Friday, July 29, 2011

Sock Summit Day 1

My morning class was Explore Shimada’s Socks with Gayle Roehm.  We spent the first half of the class reviewing the book.  Gayle’s handout explained what kind of information was in which section and translated key Japanese words and symbols.  We talked our way through one of the daunting charts that is a Japanese sock pattern.

During the second half of the class, we swatched one of the heel styles in the book – the one least familiar to Western knitters.  It is essentially a short row heel with yarnovers and turns (slightly different than the wrap-and-turn I’m used to), but it doesn’t decrease and increase evenly and as a result is shallower.  I don’t understand why Shimada does it like this, but our goal was to work the heel the way the designer intended.  Here is my teacher holding my work:IMG_9557 Will I use the patterns in Shimada’s book?  Probably not.  I think it’s interesting to look at Japanese stitch dictionaries and I' can see myself incorporating some of those into sock designs, but I don’t see any advantage in using the Japanese sock structure.

Interestingly, Gayle said that sock knitting isn’t nearly as popular in Japan as it is here.  She could only find TWO Japanese knitting books devoted to sock patterns.  Some books include one or two sock patterns in a larger collection, but there aren’t stacks of socks-only books like we see here.

Kris made some friends in her morning class (Cat Bordhi’s class) who joined us for lunch – it was fun meeting Susan and Katharine, both from the S.F. Bay area.  Katharine is a new teacher this year, teaching a Bosnian toe one-hour wonder class.  It was fun to chat with her about how she got started.  She has taught others in her knitting group before, but this was her first big teaching opportunity.  I wish I was in her class to cheer her on!  We also ran into teacher Lorilee Beltman at Burgerville and she joined us for lunch, too.  Kris met Lorilee at a wedding earlier this year (the bride is her niece) and since they were both knitting, they connected right away.  It just so happened that I was signed up for Lorilee’s afternoon class, so let’s talk about that next!

My afternoon class was Mad for Plaid, and it was a JOY.  Lorilee had structured the class ideally for learning.  She explained things very clearly and managed the classroom superbly (I always notice this stuff because the kind of teaching I do is also “one-shot” teaching and classroom management can be difficult in this environment.  She dispensed little tips throughout the session which were gems (I’ll show you the knit one slip one trick in person!), and she insisted we take a stretching break (smart).  Here is a sock made using her plaid pattern, so you can see what we were learning:IMG_9560 Do you see that the vertical lines aren’t quite one stitch wide?  They zig zag back and forth over two columns, which creates a twill effect.  It looks really, really good!IMG_9561 We brought yarn in a main color but samples in three other colors were provided by The Plucky Knitter (you’ll see that I fall pretty hard for her later, when we get to the Marketplace).  We didn’t get very far along during our 3-hour class, but we learned everything we need to knit this sock successfully.  I am definitely planning to make this sock at home.  Here is what my class work looks like:IMG_9562I know, there isn’t much to see yet – but trust me, it was impressive.

Here is Lorilee dispensing thoughtful wisdom to a fellow classmate.  You can see the brain waves, right? IMG_9564 After afternoon classes ended at 4:30, the marketplace opened to students only.  The line was insane.  I didn’t take a picture so you’ll just have to trust me.  I ran into Carol from The Mannings and Missy, too (Missy from the former Wool in the Woods).  Missy and Anita taught my first beginner knitting class 9 long years ago.  When I introduced Missy to Kris, Kris exclaimed “then you are my grandmother!”  It was a pretty neat moment.

I didn’t take many pictures in the marketplace.  It was crazy.  I was too hungry to be shopping for yarn.  (You know how you’re not supposed to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry?  You shouldn’t go yarn shopping, either.  I was so hungry that I forgot I had stashed some almonds in my backpack.  I just wasn’t thinking straight!)  I did take this shot of The Plucky Knitter booth, where I liked every single thing I saw (including the pompom chandelier covered with xmas lights).  Best use of pompoms I’ve ever seen.IMG_9565 I l bought two skeins of yarn here to make the Different Lines shawl (which is the one you see hanging in the top right corner).  I may return to look at patterns again – there were some neat ones.  This vendor is based in Michigan – I’ll try to convince her to come to MDSW. 

When I finally caught up with Kris again, she was winding lace yarn at the yarn winding station.  Look at the neat swifts made by The Oregon Woodworker:IMG_9566 And then we went to Burgerville for smoothies because we couldn’t make it until 7 pm and the snacks at the opening reception.

The reception was fun.  We met lots of people and were entertained by Stephanie and Tina.  We saw a blooper reel of the making of the flash mob dance video, and then we all practiced the dance.  We looked pretty darn good, I must say!IMG_9573


  1. Thanks for sharing! I LOVE that plaid sock and clever technique. Can't wait to see the rest of your classes, great scenery, and fun times!

  2. I'm looking forward to some plaid socks!