A wild and wonderful weekend of work, here at Sock Summit World Headquarters, and in between the work with the waitlist and students and teachers and vendors and spreadsheets and maps - Tina and I finished up really the best part of an event that's brand new to Sock Summit, and one we hope you're going to love. (We're hoping that even if you can't come to the Summit, this one is going to be cool from a distance.)
We trucked our little selves out to Jan McMahon's little farm, and we had a visit with some sheep.
They were good sheep, and we got a tour, and visited with Ginger the sheep dog (and Sean the sheep dog - a retired border collie who figured out we were there about an hour after we arrived) and had a chat with Jan.
Then we took a good look at her sheep, and had a lovely pat on some beautiful coated lambs, and then we met two sheep that are going to be good friends to us in the future.
Meet Heel Flap and Gusset. Two beautiful CMV/Merino crossbreeds, who will be serving a noble purpose in the service of the Sock Summit.
On Sunday, the 31st of July, Jan is going to put those two pretty little lambs into a trailer, and she's going to drive them to the Oregon Convention Center -
and once they're there, they will meet their shearer (It's Amy Wolf. I know. It's all very exciting) and then they'll get ready for their event.
Their event? We've devised the first ever Fleece To Foot Challenge. (You're going to love this.) The sheep will be sheared, right there in the convention center - and everyone can watch - and then the fleeces will be divided up and distributed to the teams. What teams?
Teams made up of five spinners and knitters - and those teams will prep, spin, ply and knit A PAIR OF SOCKS in the least amount of time possible. It's like a race. To make it fair, they'll all knit the same pair of socks, and to make it possible, that pair of socks will be modular. Each knitter will make parts of a sock, and it will be assembled at the last. (There's a design contest for the pattern too.) All proceeds, including the prizes go to charity, and Tina and I are footing the bill for the space, sheep, fleeces, shearer and the donations to the charities of the participants choice. The rules are on the Fleece to Foot page of our website, and man.. do we ever hope you all love this idea, because if nobody forms teams and takes part we're going to look pretty stupid hanging out with two sheep and a shearer. (Although really, we both spin - so we could find a way out of it.)
We're thinking costumes, themes, general mayhem, and we'd love it if you helped us spread the word. We have the sheep, and the sheep are ready.
Remarkably, we just went to a big planning meeting at the Oregon Convention Center, where we showed them pictures of the sheep, explained how we were going to do this, and how it was going to be fine, and it worked.
Don't tell them, but I sort of feel like we just pulled a Jedi mind trick on them. I sat there, casually projecting all sorts of relaxed ideas onto them, even though Tina (who simply cannot be managed in any sort of way, I tell you) had thwarted my efforts by writing on the schedule "3:30 - Fleece to Foot ends. Shorn sheep are released into the Convention Center"
(They didn't notice that. The force is strong within me.) I just kept sitting there, waving my hands in a calming way and acting for all the world like live sheep shorn anywhere we want them are just fine.
"You will allow us to do this in the Convention Center. Live sheep are fine in the Convention Center. These live sheep are absolutely fine. They are not the live sheep you are seeking."