You may have read a book called The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. It's a long time since I did but the general gist that I remember was taking a journey to discover that what you most wanted was right here at home. Such was my trip to Portland.
So here I am at Sock Summit, staffing my friend Kylie's stall while she took a well-deserved break on the Saturday. I wish that I had the alchemical ability to turn my toenails to bright red - that was one thing that I forgot to take with me, some nail polish. The idea was that, finally with time to myself, I would catch up on those kind of grooming things. I did manage to get my hair cut but no nail polish was applied.
I caught the train down and it was a great, relaxing ride. It also ran on time, both going there and coming back, which I've been told is quite unusual. I was able to sit and knit, uninterrupted for several hours. I really enjoy train travel and this is the first long train ride that I have taken, by myself, since ... hmm, moving from Melbourne to Sydney in 2001? Anyway, I got back onto my faux prussian stole and actually ran out of yarn! I have heaps more here at home but hadn't thought to take any spare with me. I don't think that I realised that I was so far through it already.
At Sock Summit itself I wasn't booked in for any workshops, I just went to experience the atmosphere, visit the marketplace, catch up with friends. Kylie brought all of this wonderful hand-dyed sock yarn over from Australia under the lable ms. gusset. I worked in retail all though high school and my uni years and I had forgotten how much fun it is, for the first 15 minutes. Then my cheeks started to hurt from all the smiling but I did get to talk to lots of attendees and even sold some yarn.
And bought some yarn too. I have been hankering after the Handmaiden 'vintage' colourway for months now but had only seen it available in the Camelspin which is about $40 per skein at my nearest yarn store. So I was delighted to come across their Casbah on sale for $24 a skein, and machine washable to boot - hoorah!
Otherwise, I found the marketplace completely overwhelming - hundreds of vendors all with, well, basically the same thing - sock yarn - and as much as I like knitting with finer yarn it's not really where my head is now. And there were just so many vendors that really, it all started to blend into one big mass of colour. Perhaps a more experienced sock knitting connoisseur would have coped better with it all! As for my Handmaiden, I'm considering the Cleopatra Wrap (Ravelry link) from Sensual Knits. But then again, I still haven't made a Clapotis yet ...