Monday, August 31, 2009

belated but heartfelt gratitude

I'd thought this would be the first SS09 post I would write, but to my chagrin it's not. I hope my friends know how much I appreciate them.

I couldn't have gotten to Sock Summit without the help of my friends, who understood how important it was to me to "go big or go home," as Tina and Stephanie described it during the SS opening reception. (Wish I'd gone, in hindsight; it sounded like a pretty amazing event.)

Many, many thanks to Treva and Anne, who offered to watch my kiddo all day on several occasions so that I could dye yarn. It made such a huge difference to have that uninterrupted time.

And much gratitude to friend Nicolette, a weaver who used to do the craft show circuit, and who fully understands the effort it takes to make a career (or even a serious side business) out of handcrafting. She reskeined countless messy hanks of yarn, and labeled yarn for hours.

Love to Bridgett, who knitted my samples for me. She went above and beyond the call of duty to find patterns and knit socks that showed my yarn to its best advantage.

Thanks to my child, who loyally insisted that all my yarn was beautiful even when I thought it (and I) was a horrible failure.

I am so appreciative of my friends on the HC forums, who were cheerleaders from the beginning. And particular thanks to Denise, Diane, and Kimberly, who shared dyeing know-how and commiseration, and to Erika (on HC) and Erika (off HC) who encouraged me every step of the way.

The biggest THANK YOU goes to my husband, who whisked kiddo away for a long weekend so that I had four days of nonstop dyeing (I did about a quarter of my total skeins then), never complained about not seeing me for six nights out of seven, patiently wound yarn off cones, labeled yarn, and did far more than his fair share of housework and child rearing. No way could I have done Sock Summit without him. I've always known that marrying him was a pretty smart move, but every year I discover new reasons why it was a darned good idea.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sock Summit highlights

I had a hard time adjusting to normal life after Sock Summit. There was a sense of unreality about the whole experience--I'd spent so many months thinking about it, working towards it, wondering how it would be, and then suddenly I was there and living it. And then it was over.

I've never been to anything like it. I think the experience was crystallized in the moment before the marketplace opened. Debbi (one of the organizers) was counting down the minutes. I think she announced there were 10 seconds before the doors opened, and all of us vendors screamed from the tension and exhilaration. This must be how Olympic athletes feel as the starting gun goes off--all that hard work and passion and striving, all leading to that single moment.

Then we heard an answering cry from the shoppers, as the doors opened and everyone surged in. It was absolutely amazing. I still get shivers up my spine, remembering it.

Thursday was perhaps the best day of the summit, just because you could feel the happiness and excitement in the air. Everyone was giddy. The joy was palpable. The closest thing that I've experienced was my wedding day, when guests started arriving. Friends from every different chapter in my life came, most from hundreds of miles away, just to celebrate with Michael and me. Sock Summit was like that, only the joy was more impersonal--which, in a way, made it more incredible. I had no connection with most of the people, yet I could feel how happy we were to see one another.

And the people that I did have a previous connection with--wow. I met people that I had known online for years, and it was like we had been friends forever. Especially Diane--I loved meeting her at last. And I really lucked out on my roommates, both of whom I liked immensely.

I originally named my Limitless colorway (one of my Dye for Glory entries) in part because I felt like my sense of possibilities had expanded enormously during prep for SS09. I left it out of my description on Ravelry because it felt sort of hokey to say, but now that I've actually been, and felt my horizons as a knitter, dyer, designer open up, I think I couldn't have picked a better name.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

stocking on August 27

Stocking my store for the first time since Sock Summit--I think it's about 60 skeins. This week I've listed some worsted and aran yarns; next week, I'll list fingering and sport weight. I'm trying to offer a balance of bright and subtle colorways each week, so that there's something for everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

how quickly we forget

Tonight I dyed yarn for the first time since Sock Summit. It's only been two weeks, yet I'd forgotten two of the basics:

1) Always tie your yarn in a few places before you put it in the dyepot. I have no idea how I managed to forget, but I was skeining yarn off cones this afternoon and forgot to tie up one of the skeins . Took it out of the spin dryer and it fell apart, of course. Luckily it was only an ounce of worsted yarn, so it didn't take me too long to untangle it, but how on earth did I manage to take it off my yarn winder without tying up at least the loose ends?

2) When you peek into your dyepot, don't forget that steam is hot. I scalded my forearm with that initial gush of steam after I lifted the lid. It still hurts, though not as much as my pride.

The dyeing itself went well, I think. It's intended to be a Queen of Hearts colorway for an upcoming Alice in Wonderland theme at Venus Vanguard. It will cool in the pot overnight, so we'll see tomorrow how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the not-Sock Summit post

I need to write a SS09 post, but I want to download my photos first. In the meantime, my husband asked me tonight if I wanted to go to "that fiber thing down south," meaning OFFF, which I went to last year as a spectator. I said no, because after the stress of Sock Summit prep, during which he had to do far more than his fair share of housework and childrearing, I didn't think he would want me to. He said that if the yarn was mostly dyed up, he didn't see why I wouldn't want to go.

So now I'm tempted. I could work on the saturated semi-solid colorways that I started developing in my head over the weekend, and order a couple of other fingering and lace yarns that I've had my eye on. Sport and worsted didn't sell very well at SS09, so I've got a good foundation in those. I need to figure out how much time my other fall commitments are going to take me ... but I'm very tempted. I haven't even done a full post-mortem of my inventory, so I wonder just how crazy this idea might be.

While I was making reservations for Pok Pok, I absent-mindedly gave them my home number. So they called Michael to confirm my reservation for 18. He was telling a friend of ours, who said, "Well, at least it's not a reservation for two."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sock Summit: move-in day

Didn't leave town quite as early as I hoped, but after managing to hit rush hour in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia (Oly has a rush hour now? Who knew?), I pulled into PDX around 7:45. I have little wire cubes and man, they take a while to put together. Now I sort of wish I didn't have a class tomorrow morning, because the booth isn't even close to being put together, and I'm anxious. But I still have all afternoon, and Andrea and her husband will be working on it in the morning. I shouldn't fret, but I probably still will.

I can't believe I'm here! After so many months of excitement and preparation, it's finally happening. When I was hauling my stuff in, I was so distracted by all the wonderful yarn that I could barely steer my cart straight. I just wanted to shop. All this beauty, under a single roof. It's just incredible. Photos tomorrow; I was too hot and tired to take any tonight.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ending the vow of stash chastity

After eight months of noble sacrifice and self-restraint, I am ready to shop. I already have this lovely skein by Happy Hands Yarn waiting for me:

And I'll be participating in the Buffalo Gold stimulus package: bring in a skein of yarn for donating to a group of knitters in Bhutan, and get $20 off a skein of bison down. I'm so curious about what it's like - fell in love with some patterns in Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders that feature this yarn (though a different weight).

I don't want to post about the other ones that I desperately want, because I haven't pre-ordered them (I should PM the vendor and see if just maybe I could get some set aside). Selfish and underhanded of me, I know.

On the non-yarn front, I also pre-ordered a copy of Chrissy Gardiner's book on toe-up sock design.

why my spin dryer is bad for me

I leave for PDX in a little over 24 hours, and yet I'm still dyeing yarn. Why? Because I know it will be dry before I leave. Modern technology only encourages that "just one more bite" mentality.

I'm not ready to go, yet I feel strangely that things are all under control. Mostly I'm excited to get there and see how my yarn does. I ought to be waking up from screaming nightmares where my shelves are fully stocked while all the vendors around me have nothing left ... but I don't. Glad to know that my subconscious isn't worrying.