Today started with electronics – my Twinkle Toes class. Syne Mitchell had lots of fun electronically-enhanced textiles on display at the front of the class. I know I should have video of these, but I just don’t. There are limits to what me and my little netbook can do with limited internet access. Here is the bag she designed for knitty.com: And here is another blinky hat: We got our electronics kits and tested our components. All of mine worked right at the beginning, which was good. Eventually we started sewing things onto our handknits with conductive thread. I managed to sew in the “sparkle” component (which is the one shaped like a flower) as well as my four LED sequins (the smaller pieces you’ll see below) just before the end of the 3-hour class. I started connecting my circuit by duplicate stitching conductive thread between the sparkle and the LED lights, but I didn’t have time to finish.After I do that, I’ll connect the battery holder to the sparkle piece (also using conductive thread) and hope everything lights up. I’m a little worried that I don’t know how to do the duplicate stitch well enough and that my circuit will break the first time Boy 1 puts the socks on. The thread isn’t stretchy at all, which is why we compensate for that by using duplicate stitch (which waves around the way the yarn does in knitted fabric, with extra room for give). But we shall see…
I popped into the marketplace for a couple of minutes to check out the Fleece to Foot competition. The teams started at 9 and were still hard at work at noon – I saw some people knitting, but others on the team were still spinning and even flick carding:
I jumped on a train and Kris and I had Japanese food for lunch. Then, a quick train ride back to the OCC, and I finished out my Sock Summit experience with Clara Parkes’ class, “A Bag of Tricks for Stretch and Strength.” We spent the first part of class looking at raw fiber and talking about the qualities of wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, cashmere, and nylon. Handknit socks require strength, elasticity, and moisture management, so we talked about those properties in each of those fibers. We covered some of this information in Clara’s class in 2009, but it was a wonderful recap (with some new detail). Then we talked about specific sock patterns that make the most of a particular yarn’s qualities. The patterns are all in Clara’s new book, which will appear this October. She had a single galley proof with her in class, and we all eyed it greedily: There are so many great socks in this book – we looked at the samples in class. I want to knit a bunch of them! Here is the sample sock for the pattern that is shared in the promotional brochure for the book (that I got yesterday):I think this pattern is a contender for Ed’s socks! Kris, what do you think?
Clara also took a look at my Hedgerow Socks, the ones that blew holes in both heels on the same day. Do you remember those? The yarn was Green Mountain Spinnery Sock Art, a mix of wool and mohair. Clara was mortified when she saw the socks (which, remember, had been worn less than half a dozen times). She picked apart the fluff at the frayed parts and noted that the wool staples were extremely short, which they shouldn’t be. It almost looked like the wool had dissolved, leaving only mohair behind to hold the sock together. Mohair isn’t strong enough to do that on its own, which is why the holes appeared. I had some of the leftover yarn with me, too, so we looked at that. The twist was tight enough. The 2-ply structure of the yarn was a concern of hers, but mostly, she diagnosed a fiber preparation problem. She thinks that perhaps the fiber wasn’t blended well enough at the mill before spinning, so the wool and mohair separated and broke. Or, perhaps something was wrong with the wool (the staple was too short, breaks appeared easily due to stressful growing conditions for the sheep, who knows?). She was concerned enough that she suggested I contact Green Mountain. I may do that. It was affirming to hear that I hadn’t made an error in choosing the yarn. And she really liked seeing another pair of Hedgerow Socks in the world (the pattern originally appeared in The Knitter’s Review).
…and that was the end of Sock Summit 2011! Kris, Ed, and I went to Hawthorne Hophouse for a lovely dinner on the way home. Kris and I split a beer “flight” of 6 little glasses, after which we ordered our favorites. I had a salad with strawberries, hazelnuts, and chevre. It was super yummy. I would love to have a restaurant like that in my neighborhood – they have 24 microbrews (and even a category new to me, nanobrews) on tap brewed in Portland and the surrounding area, and the varieties are constantly rotating. I had a “Black Cherry,” which is a mix of a cherry/apple cider and a porter. Super yum.
Portland, we enjoyed being here. Thanks to the mountain for coming out so often. Thanks to Ed for showing us a great time. Thanks to all the knitters, and to ST-1 and ST-2 in particular. I had the time of my life!