Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sock Summit Day 2: Onward and Upward

On our second day at the Summit, I started with a lecture by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts called Ethnic Socks & Stockings. Her particular interest is in Eastern socks. The oldest knitted socks known to be in existence have been carbon-dated to 1200 years old. They are from Egypt and are made from cotton. This session was basically a lecture/slideshow, and we saw gorgeous photo after gorgeous photo of socks. Some of them featured a technique she called “shepherd’s knitting,” which is created with two very thin needles with crochet hooks on the end. I don’t really understand it, but they create a very dense fabric.IMG_4128

After the morning session, we all trooped into a ballroom to set a new world record for most people knitting at the same time. As you may know, the Guinness people only consider knitting to be created with two needles – not a set of dpns, and definitely not circular needles. As we went into the ballroom, there were volunteers outside shouting “Two needles! Flat knitting!” just as baseball vendors holler “Peanuts! Cold beer!” Some had baskets of straight needles to lend (since sock knitters don’t use straight needles). After we gathered, Stephanie reminded us about the rules. Even thought you knit with only 2 dpns at any given time, you need 4 for the project. 4 dpns are not 2. 2 + 2 = 4, but 4 is not 2. Some smart aleck (Amy Singer?) asked if it was okay to purl (it is). The Guinness people sealed the door and started the timer. We all knit for 15 celebratory minutes and almost certainly broke the record. The current record was set in June 2009 in Australia with only 256 people. I feel sure there were at least 1000 in the room. We shall see! Here is Steven getting ready to do some “two needles, flat knitting!” for the record:

IMG_4141 Stephanie was everywhere (notice how I now refer to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee as my close personal friend Stephanie rather than the Yarn Harlot). I’m getting used to seeing her, but I still want to take her picture every time. As a result, I have a lot of totally mediocre Kinnearing pictures like this one:


This is ST-1: Tina Newton (owner of Blue Moon Fiber Arts) and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

After the world record attempt, Steven and I headed back to the marketplace to the demo area, where a vendor was showing scanning electron microscopy photos of fiber and explaining why they look different. Good geeky fun!

We did some more shopping and I found myself trying out a new spindle. This little beauty is made by Grafton Fibers in Vermont and I found it at the A Verb for Keeping Warm booth:


It came home with me. So did a few other things: some Wensleydale fiber to spin into sock yarn from Tactile (the purple gray stuff), some sparkly pink sock yarn for Meggan (remember the role she played in getting me here!), a couple of patterns, some Addi lace needles (size 2 mm/US 0), and issue 1 of Handknit Heroes. Turns out the Handknit Heroes folks had a booth. Steven and I tried on the knitted superhero masks and had our photo taken together. Look for it on the Handknit Heroes Flickr set! I’ll link to it later when I have internet.IMG_4150Later, Jeff met us downtown for dinner at the yummy Farm Cafe. I enjoyed a Tower of Tofu (herb and pecan-encrusted tofu cutlets leaned against a core of mashed potatoes, with a yummy mushroomy sauce over all) and peach cobbler for dessert. We headed out to the Sock Hop but didn’t stay too long – it was mostly dancing and not museum-ing.

Tomorrow: KnitteRx and Darn It!


  1. Your thoughtful and thorough blogging of this conference puts me to shame!

  2. I've loved reading about your Sock Summit experience! That looks like some fantastic swag you brought home. Glad that you guys had fun!