The universe seeks balance.  I say that all the time, and over and over it’s proven to me.  Here I am, just days after a sock practically knit itself in a day, and all I have to show for myself is almost nothing of the next one.

This sock and I don’t knit with each other, we just go to meetings.  Since I’m only here for a week (which is really 5 days, if you count a day for travel each way) Tina and I booked meetings with all of the Sock Summit 2011 contacts while I’m here.  All of them. 

This sock has been to meetings at the convention centre – we were there two days in a row, it’s been to meetings with the people who provide all the tables and drapes and chairs for the marketplace, it’s had a conversation about switching all our signs from foam core (can’t recycle) to new neat cardboard stuff  that we can….  it’s discussed what rooms to have where, been with Tina and I while we scribble on little maps of big rooms, and it was there when we talked about how many teachers and vendors we can have, and today it’s going to the graphics people, the bank, the accountant and the database people.  It’s a big list. This part of planning SS11 is super intense and weird.  Tina and I both feel like making decisions now for how things will roll out a year from now is both bizarre and scary.  When we’re not in meetings, we’re either buying bristol board, sharpies and post-its, or we’re using them.

It’s also though, if you can get past the part where you’re a little bogged down with decisions about chairs and contracts about signs – the coolest part.  This is the part where we dream, where we think about what could happen, how to make it happen, and we wonder what we could try… If you’re just making a plan, your plan could be anything… right? You could have any kind of Sock Conference you want.

There’s a whole lot going on- just not a lot of sock knitting and my little sock goes to meeting after meeting, where it sits sadly on the table with Tina’s sock, and they consider the irony.

105 thoughts on “Balanced

  1. And the stories that sock will tell! maybe it’s a dreamer like we are…. everything in its time. 🙂 happy planning, and here’s counting down till you see your family again!

  2. So, do you think maybe this time the Muggles and computer techs will believe you about how many people are interested in a !!Sock Summit!!!!. Or do you need to get some of those Mary Ellen Engelbreit buttons to wear that say “BELIEVE”?

  3. But just think what an education those socks are getting in convention planning! Next time you can send the socks to the meetings to do the planning for you!

  4. Funny, I just so happen to be in the dreaming stage, too. Good luck with yours. Love the notebook, by the way. I really need to get me one of those.

  5. These insights into what it takes to organize and put on such a large event are fascinating – thank you for sharing them. I think the sock is just a tad intimidated by it all. After all, it’s not even born yet, just barely cast on. It will be a pretty awesome sock when it’s ready! Where are the post-its? Not at that stage yet, I guess. (what is bristol board?)

  6. I love the Keep Calm and Carry On notebook!
    Thank you for sharing this part of the process. I hope I can make it this time!

  7. I so enjoy your work on such an amazing event. Vicariously, in planning; vicariously, in anticipation; vicariously, when it comes and goes. You and Tina give us all an amazing gift: the recognition that socks are special knitting.
    Thank you!

  8. I look forward to seeing the plans (and socks of course!!) progress even though I wouldn’t have a hope of going. I shall dream through your blog!

  9. You do have the journey home to be super sock knitter. I saw a take off of the keep calm slogan which said “Keep calm and have a cupcake” on pink. My son thought it should be “Keep calm and have a beer” but each to his own.

  10. Poor little sock! Perhaps he has a chance of being finished on the trip home? Wish I could go to the big sock meet… it sounds amazing!

  11. S,
    re the recycling (or not) of the signs, have you and Tina considered getting all the teachers to sign all the signs, and then auctioning/selling (instead of recycling) at closing for additional fundraising?

  12. love how the sock in the foreground (last pic) is balanced on the tip of one needle, so it looks like it’s suspended in the air :). especially with the shadows around and below it..

  13. At least your (partial) socks are not lonely.And think of the grand tales it can tell all of its sock friends back home!

  14. Awwww–you’ll fly through it like lightening on the way home. You know you will. It is ironic (that’s exactly what you said, I know!) that the poor neglected socks sit idly by as you discuss a big shindig about knitting socks.
    I’m sure they’re used to knitterly types by now. Yet I still can’t wrap my head around what the event people must think about this huge hoopla over knitting. Cracks me up.

  15. I love the irony of a sock at a planning meeting about, what else?: socks! Great Job! for the last one and looking forward to the next one.

  16. Your lack of progress on a sock is close to equivalent to a good week of progress for me. 😉 Good luck with all the meetings! Wish I could be at SS11, but since I probably can’t, I will plan to enjoy it all vicariously. =)

  17. That’s the best kind of meeting — where it’s so exciting (and a bit frightening, I’m guessing) and so engaging that you forget your knitting 🙂 As a person who was tremendously inspired by SS09, thanks!

  18. I think they might be comparing the merits of 4-needle socks vs. 5-needle socks……

  19. Hmm, are those Blackthorns in the sock? Just askin’.
    Re the signs – vendors usually bring their own banner signs. All we need is a booth number to make sure we’re in the right spot! Much less expensive than full name signs. Just a suggestion.

  20. So does this really mean that SSII will be in Portland again? Could I really be so blessed as to be able to go again, because it is within driving distance???

  21. Maybe all the sock knitting you did yesterday is allowing you to do all the SS11 planning today?
    I love the idea that you are making SS11 as planet friendly as possible. Now, if I could just figure out a way of being at SS11 and being at work long hours next August, both at the same time! I can’t take time off from work in July and August. I hope you are still putting on Sock/Knitting/Whatever Summits when I retire.

  22. Oh please please please — where can I get your (or Tina’s) Keep Calm and Carry On Notebook?! I MUST have one!!! Please!

  23. OMG!! I was in Portland yesterday, and was seriously feeling that there was major knitting mojo going on!! I didn’t know you were in the city at the same time!!!

  24. Check out The Gilded Lily on Etsy…she has scrabble tiles with sayings like Keep Calm and Knit on and Keep Calm and Crochet on and Keep Calm and Get Yarn…all good mantras!

  25. Since these are Sock Summit meetings I am glad you have at least two socks witnessing the proceedings. Do they ever give you feedback or suggestions on what is going on?

  26. All your efforts and planning are appreciated by the masses of knitters who will ultimately benefit from this process. Sock knitting is a process too, and you have certainly earned that glass of single malt! Remember if you build it, the sheep pens I mean, they will come!

  27. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to know you are changing to a recyclable sign material. Low-waste events are the happenin’ thing where I live! Compostable plates and cups and flatware, oh, my!
    I think that sock grew a tiny bit in the photos…

  28. But just think how experienced and well traveled this sock will be by the time it’s finished! I have some projects like that, too. In fact, over the past 10 days my sock has traveled to Canada, Seattle, San Francisco, and back to Los Angeles, and we still haven’t gotten to the heel. Which is good, because on the last leg (no pun intended) of the trip, my son decided he wanted it as a glove.

  29. Hi there. I’m not sure how popular it was last time, but I used the nursing room to pump. And funny enough I went and had another baby boy. He’ll be about the same age as the last one at this show. Because I hope to vend again I would love it if there was a nursing room so I can pump. Thank you!

  30. It’s like “Pick-up-Sticks”. Maybe put the socks together for a little magic to happen.

  31. I don’t know what next summer holds (switch jobs? stay where I am? will there be another job where I’m wanted?) but I do plan to block out at least a day to drive up to Sock Summit, and I hope I can be more involved this time around. Take a class if I can, volunteer if it works out… must start saving up for the marketplace now!

  32. I know I speak for my knitting posse when I say “thank you” for doing all you’re doing for SS11, even if the second sock is just a bystander in all the proceedings. (And OMG, I love Julia’s idea (above) about getting the teachers to autograph the signs and then auction them off! We used to do that in a club I belonged to and made a fair chunk of change from it. Great idea, and a ‘green’ one, too!)

  33. At least the socks have each other…I don’t travel well, but I will be there in spirit.

  34. I’ve got a feeling that those two socks are too busy making it possible for lots of little socks to be born to pay attention to their own appearance. I’ve got the image of John and Yoko on their honeymoon; only more Post-its.

  35. I love the Keep Calm and Carry On book… I have a project bag that says Keep Calm and Carry Yarn- got it at an etsy store- it sums things up so perfectly!

  36. Would it help to know that there are now Super Sticky Post It notes? I’ll bet you’re already using them, right? Good luck with the planning.

  37. Sock Karma at the meetings is a goooood thing!
    I am waiting for the dates to be announced to put in for my time off! This time, no excuses! I am going to be there!

  38. Balance? Is there such a thing? Pooey. The word should be stricken from the dictionary! Of course, the dictionary was written by a man. We all know that all men have to do is go to work and then go back home where they have to lift nary a finger to do things.
    My idea of balance is seeing how many things I can hold at one time in each hand.
    That, my dear, is balance.
    Oh, and regarding that half-knit sock? Welcome to my world.
    I have a shawl that is 3/4 of the way finished.
    Then, school started.
    I don’t think I’ll finish it before Christmas.
    BTW, will there be scholarships available to the Sock Summit?
    How random was that?

  39. I love the planning/design phase of a project. It’s so *easy* to change your mind. There is no frogging, no wasted time. Anything is possible.
    The implementation is either easy or hard, depending on how well you did the planning, how many things you remember or forget, how many times you add or take away just one more thing after the implementation phase has begun.
    You did well last time. This time you have experience, so believe in the power of the post-it, and carry on.
    Here’s wishing you a pain free registration process.

  40. It’s really very nice to plan the support structure that will create space for people to come in and interact in ways that makes a new thing otherwise not possible. If you know what I mean.

  41. I was passing on some of your green wisdom when my husband asked the obvious question – why are all the signs not knitted?

  42. Thanks for greening it up! We’ve been trying to do the same with the convention I have a small role in, with limited success. I think our planners are less passionate about it.
    I also have the keep calm and carry yarn tote someone mentioned above. Sounds like you’re already doing it.

  43. My little SIP (sock in progress) sends greetings to Steph’s and Tina’s little socks in progress!
    I am again attempting to complete first socks!
    I am dreaming of SS11…now that’s the way to start today… Sock Summit! Sock Summit!! Sock Summit!!!

  44. So, about the signs… my husband is actually working on something like that for a client (she wants something 100% recyclable), and it’s tough going in terms of finding something that is both affordable and actually, truly recyclable. I would suggest a couple things:
    1) using recycled materials is sometimes better than using a recyclable material (a sad amount of what we send off to be recycled just gets chucked back into the trash, but this amount/type varies by location, so it’s not always true… it’s a tricky situation).
    2) The printshop may be willing to use off-cuts or previously printed papers if you don’t mind having someone else’s partial job on the back of yours. This doesn’t always work because of confidentially agreements in the print house and so on, and it certainly isn’t as “professional looking” because you’ve got stuff on the back of your signs, etc… (also, this is really only for small paper signs where the material is printable on both sides) but if it is possible, it’s another way of reusing a material before it even has a chance to become “recycled.”
    Also, depending on what you’re thinking of, vinyl banners might not be so bad. You could design them in a way so that you could just put a new sticker over things like the event dates, times, etc… and the vinyl lasts for quite a long time, so you wouldn’t need to waste energy to reprint your banners every year.
    Finally, another solution would be a cardboard-type backer (or other recyclable material) with a vinyl laminate sticker facing. The vinyl is ripped off after the show and discarded, but the cardboard is recyclable. That way, the cardboard is still water-proof for a limited time, but at least it’s cardboard inside instead of foamcore or coreplast.
    Anyway, these are just things I’ve been thinking about over the last couple weeks as I watch how much waste comes out of a shop (and we recycle, and reuse material as much as possible). Even if none of these solutions can be workable for you, good on you for being one of those wonderful people who asks for an environmentally responcible product from an industry that is accustomed to throwaway products! The more people ask for them, the more they will become the norm! 😀 Best of luck!

  45. Last time I missed a couple of classes I really wanted because I screwed up registration – didn’t realize putting in personal info at the end was included in total time. So those two classes were full by the time I reregistered. Including Steph’s class! :o(
    Perhaps a sample registration form one can fill out, so you know what you’re doing before you do it?

  46. I love the idea that, no matter how much knitting you do (or don’t do) in these meetings, after last year’s smashing success, no one is looking at you like you’re crazy.

  47. While I was virtually applauding you for all you both do for the sake of us Knitters, my brain was suddenly sidetracked by “FINALLY I see how the BMFA *Wonderful Goodness* colourway knits up!”

  48. HissyStitch, I ordered a Keep Calm and Carry Yarn notebook yesterday in a beautiful turquoise. They are available in a number of colors.

  49. You’re designing the great moments in the knitting lives of so many people. Designing is always the longest (or feels like the longest) part. And then the outcome! I can’t tell you how glad I am that you all are doing this again. I can’t wait to go!

  50. OK, the recyclability idea is good, but how’s about we take that a step further? Why not get someone to (machine) KNIT your signs and frog them for reuse?? (Or auction them off to be incorporated into commemorative blankets….)

  51. All the SIP’s wish that they could join yours and Tina’s SIP’s at these meetings. They are losing stitches in envy.

  52. My MIL has the good taste to be having her 85th birthday party the weekend before SS2011, right across the river in Vancouver, WA. So I can be a good DIL and go to her party, be a good daughter and run up to see my mom in Seattle for the days in between, and then make it back for Sock Summit. Yay! I am so thrilled to be able to make it this time, since I have to travel from the Other Coast!
    I know you guys will do a great job putting it together, and once again knitters will take over Portland for a few days. You have every reason to be very, very proud of yourselves! And I’m also very thankful that you’re willing to undertake something this huge a second time. I was afraid, after the few but nasty criticisms you received from ungrateful idiots the first time, it might put you off having a second SS entirely.
    This knitter is not alone is saying an endless series of thank yous to you brilliant, talented, and creative women for doing all the craziness for a second time! I hope it’s easier for you this time, and that you’re able to apply lessons learned from the first event to make it go more smoothly for you two. I know it’ll go smoothly for the attendees! The fact that you let us see even a tiny bit of the MASSIVE amounts of planning that go into something this big, though, feels like you’re sharing it with us all, not just setting it up for impersonal “attendees” to come to your event. You make it feel like it’s OUR event, too, and that is your special gift! Thank you a million times for what you’re doing!

  53. I like the irony, but I prefer to think that the socks are dreaming with you and Tina.
    I’m never likely to attend a Sock Summit, but I really enjoy the energy that came from SS09, and expect to enjoy SS11 the same way.
    Good things are still happening because of SS09, so Thank You Sock Team!

  54. How weird to see the yarn harlot actually working (this refers only to the knitting) at a rate that only slightly exceeds (at maybe two-for-one?) the rate the rest of us work (knit) at!

  55. Steph and Tina, thanks for all your dedication to SS11 and all your faithful knitting friends. Can’t wait until next July and I’ll start those beer mug socks whether they’re needed for Sock Museum or not.

  56. Talking knits? Oh crap! I’m glad that mine can’t speak or I’d be ratted out for knitting in unseemly places, using vulgar language and for feeding my children Cheerios for dinner if I’m trying to finish something quickly.
    Hope the planning goes well. Everything will work out and be a smashing success, so don’t fret.

  57. Steph- tried to submit a message to Tina on her blog- the kind where you have to type in the message you see to accept it- wouldn’t work- would you pass this on to her (and you)? Good luck on your planning. Thanks for being the messenger.
    I’m with Joan about the volunteering. I live in Rock Creek and would love to help out during the year. I’m a great drudgery volunteer- jobs that need to be done, but don’t need a lot of thinking! I also will gladly supply baking treats! I have a lot more time on my hands this year as elder daughter is in Edmonton in grad school and younger daughter is off for her semester abroad in Edinburgh…

  58. Oh, the joys of convention and seminar planning! Menus (explaining to caterers that a fish is not a vegetable) … chairs (either never enough or way too many) …instructors (Jim’s a great instructor but he is NOT, I repeat NOT a “morning person,” do NOT give him the breakfast speech) … enough pens and sharpies and sticky notes … signs … media … coffee (decent decaf for those who need it and a decent tea option as well) … snacks (diabetics and vegans again) … phones … and don;t forget ordering the event swag, and the heated debates over What Kind and How Much …
    Console yourself that at least you don’t have to plan for animal permits, vaccinations, sanitizer, poop scooping and manure disposal as well.
    But if you ever decide to add sheep, alpaca goats and bunnies to the sock summit? I’m your gal. My USDA permit files are three feet away from where I am sitting. 😉

  59. I’m already counting the days to SS2011, and trying to plan how to save up for a class this year. 😉 So glad I don’t have to travel to get there! I’m also hoping the tech people from last year wrote up a report on how insane sign-up was, so there’s proof. *eg* Thanks for all the work!

  60. Ah, to go to SS11! Wish I could beg off the time from school to head to America for a good time with socks and other knitters!
    I will live vicariously through that sock. 😀

  61. When does registration open up for the Sock Summit? Did I miss that? Do you know yet?

  62. Ah, but maybe the sock in progress is the mascot of Sock Summit 2011? It makes a lot of sense, because if the last summit reports were any indication, you didn’t get to knit much during the summit either.

  63. A customer told me about Tour de Fleece, so I just had a chance to see all of your luscious
    spun yarns. I love to see what spinners do with my fiber. Thank you.

  64. The universe seeks balance, and nature abhors a vacuum…so if we don’t fill it with knitting, something else will come along and fill it for us.
    Usually. Unless it’s busy filling up something else somewhere else. (Hey, it’s Monday morning – that’s all I can come up with!)

  65. the universe does indeed crave balance.
    so what about holding sock summit 3 on MY side of the mississippi — preferably my very own indianapolis, home to a multitude of sock-knitters/harlot fans — or chicago??? why should portland have ALL the fun?
    (meanwhile, i gotta figure out which of ds’s hippie friends in portland might have a couch i could crash on . . . )

  66. Don’t feel bad for not making progress on your socks. Feel glad for all the FUTURE socks that will come from SS2011!

  67. and from all of us out there… we really appreciate all those decisions and dreams you both make for us. SS09 was one of the best times of my knitting life and I can’t wait to go to SS11. A thousand times thank you for making it go.

  68. I agree with ellen in indy…lets get something for those of us on the east side of the country…Indianapolis is good, or Chicago, or Cinncinnati…PLEASE!!!

  69. I want to know what kind of reactions the sock beginnings get from the other people you’re meeting with. Are they all the same people from last year, and hence unfazed? Or do they do a double take at your partially finished mascots?

  70. I was reading back through the blog about your efforts for the first Sock Summit, and I have to say that you guys “knock my socks off”! (well – SOMEBODY had to say it – again, I’m sure)
    Tha amount of planning and effort you go through is truely amazing and REALLY appreciated. Don’t worry – the sock is just gathering information and taking notes, conferring with Tina’s sock and generally holding down the fort.
    Although I don’t get to go, I’m with the comments above – maybe some year there will be a Sock Summit in the middle (Kansas City? Oklahoma City? Omaha?) even though the Pacific Northwest is truely one of the most beautiful areas.

  71. That last picture must be incorporated into some type of picture during SS11. Perhaps a class on innovative ways to finish S-I-Ps. Or, how to be a working knitter… or traveling with knitting…

  72. I second the agreement with Ellen In Indy: Can we have a Summit in the heart of the nation? Chicago would be great provided it’s not midwinter (don’t want to tangle with the Hawk!), or maybe St. Louis as long as it’s not midsummer. Indianapolis would do, if we must! Or here’s and idea: Paducah, KY! (just kidding; a friend from the country once told me that before he came to Nashville he thought Paducah was the Big Town.) But there’s just no way I can justify going to Portland…and you’re breaking my heart.

  73. Not irony, inspiration…Raison d’etre…Existensberättigande…Existenzberechtigung…смысл…olemassaolon tarkoitus…chruthódh sé d’etre…razón de ser…

  74. Ah, creativity. You’re doing amazingly well balancing between the inspiration and the perspiration. The sock you will have with you always (until you get it done, whenever that may be).

  75. Oh, and what Cara said: I can’t go next year anyway because we’ll still be recovering from unexpected home repairs (not that you’d know anything about those), but at some point it would be great to have something on this end of the country.

  76. Much as I’d lurve to have SSIII in the lovely, humidity-free West (denver?? denver??) I say Steph, have it in wonderful Portland so’s we can all go there! And … ok, this is wacky, but it’s the dreamtime, so we can go all wacky so … how about a PARADE? A flippin’ SOCK PARADE!!!! or, oh oh oh, a SOCK regata? on the Willamette? with socks run up every line on every ship and kayakers waving sock banners… a girl can dream.

  77. When I started working for a dyer, she repeated to me over and over, “it’s just yarn”. Yes, her yarn is in high demand, but there is always more. And, there is always someone who will want that colour even if you don’t.
    I don’t dye my handspun. Only before it’s spun.

  78. So what will you call it? How about Harlot Orange or maybe floozie peach, trollop apricot? The possibilities are endless.

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