Hey, we’re back from our trip to [Sasquatch->] over the Memorial Day Weekend.  And it was an interesting weekend.

(BTW, this post really does include something pretty interesting about sock heels too, although that bit’s way at the end.  Just skip down there if you must.)view of stage

Sasquatch is a big 3-day music festival held annually in an outdoor amphitheater in the Columbia River Gorge.  DH has gone a couple of times in recent years, but I have not.

I knew it would be crowded, and the weather would be iffy.  I knew the days would be long:  11:00 a.m. start, midnight finish.  I knew there would be a lot of college-age kids, which equals modern-day hippies, and many of them would be camping overnight at the site — thus, certainly by the second day, some of them would smell.

I was OK with most of that, although admittedly perhaps not exactly thrilled.  But what I didn’t count on was that for a vast majority of the attendees, the main attraction had absolutely nothing to do with the music.  Evidently, instead it was the opportunity to get completely and totally f***ed up in public without having to worry about driving or getting caught by the authorities.

This key point wasn’t lost on the event organizers though:  not only did they not discourage anything (legal or illegal), they actively encouraged it.  For example, they didn’t sell anything smaller than a 24 ounce beer — because that’s where they make their money, of course.  Over two days, I saw no evidence of any officials trying to squelch pot usage.

After seeing all this, I am surprised that they are able to obtain insurance for the event — but evidently they are able to make enough money to pay for insurance, however costly it may be — and then if someone gets hurt, well, presumably that’s the insurance company’s problem.

It’s sad but honest for me to say if it weren’t for the widespread chemical abuse, I’d probably have had a really good time.  Unfortunately, instead, I had an OK time.  For two days, I spent hours sitting on the grass, breathing huge quantities of second hand smoke (cigarette and other) — and occasionally having to watch drunk people feeling each other up.  And, if I wanted to stretch my legs a bit, I could maneuver around people lying in patches of vomit.

DH wasn’t able to forewarn me about all this because the previous times he has gone, the weather has been crappy, and presumably this kept many of the partiers in their tents.  This year, the weather was really pretty nice most of the time we were there.

Also on the plus side, I saw some very interesting clothing and hair, some really unfortunate tattoos, and some creatively ungainly dancing.  So it wasn’t a complete loss.

But the smoke was the worst.  My eyes were burning (literally and figuratively!) — so badly that I had to go out and buy a bottle of Visine just to get through the second day.  When you realize that this was outdoors, in a place known for being quite windy, maybe you’ll get an idea of how much smoke there was.

It’s not like I was expecting a convention of Mormons or anything like that, but I’m pretty sure this is a sea change from my own college days.  My friends and I didn’t smoke — I didn’t know many people who did — and it was a big surprise to me to see just how many college kids are smoking.

There was even someone sponsoring a "Be an Ex" anti-smoking campaign, which tells me it is considered to be a problem by someone other than me — although I admit I did laugh when I saw one of the sound guys standing under their "Be an Ex" marquee, beating up a pack of cigs, trying desperately to get one out.

And sure, we drank in college — and sure, sometimes we threw up — but that was mainly at campus parties, or really cheap bars — and the beers at Sasquatch weren’t exactly cheap.

But when I was in college, and we shelled out the big bucks for a concert ticket — and it was our own money, not our parents’ — and BTW, 2 days of Sasquatch for two is well over $200 — by golly, we went to hear the music.

That said, the top three bands of the weekend for me were

We went to see that last one mainly because I don’t get the name AT ALL, and they turned out to be pretty entertaining.  R.E.M. put on a show which was good enough to stay for in the light-but-still-wet rain and chilly 50 degrees on Saturday night.  And Ozomatli, out of L.A., is just a whole bunch of fun.  I’d probably also say I enjoyed seeing the White Rabbits again, if we had gotten there in time for their show the second day.  The worst band, hands down, was M.I.A. — which IMHO was just a bunch of incredibly loud noise.

But what, you ask, does this have to do with knitting?

Well, knitting is probably what kept me from being arrested for assault.  Fortunately, I had a pair of socks tucked in my backpack to work on, and believe me, I got a lot done.  I only had the toes done at the beginning of the weekend… but look at ‘em now!  regia_socks(And I only worked on these at the festival — not on the car ride — the car knitting’s a subject for the next post, I think.)

On Saturday, we’d been staking out our primo viewing spot since 11:00 a.m.  Late in the day, when the premium bands were getting ready to play, a pair of drunk twenty-something girls tried to encroach upon our territory using the strategy of flirting with three middle-aged married men.

Here’s a big hint, girls:  I know you were incredibly drunk and all, but when a married guy’s wife is actually physically present, it’s not a great idea to start making fun of her bright yellow rain jacket to her face, and then try to flirt with her husband.  Not when it’s me, anyway.

So when they started trying to talk to DH across me as though I wasn’t there — as if they could ignore me in my bright yellow jacket, hah! – I pointedly plopped myself down directly between them and DH, turned my back on them, and re-commenced knitting on my pretty stripey socks.

This allowed me to pretend not to listen to them arguing to our friends that they were really nice people, so therefore we shouldn’t mind them trying to take our spot.

Still, I couldn’t help hearing them asking what my name was — and having trouble spelling it – when it’s only four letters and two of them are the SAME —  which pretty much had me gritting my teeth.  But I just kept knitting… and knitting… AND KNITTING…

Fortunately for everyone involved, all three guys were more music fans than stupid drunk chick fans, and eventually the girls figured out that no one was about to give up any of our hard-earned turf to them, so they left.  Phew!  Knitting saves the day, again.

On the second day, I turned the heels and because I was desperate for some kind of mental stimulation to keep me from going bananas, I tried something that turned out kind of interesting.  One of the things I noticed while trying out all those different short row heels is that the first half of most SRH techniques, where you are short-rowing "down", looks a lot better than the second half, where you are short-rowing "up".

So, I thought — why not just do the first half twice?  I mean, basically you are knitting two wedges, like so —   sr heel wedges


and even if you turn one of them upside down, it will add up to the same shape in the end.sr heel wedges flipped


You can’t get away with doing this on a SR toe, of course.  A toe has to fold in half at the narrow part.  But a heel — now, that’s different…REGIA SOCK HEEL ANNOTATED

It works!  and it’s pretty cool, too.  Here is a closeup, with an attempt at drawing in the afore-mentioned wedges…


sr heel on regia sock

…and here is a closeup without any drawing.  This pair was done using the first half only of the double st SR heel technique – but doing it twice.  If you look at the pic above of the full pair, you may be able to pick out the heel "wedges" on the topmost sock, due to the self-striping yarn.  On this sock, with a mostly solid-red heel, you almost cannot see the heel turn at all.  And in a non-self-striping yarn, I think it would be pretty much invisible.  Very slick!