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Sock Summit 2011

August 16, 2011

The alarm rang shrilly in my ears at 3:00 am, breaking the night quiet in the house. 

Silently I slipped into my clothing, and grabbed my suitcase.  Headlights flashed briefly in the shadowed windows.  I eased out of the house and into the waiting van.  “Good Morning!” grinned my partner-in-yarn-crime, AnneLena.  “Early enough for ya?” Here we come Portland Oregon, for the Sock Summit 2011 convention!

We had several activities in the works.  Friday, tour the Marketplace, take a class and attend the Sock Hop. Saturday,  explore Portland, take another class, and go out to dinner. Sunday, explore Portland some more and fly back home.

The Convention Center.

A  contemporary, light filled building offered a huge room for the Marketplace, and many smaller classrooms.  Unlike Stitches West, there was plenty of room to peruse vendor offerings.  Granted, it was perhaps 1/3 of the number of vendors and fewer attendees, but 6,000 people signed up for classes, so there must have been quite a few shoppers touring the Marketplace. My goal was to check out the vendors that don’t make it to Stitches West.

Fiber Optic.

Into my bag slipped several skeins of stunning sock yarn and fiber rovings.

Plucky Knitter

Plucky Knitter was next, with an almost overwhelming selection of sock yarns.  This one came home with me, the gray an excellent match for the more detailed socks I planned on knitting from my new Cookie A book, Knit. Sock. Love.

Sanguine Gryphon

Although The Sanguine Gryphon does go to Stitches West, I could not pass up her delightful booth, and discovered two matching skeins of Gaia Lace in the Goblin colorway, which I have been dreaming about ever since spying a sample at the A Verb For Keeping Warm store in Oakland CA.

A Verb For Keeping Warm

Speaking of AVFKW, I headed over to their booth, both to say “Hi!” to the darling owners, Adrian and Kristine, and to check out the specials they had dyed especially for Sock Summit. This little beauty “Aster” cuddled right next to the Gaia Lace.


With my shopping completed, AnneLena and I headed off into the wilds of Portland, via the MAX, Portland’s free transportation system.  Yes, free!  Within city limits, this electric, above ground rail system takes you pretty much anywhere you need to go, or at least takes you to a bus line that travels through out the city.  Every 20 minutes, a train shows up, and they are clean, and safe. What an impressive city!  I thought California was Green, but Portland is far and away more Green that any place in California I have ever been.  Every restaurant has multiple bins for recycling.  Even street corners had bins for recycling!  Billboards promoted Recycling, Reuse, and various other ways to keep Portland Green. The Zip Car really captured my interest.  You can rent an electric Zip car by the hour, day, or overnight. No need to own your own car if you live in the city.Food Pods are another unique feature of Portland.  Tiny, portable sheds and pop-ups surround entire city blocks, each featuring a selection of delectable foods, from ethnic to doughnuts, freshly made for you, with low, low prices (and no sales tax)! I bet you can almost taste the Turkish Wrap I’m enjoying!

Powell’s Books was next, bookstore nirvana!  I don’t think my local library has as many books as Powell’s does. As I wandered the towering, narrow book filled shelves, dreams of ditching my teaching career and working at Powell’s drifted briefly through my mind…

Urban Fiber Arts

Shaking off the intoxicating book fumes, we next headed to Urban Fiber Arts. AnneLena was recognized as a designer by a shopper, which  gave me plenty of time to select a skein of sock yarn for a friend that couldn’t make the trip.  Urban Fiber Arts promotes local talent, and the yarn I selected can only be found in Portland. 

Cupcake Jones

Energy waning (remember, we have been up since three in the morning), we headed over to a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop.  Right next door was Cupcake Jones, the most heavenly odors wafting from inside. AnneLena couldn’t resist this little Root Beer Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting.

Racks of fresh-baked cupcakes sat waiting for their caps of frosting. YUM!

Sock Summit Classes

Sated, we headed back to take classes and get books signed. My favorite class Sock Spinning Luxury Fibers was taught by the well-known Judith MacKenzie.  It was an entertaining, and informative class.  Judith is a font of knowledge, and I would love to take more classes with her.

Cookie A.

Cookie A. kindly signed my new sock book, Knit. Sock. Love. Someday, I would enjoy taking a class from her as well I can tell it would be an entertaining class!

Flash Mob

The Flash Mob was a fun “secret” display of Sock Summit enthusiasm.  500 participants danced and displayed their dancing skills in front of the Conventions Center.  You can check out a UTube video of the Flash Mob.


AnneLena and I grabbed a taxi to the outskirts of Nob Hill District, our tired feet ready for a break.  Wine and knitting, does it get any better?  Only when being serenaded!

Final Day

Sunday I took one last tour of Portland. Purchased a hat at the Portland Bike Gallery, one of the oldest bike stores in Portland.

Had to get a little souvenir for my daughter from Finnegan’s, a charming toy store.

Shopping complete, I sadly headed back to my hotel to pack my bags for the flight home. An amazing weekend trip was over. Hopefully, in two years, there will be another Sock Summit!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2011 3:46 pm

    thanks, great pics.

  2. February 23, 2012 8:10 pm

    Wow! Looks like an amazing trip! I hope to make it up there one of these years! 🙂

  3. March 25, 2012 4:31 pm

    I love all this pictures. 🙂

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