Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summit Wrap-Up

Wow. I'm so tired and energized at the same time. I can't say that I recommend going to a very busy, class-packed sock-o-rama within days of climbing the highest mountain in the continental U.S., but I'm still glad I did both. My posts from the road were made with a cruddy phone camera and less than ideal internet connectivity conditions, so I thought I'd add this wrap-up to cover some of the highlights of what was a very memorable four days.

On my first day, I had a 6-hour class with Nancy Bush, chronicler of Estonian knitting and author of many knitting books, only one of which I have: Knitting Vintage Socks. This class was built around this book, so it was a mixture of history and techniques. We made a we sample sock using methods from Weldon's as she taught. And, in this picture, you can see some of the socks that were photographed for the book. Knitted celebrities!

That evening, we were treated to an early run at the marketplace -- acres and acres of yarn booths. It really was a bit much. I tried to be restrained (I posted earlier with my actual purchases), but it wasn't easy. It was wonderful to see Caro there selling bags like hotcakes. It was also cool to see fellow knitters in classes throughout the weekend pulling out their Splityarn bags.

Day two was a class on using handpainted yarn with Merike Saarniit. Her class was about how to use handpainted yarns and solid (or semi-solid) yarns to create beautiful color effects. It was challening and quick-paced, but we managed to knit several examples in the class and mine turned out great. I'll definitely be incorporating some of these techniques into my sock knitting. That afternoon we helped break the Guinness World Record for the number of people knitting in one place simultaneously. A local TV crew shot some footage, and my tummy, clad in a Knitting Nest t-shirt, appears at about 2 minutes in. The gentleman speaking while I knit was in some of my classes and Janelle and I had an opportunity to chat with him during the conference.

Knitters attempt to break Guinness World Record

Day three involved two classes taught by Stephen Houghton of the Yknit podcast. One was about making hems for socks -- the sock's "third edge." I LOVED the Channel Islands cast on that he taught. It took me a while to get it, but it does create a nice crenelated edge -- kind of the effect of 1x1 ribbing just, well, stopping. His second class was about making socks for men -- choosing yarns, colors and patterns that work, as well altering lacy patterns to be more studly.
I'm not always comfortable monkeying with patterns, but he did give me a lot to think about -- and maybe a little confidence that I might be able to do it. I also go to meet his personality-filled pooch, Janie Sparkles. I think she was the knitting celebrity I most enjoyed meeting the whole week!

On the last day, I took Carson Demers class on knitting ergonomics. He is a physical therapist as well as a knitter, so he had some great insight into the strange positions that knitters put themselves in to pursue their craft. (I just had to remind myself to sit up a bit straighter!) He was an excellent teacher -- anyone who sits and does anything for any length of time should take his class. Later, in the marketplace, Janelle and I posed for a picture as superheroes at a booth for a knitting comic called HandKnit Heroes. We called our epic battle The 2 Circs vs. Magic Loop Smackdown!

The afternoon featured a panel of knitting luminaries. It was amazing to hear these women, who have been so influential in the world of modern knitting, speak. I mean, I was sitting in the room with Barbara Walker, inventor of SSK, the left-leaning decease I use the most. How awesome is that? At the end, on what would have been Elizabeth Zimmerman's 99th birthday, we sang her happy birthday and all ate cake.



  1. So proud of your shirt..our shirt...appearing in the video!! Glad you had fun - Hank has missed you terribly!

  2. It really sounds like an amazing time - I'm still so jealous!

  3. I didn't recognize you the first time I saw the video! ;-) It all looks so fun. I hope they do it again - I'm definitely going!

  4. It sounds like such fun! I wanted to be there so badly. Thanks for showing the Splityarn bags.. I think I need one!

  5. I'd go again in a heartbeat. Let's plan to do Rhinebeck one of these years! Or, after you learn to spin (cough), SOAR!