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Posts from the ‘Sock Summit’ Category

Surprise! It’s a Sock Museum

(ST-1 is just getting so much done that we shock ourselves.)

Another chunk of the Sock Summit fun and games are up and running, and this one is for everybody, whether you’re involved with the Summit or not.  The Sock Museum is live (in no small part, thanks to the generous sponsorship of WEBS and Blue Moon Fiber Arts. We love them.) In this section, you (or your local knitting group), and we think this would be a blast to do as a group, can sign up to knit a sock from history (recent or long past) to submit to the Museum.  Once submitted, the socks become part of the Museum, which will be present in person at the Summit, as well as on-line for all to see.  We’ve included a “starter list” of socks, but are actively seeking the input of knitters worldwide, for additional projects.  Read about it here, sign up if it sounds like fun, or submit a sock you’d like to do that you think we’ve missed. The Museum is intended as an ongoing WIP so feel free to contribute your ideas.

Have fun (and yeah, time is a little short. Thank the server.  It’s now not just the fun of submitting a pair of socks, but a race to get them done.)

We think it’s going to be a blast. 

Dyeing For Glory

Like it was yesterday…

I remember the first time I put dye on yarn.  Well actually, the very first time it was roving not yarn.  Initially I thought the best fun was mixing the dyes together in a cup to recreate the colors that were swimming around my brain. It is what I thought… until I poured it onto the roving. (It makes me a little weepy thinking about this obviously it has been awhile.)

Anyway I poured the dye on and watched as the wool happily absorb it. I watched the color slowly spread and the farther it went from where I poured it the lighter it was.

I found this beyond exciting and could barely keep myself contained. So I mixed up more dye again and put the next color on.( And you know what? It did it again) I decided at the very last second not to put it right next to the first color but a bit away and watched as it did it’s sexy absorption dance just as the first color did, with it’s own special hue, of course.

This was crazy cool and as lovely the first one and I was happily watching, zoning a bit on it and completely unprepared for how my entire world was about to change. The defining moment that pushed me head first into coloring fibers was when those two colors met and mingled and gave birth to not one more color but several. Color magic right at my fingertips. I was over the moon with joy.

I was not completely new to color as an artistic medium of expression. I painted a bit and did this or that but nothing like the display on that strip of roving. There is just something so very different for me when you paint color on fiber. It’s the texture and the chemical make up and how they all work together. How they feel in your hands and finally what happens when you knit with them.

With wool as my canvas and dye my paints I jumped head first into the dye pots and have not looked back since.

I dye when I am inspired, I dye when I am stuck or thinking or need to work through something. I dye when I am happy,and when I am sad, really no emotion is safe from the dye.  I dream of color and see colorways everywhere.

I love dyeing. I love dyeing fibers. I am honored to be a part of a growing community of such creative and gifted artists that share this hued passion (obsession) of mine.

One of the greatest joys in the past few months is the building of the Sock Summit Marketplace with my friend Debbi Stone aka Cockeyed.  We have met (virtually so far) so many talented fellow color obsessed souls.  We are going to have some serious fun in August. Look out Portland because not only are you going to be inundated with sock knitters you are also going to bathed in color by some of the most creative dyers gracing the planet.

Keeping with this color, fiber and community theme we are taking this celebration of color world wide to include and share a bit with those knitters that cannot make it to Portland in August.  We have teamed with Ravelry to bring you Sock Summit 2009 Dyeing for Glory Contest. We are launching this today and you can read about it here and on Steph’s blog and of course on RAV.

The rules and regs and details of how this is all going to work are all spelled out quite nicely for you and are posted on Ravelry.

There is also a thread started in the Sock Summit group so you can keep updated there.

Thank you Casey, Jess and Mary Heather for helping us make this color dream a reality.

Ready, Set, DYE. ( ok Dye then set)

Registration Update

We sent an email out yesterday that had the letter below in it to everyone on our mailing list and to all who we have listed as registered.  You see thanks to the Great Sock Summit Server Crash of 2009 we all are having several recurring nightmares with revolving themes all involving large numbers of confused and unhappy knitters.

We are doing our dead level best to make sure we have reached out to everyone who might have a registration issue.

I know we said it in the letter below but I am going to emphasize it (probably over so) again.

Please check make absolute sure that you in fact did receive a confirmation email with confirmation numbers on it for everything you registered for.

If you have that information you are golden no need to contact us. Don’t get me wrong we love to hear from you but the inbox is a wee bit of a scary place these days. So many sock knitters so little time.

Steph and I are working on getting the shopping cart up and the Sock Museum KAL so look for those really soon.

Also, the market place is coming together so beautifully and honestly, exceeding even my wildest dreams which is no small feat.

Ok… off to help pack for Black Sheep and to the bank to get the cash for the cash box which yours truly spaced out yesterday. (I have SS09 brain, blue moon is being very patient with me.)

Dear Everyone,

As some of you may know from experience, the sheer numbers of avid sock knitters who attempted to sign up for the Summit sort of… well.  Fried our server.  Things got up and running again very quickly, but for about a half hour there, things were nothing short of dodgy.

We can’t apologize enough for this, and we’re sorry not just for all of you, but for our staff and friends who have helped us manually process all of the errors and corrections over the last few weeks. We totally owe them socks (and probably hard liquor, but we’re not giving them that until after the Summit.)

We believe at this time that we’ve handled everything in our inbox. If you haven’t heard from us, then please write again to .  (There were a few people we couldn’t reach due to incorrect emails or phone numbers, so please, please write again before thinking we’re not happy to help.)

In addition, we want to stress that you need confirmation numbers to check into the Sock Summit.  If you experienced a problem at registration and didn’t get those confirmation numbers, you need to write to us, so that we can confirm you’re registered, and send you the numbers.  If you did not see confirmation numbers, you may not be registered.  We’ve been doing our level best to see everyone through this happy, and we’ll do our best to help you too.

In addition, because we’ve been using the few returns and cancellations we received to help solve problems, there are very few classes to put up for grabs.  As we can see no reasonable way for thousands of knitters to compete for a few spots, and we are helpless in the face of the unbelievable mass of all of you, we’re not going to re-open registration. If any spots remain open at the time of the Summit, knitters will be able to sign up for them at the registration desk.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

ST-1, ST2

and the dedicated (but tired) team that backs them up.

Sock Summit meeting 4,723…

There are meetings and then there are meetings. There are the necessary more formal business type meetings like the convention center meetings and exhibitor meetings, lawyer meetings, web meetings, accounting meetings and hotel meetings with good people doing their jobs and helping us do ours.

Then there are the meetings with the team I usually work with in relationship to all things Blue Moon. They are all awesome people who are great at their jobs and really fun to work with. The fun thing is pretty essential for me on the creative end of things.  So of course when needing these jobs done for sock summit we would bring these people in to help. 

Our graphic team is Cassie Caldwell and Tim Bergman. They designed the sock summit logo and have put it in on everything we thought we could get it on without feeling like we look as obsessed by it as we are.

We really love the logo that they came up with for us and all of it’s little parts and pieces. They are also responsible for all of the website graphic and look. Tim and Cassie are very creative, know their stuff and so much fun to work with. We really love working with them.

Another really great team are our printers, Randy and his superb crew at Brown Printing. Actually Randy introduced me to Tim and Cassie. He thought we would be a good match and boy was he spot on. We all enjoy and respect each other and then the work follows pretty effortlessly from there.

Yesterday afternoon we had a meeting to work on the show brochure,name tags… .  Debbi and I (cockeyed the sockateer and your vendor goddess) met with Cassie (Tim is teaching at PSU) and Randy at Brown (where they have printing presses and it smells like ink and is oh so lovely if you like words and graphics). They are also green and responsible. You can check them out here; http://www.brownprn.com/

This was the first time that Debbi and Cassie had met and I was really looking forward to it.  You know in that way where you have two people you care about and you know they will really like each other. So I arrive and of course everyone is already there because now I am that “late” person.  I have decided to look at it as I am on time, they are just a wee bit early.

Anyway I walk in the door and this is what I see.

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Debbi on the left, Cassie on the right, a pretty well matched team don’t you think. Made me feel a little great about my people skills. Honestly it cracked me up all day and truly, you could have knocked me over when I walked in that door yesterday and saw that vision.

It was a very productive meeting. We got a lot done, the show book is going to be great and Randy is helping with all sorts of things paper and ink-wise.

Two of my favorite people got to meet and well, you see.  You can’t really see it here but even the nail polish color was the same.

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All in all, a good day.

Survivng the storm.

Today is my birthday. I was born 52 years ago in a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. I was premature, my mother had toximia. My family did not think I was going to make it.

My uncles did not want my mother to name me because they did not want her to get attached and heartbroken. I rallied and rallied and finally it was clear I was going to make it. I was ugly, wrinkled and looked burned and was very small, but I made it. I fought and survived.

This has been my MO ever since. I am a survivor. I like my life and the way it has shaped me into who I am now. As lives go, it has not been an easy one. It has made me really strong, kind of brave, compassionate and believe it or not optimistic.

It has made me appreciate every single moment of life and is teaching me to see them all as opportunities, no matter what they look like. I am still working on this part. It is so much easier to see and accept the lessons in life when they come packaged all pretty and nice, isn’t it? All wrapped up with a bow, all tidy and easy. It’s the dirty, messy, scary ones that are a little harder to see as anything other than pain and suffering. It is hard to weed through the debris to see that, in fact, there is light and love and hope.

I don’t know about you, but I have found that even though I truly hate these parts of life and would vote for being done with them (really, if there was a place to vote and I missed out, I’m going to be so bummed), they have given me a wealth of knowledge, experience and, yes, even joy. Teaching me to look beyond what is presented to me to see what might lie inside or underneath or maybe is exactly what it is and only that.

I have spent a good chunk of this week doing all of this. And, honestly, I tell you I have needed every skill I’ve picked up along this 52-year journey of mine in order to gracefully walk through it.

But I find myself stumbling a bit. The most challenging part of this for me has been the hate and cruelty directed at Stephanie and I. Personal attacks on our character and threats to our businesses. It is painful, shocking and, honestly, a little scary.

Oh, and I almost forgot . . . undeserved. We do not deserve this kind of reaction, projection and irresponsibility. Actually, no one does. I understand the disappointment and frustration. We both do. We have a lot of the same feelings in relation to this as you do.

Honestly, how could we not? SS09 has taken so much time and energy to plan and implement. Add in the extra time to be taken seriously and, well, does anyone really think we have worked this hard to make something that many could participate in no matter what they chose to do while keeping the costs down as far as we could get them, only to have registration look like this? This was definitely not the plan.

We have run reports and based on what we have found and what we have gotten from IT experts there was no way we could have predicted this and we would be hard pressed to afford a server situation to take care of it. You should see our IT friends faces pale when we tell this story.

Our IT team is running reports and problem solving with us so we can work through this in an efficient and timely manner.

We are rallying.

We are painstakingly going through the emails to solve everyone’s problem and we will do our absolute best to do this.

There were 12,000 signed up on our mailing list. This is the number we went by. Rule of thumb is you count that 10% of that number is your true customer base. Knowing our actual customer base, we took that 10% and multiplied it by four. In the non-knitter world, that would have been more than enough (and actually a bit of a financial risk on on our part and a huge leap of faith). How could we have known that not only would we be hit with more than the 12,000 but over double that? ( that would be at least 30,000) We could not.

Along with the hate has also been a whole lot of patience, understanding, compassion and love directed to us and also knitter to knitter. We have a fair number of emails from knitters offering to give up classes so someone else can have one. We have lovely stories about how people tried and tried and got in or maybe they did not and how they are choosing to deal with it to make the most positive experience for themselves.

There are those that will think I am making excuses or belittling their experience. I am not. I’m just trying to give us all a little perspective. It is easier to problem solve when the problem is clear and not clouded with other issues.

We will keep you all in the loop so keep checking in.

Announcement:

We aren’t going to be putting up the page where you can search for your registration, because it isn’t a “for sure” way of telling what’s going on. When we were testing it, we had a lot of trouble and realized that, if we put it up, what’s going to happen is that people are going to search, not find themselves, figure they aren’t there, and freak out. Meanwhile, they are (in fact) there, they just have a typo or glitch. We’ve decided to make sure that everything is accurate by doing it all MANUALLY, ourselves. That means that, if you have a problem, you should write to us on the “Contact Us” page with as many details as you can and we’ll sort it out. If you already wrote us, we’re on it. The first refunds went out today, and we have all our staff working only on this. Also, we have hired more staff and the IT company is lending us people. It should go quickly, but please be patient. We’ll sort everybody out as best we can, as quickly as we can. The good news about duplicates is that there may be some open slots coming up on the website. Haunt the place, you might get lucky yet!

Answers to most-asked questions and comments:

-No. We can’t make it bigger. It’s already the biggest ever. It’s really big, and there isn’t more room at the Conference Centre, and we actually don’t have a responsibility to make sure everyone can fit. A knitting conference for tens of thousands of knitters isn’t a reasonable thing to ask of us.

-No. We can’t get the bigger ballroom at the Art Museum. It’s is booked and has been since we tried to book it before.

– No. We can’t put more students in all the classes. Class size is dictated by the teachers. That’s industry standard and if the classes were any bigger you would just be sad that the classes were so big you couldn’t learn in them.

– No. We can’t get Barbara Walker to do some extra lectures. She’s almost 80 and a retired and extraordinarily well respected matriarch of our community. We won’t be exhausting her.

No. we don’t agree that we are horrible people because you didn’t get what you wanted. We are very, very sorry you are disappointed. We are even sorrier about the server crash, because it made what we now understand was inevitable – a lot of disappointed knitters, a lot who think that if the server hadn’t crashed it would have worked out for them. The server slowed down for all of you. It crashed for all of you. Nobody got an advantage and we’re heartbroken that you’re sad. Write to us. We’re helping everyone as best as we can. Really. While we don’t think we’re horrible, we know that this feels horrible, and we want to make as many people happy as we can.

ooops P.S. PLEASE, the blue moon staff and sock summit team ask that all the love messages be sent here in comments and to Stephs blog. Thanks ever so much. 

Settling Dust

Just a quickie, because we’re still hard at work here.  We’re really tired, but we’re going to keep going.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  For everyone who experienced a glitch, and everyone who didn’t. Thank you. We’re doing our best to sort out some of the remaining troubles.  We know that some people who used the “back” button on their browsers ended up with double classes (See? We told you the back button was bad) and we know that a few other people are wondering if they are registered or not because their email didn’t arrive. We know that even a few more of you registered twice because you panicked, which we totally get.  We’d like to ask you to do three things for now.

1. Stop. Relax as much as you can.  The classes are mostly sold out now, (For real) Things might open up as we resolve the few problems above, but mostly, we believe that the way things look now are the way things are.  We know there are problems, we are working on solutions for everyone, and we’ll post as soon as we have simple ways to sort them.  Our IT guy is busting himself creating a page for you to log in and check what you got and make sure you’re all right.  We’re still working.

2.  Please wait until that page goes up to send us a complaint.  Could be you don’t really have a problem yet, and sending us “Contact us” mail about it now only means that we’re not going to be able to tell who really has a problem and who got solved by the check page.  Let’s do that first, and then we’ll deal with every single person as fast as we can.  We didn’t sleep last night, we’re not sleeping tonight – we haven’t even had a meal yet today.  Promise.  You are, and have been our priority for more than 36 hours.

3. IF YOU DID NOT GET A CONFIRMATION EMAIL, GO CHECK YOUR SPAM FILTERS. Look around. See if it’s there. Many of you are confirmed, but had the email bounce back to us.  This could be because your email security rejected us, because it’s caught in the spam filter or, and I hate to say this but we can already tell there are quite a few of them… people who spelled their email addresses wrong, because they were rushing.

If you think maybe you spelled your email wrong, don’t panic.  The check system will let you find your registration, correct your email and get the confirmation mailed to you again.

I repeat. Do not panic. I know that this has been really hairy. (Trust me, we know. Oh – boy do we know.) We’re very sorry for any anxiety or upset the server overload is causing you.  Our apologies. 

Server got a kick start.

Server is up and running just too much too fast.

I really am sorry if any of this has caused upset and grief.

We did our dead level best to make this run as smoothly as possible.

The classes are NOT full. It was just a massive overload to the system.

If you go look now you will see that there are a lot of classes available.

We are answering your emails as fast as we can.

There is an ebb and flow here class wise so check back.

We know this is upsetting and frustrating and cannot apologize enough.

Server Down

The traffic load has taken the server down.

Please stand by we are working really hard to bring this back up.

We have many techie types on this and feel oh so awful.

Steph and I will post when it is fixed.

thank you for your patience and understanding

tina

How we roll …

at Sock Summit Central

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Post-its are us. Even though the class info is in a very nice database and on the website this post-it system of ours still makes us feel secure.

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Our brains just could not contain it anymore. So in keeping with the whole white board/post-it class schedule of wonder meet the wall of organizational bliss.

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Big sock knitting conferences need big planning equipment and supplies.

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And a little light. hehehe

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Take a moment to stop and smell the skunk cabbage.

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As you can see all is going well!

Just so you know…

So the schedule has been out for well over 24 hours and no major disasters have hit and we are pretty pleased with it.  Actually we think it is really pretty.  I thought before we headed on to the next step, I would address some of the issues from your questions, since they all boil down to about the same thing for us.

Stephanie and I are the backbone and the ring leaders of this event. We both have some very firm “this is how we live our lives” rules and since this beast is ours, well then, it certainly stands to reason that you would find a lot of who we are here.

First and foremost, it is very important to us that this event is accessible to everyone. In order for this to happen it needs to be affordable. To keep the Sock Summit affordable, we have kept staff low until we need them at the event itself. This means to reach us, you need to use the email addresses we have supplied. There is no sock summit phone number. We do realize this is frustrating to some and for this we are sorry. Please keep in mind that there are thousands of you, so really the best way to handle the (little bit scary) sheer volume of summiteers is by email.

This also means if we are not as timely with things as you think we should be, please keep in mind that we really are keeping within industry standards on most of our deadline goals. Also know that being the type A’s that we both are, we take these goals very seriously. (Okay so we looked up type A personality types and it turns out we are not, we are just really over worked and care a whole bunch.) It causes no small amount of pain for us to get close to a time goal and know we are not going to meet it exactly as we had planned. We are learning a lot. Some of it is painful.

One of the reasons that the schedule is not offered as a downloadable pdf is affordability. A big expense is the development and upkeep of the website. Downloadable pdfs cost more than a screen view. You can still print the screen view. We ask that you try to read it from the web because one of our other goals here is to keep this event as earth friendly as possible. In this vein, we are trying to use as little paper as possible. We appreciate your help with this.

This is also one of the reasons we chose The Oregon Convention Center. If you visit their website, you can read about all their sustainable practices. The convention center is also really accessible. The Max light rail goes directly from the PDX airport to the front door of the convention center and from there to downtown Portland. Most of the hotels are right there, along with restaurant choices. And again downtown Portland is about a 10 minute light rail ride, with a station right at the convention center entrance.

Along with being a really lovely place on the planet, Portland is a pretty affordable place and easy to navigate. It is also very green in both sustainability practices and that whole growing things arena.

When we booked this event, we got as many hotel rooms in close proximity of the convention center as were available. Because of the economy this changes and we check on this every two weeks. We will do so again this week to see if any have been made available for us to add to our blocks.  Mostly though they are just filled to the very rafters with sock knitters. There are a lot of us. In three months Portland is going to be over run with knitters…sock knitters.  We are trying to prepare them for this. We do not think they are getting it.

One of the most challenging parts of organizing an event of this magnitude is making decisions and choices, always keeping in mind and heart pleasing the most amount of people while keeping it affordable and functional.  This is our goal and we both know that is not possible to make everyone happy. We are doing our best to stay true to you and to us.

We consider Sock Summit a holistic event. Where there is something for everyone sock knitting-wise. This includes the summiteers, the teachers,the vendors and sponsors and yes, even us. Our hope is that there are moments to be made and shared that we will cherish for years, as in the book signing part of this. We see this as not just a chance to get your books signed, but an opportunity to meet and have a one on one moment with extraordinary knitters,designers, teachers, and people.  We have tried to arrange this so there is as much access to as many as possible.  Oh, and so we have some crazy sock knitting fun too.

P.S.  Vendors. we are running your charges today and tomorrow.