When I started the project I’m about to show you, I believed that I was doing it because somehow, even though I had only done it once before, it was traditional that I do it.

(I am somehow the sort of person who thinks that something that was a good idea is totally a tradition instantly, even if it hasn’t got the background for it.)  Last Summit, I cast on and knit a pair of socks for Tina over the course of the event, because really, what sort of commemorative thing makes more sense for a Sock Summit than a pair of socks?  (I gave it some thought.  A plaque seems dim.) This time, I procured (read – stole) a skein of "A Paler Shade of ST-1" the morning of the Summit, and I cast on as we drove to the convention centre.

Natalie and Stephen helped.

I knit on it all through the Summit (when I was able. I may have briefly forgotten how to knit right there in the middle) and I had a ton of help.

Teachers, friends, ST-2s and volunteers…

Everyone who crossed my path (or Natalie’s – she was a big help in getting the sock around the Summit) was asked to put in a few stitches.

By the end, the last moments of the Summit, we were turning the heel of the first sock, all of us, and it was a magnificently odd thing.

Suddenly, I had the better part of a sock in my hand – and really – other than the first few stitches and a few here and there when I had a minute, I really hadn’t knit it.

I looked at that sock then, and I realized that I’d started it to continue the tradition of commemorative socks from the first time, and realized in the end that they’d ended up being way, way more than that.

They were symbols of the whole summit.  Symbols for Tina’s feet. 

Symbols about teamwork, and many hands making light work, and how much can get done if a lot of people do a little, and that’s really what the whole Summit was about this time.  The whole thing came together in the most beautiful expression of teamwork – and here there are, the little socks that think that’s true.

I hope that they mean the same thing to Tina that they do to me.  Two woollen expressions of what got built, 

and how.

(PS. I knit the second one by myself.  I’m not a total slacker.)

117 thoughts on “Tradition

  1. They are gorgeous! Wish I had been there, and can’t wait to hear more about it 🙂

  2. The perfect gift from what looks like a great time. I’ve already talked to my knitting buddies — we will be there next time!!

  3. Glad I picked up a skein of Paler Shade of ST-1. Last few minutes that the market place was open I made a power shopping run through the market place and got the last skein.
    Wish I gotten to put in a few stitches but I had to watch doors. Every little bit helps as I’m finding out with this current move.
    Enjoy Port Ludlow and see if you can find a couple of yarn bombs still hanging around in the main lodge.

  4. Brava and Bravo! The committment and the joining of hands to knit a wearable spiral. What a delight. When an action is set-up twice, it can become a tradition, and what a good tradition to start.

  5. I type slow,otherwise I could be first.. What a wonderful tradition you started…with the sock as well as with the summit…From this side of the world I hope that one day I can be a part of it…one day…

  6. Collaboration is beautiful. And teamwork is always more than the sum of its parts. Long may Tina’s (and your) feet dance!

  7. I think your definition of “tradition” is a very good one. So when’s the next Summit?
    (Tap-tap. Is this thing still on? Or did you just punch your computer screen?)
    BTW, how do we find out the fun little details, like who won the Fleece to Foot competition, and where can we buy the winning sock design?

  8. Okay, so I’m reading this and tearing up. When I heard there were 6,000 bodies at Sock Summit, I thought, “I can never go. Too many people.” But somehow, with the sock(s) for Tina…I got a whole new perspective.

  9. I continue to recover as the team captain for “Slipped Stitches in Paradise”. Never dreamed it would be that hard, and so much fun at the same time. We had the time of our lives participating at SS. thank you so much for all your hard work.

  10. What a perfect way to embody the spirit of SS! I so wish I could have come this time too.

  11. Wish I’d been there, wish I could have knit a stitch or two, wish I could have been on the team…
    But I am with you 100% on the whole tradition thing. Just ask my kids about how I make them sit in the same rocking chair for a birthday picture every year…

  12. There’s a beautiful serendipity in the way the stripes worked out on the gusset.
    The sentence about a lot of people each doing a little really moved me. It’s a lesson we should all pay close attention to.

  13. Is there a tidy little hole like last year? Well done, Stephanie. Some day I hope I can join you at the Summit!

  14. “Suddenly, I had the better part of a sock in my hand – and really – other than the first few stitches and a few here and there when I had a minute, I really hadn’t knit it.” It’s like magic! The whole weekend was like magic. Thanks so much for your vision and your hard work. I had a wonderful time, again, and relived the fun while blogging about it. Hoping you’ll do an encore so you can knit more commemorative socks!

  15. Damn. It’s so embarassing when I start crying at my desk at work — even when they are happy tears.
    What a fitting tradition for such an awesome friendship, such an awesome community, and such an awesome event.

  16. What a wonderful idea and a great tradition. I like others cannot wait to hear more about the sock summit, especially the sheep to sock! Thanks for brightening my day.

  17. I like you so, so much! Even more today. You add much to my ‘me’ time, and I thank you for it. I hope every sentance of positive comments you read are like a row knit by new friends in the sock of your life.

  18. I love tradition! I have missed the last 2 Sock Summits- but I am planning on 2013- It sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

  19. What a cool new tradition to start! And a great way to put some memories into a pair of socks. Well done, for you and all those who helped 🙂

  20. How much time did you spend behind your camera? You could have knit two socks in that time, but then have had no documentation. And Tina would have a pair of three matching socks?? H’m.

  21. Now if that first sock doesn’t embody the Spirit of Sock Summit 2011, I don’t know what else would! From start to finish, the entire four days were magic, and you and Tina and all of the ST-2s and the volunteers were the magicians. It helped, I suppose, that there were thousands (really?) of happy sock-knitters who were sharing all sorts of fun, but on Wednesday evening, when I picked up my registration materials…when I got to fold and tear the perforated paper into class list, name, three door-prize entries, and the swag list… I understood why it took many months to pull this party off. Wow! It just got better and better. I loved the stitch-marker trading, which I didn’t know about (being a FAILed Ravelry user) but “they” let me trade what I was willing to give up. I ran out pretty soon, but to some of them it didn’t matter; they just gave me one. I am having such fun using them!
    Thanks a TON to the whole TEAM for an incredible time. I enjoyed that you all were out and about so that we could thank you over and over again. 😎

  22. Sometimes I ask my husband to cast off for me, but this takes it to a whole new level! Community is such a beautiful thing to make into a sock.

  23. I’m such a detail-nerd, but the guage looks amazingly even for all those knitters contributing! Yay teamwork!

  24. I’m stunned by their beauty! The heel is fabo and love that color. You ALL are masters of your craft!

  25. What a great idea. What a great tradition. What great yarn. What great socks. They are smiling. Can you tell?

  26. Got that baby blanket done yet? Mom didn’t look like she could last much longer.

  27. Thank you so much for putting together an amazing experience that is worth commemorating and remembering. I truly had the time of my life, and I look forward to the new experiences to come at SS3!

  28. What a wonderful tradition. You inspired me & a long-distance friend to start our own traditions. I took “sock photos” of places where I knit on my sock during a road-trip we took together. And she took photos of where she had knit on the scarf she gave me as a Christmas gift.
    It’s these ‘traditions’ and connections that bond us knitters together.

  29. Love the pictures and the fact the sock got knitted on 4 dpns. Maybe next time to start one sock on dpns and one on cable needle with magic loop, so everybody can use their favourite knitting style and you get to finish two half socks instead of one and a quarter, just saying. Great idea. In style with your photographing socks-in-knitting at places you went, my son did so with his watch which has the logo of our small community on the cypherplate, so Dutch watch in SF, Wash. and NY. I suggested this because of your sock pictures, starting a new tradition.

  30. Glorious Summit, glorious socks, glorious tradition. Love the photos of all the teachers and friends knitting their “few” stitches. Tina will LOVE them and rightly so. They are truly a cooperative and commemorative gift.

  31. Um, I would never suppose that a single person would even think to say that you were a slacker?? Nice story. Warms the cockles…

  32. How cool is that a collaborative sock. And y’all knew enough to know when to turn a heel too. Neato!

  33. I love this tradition! Had a great time at Sock Summit. Thanks so much for all the hard work!! Can’t wait for the next one!

  34. any sock summit planned for new england? — in other words, why should port ludlow have all the fun 😉

  35. Yes! You’ve started a great tradition. Those socks are a priceless reminder of all the good times and good people who worked together to make this Sock Summit more than a success, it was an EVENT. Your story brought tears to my eyes. All those people all working together. Why can’t the whole world be like that?

  36. What a great present. What a great time must have been had. And how awesome are you for remembering to take all those photos? I would forget.:-)

  37. I think that is absolutely beautiful. It actually brings tears to my eyes. I’m so stoked you turned that into a tradition. What an amazing gift of love and memories. 🙂

  38. Sometimes tradition isn’t because it’s been done before. Sometimes it’s about what it means and what it’s meant to mean.

  39. Love it. There is absolutely nothing in the world like teamwork. Those socks have very special meaning now, though. You will always cherish the time shared, also.

  40. SS is an inspiration of teamwork and committment to see an idea through to fruition. I am proud to have been reading about this process since the beginning. The socks of tradition made me tear up 🙂

  41. LOVE the photo of the sock in progress, coffee cup, and lake in the background. What a great place to knit!

  42. The mortgage loans suppose to be useful for guys, which are willing to organize their own business. As a fact, it is not hard to get a collateral loan.

  43. A coworker received the dreadful news she had breast cancer. I started a scarf and asked all our coworkers to help. We had about 20 people (most of whom couldn’t knit at all) work together to create the scarf, and created some new knitters as well.

  44. Did you get through the airport and fly with those needles? Wow, I’d be scared some jerk in security would try to take them away.
    Thanks for the Summit, I had a great time! Got my picture taken with Franklin, and fondled Cat’s Botanica. Sweet!

  45. I was also wondering (secretly/silently) how the gauge would turn out with so many hands involved. The photo looks perfect, of course. Truthfully, is the top sock the one you knit by yourself?
    Anxiously looking for action shots of sheep shearing and wondering about SS coming to New England? We could round up a few sheep here, too! In a perfect world…

  46. Can you give the information about the beautiful salmon colored lace scarf the young woman is wearing in the third picture?

  47. Look how beautiful everyone’s hands are when they are knitting. Whether they are smiling, dreaming or scowling at a hard stitch their hands stay beautiful.

  48. We have a saying among my people:
    The first time, it’s a Good Idea.
    The second time, it’s Tradition.
    The third time, it’s Law.
    May this Tradition become Law. 😀
    Thank you again for Sock Summit.

  49. Do you know what the pattern is for the beautiful pink shawl/scarf Natalie is wearing in that top photo? I am enamoured!

  50. What a wonderful gift, and CONGRATULATIONS for getting Sock Summit on the front page – the FRONT PAGE! – of today’s Toronto Star! I couldn’t believe it when I picked up the paper this morning. It’s something I’m hoping to make it to one day.

  51. You always remind me of the best in knitting and how people can work together and be their best selves.
    I would like to be you when I grow up.

  52. That sounds like a beautiful tradition, no matter how new it is! Who wouldn’t love a pair of socks that was knitted with many hands??? It’s quite touching!

  53. This is just every kind of wonderful. And I think it beautifully expresses the most valuable thing I took away from Sock Summit. We are a community, and we create warmth, comfort and beauty using simple tools.
    And we love doughnuts. 🙂
    All through Sock Summit I wanted to walk up and simply say thank you, but you just kept moving faster than I did. So here’s my thank you. I learned so much just from the act of coming together.

  54. This is the sweetest thing. It made me tear up last year when you did it, and it made me tear up now. You and Tina are amazing and inspiring, and I hope to one day have a friend like the friends that you and Tina are to each other.

  55. What length signatures do you use? I want to buy some but not sure what to get. Thinking 5inch perhaps..

  56. The funny thing is that I completely get ‘traditions’ that have only a year of history. How fun to have a circle of love with those socks. I suspect that Tina will appreciate the tradition too.
    I loved the ST-2 colorway myself. 🙂

  57. Just continued my own tradition of SS socks by ordering a skein of Blue Moon’s STR “Green and Blue for ST-2.” (I bought the “ST-2” colorway at the last Summit.)
    Thank you and Tina and the whole ST-2 team for such a wonderful time.

  58. Great idea, and great work all around.
    Love the photo with the boats in the background –the coffee cup works perfectly in the foreground, too.

  59. I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you. I was one of the registration volunteers, and you knit on my Lenore sock.
    Thank you for a wonderful experience and the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

  60. The story was wonderful, the socks are meaningful, and the color-way is beautiful. Wish I could have been there.
    You are planning another, right? I mean in the future, not actively planning right now.

  61. And both socks fit the same? I can’t always do that, even when I knit both of them myself.

  62. There is nothing wrong with insta tradition especially when it is as thought provoking, moving and symbolic as this. And, hey, this tradition results in beautiful socks. How many traditions can say that!

  63. They’re beautiful! I also wondered about the gauge with so many knitters, but they look the same in your photos.
    On a side note, what is the pattern for Natalie’s scarf (shown in picture)? I love it!

  64. Dear Yarn Harlot,
    I was just pointed to your blog a couple of weeks ago (by one on her way to the Sock Summit) and I must say you are a delight to read! Thanks for sharing your wit and zany, wonderful, real ideas.

  65. Again this year, I read about your collaborative ST socks and sat at my desk all teary-eyed just as I had last year. I think it is a wonderful tradition! Keep it up!
    Last week, I was trying hard not to dance with all the sock knitters having the time of their/our lives. You see, I’m an accountant working with a lot of other accountants. All but two of them are muggle accountants so they would not understand my breaking out into a dance for socks. If you think it is hard being a knitter in a world of muggles, try being a knitter accountant in a world of muggle accountants! So many pairs of eyes roll when I say the most normal and sane things a knitter can say.

  66. Maybe cast on two socks next time and then more people could have the chance to contribute ; )

  67. So beautiful. I was hoping that this tradition would continue. Thank you for sharing this.

  68. You are such a gem of a woman! How beautiful are the socks and the intention! Thank you so much for your blog and it’s enlightenment.

  69. It is a loving-hearted tradition. It is very meaningful and you should do it forever.

  70. Love this! I’m missing the little hole that one person contributed (last year, I think?)
    Such a great tradition; I hope to join a SockSummit party some year 🙂

  71. I’m with Kristin@2:44pm, I miss the Lucy Neatby hole!
    And I did wonder when I saw the announcement for SS2 if you would revive this “tradition”. I do think it is a great idea and a wonderful tradition.
    And for those of us who could not make it AGAIN this time, please do the whole SS thing again in a couple of years, I mean really, you have it down now!

  72. I love the picture of the woman who is holding on to her Pepsi while knitting. This is a woman who has her priorities straight….never let go of the Pepsi. (this message brought to you by a Pepsiholic!)

  73. It’s a lovely idea, lovingly executed. I’d like to expand on it, as my co-workers and I did something very similar recently, for one of our own. She was beginning an intense series of chemo treatments that, in the best case scenario, would end in a bone marrow transplant and a long period of recovery. I dashed out and bought yarn for chemo hats and a prayer shawl in her favorite color, and when I mentioned my plans, one of my knitting co-workers offered to help knit the shawl. We sort of looked at each other, and said wow, wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the office knit a few stitches on it, before we give it to her?? Best idea we ever had. We taught a lot of people how to knit – some of whom wish to continue, walked the rest through a few stitches (they were so proud!) and every set of hands in the office put their efforts into the shawl. When we gave it to the recipient, she was overwhelmed and deeply touched that everyone in the office wanted to help her get well and show how much she was loved.
    Yay for team efforts!
    As an attendee of Sock Summit 2009 and 2011, I just want to thank you, Tina, and all the ST-2 team, and volunteers for the most amazing knitting experiences I’ve ever had. Everything was planned in a thoughtful way for the benefit of the attendees, the teachers, and the planet. Your hard work was obvious, and you all were amazingly good-natured, considering you were all dying of the plague. I have shown the flashmob video to everyone who will sit still. How did your girls like it?
    Have a glass of wine or three, and don’t think about anyone except yourself and your family for a while – you well deserve it. 🙂

  74. Always love hearing about a “community “coming together to accomplish a project! I do hope to make it to a future sock summit to experience the fun.

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