Imagine, if you will, you are innocently starting your day. Coffee in hand, you sit down at your desk, shuffle the pile of papers around so it at least looks like there was something accomplished the previous day. You open your email and peruse the list of incoming messages and, as you scroll down, there is an addy from an az@something-or-other and it looks unfamiliar but doesn’t seem to be junk. So, nonchalantly you open it. Hover that little arrow over it and innocently click on that name like it is has no significance at all. Like it is just a regular everyday sort of thing and not something that will have great meaning and alter your day, if not your life.
This is what happened to me on a Tuesday in August of last year. I opened that email and what I saw was a note, a request for information to teach at our humble little Sock Summit. And it was from my knit heroine. In my inbox on that Tuesday was an email from Anna Zilboorg. Take a minute to breathe . . . I know I needed several. I almost passed out.
Well, after I screamed and giggled and cried (Sorry, Anna; if you are reading this, the gushing is just going to go on for awhile.), I emailed her back and told her that, of course, I would love it if she came to this event of ours and I gave her my phone number so I could fill her in on the details. Then I prepared myself to talk on the phone with the woman who kept my color self going right when I doubted it the most.
I tried to prep for this call by talking to Steph and Debbi and JC and saying, â€œYou are just not going to believe this . . . guess who emailed me and I am going to talk to and . . . oh no! How am I going to talk to her? . . . and I am going be be incoherent and a fool and there is no way she is going to want to do this after talking to me . . . and on and on it went until the next morning when, in fact, she did call. I admit that the whole previous day I fluctuated between the fear of what I would do if she did call and what I would do if she didn’t. I drove everyone here a little nuts..
You probably get by now that this was a huge thing for me, but I will try to give you a bit more of the why. About twelve years ago, I found Anna’s book on Turkish socks in a used bookstore in Corvalis, Oregon and it saved my little color soul. I was frustrated and wondering if, in fact, all of those around me were correct and I didn’t know what I was doing. That I didn’t have any color sense at all, had no design talent, and truly should just play in my studio and leave it there.
Sitting on the floor of that bookstore, I saw in her book all of those marvelous socks with all of that vibrant color and design and intermingling. How the color and patterns danced and sang with each other. How this person was not afraid of color. How she was willing to play and experiment. There were no limits for her in this realm. I thought then (and still do) that imposing limits on color keeps you from creating magic and art. And I had found in this little bookstore in a small town in Oregon a kindred spirit. And I finally felt that I was not alone. And from Anna I found the courage to keep on playing with color, pattern, and yarn design. And . . . so far so good.
So I am sitting at my desk and the phone rings. I look at the caller ID and it says â€œA. Zilboorgâ€ and I sit there for a brief moment (that felt like years) anxiously frozen. I finally answered it and there she was. She was extremely gracious and handled my gushing admiration (I did warn her of my adoration in advance) with kindness. We had the loveliest conversation about the Summit (she was excited) and color and yarn and . . . . I told her I would send her the specifics so she could make an informed decision. She did. She said yes. She said that she would love to teach at the Sock Summit. She said YES!
When I found this out, it was rather late here on the west coast and certainly too late to call Toronto. So I called Debbi (â€œcockeyeâ€) and was crying and saying â€œShe is coming, she said yes!â€ over and over like a mantra. Deb says that was certainly not what it sounded like (she thought someone had died) and, hey, isn’t it Steph’s job to scrape you off the ceiling? Thanks, Deb. You scrape well too.
It turns out that Anna and I are indeed kindred color spirits and are developing (at least from this seat) a lovely friendship.When we talked about what she would teach and she asked me what I would like her to teach, I came back with â€œWhat do you love to teach?â€ She of course said, â€œColor.â€ Be still my heart! Sigh. We chatted about how she would like to do this and I sat there with tears streaming down my face listening to her speak my color mind and soul. I was so blissfully happy.
After she was done and before I could stop myself, I asked her if I could be her assistant in the class. I know. Sometimes the mouth is completely disconnected from the brain. She said absolutely not and that we should do it together as a team. Typing this here and on the contracts and on the schedule has put me right over the moon. It was the same as when I was trying to tell Prisclla Gibson Roberts who I was and what I do and she said, â€œWell, of course I know who you are and what you do.â€ Another story for another time. This is the flip side, the bliss side, the complete opposite of the massive work side of creating this Summit. And the wee bit of stress that goes with it.
Probably the most important part of the Sock Summit for me is its soul (sole). The full circle. The connection of the past and present. Joining together. Honoring where we have come from. All of our teachers are extraordinary. Each and every one has something special to share with us and we are profoundly lucky to have them all. The whole beautiful staggering list of textile wonder.
And then there is our list of goddesses. (I don’t think anyone will be offended by me using that word, stating the obvious, what we all know to be true.) These women have charted the pattern we are following and we will have the opportunity to walk among them, sit with them, listen to their stories and wisdom, and give them our thanks and respect. I don’t have the words to do justice to how exquisite I think this time will be for us all.
Anna, I want to thank you for so very much. Truly, it is a long list. But I would especially like to thank you yet again for boosting my courage, for helping me keep on track with this conviction to make sure this part of the Summit is full and rich and real and joined.
I am sure that I am not the only one that has a story or a moment involving any of these and other talented knitters and how they have influenced us and our knitting.