These past few days have left my head spinning… no pun intended. First, on Monday a package arrived from Ruth. I had won a contest at her site and these are the wonderful prizes. The first picture shows a handy and convenient Stitch Saver key chain. She makes and sells these on Etsy. What a clever idea! The second picture shows some deliciously beautiful and soft sock yarn from Sknitches Limited Sock. The colorway is called “Cottage” and the fiber content is 60% merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. Who knew that bamboo could be so soft! I can’t wait to discover the right pattern for this yarn. Thank you Ruth!
I went to bed early that night with this beautiful skein nestled on my night stand. I wanted to be well-rested for Tuesday night.
That next afternoon I left straight from work to meet up with Monica in Portland. My OCD fear of being late was again unfounded and I arrived a full hour earlier than expected. To pass the time I went to the nearby Grotto (caution, this link has music) and walked around. The paths, meandering throughout the beautiful fauna and the soft echoes of Gregorian chants over the loudspeakers almost (not quite because of the sirens, horns and general car noises coming from nearby Sandy Blvd.) made me forget I was in a city.
The grounds were truly magnificent in spite of the damp chill in air.
This statue of Jesus had me in turmoil. He had naked feet. Very big, naked feet. It’s cold. I had a sock with me. The temptation to lay the sock across his cold foot for a picture almost won out against my sense of decorum. Not only did I not want to offend anybody (not that many were around in the drizzle) but on the off chance that someone from on high was watching I didn’t want to bank on him/her having a sense of humor. Can you imagine reaching the Pearly Gates only to have St. Pete pull out video surveillance of your transgressions? Explanations about sock pictures, knit blogging, etc. are puny defense when the hereafter is on the line. And although sock posing doesn’t appear on the “thou shall not” list there might be some loophole or addendum that I’m unaware of. So his feet remained bare and my sock stayed in the bag.
The short trek and religious ponderings ate up much of the hour and before I knew it, it was time to finally meet Monica. We had emailed back and forth several times but this was the first time we’d ever actually met. Not only is Monica charming and hilarious, but she’s also very brave. For all she knew, I could have been an ax murderer. She didn’t even cringe or flinch when I almost drove through a (in my opinion barely noticeable) median barrier. We arrived safely at the Max terminal complete with knitting, cameras, chocolate and other necessities. Here is a picture of Monica once we’d settled in on the Max.
I’m not certain, but we may have frightened some nearby passengers with our knitting, laughing and picture taking. The 44 minute train ride provided ample time for me to frog a scarf that just wasn’t working and to admire and fondle the lovely sock that Monica had finished. It’s made out of STR Rare Gems in a heavyweight.
For any of you unfamiliar with the Portland Light Rail system (and I’m guessing that’s pretty much all of you) The zoo terminal is located far underground in The Robertson Tunnel. Nothing like being under millions of tons of rock to set off the claustrophobia. As our train pulled away I almost wondered if getting off had been a mistake!
But the quick ear-popping elevator ride to the surface revealed lots of open space, rainy skies and a plethora of meandering knitters. We still had two hours before listening to Stephanie. Here we entered into some strange space-time-yarn continuum (string theory?) because those 120 minutes flew by at light speed.
The ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts had really outdone themselves by dyeing about a billion skeins of a special colorway. Part of the proceeds from the yarn sales went directly to Doctors Without Borders.
I purchased a skein, but I think it will be secretly stashed away for an upcoming annual event that may or may not have a yarn swap.
Beautiful knitting abounded! Everywhere you looked was a feast for the eyes as knitters wore, held or created wondrous effects. There would not be enough blog space to show them all, but here are just a few of the more memorable (and nearby) knits.
Then there was this fellow. I have no idea who he is, but when he walked by the front of the room it erupted with whoops and cheers. His sweater was stunning and he remained gracious in spite of the attention. He had knitted it for his father, but then borrowed it back for the evening and if memory serves me right he made it without a pattern.
Did I mention that Monica knows every knitter between Seattle and Salem? So many people were introduced and pointed out to me that my head swam. This is Dawn. Dawn designed this lovely Fair Isle herself and knit it in a bamboo yarn. Bamboo intrigues me to no end after my encounters with it these past two days. Anyway, the sweater is gorgeous! Sorry, I do not know Dawn’s blog address.
I don’t know Judy (hope this is the correct link). Judy wasn’t able to come. Judy’s PDX peeps had her covered though. They brought Pseudo-Judy! PJ held a sock, posed for pictures and later on even had her backside signed by Stephanie. How many knitters can make that claim?
Sitting two seats over from me a knitter busily worked away on her Pomatomus sock. Her work mesmerized me. Not only did she have the darned pattern (which I can’t even pronounce) memorized, but she flew through it comfortably amid chaos. She graciously held her sock for a picture and she even handed me her card. The yarn she was using is Jitterbug and the mystery knitter is Stephania at Moirae Knitting.
One row up and over Deb from Fearless Fibers was passing out these adorable little sample skeins of her yarn. These were given to the secretary at my daughters’ school. She is a wonderful and talented knitter, but she was unable to attend.
One of the PDX Knitters brought this lovely roving from Dicentra Designs. She generously allowed us to smell and hold it. What a trusting soul!
By 7:00 every seat in the room was filled and head count came in between 400 and 450 people!
First, awards were given out for the Inexplicable Knitting Behavior Scavenger Hunt. Obsessed doesn’t even begin to describe the winner of this contest. Possessed is more like it. She began at 5:00 in the morning, had charts and maps of city and she took thorough notes documenting each photograph. Next came drawings for door prizes. Finally it was time for Stephanie to talk.
Words fail to fully describe the experience, but let’s just say that I laughed until I cried and I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard. She’s dynamic, clever, funny, smart and extremely eloquent. And do you know what else? She’s not as short as I thought she’d be. From the looks of past pictures of her standing behind over-sized podiums, etc. I expected her to be quite diminutive (she was wearing heels though). Oh crap, maybe she is short and I’m short too. Strange, but I’ve always considered myself to be average sized with anybody deviating more than 3 inches from my height falling into the short or tall categories. This is seriously challenging my perspective now.
Well, anyway, regardless of her vertical standings she has high stature in the knitting world. She’s also extremely gracious and friendly too, in spite of being in the midst of what can only be described as a grueling schedule. She stayed several hours after the event to sign books, admire others’ knitting and pose for pictures. Here we are trading my lone sock (I can’t find the directions I wrote down so it shall remain solo for now) for her traveling sock in progress.
Speaking of the traveling sock, Duffy from the PDX Knitters rocked her version of “The Traveling Sock” sang to the tune of “Little Deuce Coupe”. Hopefully a video will find its way to You Tube shortly.
edited to add this link to the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bpr3wECp9w
In the meantime, I hope that Stephanie gets lots of rest. Monica brought her two local beers and I saw that someone else had a similar idea. So if Stephanie doesn’t make it to her next stop it may be because she was badly influenced by the wild crowd in Portland and partook of the gifts.
Thank you Monica for going with me. I’d never have ventured it on my own. Hope to see you again really soon.
Here are some souvenirs from the night out.
P.S. my co-workers had never heard of anything so ludicrous as a “Yarn Speaker” or “Knitting Author” before. They acted like I was nuts when I skipped out the office yesterday. Today when I returned with hard evidence that not only did such a person exist, but that many people had gone they were in awe. Knit on!
P.S.S. Almighty creator, since I refrained from taking the blasphemous sock picture will you please make it stop raining?