Memories of SS09

Tiny Sock Samples

Hard to believe a week ago we were frantically dashing through last minute organizing and packing, and I’ve yet to recover from the blur of Sock Summit.

Hard to know where to begin and what to share. The weekend was an amazing calidescope of colors and people. Our booth was on the outside of the first row. Instead of being able to wave and chat with people in booths across from us we stared at a huge grey cinderblock wall.   Being on the beaten path to the restrooms on the other side of that wall wasn’t such a bad thing, there were some booths that didn’t get near the traffic.

We arrived shortly after ten Thursday morning and found very helpful convention center staff who cheerfully directed us where to park and where to go to sign in. There is a certain rushed hustle bustle that always takes over Ed and I when we set up or tear down from a shore. That rush takes over and we are incapable of slowing down, looking around or chatting with other vendors.  Once we were set up and had things more or less organized in that cramped 5 x 10′ booth we took turns quickly cruising through the hall checking out other booths and vendors. I did talk with a few, and finally got to meet Jocelyn , which was one of the highlights of the Summit for me. The hustle bustle seems to affect most everyone and there wasn’t much chance to really connect with people.  A great deal must be attended to before a show opens, vendors must have everything organized and ready as much as possible before the doors open or the first hours will prove either chaotic or dismal.

Our behind-the-booth neighbors, Cheryl and her helper, Kathy, of NewHueHandspuns were terrific. Kathy and I had fun talking violin stuff as we’re both adult learners. We’re planning to get together to play. I’m totally gobsmacked by how much yarn Cherly is able to spin. She’s one serious, dedicated spinner with a great eye for color. How in the world did I forget to buy some of her yarn?

The Marketplace was open to the workshop participants for two hours late Thursday afternoon. The place was like a madhouse (in a good way!) We’d anticipated lots of people going through all the booths checking out all the goodies and making lists of what they wanted to buy. Nope! The buying frenzy began at once.

Sock Summit Opening Night

Ed and I were kept on our toes during the two hours which passed like the snap of fingers. When the announcement was made we staggered out to the car and drove the hour home, already feeling exhausted. Dreams of the marketplace caused both of us to sleep restlessly until 5am when I rolled out of bed and stumbled down the hall to turn on the coffee pot.

Friday morning was much calmer though steady. Ed and I finally worked out a system where he took payments (ran the knuckle buster card machine and kept records while I wrapped the items (I used the silk hankies I’d dyed until they ran out sometime on Saturday – Ed hates touching those hankies) and tried to be available for stepping away from the booth to help people spin and/or demonstrate.

Shortly before 11 there was an actual break when no one was at our booth. Both Ed and I sat down for a moment – the first time I’d sat since arriving, and I’d just started to eat half a bagel to take the edge off the hunger that was beginning to grumble about such an early, long ago breakfast, when who should appear? The Yarn Harlot and Rachel! They were on a fast mission dashing past the booths waving tickets for the Knitting World Record Event taking place at noon. They hardly slowed down and the shock of seeing them pop by so unexpectedly paralyzed me. Then they were gone. Oh! How I’d longed to get in on that record breaking feat! I’d even brought a pair of straight needles and yarn. But I didn’t feel right leaving Ed alone in the booth. It’s tricky to man a booth alone when people are continually wanting demonstrations on using the tools, and most buyers were using credit cards which takes a great deal more time. One of the women from my spinning group was coming to help us in the booth but I had no idea when she’d be there. So with huge regrets I wasn’t able to get in on the world record breaker of over 900 knitters all knitting simultaneously.

Never before have we participated as vendors where I felt so left out of things. I wasn’t able to get to the booksigning and by the close of the Marketplace we were too exhausted to go to any of the scheduled events. We missed out on all the extra stuff.  Even after Sue arrived I managed to slip away long enough to say stop by Briar Rose Booth, looking for Anne Hanson (we ended up only having a very brief encounter when she took time to stop by our booth – she had a packed teaching schedule) and to say hi  to Jocelyn and Chris and eye those gorgeous yarns Chris dyes, then dashed over to get some food with protein only to end up sitting on a chair across from the booth wolfing down the rice and stir-fried beef with veggies, for the booth was busy again and Sue was in high demand as a demonstrator and teacher. She has a knack for helping new spinners learn to spin a lovely consistant yarn.

Checking out a spindle

SS Booth

(I kept forgetting to take pictures, and totally forgot to get one of Ed wearing the vest I spun and wove which he wore on the other days. Pictures were taken the first time he wore it, I’ll be posting about the vest next time.)

We have a good friend who lives about 2 miles from the Convention Center who welcomed us to stay with her Friday and Saturday night. We both thoroughly enjoyed putting our feet under her table, eating her fabulous vegetarian creations and talking the evenings away. Fortitude is a wonderful person whom we’ve known since living across the street from each other about 24 years ago.


(Fortitude, heading out to meet friends for a long trail hike in the mountains.)

Leap ahead to Sunday morning when I was privledged to have a scheduled hour of  public demonstration/teaching Learn How to Spin using a Turkish Spindle at the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pavilion – ie Marketplace Square. This was the highlight of the show for me. The ladies and man who grouped around the tables were open, friendly and very supportive. It was a blast teaching them how to spin. Since I’d no clue who or how many would be there, and knowing that people would be coming and going at will, I didn’t take any extra spindles for them to work along with me but I managed to give them enough hands on. At the end several ladies told me that I should take up teaching; I should teach at Stitches, at SOAR! They’d taken previous classes but the light bulb went on during my demonstrations. 🙂 Apparently several others bustled to our booth and bought spindles for by the time I’d finished answering questions and got back there Ed was beaming. Not only had they bought spindles but they also told him I should teach.

Imagine my surprise when at one point I looked up and saw Ed skirting the area snapping pictures of the demo.

Spinning Demo at the Marketplace

Though we only shared stolen snatches of chatter, Ed and I were totally taken in by the dynamic duo of Tsock Tsarina and Gywniver aka Lisa and Jennifer from New York. The pair of them are a riot. They blurt out the same words simultaneously as if they can read each other’s minds. Just as we were about to pack up they slipped over and gifted us with their Empire Apple roving and laughter.

Tsarina & GwyniverSock Summit was an extraordinary experience full of cheer, positive people and goodwill. Despite sometimes long lines and crowds, and long distances to cover on concrete floors people were upbeat and thoughtful. We loved selling and talking to buyers face to face. Ed’s passion for woodworking is so clear when talking about his spindles or needles that it’s contagious.

Jocelyn & IAs we scurried out with loaded dollie I dashed back to the Briar Rose booth and had Chris snap this picture. Thanks Jocelyn!

I only wish we could have figured out a way to have connected with some people  in a more meaningful, leisurely way. Guess that pleasure will be one of the joys of heaven!


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

13 thoughts on “Memories of SS09”

  1. Great post Wanda!

    SS09 sounds like it was fabulous! Glad you had such a good time, nice that you can combine biz and pleasure 😉 — a blessing to have such rewards for your labors!

  2. What a wonderful post! I love seeing all of the pictures (having had no time to take any of my own), and I’m so glad (but not at all surprised) that your teaching hour went to well 🙂

  3. So glad it went well for sales and appreciation of yours and Ed’s talents!Thanks for the pictures and stories, I hope you have a break before the next show!

  4. I love your photos, especially the one that’s just dripping with yarn! I have to say that you and Ed both rock, and good for you for being such a good teacher! It’s a great feeling when your students get what you’re teaching them, isn’t it? I guess it’s hard to be a vendor AND get to see everything that’s going on. Now go home and sit on a lawn chair and chill out for awhile. You can even hold the garden hose and water the veggies while reclining. Take a deep breath, and relax!

  5. Wanda, it is so wonderful to read about your experiences! It makes me long to have been there, and yet at the same time feel glad that I missed it, if you know what I mean. :o)

    I wish we were close enough that I could have you give me a spinning lesson (not to mention all the visiting) – that lightbulb moment hasn’t happened for me yet, although I keep slogging away at it.

    It sounds like both you & Ed need a little retreat to rest and recharge! I hope you’re able to take a little time.

  6. What an absolutely amazing time you and Ed had! How thrilling that you were part of this wonderful event. Great post, it really does help the folks who couldn’t be there… sharing your experiences. Dianne wrote and told me how much she enjoyed meeting and visiting with you. She sang fine praises for both you and Ed.
    I hope you get to take a bit of time to rest and relax, you’ve earned it :^)

  7. Its sounds so fun I wish I had been there. I would have love to take your class. I just want to touch all of those spindles!!!

  8. Kicking myself that I never got a picture of you two and your booth and your beautiful, beautiful wares. It was just wonderful meeting you and hearing Ed give chapter and verse on the history and provenance of each piece of wood; I love that kind of passion and craftsmanship, and I hope I didn’t make a nuisance of myself coming back to hear more more more. Incidentally, I was spinning on the plane home – on one of my Turkish Delights, of course – and a couple of passengers not only asked intelligent questions about the spinning but admired the quality of the woodworking. So it does translate, even for muggles. 🙂

    BTW – no regrets about the small booth in the back of beyond. Being near the bathroom, the water fountain and the bar more than made up for that, I’d say.

  9. lovely recap! And I am delighted that you were so busy at this show (and I totally understand about not having time to connect with people!)
    I’m glad that you had the chance to get to know Cheryl a bit – she’s a gem, isn’t she.
    I wish I’d been able to come down.

  10. Oh Wanda, how stressful! I wasn’t able to make the trip, but I made sure my good friend Caroline stopped by to see you. She did say that you were busy, and your booth was beautiful. I think you got some fantastic pictures, although I wasn’t there to see everything you didn’t get pictures of.

  11. It was fun having you as back-of-the-booth neighbors! Ed was way too cute for his own good, especially when he was sneaking off to take your picture. I will be in the Duncan Drumcarder booth at OFFF, stop by and say hi if I don’t find you first.

    Oh yeah, for a little while there I thought I just might get to take a shawl home after the Summit pack up and “keep it safe for you”… glad it made it home!

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