new Sock Madness: lambs & chicks & bunnies, Oh My

The pattern is Lambs and Chickens and Bunnies, Oh My! by Ros Clarke. It’s been out for three days and a hundred people have already finished a pair. In my team no one has but seven already have one sock. I hope to have one sock at the end of today.

pattern pictures:

I chose different colours than most people, not picking any warm colours:

The bright yellow behind the chicks is onion dyed sock yarn from Wolop, left over from one of my favourite socks: Tears of Laughter.

The top blue and the green of the feet is also yarn from Gouda, dyed with plants by knitter friend Sasssefras. Yes, I still use this yarn after all these years.

The blue behind the bunnies is left over Wol met Verve yarn from these socks: Blattwerk WMV

I love these colours together. I thnkNow there’s new sock yarn marinating in onion skins. I’m making my socks a little brother!

 

hijacking someone else’s design

So I’m knitting the mystery knit-a-long in the Dutch sock knitting group on Ravelry. It’s the design by HeleenK: Streepje anders

It turns out to be a wonderful stripey sock which looks nice in many different yarns.

From the start I knew I wanted to do a version with shorter legs, because I want these to be socks for Summer. With their nice berry colours:

I did only half of the leg charts but I didn’t dare to show in the KALthread were everybody was so enthousiastic and following every clue to the lettre as it was being revealed. The designer was so happy with everyones pictures. How could I show mine, butchering her design?

But she’s such a nice woman and it felt weird not showing my progress when they all had seen my cast on post and I did try to maintain the intent of her design so I dared to post a picture, very apologeticly. It feels so intrusive, to alter someone else’s design, especially when it’s so new and part of it is still a mystery.

A leg half as high as the pattern states:

HeleenK responded in an awesome way! She said that she views it as a compliment when knitters make her design their own. It means something in the design resonates with them and they delve in and commit themselves to the thing behind the design. The motivation? The base?

She loves seeing both the actual design knitted and variations of it. Shows again how limited I am in percepting reality. It comes in way more varieties than I can imagine!

When I started the foot and didn’t enjoy the slip stitch pattern in the design much (I’m tired, I need something that doesn’t throw me off rhythm) I dared to frog it and substitute with stripes of my own, that go with the pattern (I hope) and I will show HeleenK without hesitation:

And I learned another new heel: the riverbed heel:

(heelflap on the left, toes on the right of the picture)

I did a long heelflap to accommodate my high instep.

The second sock has a heelflap too. It’s a nice, relaxing knit now, the feet.

Finished: Mod Madness socks

One sock blocked, one sock unblocked:

What a difference:

Once I get the confirmation email that these were knitted to the specifications (which they are) then I will do some modding of my own. The cuff of the first sock is too tight. I’ll hack it off and reknit it, bottom up.

Both toes are too roomy and the way the decreases sit at the side, amidst three stitches (twice) of stranded knitting, isn’t too nice. I’ll unravel them and redo them in a different stranded pattern, with less than 6 stitches between the decreases.

Overall I feel very good about them. They are stylish, functional Winter socks and I’m not afraid anymore of making socks with an overal stranded pattern. Cast on 72 stitches, knit them on 2,25 needles, choose between round plied yarns or fuzzy and any pattern is mine now!

The first sock weighs 45 grams, the second weighs 47. (probably the looser cuff and never touching the 2 mm needle on the second sock.)

Sock Madness: Mod Madness

The new pattern for the Sock Madness is Mod Madness by Copper Blade Designs. It’s been out for 3 days and many, many people have already completed a pair. (!!) Or at least one sock.

This is where I am:

I’ve knitted flat out for days now but I’ve only just turned the heel…

(on the screen an amazing sock in solids! She did the toe wrong though, colour stripes should flow from foot into toe, and she’s asking the mods if she should redo the toe or whether this is an honest mistake and do the next one right. Socks look great in solids eh?)

This is how they will look in the end:
 pattern pics

This one is taller than the one on the screen, in red and navy. That one meets minimum requirements. I’m doing a taller sock though, because I’d love for these to be wintersocks.

One of the things slowing me down is proper stranding technique. Usually I have one strand on the left hand (continental technique) and one on the right (English throwing technique). In the cuff however we have to alternate knit and purl stitches and it takes way too long to do that with the throwing technique.

So I’m teaching myself continental with both yarns over the left index finger. Just pick the one you need for this stitch.

This is how youtube says I should hold the yarns. Finger raised for tension and easy picking:

However, I knit Continental Combined, meaning I have a quick way of purling and picking. I run my yarn on the very tip of my finger, using my finger as a working surface. It makes for very speedy knitting, with minimum hand movements.

But with two yarns… they are too close together:

For the cuff I’ve learned to strand the yarns differently to keep them well apart on my working surface. That the tension got very different between the two was no issue.

(Gardening fingers. It’s lovely in the cabin this weekend! I’m rooting though the earth, getting rid of the long roots of Spiraea Douglasii, a.k.a. Hardhock. Such a nasty plant! Our lot is covered with it. I can manage to dig it out in the dry forest ground but in the wet, lumped together soil of the meadow and draining ditches it’s undoable. This year I’m happy if I get it out of the forest. Next year the grassland… perhaps rent a small digger and sift through all the soil.)
 Grrrr.
I can weed for about half an hour, then it’s back inside and rest and knit. All the birds are out and singing while I dig with my hands through the earth. Sun is shining. Not a bad way to spend some time 🙂

Also: gauge issues. I started the cuff at 1.75 mm because it was ribbing and I can do my colour work very loose. But it was too tight so I went up to 2 mm. Looked better. But still a bit too tight. Went up to 2,25 mm. Cuff fitted comfortably over my foot. But once the leg portion started the knitting looked way too loose.

So here  you see part of my leg, switching half way from 2,25 mm back to 2 mm:

The knitting on top looks much better now. (This picture is read bottom to top, just like knitting charts.)

Now that I’ve done the heel and am being passed by knitters left and right I’m tensioning up. Might have to go back to 2,25 mm.

I’m still knitting continental combined with two strands over left index finger. The knitting is now smooth and regular. But I’m still so slow! I knit like a child, giving attention to every stitch. I tried going back to one strand left, one strand right but I feel that’s slower now than this new technique.

As others have unlocked speed in this skill, this may be the sock that puts me out of the competition. Might just as well be, my body is starting to ache. Shoulder, hands, fingers. I’m not doing this right. So I guess I’ll be slowing down now. Taking more breaks. Remember to drop my shoulders when knitting.

Luckily I’ve been put on the right team, we are the slower knitters and in my team not too many people have already finished a sock. I can still make it… if I hurry. Which I shouldn’t. Won’t. Probably.

My sock does turn out lovely though. The grey is blueish, it’s Grey Hare by Dutch Wool Diva. The white is just regular Drops Fabel. A bit more fuzzy thread than the Diva. Should have brought one of the smoother yarns. But the combination is beautiful!

Here’s a picture from last week, when I was trying to learn stranded with two yarns on the left:

I knitted my finger to the project, took the wrong end of the strand to work with. Knitting ain’t easy.

Round 1 of the Sock Madness

The pattern “dropped” early this morning and needles all over Europe and Australasia are being sharpened:

pattern Dropping Madness Socks by Maria Ekblad, exclusive to the Sock Madness for now.

They have lovely details such as the stripes going on and on on the heels:

It’s an afterthought heel. I’ve never done one before.

This is my yarn:

I’ve been wanting to knit stripey socks with these for some time now.

Off to cast on!
Later today I’ll have a train ride and then sushi and then the movie Trainspotting 2. Will knit at two out of these three.
(first movie at a theatre in …oh… 10 years? hahaha!)

Finished: Sock Madnes Qualification Sock

With only a few hours until the deadline:

We have to present the sock in a certain way, so the moderators of the competition can see you did enough rows and did the heel gusset a certain way and that the foot is at least 8″ long:

I wore them and find them very warm. But they also twist around the foot. They may be better suited as bed socks. We’ll see 🙂

I’ve send an email to the moderators with the link to my project page. They had a look and approved my socks. They replied and now I will be placed on a team. In a few days the teams are formed and we’ll each have a thread in the SockMadness group on Ravelry.
Soon after that the new pattern will “drop” and the first round of competition will begin.

For now I relax. I’m knitting on my grey Pumpkin Ale cardigan. Tomorrow there’s the Knit & Knot fair in Tilburg.
There may be some yarn there that wants to come live with me in the baskets in the IKEA TV-thingamajig.

Weird Wool Wednesday: weird socks and things

One Mad sock finished:

With this I am eligible to become “a cheerleader” and receive all the patterns from the competition. If I manage to finish both socks I’ll become an official contender. That’s my goal.

It’s a weird sock… it twists around the foot. Not a comfortable fabric to walk on.

But it’s fun to knit. Online we share progress and woes of wrong stitches and wrong increases and it’s marvelous to see how the different yarns knit up! I could make you a collage but I’m not sure I should share other people’s photo’s. Here’s the link to the ravelry page with all the socks, you may want to have a look for yourself.

Finishing one sock and being part of the Dutch chatter really eggs me on to start the second sock. I want to partake in the competition!

The chatter in the Dutch sock group is such fun. One of the moderators is also an official Sock Madness moderator and gets tons of questions in both the official Sock Madness group and the Dutch group. They have shifts there, to answer questions. One in the States, one in Europe, one in Australasia. No matter when a sock-knitter gets the heebiejeebies, there’s always a moderator to look at her sock and answer.

The Dutch moderator’s shift finished yesterday evening and she said she would finally do some knitting. But she couldn’t show us because it was secret knitting! (they have to test out the Madness patterns in order to give good answers).

That inspired me to draw this for her:

Here ravatar is often the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and her name is Haastje-Repje which is Dutch for “hurry hurry!”.

The rabbit is a pun because “haast-je” means “hurry-you” but “haasje” means “little hare”. Us Dutchies put “-je” behind any word to make it small or adorable. We can even make millions small and adorable: “miljoentje”.

When her shift ended and she said she finally got to knit some for herself, I just saw Haastjerepje at home, knitting on secret projects and  still us knitters keeping on asking questions and approval.

She laughed 🙂 and then she used it as her ravatar! Yay!

More mad sock knitting:

This is a “Magic ball”. It’s the skein of plant dyed sock yarn, from Wolop. Indigo! I already started knitting socks with it but then I won a swap and she reskeined the ball and hid all kinds of presents in it. As I knit the presents will become available. Talk about motivation to knit!

No SSS here. Second Sock Syndrome.

No SCS either, second cardi syndrome. I just cast on for another one. I’ve got about 6 on the needles now (7? 8?) of which 4 are active.

And now for something completely different: a Zorro update! Pip the kitten has settled down and is now an absolute happy cat:

Zorro cat update
He lives in Amsterdam and he’s a big brother now. He has become even more relaxed. And he doesn’t scramble for his food anymore. I didn’t know that was possible!
So happy 🙂

The last bit of news is that my house is at the dentist:
Orly Endevoets voegherstel Den Bosch
Men are drilling away all day, replacing the bits of mortar between the bricks. I’ve fled to the cabin for a few day because I couldn’t stand the noise anymore. Lillepoes is with me. We’ve been here two nights and right now we’re packing up to move back. I’ve been told today is the last day of noise.
Lillepoes has been very happy, to have me here to herself 🙂
We’ve done a lot of cat-on-lap and knitting-on-cat.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Sockmadness 2017!

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.

Finnish knitters don’t mind. They are good in waiting. They have beautiful things to wait for:
Colors of Finland Colours of Finland, pic by Mariano Mantel

Finished: Sock Blank Socks

I don’t know why one foot is longer than the other. I tried them on both for fit, during knitting, and they both fit.


They used 85 grams of yarn, on needle 2,25 mm.
With the remainder I’m knitting cuffs. They look terrible before soaking and blocking.

This will all even out.

UPDATE

Oh, I know why the feet are different. One sock was knit toe up, the other cuff down. I’m not good at toe up, always guessing where the heel should go.

Cuff down I understand better: