Summiting the Sock Mountain

Kathleen and Mimi having a blast at Sock Summit!

Two weeks ago I had the BEST weekend. It was a weekend of the masters of sorts—sock knitting masters! I went to the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon.

My friend Mimi and I attended together, and we had an absolute ball! From the classes to the marketplace to the flash mob (!), we can't decide on what the highlight was. For pure joy I think it was the flash mob, for learning pleasure I think it might have been our hour-long class on Judy's Magic Cast-On, taught by Judy Becker, the "Judy" in the magic cast-on.

There were so many brushes with greatness, though, it's hard to float one to the top. We saw the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) trolling the show, had lunch with Ann Budd, took a class from darling Sivia Harding, and met so many wonderful independent yarn dyers and spinners. We spent a lot of time in The Plucky Knitter's booth. Oh, the deep, vibrant colors she creates! I also spent too much time in the Signature Needle Arts booth. Oh, the lonely cry of my empty wallet!

I wanted to give you a taste of the Summit, so here are some highlights!

Eye of Partridge heel in Lorilee Beltman's sock pattern Thistle & Forest

Mad for Plaid class with Lorilee Beltman. We loved Lorilee! She is a kind, patient soul and her plaid class was a wonder. My favorite quote from Lorilee: "There will be some ends to weave in when you're done, so just be mature about it." She's funny, too! And she taught us a lovely alternative to a plain stockinette toe and slip-stitch heel—the Eye of Partridge Stitch.

Eye of Partridge Stitch (version for heels)
Row 1: (Right side) * Sl1, K1*, repeat across, ending with K1.
Row 2 and all even rows: Sl1, purl across row.
Row 3: Sl2, * K1, Sl1,* repeat across row ending with K2.
Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

This pretty stitch offsets the slipped stitch every other row, resulting a subtle diamond pattern.

Judy's Magic Cast-On tips. Judy taught her cast-on, then gave us a few tips for using it on things other than socks. My favorite: Use Judy's Magic Cast on when you start a center out shawl, and instead of increasing in every stitch on the first round, just knit the first round with the tail and the working yarn, then knit into each strand on the following row. Instant doubling of stitches! And more magic from Judy. At the end of the class, Judy told us she's working on a new book called Not Just Toes, full of ideas for using her cast-on. Exciting!

Sandi Rosner's Wide Spiral pattern

Fun stitch patterns for self-striping yarn. Not Just Socks author Sandi Rosen taught this class, and it was really fun. We all have those balls of self-striping yarn in our stashes, but sometimes we want to do more with it than just knit striped stockinette socks. Sandi showed us a couple of stitch patterns to use with self-striping yarn, and here's one for you!

Wide Spiral—multiple of 10 stitches
Every Round: * K2, yo, K6, K2tog; repeat from * to end of round.

I love the look of this, and it's amazing how the yarnover doesn't show up!

We had an absolute ball knitting socks at the Sock Summit. The sense of camaraderie was wonderful; and perhaps that feeling was most alive during the flash mob. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out! (That's me, middle left, right behind the gal in the black diagonal-striped top!)

Sweet Maize Anklets

There's nothing like getting together with other knitters to celebrate your passion for the craft, and Sock Summit was just a wonderful gathering. since I've returned it's been all sock knitting, all the time.

I've got one and a half socks done (I'm actually knitting the second sock!) and my next pair is going to be Sweet Maize Anklets by Kristen Kapur, from the fall 2011 eMag Sockupied. Get your copy of Sockupied today and jump on the sock wagon with me!


P.S. Let's keep the sock love going—check out our brand new sock topic page!

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