Today the Sock Madness begins.
It’s an international, online, world wide, sock knitting competition on Ravelry.
Loosely based on a basketball competition known as March Madness, teams of knitters compete in 7 rounds with a brand new sock pattern each round. Everybody tries to knit the pattern as fast as possible and only a limited number from each team is allowed to proceed to the next round. People are roughly put into teams with knitters of similar capacity so the first few rounds you compete with people of the same capacity, not with the fastest knitters in the world.
As the rounds progress the patterns become increasingly more complex in design. The most difficult pattern to date must be the final pattern for Sock Madness 7: Labyrinthine by Leslie Comstock:
Here’s the five colour cast on. I’ve never seen anything like this:
This took the fastest knitter in the world four hours, just the cast-on.
In the 7th round each team will only have one member left and the teams are competing with each other. When that round starts there’s no time for anything but knitting. Husbands and children support the knitters with food and quiet. Usually a Finnish knitter coughs up a pair of competition socks within a day and we all marvel and celebrate Finnish people:
Today the first round of Sock Madness 11 starts and this year things are a bit different. This first round is a qualification round. Only the people who manage to knit a pair of socks in two weeks are put into a team. Anybody who makes a reasonable effort but didn’t finish a pair will become a cheerleader and will receive all the patterns as the rounds go by.
This is the only round of which we know the length: two weeks. Following rounds take as long as it takes for all the slots of all the teams to be filled. The slower teams will take longer to fill their slots than the faster teams. To make the waiting fun there will be bonus patterns released.