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Monday, September 14, 2009

Sock Summit 2009 - Part 4 of 4 - Barbara Walker, VooDoo Donuts and Home

(Confessional Note - created 8/12/2009 - finished and posted 5/5/2011)

Ah - my last day at the 2009 Sock Summit - Saturday. Yes, Saturday.
Yes, I know the Sock Summit went through Sunday.
Why wasn't I still there through Sunday?
'Cause I'm a ninny, that's why. {sigh}
During the near last-minute trip setup, I'd scheduled the plane trip home the day after the last class I'd gotten via the lottery. I didn't know more options would become available...or what I'd be missing. {SIGH}
However, I'm trainable and it was my first major Knitterly event. I'll do better next time.

A Really Big Sock and a Really Amazing Woman: 
I tried again to track down the World's Largest Sock in the Marketplace. I did find the sock (it took up a fairly large round table). No one was manning the table just then and I was feeling bashful and short on time so I didn't take the opportunity to knit upon it. But I did drop off the yarn donation I'd brought for that specific purpose.
(It just may be...the secret to having room in your suitcase for yarn you bought at the marketplace is to take as much or more yarn to the event and leave it there for charitable endeavors. Worked for me!)

The highlight of my last day at the Sock Summit was a lecture. I had belatedly purchased a ticket to Barbara Walker's lecture, "How I became a Knitter", from a very nice woman who was unable to attend the Sock Summit. She was a bit heartbroken at not being able to attend this specific lecture; Barbara Walker having been an admired person of note in her knitting life. As previously confessed, I had been mostly clueless regarding Barbara Walker's affect on knitting and the world at large.

I truly enjoyed Barbara Walker's lecture. More than I can say.
(Yes, knit-geekiness abounds on this topic.)
She was a charming and interesting speaker. Clever and fun.
I'm totally impressed and will be looking for some of her books.
What a woman! (I am a bit smitten.)

Here are some of the bits I remember:
(Disclaimer...the following is my interpretation of some of what I heard at the Barbara Walker Lecture. It should not be perceived as "gospel" or direct quotes. It's just me - relating parts of what I heard in a very nifty lecture at a ground breaking Knitterly event. Thanks.)

She spoke of her life as being a series of "obsessions". She would become focused on a topic/subject/pursuit and invest time and energy in learning all about it.
(I would say "mastering" it. i.e. going beyond apprenticeship.)

In her teenage years the obsession was horses.
In her 20s, it was Modern Dance.
Her 30's - Motherhood.
Also in her 30's she began to assign herself courses of study during the winter months: Archeology, Geology, History, Paleontology, etc.
I believe she indicated her first attempts at knitting occurred in her 30s. However, those first attempts were more accidental lace than knit fabric. She said, at that time, sewing went much better for her than knitting.

Luckily for us, she revisited knitting later in her 40's and her next obsession was collecting knitting patterns.

She obtained special permission and visited the Library of Congress for this latest obsession.
They had knit pattern books back to 1830. However, they had no desks in the Library of Congress so for 3 days Barbara Walker sat on the floor under a 25 Watt bulb and copied knit patterns by hand.

This became the First Pattern Book - "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns".

And she kept on collecting patterns. About this time, she was contacted by Elizabeth Zimmerman.
EZ sent knit patterns she had been collecting along with a few original patterns she'd created to Barbara Walker who combined them with more of her own collection to create "A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns".
After the 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns Book was created, BW created her knitting pattern charts because she got tired of writing out the patterns long-hand/by-row.

Some of her current obsessions are:

  • She is the Secretary of the West Coast Mineral Club (which inspired the "Book of Sacred Stones").
  • Her Tarot Card Collection (She has 188 different Tarot decks (which inspired "The Secrets of the Tarot" Book)).
  • Jigsaw puzzles - collecting and redoing them. 

She told us of her religious epiphany as a child, how much you can accomplish when the TV is broken {wry grin}, and that she had only just gotten a computer a couple of years ago (a gift from/setup by her son). (No, she isn't a member of Raverly.)
I got the impression she was generally surprised, a little perplexed, and a bit pleased at the interest, respect, and...well, reverence she was experiencing from pretty much all of us (ST1 included per their own "Calling Barbara Walker" comments (See - nearly everyone has moments of being knit-geeky!)).

I think the lecture was redirected a fair amount by questions from the audience. I found it to be fascinating and very inspiring. As previously stated, I'm smitten.

She gifted us with these closing words:
Thank you knitters.   Thank you feminists.   
Thank you for your attention. 
Thank you for reading.   Thank you for being here. 

Donuts Attempted:
So...before heading back to Tucson, I made a concerted effort to....
Go to Voodoo Donuts to get the DH a Voodoo Doll Donut as we'd seen featured on Man vs Food.
(Scroll down the menu webpage - I dare you not to salivate!)
Unfortunately, I came to realize that Saturday is a big donut shopping day in Portland:

  Yes, the line stretched AROUND the corner.

And I had a plane to catch. So I owe the DH a Voodoo Donut (or 3) on the next Portland Trip.

Home again, Home again...
I travelled home and was warmly received by the various furry gents with whom I live.
For some reason, the DH was not quite as fascinated by the suitcase unpacking as the other furry gents were.

Gryphon was particularly pleased that I had purchased this mug from Jennie the Potter:

Because he Realllly enjoyed the paper in which it had been wrapped:

Reality quickly asserted itself, but didn't quite dim the glow of the experiences I'd had at the Sock Summit. I had been gifted with camaraderie, kindness, inspiration, and knowledge that there were a lot of open-hearted people who shared my crafting passion. Pret-ty darn cool.

So ends the very drawn-out blog-tale of my first Knitterly Event.
May there be many more such events and explorations.

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