What happens at Sock Summit stays at Sock Summit; NOT

Well, Sock Summit has come and gone. Over a year’s anticipation and planning and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Remember how you felt about Christmas as a child? Like that, but even more so, and with lots and lots of yarn!

I had planned to blog while away (just like I had planned to visit the fitness centre in my hotel daily and eat clean; got their once and managed egg white omelettes and oatmeal for breakfast). Best laid plans, or so they say.

Blame it on the wool fumes, the excitement of meeting on-line friends ITF (In The Flesh), the presence of so many knitting celebrities (aka The Knitterati) and the constant and steady pull of the Marketplace (just one more peek to see whether I’ve missed anything I have to have…). I could not bring myself to sit and write about what I could, instead, be experiencing!

One thousand, nine hundred and eighty students attending 1, 3 and 6 hour classes on everything from sock design, to chart reading, to ergonomics for knitters to photographing your fiber. A Marketplace with over 200 vendors. A brilliant and humorous lecture on the changes knitting causes in our brains. Participating in a flash mob (my children think this is particularly cool!). All set against a backdrop of new and old friends connected by their love of fiber arts.

Wherever I turned, there were knitters, knitting. At Denny’s over breakfast. At Starbucks. On the MAX. Wandering the Saturday Market (which, by the way, is fabulous, if you’re into arts and crafts). In line for the food carts. And of course, wandering the halls or resting between classes at the Oregon Convention Center. Even during the keynote lecture! Lights were intentionally left on so that we could see to work while we listened!

I was able to meet up with friends from my favorite Ravelry group for a wonderful dinner out. We all “shawled up” for a group photo (which, when uploaded to Rav, generated lots of discussion about who was who and what shawl pattern each was modeling!) and continued our knitting at the hotel’s cafe late into the night.

How wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people. People who don’t question what you’re doing or why you’re doing it (‘why would you spend $20 and 20 hours knitting a pair of socks when you can buy them at Target, 3 for $5?’). Strangers became immediate friends in line-ups, in classes (hi Jill!) on elevators and even in the loo!

We exchanged patterns, stitch markers, blog cards and hugs, planning for the next meet up before we headed for home.

Not much exercise, too many carbs, a whopping credit card bill (shh, don’t tell my hubby) and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now I’m off to cast on at least three new projects, freshly inspired and my love of knitting once again renewed.

Have you ever attended an event related to a hobby or passion?

If you could learn an art or craft, what would it be?

What would you pack for a sock knitting convention?

Sock Summit is almost here! Four days of knitting, learning, shopping and eating with 1800 of my closest online friends! What could be more fun?

I’ve been busily making lists of what to take (and what to leave at home; I imagine there will be yarn swifts and ball winders at the Marketplace…the vendor line-up is incredibly extensive). My classes all have supply lists, so that’s easy (although choosing which of my pretty stash sock yarns to use for my sock design class was excruciatingly difficult). And of course, I have a new traveling sock to work on; plain stocking stitch in a beautiful bluey-green yarn from Saffron Dyeworks. (Should I happen to finish this pair while I’m away, I’m sure I’ll be able to get my hands on some more yarn to start another pair!).

The weather is finally starting to act like summer, so shorts, skirts and tank tops with a couple of hand knit shawls to wear/show off if the convention centre is air conditioned or the nights are cool.

What about exercise gear and clean eats?

My hotel has a fitness centre (although you never know what type of equipment you’ll have to work with until you get there…), so I’ll be packing running shoes, shorts and workout tanks. I’ve already loaded my iPod up with a new playlist (I’m loving anything Lady Gaga these days!).

With all the sitting (car ride, lectures and workshops) and standing around (receptions, marketplace and downtown Portland shopping), I’ll definitely need to get a couple of workouts in. My typical travel training sessions usually focus on cardio (short burst treadmill intervals) and body weight exercises (squats, pushups, planks and dips), although depending on the caliber of the gym, I may be able to get in some heavier lifting as well.

Clean eating supplies are a bit more difficult. I’ll be crossing the border, so can’t take any fresh fruits or veggies with me. Not sure how big the mini-fridge in the hotel will be, so I daren’t risk too many things that need to be kept cold. So, eggs, Greek yogurt and cooked chicken breasts are out (my friend and roommate will be thankful that I’m leaving the hard cooked eggs at home!).

Protein powder (to add to water or milk), raw oats, dried fruit and some nuts will have to be my staples. I can make some protein bars before I leave and buy fruit and veggies when I get there. Maybe I’ll even get to visit Trader Joes! My biggest challenges will be to (1) avoid baked goods at the coffee shops (my downfall :( ) and (2) make sure I get enough lean protein at restaurant meals (while resisting the fries…).

Last thing on my to-do list? Input all my on-line Ravelry friends’ cell phone numbers into my iPhone. We’re planning a ‘live’ meet up and I truly think that this will be the very best part of Sock Summit!

Stay tuned; we have free Wi-Fi at the conference and I’m hoping to blog from there…

Are you an over-packer or an under-packer when you travel?

Have you ever met up (in the flesh) with any online friends?

Just in case you think I haven’t been knitting…

I have!

I knit almost every day (although not until I’ve exercised; priorities, please) and have finished a whole whack of projects since the last time I blogged about them. In fact, as you’re reading this, I am probably sitting in the car (not driving, of course) and knitting happily away on a simple, plain vanilla sock. I call this my ‘traveling sock’, because it rides around in my handbag and gets pulled out whenever there’s a few minutes available to knit. (My grandmother used to say something about idle hands and the devil’s work; guess I took that lesson a bit too seriously!).

In no particular order (more details on my Ravelry projects page)…

Beaded heart to heart

Rose lace stole

Wandering the Moors shawl

Cathy's Retirement Shawl

Wispy cardigan

Fallberry mitts

I’ve a few more projects OTN (‘on the needles’) as well as a gorgeous new shawl that’s just been blocked but needs some photos.

What have my knitting friends been up to lately?

Anyone going to Sock Summit in Portland, July 27-31? Look for me; I’ll be there!