Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hitting The Beach...

Inspiration has hit!

Sock Summit was a major victory in terms of getting my creative juices flowing again. I've got three ideas that I'm currently working on, with one of them actually on the needles. I'm so excited by it.

Kaiso, knit in Kells Sport from Three Irish Girls
I wore my Kaiso socks to SS11 because my friends wanted to see them in person. Surprisingly, I was asked if my socks could be put on display in the Three Irish Girls booth for the rest of the summit. If you remember, I knit them with my Three Irish Girls Spring Mini Skeins on Kells and folks had been asking repeatedly for ideas of what to knit with mini-skein sets. Well, instant example! I was more than happy to leave them there. I'm told that the socks were a big hit and people kept asking for the pattern.

Kaiso is not my pattern, it's a gorgeous Judy Sumner pattern from Knitting Socks East and West, but it had led me down a path of experimenting with patterns for the mini-skein sets.I now have a pattern that I'm incredibly excited about and I'm knitting the first sample this week. Take a look at the gorgeous yarn I get to knit them with:

Beachtown Mini Skeins on Kells Sport from Three Irish Girls
The colors are straight out of my backyard! I live in a fishing town, just blocks from the ocean, so it's only natural I should design something reminiscent of the seashore with names like Skipjack, Salt Spray, Bayside, and Driftwood. I can't wait to show these off...

Monday, August 15, 2011

After the Summit, Part One, Opening Day!

Sock Summit 2011 has come and gone. I think I have finally recovered enough to give you a recap of my adventures.

Thursday, July 28th:

(From Knitters Review)
We (my husband, son, and I) had arrived in Portland the night before so we woke up fresh and early for the first day of the Summit. Well, Boo did. His little 10 month old body was stuck in Eastern Standard Time, so he woke up for the day at 4:00 AM which meant that I got to as well! It wasn't too bad though - breakfast started at 6:30 and we got there early enough to meet up with our friends from the Three Irish Girls booth before they went to the Oregon Convention Center to set up for the marketplace. It was great to show off the baby and catch up with everyone before Sock Summit got into full swing. The excitement was just incredible as we all drank the terrible hotel coffee and chattered about our first day plans.

After breakfast, I walked the two blocks to the OCC (stopping at Starbucks to get some real coffee) and stood in line to get my registration packet for SS11. I must have waited in line for two hours to get my packet at Sock Summit 2009, but this year I was good to go in less than 15 minutes! They really had things streamlined this year. I had barely enough time to revel in the fact that I was back at the OCC, standing under the dragon boat, and surrounded by incredibly excited knitters before it was my turn.

(From Daily Skein)

Since my first class wasn't until 1:30, I left the convention center to run to the supermarket with my family. I like to pack my lunches each day so that I can spend more time socializing and enjoying the marketplace and less time wondering where to grab a quick meal.

My first day started with "Making the Next Monkey", a class taught by Amy Singer of Knitty Magazine. This class was incredible! I got a three hour lecture (with a slide show!) on how to design and prepare a pattern that will have the best chance of getting published in Knitty. Some of the tips were Knitty Magazine specific, things that Amy prefers or things that really tick her off. One good thing to note - she hates plastic feet! Never submit a photo of a sock on a plastic model foot if you want any chance of her liking your design! Other tips were applicable across the broad spectrum of magazine submissions such as great advice about how to improve your photography skills. I took 7 pages of notes during the class and came away feeling like I'd really learned some valuable things. It was an excellent start to the Summit!

Since the Marketplace opened immediately after class, I rushed to get a fresh cup of coffee before joining the queue. I'd been up since 4:00 in the morning and I really wanted to be sharp for the wonders I was about to see! I met up with some of my friends who were already in the line and we anxiously stared at the doors in anticipation.

Me, shopping at Three Irish Girls on Opening Night. (From The Yarnista)

The minute they opened we made a bee-line for the Three Irish Girls booth! I had met these lovely ladies (and gentleman, I can't forget Kurt!) in the 3IG forums on Ravelry so it only made sense. Boy, was it amazing. Knitters are so polite. We all were in a rush to get to our booths of choice but there was no shoving, no pushing, just enthusiastic knitters that were laughing and excited even when inside the PACKED 3IG booth. Seriously. It was packed. I wound up crawling on the floor to get around it because there was more space down there. (Yes, I'm a nut and I'm addicted but her yarn is so amazingly gorgeous that I don't care.) I wound up purchasing 6 skeins there that first night. That wasn't all that I got there over the course of the convention, but I didn't want to blow my budget all at once.

BMFA Socks That Rocks, Flash Mobbin'
BMFA Socks That Rocks, Sock Hoppin'
After the sock yarn buying explosion at 3IG, I left my friends behind to visit two other booths on my must hit list. First up was Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They are the fabulous creators of Socks That Rocks, a really gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn. At SS09 I was able to scoop up armloads (ok, six skeins) of Socks That Rocks Mill Ends, one of a kind skeins that were remaindered because they were imperfect in some way. Or in my language, a bargain. Since Mill Ends are really popular, I wanted to shoot over to BMFA right away to score another armload this year. Sadly they didn't have any this time around. What they did have were two Sock Summit Special Colorways, Sock Hoppin' and Flash Mobbin'. They were really pretty but since I was on a mission I was able to resist temptation.

L - R: Irish Sea Moss, Melon Gelato, Petal Pink
Dublin Bay was my other booth of choice that first evening. I do a lot of shopping at the Dublin Bay online store because they stock both 3IG and Yarn Love sock yarns - two loves in quick stop! I had a tip that I would be able to find one of a kind Yarn Love skeins there and they are very, very rare. Since my big thing stash-wise this trip was to only buy things that I couldn't get elsewhere, I knew this was a must shop destination. Boy, was I right! I found three gorgeous skeins of Juliet that were screaming to come home with me. I can't wait to see what they become.

The rest of my shopping time was spent wandering the aisles, seeing what there was to be seen. There were a whole bunch of vendors that I remembered from SS09 but mixed in were some names that were new to me. I had a great time just petting yarns and collecting business cards with the intent to hard-core shop the next day.

I headed back to the hotel at 6:30 when the Marketplace shut down for the night. After a picnic dinner with the family, I headed off to the hotel's meeting room for a 3IG Ravelry Meetup. Boy was that a good time! About 20 of us were gathered together, knitting socks and hanging out. I had been chatting with all of the folks there online for years but had only met about half in person - at Sock Summit 2009, of course. It was great to meet the rest of the online crowd and really connect names and faces together. I stayed up laughing and knitting and chatting until 3:00 in the morning! I regretted it when Boo woke up at 5:00 AM the next morning, but it was a blast.