Friday, August 14, 2009

Sock Summit - the classes

I've been trying all week to figure out how to summarize the amazing time I had at Sock Summit. I started a blog post, trying to go chronologically and got halfway through Thursday before realizing I needed better organization. So today - the classes!

Knitting Vintage Socks with Nancy Bush
This was my only all-day class, and it was pretty amazing. Nancy Bush had extensive handouts about how Things Were Done (if you wanted a left-leaning decrease you didn't ssk, for instance - Barbara Walker confirmed later in the weekend that she did, as far as she knew, invent that particular decrease), and showed us nifty things throughout the Weldon's Practical Needlework books from which she sourced her Vintage Socks book. We made a funny little practice sock that had all the interesting things that exist in a sock - cuff, heel, toe, and none of the sloggy parts between them. It doesn't look much like a sock, but it's a great little yarn bra. This is where it was at lunch time - through the teeny heel flap.


I met some fun people in my class. There were a few things we were taught that I hadn't seen before, and some that I had. The nostepinne demonstration was kind of funny to me, in that Nancy Bush says what I say about yarn winding being a part of the process of knitting something new. The lasting impression I had was of Nancy's passion for and deep study of her subjects - she talked about stumbling upon and falling in love with Estonian knitting in a beautiful way.


This was the board at the end of class. Illustrations of left and right leaning decreases, knitting on four and five needles, and which way stitches should go. On the table there are socks from several of her books. Lots to see, lots to think about, and lots of fun.

Arch-Shaped Stockings with Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen
There are no pictures from this class. I didn't take many notes in this class. The class handout was one page, the actual class was large and fairly quiet, but oh, wow. This class blew my mind. Meg and Amy were a great combination, playing off each other beautifully, skipping from topic to topic with ease. The actual sock subject the class was ostensibly "about" was skimmed over, but the nitty gritty intricacies of the techniques one could apply to it (including some increases I'd never seen before, and a mention of intarsia-in-the-round) blew my mind. My notes include a quote from Meg: "The only thing that really matters in knitting is consistency." She had this amazing attitude of freedom and pleasure in her knitting - with the really cool stuff you could tell she was impressed by the cleverness inherent in it. Now I desperately want to go to Knitting Camp in Wisconsin - a long weekend with those two would be amazing.

Finding True Sock Yarn Happiness with Clara Parkes
This class began with Clara handing out tape, which was a little mystifying, but as soon as she started handing out fiber samples, it made much more sense. This class was Oh So My (totally geeky) Style. Clara is the founder of Knitter's Review and so she actually tests yarn for a living. She gave us some great terminology (all this week that I've been home I've been remembering things like "prickle factor" and "intimate blend") and a fantastic overview of fibers and yarns and the pros and cons of all different types.

Sock Yarn Happiness

As we were wrapping up, we discussed the ways to deal with different downfalls - a non-stretchy yarn could be overcome by using a forgiving stitch, and vice versa. One of the most memorable demonstrations was a pair of socks - one in a merino-tencel blend, one in 100% merino, knit exactly the same in a chevron pattern- in which the tencel one barely stretched at all, but the other was able to be noticeably stretched. She also gave us some tips on where to shop in the Marketplace, which was fun...

Paint Your Toes! Stranded Colorwork with Janel Laidman
The fun thing about this class was getting to see how Janel designs. She had her "enchanted box" of socks from her new book The Enchanted Sole and handed them around. The class was for beginning stranded colorwork, which was fine, I worked my teensy black-and-pink sock through part of the heel flap in our three hours. Decreases and structure in colorwork were addressed, and we were given resources to design our own full-sized colorwork stockings - plus a pattern from the upcoming book (Tree of Life - ravelry link).

Spindle Spinning Basics with Abby Franquemont and Denny McMillan
What a great time this class was!
One or the other of the teachers was spinning the whole time. We got Abby's funny (and very true) manifesto of "why society would not exist without spinning." There were a million jokes about kinky singles and slippery shafts. Denny says that we'll be comfortable in 15 trolley rides. I was kind of ok already - I have been more comfortable since I switched my homemade wheel spindle to a bottom-whorl after stalking Abby in Franklin. My spindle from the class kit says "right round" on it, which amuses me to no end.


My classes were amazing, but for all that happened in them, more happened outside them. Stay tuned, folks, more to come as I can process it.

1 comment:

laurie said...

Very cool. Yeh- you had a good time at sock camp:)
Looking forward to more --