Skip to content


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, “You 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 “A. Zilboorg” 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 (“cockeye”) and was crying and saying “She is coming, she said yes!” 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 “What do you love to teach?” She of course said, “Color.” 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, “Well, of course I know who you are and what you do.” 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.

  1. Thank you for this story.  I would have been a wreck just thinking about talking to her.  And, of course, we all wanted to be a fly on the wall to see how it came about.  While we are still checking feverishly to see any details at all about the Sock Summit, I was just delighted to read this story.

    November 30, -0001
  2. What a great story. I am so excited about the sock summit. Can’t wait to be there and meet you and everyone of the teachers in the the great lineup you have organized. My gosh, it’s a virtual who’s who of the knitting world. Very, very exciting.

    November 30, -0001
  3. Not only is act of facilitating this event inspiring, but the facilitator herself is an inspiration.  Congratulation.  Merely being a spectator of this self-awareness is exhilirating.  Tina, you ROCK!  All your teachers are grade-A, kick-ass!  Thank you for bringing this to us.

    November 30, -0001
  4. Ah, so now I get to read the whole story, in its entirety!  Not the Cockeyed condensed version of your tearful phonecall.  I must say that I can relate to this:  like when I called BMFA and first spoke with YOU!  (OK, except I’m not a dying genius struggling with color though YOU ARE such a guru in so many ways!) Oh, how exciting this all is!!!

    November 30, -0001
  5. Wow what an amazing story–so enchanting and heart warming!

    November 30, -0001
  6. Very cool.  And I once got totally blown away by a yarn and color celebrity who called me–who happened to be you.  You don’t mind my smiling at it all coming back to you, I’m sure.

    November 30, -0001
  7. melissaknits #

    The list, when it came out, made me stop breathing. Then I breathed, and then I called my husband and said “The list is out and I am on the same list as Barbara Walker and Anna Zilboorg and and and and…” then there was some hyperventilation and mild hysteria.

    Stephanie said the list would blow my mind. Blown I was, and still am. Made my hair stand right up on end.

    November 30, -0001
  8. Uh.  Yeah.  I totally get that.  I remember talking to a certain dyer on the phone and shaking with wonderment the remainder of the day.  Talk about surreal.

    And then this weekend I get the honor of picking up Charlene Schurch from the airport and having an hour long talk about knitting and socks with her on the way to a weekend retreat that she taught at.  And I got to do it all over again when I brought her back to the airport.  I am one blessed knitter.

    November 30, -0001
  9. Ohyesohyesohyesohyes! I understand exactly what you’re talking about. I took a class with Anna at Stitches a bazillion years ago (the one and only Portland Stitches) and she was amazing. I look forward to meeting up with her again this August! And with you. I’m so pumped for this event!


    November 30, -0001
  10. The Oregon Convention Center is going to be a magical place. Thanks to the magic crew who are coalescing the Summit.

    November 30, -0001
  11. Elaine Marcus #

    It’s almost as amazing to watch you ladies do this for us as it must be to be actually doing it. I live in Portland and am SO PROUD you all will be here. Thanks for the “making of the Sock Summit” posts. How will I ever decide which classes to attempt to sign up for……

    November 30, -0001
  12. Great story! The class sounds wonderful I would love to take it, I can hardly wait till this event.

    November 30, -0001
  13. ….hmmmmmm, i remember it well……

    November 30, -0001
  14. Pat Dixon #

    I hope there is room for me in the class..I met Anna many years ago in Montpiler VA..I have always wanted to met her again..I too, felt as you do,did,enjoy every minute..what a real treat.

    November 30, -0001
  15. Sharon T #

    I have had this book for quite some time and the socks are YUMMY, the technique unbelieveably unique, and the whole look of the thing head-turning.  The book itself is beautiful.

    There is a new edition, I believe, and I have ordered it from Judy at, a wonderful person.

    I will enjoy learning from her. 

    I am so jazzed she is coming.

    Thank you, Tina.


    November 30, -0001
  16. I always wished that I’d been able to take her “Mnemonics for Knitters” several years ago. I’ve always wondered what she covered. I would love to be able to take a class from her. This is going to be simply wonderful!

    November 30, -0001
  17. I may have taken half a dozen classes and workshops on color over the years, but this still goes high on my list, right after lectures by BGW and PGR.

    I hope you guys have a good system planned for class sign-ups. It’s going to be a stampede, or as Websters calls it “a mass movement of people at a common impulse.”

    November 30, -0001
  18. Linda Gettmann #

    A truly wonderful story, and what will be an absolutely maarvelous event!  I can’t wait—Tina, your yarns have spurred many of us to knit more sox than we have drawers to hold, and sweaters, and vests.  Socks are my passion and I have you to thank for keeping me passionate about color and fiber.  BMFA rocks! Thanks for all your hard work in putting this event together for the wide world of knitters.

    November 30, -0001
  19. It is almost as if we (the big all-of-us collective we) were waiting for the One who would cause it all to come into being… thank you, oh great facilitator Tina! The stars are most definitely aligned for this!

    November 30, -0001
  20. Ruth Kohl #

    what a wonderful, touching story. I can hardly wait, I’ll take any class she teaches. The sock summit is so exciting, so many sock goddesses in one place, takes your breath away.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    November 30, -0001
  21. Oh my! What a terrific story, and yes, it’s that sort of feeling when I think about making the trip to Sock Summit and getting to meet everyone – yes, all the goddesses, that’s a very good word – when I get there!


    Thanks, Tina, for this much-anticipated event!


    November 30, -0001
  22. NewJerseyLaura #

    Lovely post.  I feel that way about you, Tina.

    November 30, -0001
  23. Heh heh. You are such a fangirl… but I’m a fanboy…. so I totally related. I’m not even what I would say to half of the people on the teaching list. They are all such superstars. I hope I get to come!!!

    November 30, -0001
  24. elleninindy #

    woo-HOO! so excited! now, PLEASE tell us how many cubic dollars this is gonna cost!! i’m hoping to combine sock summit with a visit to my hippie son, a proud transplant to portland. i’m welcome to crash at the hippie pad, but i gotta start budgeting for little things like train fare and classes and yarn, yarn, yarn.

    November 30, -0001
  25. Good morning. As I get older, I’ve learned to listen to people rather than accuse them of things.

    I am from Eritrea and bad know English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: “Someone attempted to charge over on airline tickets.”

    THX :o, Dominy.

    November 30, -0001
  26. If you are in the corner and have no cash to get out from that point, you will have to take the Because that should aid you unquestionably. I get financial loan every single year and feel myself fine because of it.

    November 30, -0001

Comments are closed.