyone really seemed to want. We went through almost 300 of them (and would've given out the rest if not for the fact that they were buried in the bottom of my bag...).

Thursday morning started off bright and early with unloading of booth stuff from my van at 8 am, then running to teach my first class at 9. I was really nervous about teaching, but fortunately the general level of student at SS was very high (or else I'm just getting better at teaching). I had a great time with all my students, all weekend long (even the Sunday morning class, where we were all exhausted and pretty subdued). I thought I'd get a chance to kick back a bit Thursday afternoon and had signed up to audit another teacher's class, but the booth still needed much setting up and before I knew it, the market was opening for the student preview.

We were totally mobbed. A steady stream of people came through to pick up the books they'd pre-ordered from Lavender Sheep, and I had a delightful time playing celebrity author and signing all of them. It was great fun, although I got scolded several times over the course of the weekend for not being able to take compliments gracefully. It's my Midwestern upbringing - I can't help it! I spent lots of time practicing my "Thank you - I'm so glad you like the book!"

I won't bore you with every detail of every event, but here are a few more highlights. Friday afternoon was the mass book signing, and I got to sit at the table next to Meg Swansen's. Of course I hadn't brought any books for anyone to sign (and I am so kicking myself that I didn't at least bring Barbara Walker's books), but I offered a review copy of Toe-Up! to Meg. She was very sweet, took it and then asked if I'd sign it for her. Was I really going to say no to the sweetheart of American knitting? I'm pretty sure I wrote something stupid, but I did manage to spell my name right (unlike for one poor autograph recipient who caught me having a momentary brain fart - I signed her notebook using "Christine" instead of "Chrissy" because apparently I momentarily thought I was signing a check).

Saturday night was the Ravelry part, which Gardiner Yarn Works co-sponsored. Here's one of the few photos we have of us from the weekend with our Ravelry buddies and the big sponsor sign. (If you click on the photo, you'll see that I've got the Bob finger puppet under my control - please ignore our devilish red-eyes.)

I'm just noticing that we're missing Sarah, the newest member of the Rav team, but she must've been off playing the gracious hostess. We got a little sense of what life is like for Jess and Casey when we stood by the sign, expecting a single photo from the person holding Donna's camera, and flashes just started going off. Jess remarked under her breath "welcome to our world!" Crazy! It's amazing that they are all still so sweet after everything they've had to put up with since Ravelry's popularity took off. (ETA - by "put up with", I'm not talking about the mob scene at the party - they obviously love their fans - but rather the nastiness that has come about due to the forums, particularly after the last election...)

The first 350 people to show up got these cute little project bags. I love mine!

There were lots of friends to mingle with, and drinks, and snacks. I was so tired I was almost delirious but we managed to stay until 10 pm or so, after the door prizes were announced. I was so tired I'd forgotten to bring the door prizes to the party like I was supposed to, but fortunately the winners didn't seem to mind.

Sunday morning was another class, a little foggy at this point due to lack of sleep and an extremely hot classroom, but we managed to get ourselves knitting with two hands (or one hand, in a few cases of extra-cool super-duper colorwork technique, of which I am not the master...) and adding purls to our color changes. What fun! After class, there was about an hour and a half before the market closed for good and the luminary panel began. I think maybe I signed a couple books. I didn't get much shopping done. Fortunately, the one thing that I REALLY wanted was right across the aisle from us.

Yup - a hand-thrown ceramic sheep mug from Jennie the Potter. I am so in love with this cup.

I wish I could've picked up one of her fabulous bowls as well, but they are (with good reason) a little out of my price range at the moment. Next time! I also managed to chat a bit with Dianne from Creatively Dyed, which is always a treat, and she gave me some yarn.

Her dyeing process is fascinating, and her colorways knit up unlike any other. I think Owen might get some socks out of this skein. (Yeah, famous last words - my poor kids are like the shoemaker's barefoot children...)

The Luminary Panel was fabulous, of course, and it was great to just sit back, relax, and listen to these amazing women talk about knitting.

Unfortunately the sock I was knitting wasn't cooperating and had to be frogged and put away, but I managed to get through tear-down afterwards without falling over, falling asleep or strangling anyone, thanks in large part to our very helpful helpers, Colleen and Katrina. It has never been so good to get home after an event, even though I'd technically been home every night throughout.

Now I'm crazily trying to get everything nailed down before we leave for our trek east. Poor Bill has been stuck doing laundry and dishes while I frantically print and stuff patterns, mail books and write a last-minute article. In fact, it's time for me to get back to it. I can now cross "Sock Summit blog post" off the to-do list!


Blogger pdxknitterati said...

I loved Sock Summit, and loved meeting you again! Your book is getting rave reviews, and you've convinced even me to try toe-up. That's no little feat.

Ladies that Lunch is my favorite from Deb's luncheon, too. For me, it looks like raspberries, chocolate, and cream. Love it.

You're on my blog from the Ravelry party:

See you at Twisted!

5:39 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

I think I'm still catching up on sleep! I can't imagine how you're still functioning--not to mention still sending new patterns to your editors! Sheesh, girl. You are amazing.
*I loved Barbara Walker's comment that she gets so much done because she doesn't sleep. LOL! If only it were that easy! :)

8:11 PM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Thanks for the fantastic insight to SS09. I'm in Florida and we rarely are exposed to any fiber events. Just a thought on the Jess and Casey comment...I hope that they are grateful for their success in tough times. There are many aspiring entrepreneurs that would be thrilled to be "putting up with"
their fame and exposure, doncha think?

2:42 AM  
Blogger knittinmom said...

Of course Casey & Jess appreciate their success! I just think that Ravelry's popularity has exploded beyond their wildest dreams, and with that, come the inevitable problems. There is no way to make everyone happy, and I know they've put up with some really nasty comments directed at/to them. Nobody deserves that, no matter how famous.

Jess's comment to me was more along the lines of "wow, can you believe how crazy this is?" The implication that they have a lot to put up with did NOT come from her or Casey - it was all me because I don't know how they do it! :)

8:13 AM  
OpenID kalamala said...

I was sorry to miss you at the Summit, but glad you had a great show. Love your book! Do take credit for it. I think you are a very hard working person AND A GREAT MOM ON TOP OF IT!
Come to Manzanita just for a vacation, let's have the kids play while we stitch :)

7:55 PM  

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