Knitting by Judy @ 1:13 AM

New Pathways for Sock Knitter: Book One

Friday night Blue Moon Fiber Arts held a reception at the World Forestry Center to launch Cat Bordhi’s new book New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One I took off from work a wee bit early, it being Friday and all, and drove to a west-side park-n-ride lot to catch Max back to the Zoo. I was afraid that traffic and parking would both be frightful, because there was also a concert at the Zoo, and it was Friday so everybody would be trying to get out of town. Or into town. Depending on their inclination. But at any rate everyone would be trying to get somewhere and a goodly portion of them would be trying to get to the Zoo. So I rode MAX, which at that time, going towards town, was almost empty.

The MAX stop at the Zoo is the deepest transit station in North America, and the second deepest in the world (no, I don’t know which is deepest). There are high-speed elevators that whisk you up to the surface in nothing flat. Every now and then people get stuck in them, and local news has a heyday. But that didn’t happen tonight. I would have been OK because I had knitting with me. But I’m glad I had the usual 20-second ride to the top.

patient knitters
patient knitters

When I exited the elevator, the first person I saw was Bobbie. Apparently she had the same get there early and knit idea that I did. So we sat, and knit, and chatted, and were soon joined by Duffy and Chrispy and several other knitters. And we all sat and knitted and looked at each others WIPs and FOs, and everybody petted my swatches. (The verdict: Malabrigo is really soft and nobody could believe it was 100% Merino. Most people preferred swatch #1, except Duffy. She liked swatch #3 the best. I’m still undecided.)

After knitting and chatting for awhile, we decided to wander over to the World Forestry Center and find the building (Miller Hall) where the reception was. It was not terribly well marked. We ended up briefly crashing a wedding reception, but eventually found Miller Hall. Blue Moon wasn’t quite ready for us, but it wasn’t too long before the doors opened and we were allowed in.

Tables were set up in the foyer with stacks of Cat’s books for sale. There was no yarn. Blue Moon wanted the night to be about Cat’s books, and yarn would have been a distraction. A yummy distraction. But distraction nonetheless.

So we trooped into the hall, where the PDX Knit Bloggers, being the shy types that we are, pretty much took over the left-side front of the seating. Kathy was there, and Cindy and a ton of other people that I’m forgetting. All of the socks that are pictured in the book were spread out on the table where Cat signed her books. We got to look at all of them, and touch them, and admire them. And Cat very graciously answered all of our questions.

my winnings
my winnings

The plan was that Cat would speak, then sign books, and there would be dessert and coffee served. But traffic tie-ups meant a lot of people could not get there by 7:00 pm. People sort of raided the dessert tables, and Cat began signing books. So Tina Newton of Blue Moon, ever the resourceful hostess, played a little game with the audience. Did I say there was no yarn? I may have slightly misstated that…

Yarn was won for having “unusual” items in knitting bags. Almost everyone there had a knitting bag, so we all began digging. Kathy won the first skein for having a plastic fork used as a lucet to make cording (link borrowed from Cindy) — deemed the most unusual tool made from an ordinary object. I have never used a lucet, but it looks cool and I need to learn. I must have a plastic fork around here somewhere…

I won two skeins, one for having dental floss (what, you don’t carry dental floss in your knitting bag?), and another for having, well… certain feminine articles, let’s say, this being a family-friendly blog and all. You can see them here in my bag, along with the dragon-scale, snake-whatever socks: One skein of light STR in Blue Brick Wall, a gorgeous mix of ecru, periwinkle, cerulean and turquoise that will be on my needles soon I think; and a skein of medium STR in Metamorphic, a steel-blue, rust, gold, lime blend. Duffy won a skein of Oregon Red Clover Honey STR. I had been dying to see this colorway, as a possible contender for the Bee Fields shawl. On the Blue Moon site, the color looks reddish. But the skein I saw was a beautiful golden honey color. And it’s available in a silk lace-weight. That might be the one!

Cat knitting a treehouse
Cat knitting a treehouse

Cat, as always, was witty and charming and told wonderful stories — I think mostly off the cuff. In the picture, she is showing how to knit a treehouse. If nothing else does, that should give you a clue what a strange and wondrous place the mind of Cat Bordhi is. Who else would have thought of knitting a treehouse? Who else would have thought of eight completely new sock architectures? The new sockitectures in her book arose after she realized that the gusset triangles that we sock knitters have, for hundreds of year, been carefully placing to either side of our foot, could in fact be placed anywhere around the foot without changing the fit of the sock. It’s completely brilliant. So there is a sockitecture with the arch shaping underneath, and one with it on the top, and one that has a big gusset only on one side, and one with the increases running in a spiral around the foot and up the leg — eight sockitectures in all with little baby socks to practice on. Book two will reveal sockitectures that don’t start at either the toe or the heel. That should be very interesting! I can’t wait for book two.

Through her whole talk, Cat wove the theme of three things that knitting is made of: Knits, purls, and that unnameable something that makes knitting a magical thing that captivates us and nourishes us and keeps us buying yarn.

Cat announced that her book has sold out (Blue Moon still has a few available via their web site), and the second printing will not be available until October! And then she completely and totally embarrassed me by thanking me again for getting the flu one day and making up the Magic Cast-On.

If you have a chance, check out Cat’s new You Tube videos showing many of the techniques she uses in the book.

And I, who was feeling a little bit slightly famous and cool was reminded that the universe does like to keep me humble. I was asked, for the very first time by a stranger, to autograph a book. She said to me, I have no idea who you are but you’re somebody famous, so sign my book. I truly think it was one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to me. And the other PDX Knit Bloggers got a pretty good laugh about it, too.

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