Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sea of Knitters at Sock Summit!

The mayor of Portland has declared August 6-9 to officially be called "Sock Knitting Week"! He has also encouraged the general populace to learn to knit socks, but with his math skills, he might want to skip his own advice. (There are 7 days in a week, Sam!)

What's happening in Portland, for my non-knitting readers, is the first ever Sock Summit.

Sock Summit 2009

For a segment of the knitting populace, sock knitting is indeed the summit of knitting experience. The endless possibilities of knitted socks, and the challenging shaping required, inspire a passion that one can imagine could only be surpassed by the challenge of knitting a brassiere.

The classes for this event filled so fast! If you are a Knitter Centered on Socks (KCOS), you had to sign up right away! The classes by such knitting illuminati as BarbaraWalker, Meg Swanson, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Lucy Neatby, Charlene Schurch, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and others covered everything you could imagine about sock-knitting.

On Friday, a very large group of knitters gathered in the ballroom of the Oregon Convention Center to try to break the Guiness record for the most number of people knitting simultaneously. The current record was set in Australia this past June with 256 people. Pshaw! So few? We had a ballroom with 1600 chairs set up. I haven't heard yet how many of us there were, but here's about half of the room 20 minutes before we started knitting together for the record:

(That's me behind the camera.)

A KCOS, endlessly fascinated with socks, has many decisions to make because of all the variations possible. A day spend in the incredible marketplace illuminated for me just how many decisions there were for the sock:
  • Should it be knit from the top down or the toe up? Is there another possibility?
  • Should it be knit with 4 or 5 double-pointed needles or with 1 or 2 circular ones?
  • What technique should it be--colorwork? cables? lace? ribbing?
  • What fiber should it be and how many paychecks should be spend for it?
  • Does it need to be warm?
  • Will it fit inside my shoe when it's done?
Notice that my questions all revolve around a singular sock rather than a pair. That's because it's so hard for me to think of making two of anything. Guess I'll need to consider learning how to knit two at a time using either one or two circular needles.

First though, I want to make a pair from the toe up. So I picked up this book from Portland designer, Chrissy Gardinier, and even got her to autograph it for me.

Today I'm off to listen to the luminary panel discussion. Since today in Portland is also the day of the annual Portland Bridge Pedal, it will require some planning to get to the other side of town.

Can you imagine the streets of Portland filled with hundreds of KCOS, walking around using knitting needles on sock yarn while trying to avoid the mass procession of Portland bicyclists? It's an image that seriously speaks of the soul of the city.

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