Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sock Summit Mania

After months of build-up and tense announcements, the class registration went up for Sock Summit. The rest is history - crashed servers, violently disappointed knitters, emails flying, chat threads extending into the sunset. I may not do this very well, and be warned I am not a kind person by nature, but I think there is some evidence that this could all have been a little less nutty.

The facts are these:

1. Check the stash listings for Socks That Rock. With more stashes and projects listed than any other sock yarn, I think that says something for the popularity of Tina's dyeing. From my own experience, the amount stashed on Ravelry is about one tenth of the actual yarn sold.

2. Two years ago at Blue Moon's annual "destash" in Scappoose knitters were fighting each other to get to the yarn. I wasn't there, but I surely won't be going in the future if that's the atmosphere. The Blue Moon booths at events like OFFF and Madrona are bad enough.

3. Every time the Yarn Harlot does a talk or a signing, the event is obscenely over capacity.
Two years running, Powell's here in Portland was inundated, so finally Tina helped get Stephanie booked at World Forestry Center's 300-person hall and it was still packed beyond fire code.

4. When the Yarn Harlot tries a new sock yarn and blogs about it, that dyer gets inundated, becoming a star overnight, though sometimes only for just a few days. This phenomena has its over verb: getting Harlotted. Examples: Fiber Optic, Sereknity, and Crash Into Ewe, to name a recent few.

This, I think, begins to demonstrate the power of Tina and Stephanie. Not the power of the sock. Let me say that again - it isn't really just about socks anymore.

The pressure in the air has been building about the Sock Summit since the idea was first introduced. When the list of teachers went up, I think it occurred to all of us that SS09 might turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There are yarn dyers out there that believe that getting a booth at Summit will be the thing that transforms their dyeing "hobby" into a full-time job.

The combined popularity of Tina and Stephanie seems to have brought some folks to the point of hysteria. Are they The Beattles of the yarn world? Either way, I am sad to find that people were downright nasty when they didn't get the classes they wanted. Seriously, folks, we're knitters, we know better. Apologize and GET A FRAKKING GRIP.

If there is a next time, ladies, please, Please, don't let anybody talk you out of what you should know by now is true. Over prepare, if you can afford it. And then redouble your efforts, just in case. Neither of you seems to do things by halves anyway. Just saying. From my perspective it seems that none of the organizers should have been shocked by the response, although they didn't deserve to get slammed by crazies for making a simple mistake.


irisphnx said...

It's been so interesting how analytical folks have been with this phenomenon. My opinion is that it got overly analytical right away. But I really think it's because a bunch of folks that I'll assume are typically good-hearted got carried away with trying to understand and comprehend what happened.
I disagree with you though that the organizers should have known to expect such a response. I think that Stephanie is genuinely surprised by overwhelming turn-out, still. I would think that Tina probably shares in that genuine kind of humility.
They had a vision to share, they hung themselves out there, pocketbooks included. I thank them for the gift.

Mel said...

I agree that there are a lot of different feelings out there, but this is a community discussion because it is such a large and public thing.

Wollmeise was another server-crashing phenom that I demonstrates the willingness of knitters to follow trends. Part of my point is don't underestimate (and then name it humility) the way the people will be drawn to something "cool" and new. As far as pocketbooks, by the time registration went up, the organizers of Sock Summit had already taken in large sums for the vendor booths, so it wasn't like Tina and Steph personally had to come up with all the funding - there are other resources at hand. I think it's noteworthy that Sock Summit is an LLC of it's own.

Mel said...

one edit = it should say "that I think demonstrates..."