At the end of June, I was lucky enough to attend SSK (Super Summer Knitogether). This was my first time attending a knitting retreat & I was a bit nervous about going since it involved 150 strangers and staying in a dorm room. Remember dorm rooms?
However, I pulled on my big girls pants and didn't let my apprehension hold me back, and you know what? It was AWESOME!!!!!
I took a colorwork class from Kirsten Kapur that nearly melted by brain. In a three hours class, I learned to: knit continential, do two-handed colorwork, follow a colorwork chart, make a latvian braid and how to catch long floats on the back of the work so they are less apt to snag during use. By the end of the class, I really could have used a massage as my shoulders felt like they were permanently stuck up by my ears. Thankfully, Kirsten Kapur is a very patient teacher. If you get a chance to take a class from her in the future, I would highly recommend it.
I took one hours classes from each of the three wonderful women who organized SSK. Carin taught a class on what it means to pick up stitches versus pick up and knit stitches. It was interesting to hear when I should use one versus the other. Now, I feel ready to conquer one of the Log Cabin blankets that I have been drooling over. Laura taught a class on different cast-ons and bind-offs. I learned quite a bit, including that when doing a long-tail cast-on, it counts as you first row of knitting. No wonder some of my projects have had a weird edge at the bottom, I have basically been adding in an extra knit row. Oops. Leslie taught a class on backwards knitting. It was pretty easy to pick up the skill but I don't see myself using it a whole lot. A few people in the class really noticed a difference in their knitting because the tension between their knit stitches and their purl stitches is really uneven and knitting backwards remedies that. However, I don't seem to have tension issues so this will just be a specialized skill that gets deployed every once in a while. Jessica, a woman in the class who was sitting at my table, mentioned that it would be really useful when a pattern calls for nupps so you don't have to turn your work when you purl back a couple of stitches.
As much as I enjoyed the classes, the best part of SSK was just hanging out with a bunch of people who share a common interest. It was so nice to be knitting in a room full of people who would ask questions about your project or yarn and they were genuinely interested. There were no sideways stares from people who were trying to figure out what you were doing, no whispered conversations about how you could just buy whatever you were making at a store. It was bliss. Thanks to the get to know your fellow SSKers bingo game that was handed out at the opening ceremony, I got to enjoy a little fame as someone who has never knit a pair of socks. Evidently, non-sock knitters were in short supply at SSK so my fail at sock knitting made me popular. In a nice coincidence, a lovely woman that I met has also never knit a pair of socks. Our conversation started at that jumping off point and by the end of the conference, I am happy to report that I have made a new friend. Denise is funny & fun & awesome and I never would have met her if it weren't for SSK!
I also lucked out in the roommate department. My roomie was awesome and a very talented knitter. She let me scope out the beautiful shawls that she brought. If you want to see her in action, she has a video podcast called Traveling Sock Knitter. I think it is Hannah's mission to convert Denise and I into sock knitters. I enjoyed the irony of Hannah and I living in the same town for years & never bumping into each other. Then, after she has moved halfway across the country to take a teaching position, we meet at SSK. When I was sharing my SSK stories with my mom, it turns out that she rode to the Spring Fling with Hannah when Hannah still lived in Illinois. The knitting world is big & small at the same time.
There was a lot of amazing food at SSK but two places really stood out for me. If I got back to Nashville, I will definitely be hitting these places up again.
The first place is Rotier's which is a small neighborhood type bar that served possibly the best cheeseburger I have ever eaten. It as served on french bread and I will be forever grateful to the waitress for recommending it. The waitress also happened to be a member of the family that owns the business. It was started by her grandfather and it is still in the family. So, if you are in Nashville, please make this place a priority stop. Not only is the food amazing but you will be supporting a local, family-owned business.
The second place with the amazing food was Noshville. It is a New York style deli that serves amazing food. I had a really good reuben which is impossible to find in my home town. The service was friendly, the portions were large, and I think about that sandwich in my sleep.
Lastly, on Saturday there was a vendor market. Was there yarn to be had at the vendor market? Did I come home with seven skeins of yarn from Another Crafty Girl? Maybe. I'll never tell.
I could go on and on and on about SSK. There are more amazing women that I got to meet, more fun stories to tell, and I can't wait to do something like this again. However, this blog post if officially a novella so I am out!