Sunday, July 31, 2011

Question: What do Elliott Smith, Sock Summit, and my latest pattern have in common?

Alameda Summer Socks
Have a seat, grab a snack, and I'll tell you! 

The Alameda Summer Socks are my newest pattern, hot off the presses.  Don't let the twisted-stitch pattern intimidate you - they knit up quick in sport-weight yarn!

The back story:  I designed these socks to commemorate the three years Tyler and I spent in Portland, OR before we got married and moved to Chicago.  It was there that I got bitten by the knitting bug, and I discovered an exciting world of crafty people and yarn shops filled from floor to ceiling with yarn...up until that point the only place I'd purchased yarn had been Michael's.

My favorite yarn stores were Lint (no longer in business), Mabel's (formerly a yarn store/coffee shop combo, also no longer in business) and The Yarn Garden (still in business, hooray!).  The last year we lived in Portland, we lived a few blocks down the street from The Yarn Garden - you can imagine how dangerous that was!  I have many great memories of hanging out with my best pal Kate, knitting up a storm.  Hard to believe that was before Ravelry existed.  This reminiscing is starting to make me feel old...
Elliott Smith Memorial in Silverlake

Anyway, the name for these socks is taken from an Elliott Smith song - one of our all-time favorite musicians who also spent a good deal of time in Portland, and wrote a lot of songs about places Tyler and I also haunted.  We were living in Portland at the time of his death, and we lived close to one of the memorial vigils that sprang up for him near Ladd's Addition.  We also were fortunate to be be in L.A. shortly thereafter (fun fact - that trip was my first-ever live show in Shalloboi - we played at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood), and we had some time to drive to Silverlake to visit the wall that was featured on the Figure 8 cover and in the "Son of Sam" video - it had also been transported into a makeshift memorial.

Before I digress entirely, let me get back to the point - these are the socks that I wish I'd thought to make for our wedding day.  If you can imagine it (I can't!),  I wasn't really into knitting socks at the time....that came later, when I discovered Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road.  Due to financial difficulties from earlier this year, I'm unable to make it to Sock Summit, which is a huge bummer - but I've got my sights set on SS2013 - Portland, I'll be back!!

So to honor my formative knitting years spent in Portland and in the Spirit of Sock Summit 2011,  I humbly present the Alameda Summer Socks Pattern - enjoy!

I found a pretty decent video of Elliott performing "Alameda" live at the Reading Festival in 1998 with Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes of Quasi as his backing band - you should also check out this video from 1997 - he doesn't finish the song, but it's a classic Elliott Smith moment, and a perfect example of what I love and miss about him and his music.

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