Thursday morning was the official opening of the Sock Summit conference. I had picked up my packet at the registration booth on Wednesday, so I was all set to start being edu-ma-cated. My first class was a mini-course, affectionately called a One-Hour Wonder, which was a nice, cheap way for me to learn a few things. This first OHW was called KnitteRx, and was taught by Carson Deemer, a physical therapist. The class was very introductory, as Carson was also teaching a three-hour, more in-depth course also, about preventing injury during knitting and similar repetitive, small-muscle tasks. I learned a few key things, such as “never, ever, ever knit with your arms resting on the arms of a chair,” as this can damage the ulnar nerve. And Carson gave suggestions for putting movement into your knitting routine. Perhaps we can develop a knitting workout! How cool would that be?

Carson was happy to oblige me with a photo with Skippy Jon, too.

After my class ended, I met up with Becky. We had tickets to attend the Oregon Brewers Festival kick-off brunch celebration. We hopped the Max to get over to McMennamin’s Crystal Ballroom. Sadly, neither of us paid attention to which train we hopped on, so it took a while before it registered to me that we were not coming up on the stop I was expecting. In fact, we were about four blocks south, and at that point, about three or four blocks east of where we had expected to get off the train to walk to our destination. Oh well, at least the weather was beautiful.

We arrived at the tail-end of the brunch, but there was still plenty of food left…and more than enough beer. Our brunch ticket provided for two beers and the all-you-can eat buffet. We had just enough time to get a plate-ful and our allotted beverages, and then it was time to make our way to the street for the parade. I didn’t realize until halfway to the river that we were in the parade…but we still got to see plenty of folks in costume. They were quite entertaining.

At the festival itself, we watched the ceremonial tapping of the first keg, and then we wandered through the grounds in search of our desired samplings. The brunch ticket also provided us with a commemorative mug (of tres chic plastique) and four tokens, each good for one beer sample. I should also point out that Becky had a class to attend at 1:30 that afternoon, so I was responsible for getting her back to the Convention Center in an upright position and on time. So many beers to choose from though!

I ended up sampling two beers, one from Hawaii & one from Alaska. Both were interesting…and then I was done. We stopped to play a game of cornhole with a couple students promoting the groupon service, and then we came to the snack table, or – as Becky called it, the crafts table. We each put together a “necklace” of orange ribbon on which we strung pretzel knots. Some students in the area had gotten creative in assembling their snack-jewelry, too.

Little did we know, but our snack-jewelry ended up being quite the talk of the Sock Summit. Everywhere we went, folks were commenting on them. An ingenious idea, perhaps this may spark similar “craft tables” at future knitting events. It’s so handy to have your snack food right there. And a more-agile person might even manage to nibble without putting her knitting down…

I got Becky back to her class right on time, and then I headed to my hotel room for a bit of rest. Shortly before 4PM, though, I returned to the Convention Center to get in line for the next event: the grand opening of the Marketplace. This was a students-only event, though instructors were also present, giving us first dibs on the goodies the plethora (125+) of vendors had to offer. The most bizarre thing I saw at the opening was the mob scene at the Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs booth, home to the insanely popular Goth Socks yarn. The proprietor was tossing skeins of yarn into the crowd for folks to feel the softness of the fiber. Some people misunderstood and walked off with what they thought was free yarn. Instead, the fiber was priced at about $30/skein. I moved on…

The one booth I most wanted to visit was Knitters Brewing Company. This was my prime opportunity to get up close & personal with Wendy Gaal, the proprietor of this online sock yarn company, who is also the designer of several pairs of socks – as well as one shawl (so far) – I have knit. Her yarn brand has been trademarked, and Sock-aholic yarns mostly get their names from cocktails and other spirited beverages (Cosmopolitan, Speakeasy, On the Rocks, Beer Goggles, Butterscotch Schnapps). Wendy recognized Skippy Jon when he emerged from my bag, as he has appeared in numerous photos of my knitting projects on Ravelry. So the pair of celebrities loved a photo…

Wendy also interviewed me to be included in her post-SS11 podcast. I haven’t listened to it yet, but you can check it out here: Yarn On Tap Podcast

The lone purchase I made on Day One was at Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the beautiful Socks That Rock collection. Realizing I had to pace my purchases out over several days, I nabbed my first choices straight away: ST-1, a colorway designed especially for Sock Summit, and Rare Gems, a unique collection of one of a kind colorways created by over dyeing existing colorways. I picked out a skein of bright colors which would become my Flashmob skein.

Following the Marketplace visit, we plopped down for some rare knitting time, meeting up with some of the ladies we’d toured the town with the day before. And when the time came, we wandered up to the ballroom for the Opening Night Reception, and our formal introduction to our esteemed coordinators, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Tina Newton (ST-1), as well as their illustrious support team (ST-2). The leaders opened the event officially by passing through the Sockgate…

Stephanie and Tina make up quite the comedic duo, and had us laughing and crying, talking about the challenges they faced in putting this conference together, along with noting differences compared with the challenges they faced two years earlier. We also had our first group practice of the flashmob dance…

(I will have to post a link to this later…can’t find it at the moment!)

All in all, it was another glorious day of fiber and friendship (and beer, oh my!). We wandered up to Burgerville to grab some dinner after the reception ended. Then I retired for some much needed sleep.

Knit on.