One weekend with some socks

Standing in the airport on Friday, I tried to hard to laugh at my own timing. The airport was packed with Canadians fleeing the cold for their March Break, all lined up, laughing and headed for the warm sunshine of Cuba, Bahamas, St. Lucia… and there I was. Going to Wisconsin. It took me a while to get over that, especially when the lady in front of me, repacking her overweight bag, dropped her bikini bottoms and left them behind. I did pick them up and give them back to her, but I won’t deny the urge to pitch them in a bin as she wandered off to her warm beach holiday.

As I struggled through the crowds headed for parts south, I reassured myself with the knowledge that on none of my vacations to Cuba have I ever seen a yarn shop, and though all those other people were going to be enjoying a sunny beach… I would be amongst my people, yarn and iconic knitters, and if you throw in a beer… they’re pretty much going to come up on par for me. Here then, is a photographic essay on the last couple days.

Friday AM. I begin a sock, travelling from Toronto to Milwaukee.


(Duet sock yarn de-kay. Pattern from my head, colourway, sadly forgotten. Pretty though.)

The sock and I then changed planes


and went from Milwaukee to Madison, where a nice knitter named Connie gave me lunch and a beer and was very kind to me, and then took me on a whirlwind look at a few of Madison’s awesome yarn shops. We went to Lakeside Fibers and The Sow’s Ear, both of which have coffee and food as well as yarn, and I can imagine myself actually living in them. (Lakeside also has a couch and a bar next to the coffee part. I may have promised that if they let me live there I would keep my things very tidy. I think they thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.)

The sock and I then journeyed to the hotel, where the first people we met were Amy Detjen and Meg Swansen, who both turn out to be very nice actual real live people who are very funny, drink beer and think I’m short. (I am, so I didn’t mind them noticing.) It is at this point that I took all leave of my senses, and didn’t ask either of them to hold my sock… though I did knit on it in their presence, and hope that counts for something.

The next morning, the sock and I hung out with Joyce Williams a little bit, and admired her beautifully complex sweaters and rapier wit.


And encouraged by Joyce (who’s really a bit of a troublemaker, in the best ways I can think of) I took the pictures I showed you yesterday, as well as this one, which is really just my humble sock basking in the glow of things knit by Meg Swansen and Elizabeth Zimmermann, which were lying around on a table without a guard or anything.


The sock met a room full of knitters in the morning.


The sock had a lovely time shopping with Dale-Harriet at lunch.


The sock met a whole other roomful of knitters in the afternoon. (The sock was quite tuckered out by this.)


The sock met Margo’s first sock, Kara’s first sock, wished Caitlin a happy 21st Birthday, collected washcloths from Susan and Joyce, and cheered Barbara’s first knitted object. (You can click to embiggen these knitters)



Then the sock retired to an Indian restaurant and laughed at all of Joyce Williams’ jokes, because she really is that funny, but I didn’t take pictures, because … I forgot.

The next morning, the sock became plural, and then was ripped out on the way to the Chazen Museum of Art with Kate (who rocks pretty hard too) and I spent a happy hour wandering through an incredible textile exhibit of traditional Chinese clothing called “Writing with thread: Traditional textiles of Southwestern Chinese minorities” If you live near there, the sock and I urge you to go. No pictures here, because we were chastised for picture taking – and don’t like to break rules very much.

Off to the airport we went then, and waited for our flight back to Milwaukee,


and then enjoyed a 3 hour layover there, which we enjoyed in grand style.


Then the flight from Milwaukee to Toronto…


And bang. We were home again, and I had two things. A healthy respect for all that is the Madison Guild (You should join. They’re awesome) and a new pair of socks.




Great weekend.