depravedDyer's picture

Once upon a time, there was a knitter. Now, she was definitely not the best knitter by any stretch of the imagination. However, what she lacked in technical ability and patience, she made up for in passion and joy.
    One crisp fall day, while browsing the shelves and stacks of a super cute, tiny used bookstore in Corvalis, Oregon, she stumbled upon a book that changed her knit life. The book was The Knitting Anarchist by Anna Zilboorg. I am sure you have guessed that this knitter is yours truly. At the time, I was a newbie knitter and really did not know much about Anna Zilboorg, Barbara Walker or Elizabeth Zimmerman our knit goddesses!
I paid for my book and took it home. I made a cup of tea curled up in my favorite chair and read it from cover to cover. I was moved and thrilled and so many other things but to be honest, she had me at anarchist. 
    I am a left-handed person whose mother, aunts and grandmothers who could knit and crochet told me that I could not knit. I believed them. It took me years get over that and take a knitting class. Anna’s words made me feel empowered and okay about myself as a knitter, a creative person and, quite honestly, a human being. After I finished reading Knitting Anarchist for about the third time, I decided had to get my hands on anything else that this magnificent human being had written.
I was possessed - not obsessed, mind you... just slightly possessed. It might be a fine line, but I think it’s an important one.
    Okay, so now we’re going to fast forward through having my youngest child, quite a few stitches, starting a very small dye business, a sock club and… right up to planning Sock Summit 2009 (which, by the way, is 10 years old this year).
    Imagine that you get to (have to) call your knit idol (the aforementioned knitting anarchist herself, Anna Zilboorg) and ask her to come to a sock knitting conference in Portland, Oregon. I was nervous as hell and super excited all in the same breath. It was one of those defining moments in my life - one I treasure and will never, ever forget.  When she answered the phone, I almost hung up. I’m proud to say I did not, and we had such a wonderful chat. After I convinced her that people would want to see her and hear what she had to say (I kid you not), she told me she would love to come. I do not mind telling you, I almost peed my pants! So much happy dancing!!!
    Imagine my delight and surprise when as we were planning her trip here and her classes and we became such friends.  During one of our chats, she asked about the sock club and one thing lead to another, and before I knew it, she was going to design a pair of socks for the club!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhh!!!! Yeah, I kind a lost it. I was so very excited. The color-work and Turkish sock queen was going to design socks for my sock club. Be still my sock knit loving heart.
I sent her the yarn she requested and then I watched the mail for weeks waiting for that sock sample she was sending me. It finally arrived however, once I had the package in my hands, I suddenly had butterflies and felt really nervous. It had not once occurred to me before that moment what I would do if I did not like them. I shrugged that thought right away as soon as I had it. Of course, I would like them. How could I not? I loved every thing Anna did. I would love them. So I made a cup of tea and I sat down at my desk and opened the package.
    Sigh… Oh my, even now just typing this I feel the dread. I pulled them out and unfolded them and had a good long look and was stunned and a little bewildered. Those first few minutes I just sat there in a bit of a fog. And then you know what I did? I cried.  And I am not ashamed to admit it.  I cried long and hard. I cried because I was sad I did not like them, and I really really did not like them. But mostly I cried because I knew I had to call my knit heroine and dear friend Anna and tell her that I did not like the socks she designed for my sock club. Yeah…just take a minute and feel my pain for it was great! Before I called her, though, I called everyone I knew, freaking out and asking them what I should do. I was trying to see if there was any way out of this and there just wasn’t. Yeah, not my best moment.


    So my, dear NSKS, I put on my very big-big girl pants and called Anna. Now, if you have never met Anna Zilboorg, you need to know that she is seriously brilliant (like teaching at MIT brilliant), and she does not suffer fools, she has a wicked sense of humor.  She knew right away something was up. I told her the socks came and that was all I could get out before I had to to take a long fortifying breathe so I could tell her the rest. She beat me to it though. I’m pretty sure  it was the pause!
    Anyway, she says to me very matter of factly, “Oh, you don’t like them.” Again I say nothing. Then she chuckles and says, “Oh, my goodness, this must be killing you. You poor thing.” And then she just laughs and tells me it’s just knitting and knitting socks  for goodness sakes so I should get over my bad self. This was actually a theme in our relationship for quite a few years. There were quite a few things that I did not like or think would work for the sock club but the biggest thing for me was the very large bobbles. Yup, bobbles and when I told her it was mostly the bobbles she had another good chuckle and then asked me what the hell my problem with bobbles was. It was a topic of debate for quite a few years early on in our friendship and one we still laugh about.
    A few years later Anna had a health issue that required treatments. She told me that while she was in treatment she wanted to knit me a sweater. I know… be still my heart. And, yes, still a fan girl. She told me to send her my favorite yarn in a color I loved. So I sent her BFL Sport in Tumbleweed and then forgot about the sweater. I was more worried about from friend. Months and months, later she emails telling me that she has sent me a package, but I cannot open it until we are on the phone together. “Hmm… what is she up to?” I thought. I was suspicious.
    So, the package arrives as they are wont to do, and I give her a call. She was so excited that I could feel her vibrating over the phone and hear it in her voice, like a little kid. I open the box and slowly pulled out the most beautiful sweater just absolutely stunning and it was covered (and I mean covered) in tiny little bobbles. I lost it!! I laughed until I cried. And she’s like….gotcha!  And that is my friend Anna! I am telling you this story because I love it, her and you guys. Also, I found these bobble socks when I was cleaning out the sock samples from our massive storage pod clean-out. Anyone want to knit some bobble socks!! You know…they are as bad as I remember. hahaha



This Story

I loved this story, Tina. It made my day (as I watch the snow come down here in the mountains of Montana). You should frame those socks and hang them on the wall in the Barn. Thank you for all you do.

Hazel Smith's picture


I bought the pattern and the yarn, but I still have not knit the sweater. I should get my act in gear!

Elfgirk's picture

Ok - I actually like the socks

And I would like the pattern :-)



So I totally think we need a bobblehead for our beloved Rockin' Sock Club...and I think it needs to be a dual bobblehead of you and Anna! In those glorious remind us all that even in moments of pain, we can find laughter! What a triumph of the human spirit that story is...on so many levels...and while I confess I'm not terribly fond of bobbles, I would love to knit a pair of these socks to remind me to look for unexpected joys! This is why we love you Tina and the club!

Sarah JS's picture

Not a bobble fan

Tina, like you, I'm not too wild (vast understatement) about bobbles. But the stitch with the cross bars in-between the bobbles on the socks ... OOOO!!! I Wants IT!

Love you!

Hazel Smith's picture

bobbles sweater

What yarn base does it use?I should get my act together and knit the damn sweater. I'll probably have to order yarn.