Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

10 Things I Learned at Sock Summit

1. Meeting and taking a class with your knitting/life hero isn't something you can even remotely prepare for. You will over think it, mull it through,imagine what it might be like but you will still feel butterflies when you walk in the room and you will likely trip over your tongue, forgetting all the things you wanted to say, and, instead, make a total fool of yourself at least once - in my case more.

sock summit 021Barbara Walker is not only a knitting mentor that I cherish, or a woman who's intellect and sense of things restore my belief that we as humans can really manifest the world we desire even if others are trying hard to convince us it is impossible or improbable - but she's also just really witty and sweet and a joy to be around. So, since this is how my first day of Sock Summit started, it is no surprise that it only got better. I was so giddy that I don't even mind posting this most awful photo of me - I know ya'll understand. How can you stand next to someone like Barbara Walker and not totally panic? LOL. When she autographed my tarot deck, I very nearly fell over. I'm telling you - goofy smiles and expressions throughout the rest of the summit were my only reliable uniform:) I even smiled through my three attempts before I got the hang of the class assignment - mosaic knitting. But, when it did click - it was awesome. I'm working on another pair and, well, it will be along in a while with a definite mosaic flavor - love that technique!

2. Lugging oodles of yarn across the country is exhilarating, exhausting, and totally unfathomable but it most certainly can be done.

What's more, even the worry, the sweating, the hauling and lugging of said yarn will pale in comparison to the joy you feel when people pick it up, touch it, marvel at those colors you created, and generally coo and ahhhh. It is dizzying - like the kind of fun you had turning round and round in the yard and falling into the cool grass laughing - you just smile a goofy smile all day. Thanks so much to all of you who came by the booth, who spoke the language of yarn love, and who made the trip a thrill! Mwah!

3. Having great friends on-line is in no way less fulfilling than having great friends in person but, when the two can be combined - the stars just dance and shine.
It was so great to see so many familiar faces and laugh loudly and stroke yarns with the people that otherwise live in my ravelry house - totally awesome. Our dinners, moments in the booths talking about yarn fun and many laughs were totally awesome. Abby cemented my love for her by bringing me a beverage. Yum! Micro brews rock is all I'm saying and friends who share are like honey (licks her paws happily). There was dinner with Lou, a night out with Anne and Kristine, many hugs and 'how ya doin'?s' and lots of good times - a sky full of happy stars dancing, I'm telling you.

sock summit 0194. All work and no play makes the farm-witch and her Thing 1 feel totally cranky. So, we treated ourselves ahead of time to a day walking about Chinatown and visiting the Chinese Classical Gardens....they were totally stunning and, almost like magic, I found many quiet, peaceful places to steal a few knitting moments. In fact, some of the 'things I learned' will occupy this excursion....but we'll pause here and look at this shot of the goldfish in the ponds that swam beneath our feet on the bridge.

sock summit 0015. In Chinese cultural art forms, the apply blossom symbolizes peace and tranquility - a life free of strife....what a beautiful thought. These tiles line the walkway to the Courtyard of Tranquility - sand surrounding little water washed stones that are placed on their sides at a particular height so that, when stood on with calm bare feet, they activate the energy balancing centers in the body and, well, I can only describe the sensation that occurs as blissful release from worry - perfect medicine for the 'oh my gosh, it's the day before the Sock Summit jitters'.

sock summit 0096. I love functional art. Okay, I already knew that but I found a new one to love and, after the seriously depressing rain we've had all summer, the fact that I could leave there revering and cheering rain is really saying something about the beauty of the place and the wonders of the tour guide who was fascinating and so willing to share her love of the art forms represented in the Gardens. These tiles really touched me - placed elegantly at the edge of the gorgeous roof tiles, they have three points through which the rain drains off of them - creating sheets of rain that make curtains around the gardens and make the rain actually make a rhythmic sound. I'd try to describe the details but I think the tour brochure said it perfectly:

They are an authentic Ming design in the shape of a bat, with the character 'shou' (long life) encircled by five bats. The Chinese word for bat is fu, which sounds like the words for 'happiness' or 'good fortune,' so the bat is used to symbolize those wishes. The five bats represent the Five Blessings: long life, wealth, health, love of virtue, and natural death.

It makes you think about how import art is - when you realize that you walk amongst symbols and passions every day and are totally unaware of the beauty of their meaning.

sock summit 0307. And I share this little enlightenment with Thing 1 - it is good to be missed. We were sweetly surprised by some flowers that the huscreature sent us - they filled the hotel room with their sweet fragrance and the little reminder that we were missed was a warm welcome at the end of the long and crazy days that were sock summit. mmmmmm.... smell them - don't they smell good?

sock summit 0408. Exhaustion, ridiculous levels of immersion, and even misplacing one's favorite knitting needles (found them later - I am now convinced it was all a ploy by the fates and maybe helped along by a few fun friends to force me to buy some of these lovelies - cough - Kristine and Lou made me do it) will not do a single thing to prevent one from or delay the need to knit socks. I cast on a pair on Saturday and this is the start of the second that you see modeling the needles. I'm hoping to have it done by the weekend - they are to replace the too small toe ups that I made Thing 3 for his birthday. Don't recognize the colorway? It's a new one - I'll post more on that later in the week when they come back to dance across the blog for you. Oh, and after I found the missing needles, do you think I restrained myself from casting on ANOTHER pair of socks? Nah.....why be practical when you're surrounded by yarn and sock fumes? But I'm not sorry for a minute for buying them - I've longed for a pair of signature dpn's for a long time and, uhm, knitting with them is pure ecstasy. just sayin'

sock summit 0339. It's a small world. I know, it's quaint but the world truly did feel much smaller and more friendly last weekend. I think it is best explained by showing you the rest of my loot. I know, I tried to resist but it was no use. I fell head over heels for Gail's gorgeous Angora bunny/merino/nylon sock yarn and I wasn't too surprised when two skeins were suddenly in my hands and I was running around yelling, 'yes, yes, oh yes'. Fortunately, my daughter reminded me I was embarrassing her so I got myself together pretty quickly. Gail used to be from Maine so it was a thrill to talk fiber, yarn, bunnies and fun places and things with her. She and Celia - also in the booth and from the shop The Purl District - were oodles of fun to share the isle with. The Purl District t-shirt didn't make it into the photo because I wore it and it is all sweaty and stinky and just what you'd expect a shirt that spent 32 hours on a person in airports, sweaty planes, and trips home to smell like - so, it is being washed. LOL There's also a bit of merino/silk roving from Knitted Wit and a namaste case and a knitting out loud cd that I picked up in Cat Mtn. Fiber Arts' booth. There was some great sheep's milk soap over in the Holiday Yarns booth - and got to visit with Jen and talk shepherding/yarn growing and such for a while. I'd already hit up her booth mate, the fabulous Tsarina of Socks (Hi Lisa!) for this kit when it's released - I mean, it just says, 'I'm a former Austinite', doesn't it?

10. All good things must end and, when they do, you will likely be so delusional with all that excess energy pulsing through you and also so tired that you'll likely forget to thank and mention all the wonderful people/creatures/places that you found along the way - still, you should try. We were thrilled to be there. I was thrilled to spend so much time with Thing 1 (mother and daughter duos at knitting events are the greatest fun, aren't they?) Also thrilling was the meeting and greeting of friends old and new (not talking age, here, LOL). It was beyond thrilling to sit and knit a while with some of my favorite designers - Cookie A. and Anne Hanson of Knitspot. And Lou was kind enough to invite me in and let me pet her yarn loot - good to see you again, Lou! Got to visit with Sheri and the amazing Loopy Ewe crew and got a great hug and good laugh from Rabbitch to boot. I'm forgetting to mention so many other great things about the weekend, I know but the overwhelming nature of it all just hasn't quite settled. Thanks are due, though, to the organizers and the Debbies that were so helpful while we vendors were trying to make the Convention center our home - mwah! To the instructors for sharing their great genius with us and to the people who came and joined in the yarn love fest! Woot! Now, I'm off to catch up on that rare practice of shutting one's body down for what most call sleep.....already snoring she falls over on the keyboard.....