Last round of Sockmadness is Sunday.

Tomorrow the very last round of this year’s Sockmadness starts. At 11 o’clock in the morning in New York time the pattern will be released, that will be about 5 o’clock in the sun filled afternoon in Europe.

Every team has one last knitter standing and these will compete against each other. We think the winner will knit 24/7 and will have a pair finished in maybe as fast as 10 hours. This is ridiculously fast! The average time for knitting a pair of fairly uneventful socks is 14 days for normal people.

The team member in my team Nattier Markhor who is still competing is Puppymancer. She’s a chemistry teacher and loves puppies. Add to that that a Markhor is some sort of stubborn goat and you’ll apreciate the pictures I found to cheer her on with tomorrow in the team thread:
Distill the meaning of the pattern!

Make sure to tighten those stitches!

A month ago I knew I’d run my race when Sock Madness pattern Symphony came out. Being a pattern with lots of twisted stitches my rsi would flare up and I had to be sensible. It wasn’t fun, giving up, but after a few days moping I returned to the team thread to cheer them on. Also the Dutch SockMadness thread has been fun to read.

Being out of the competition meant I didn’t HAVE to knit the competition patterns that were released. And I didn’t. I had too much fun returning to the vests and cardigans I’d been knitting before the Sock Madness started. Not to mention the plant dyeing and flower printing and that lovely day of spinning at the Sheep Shearing Festival.

These are the patterns from the last few rounds:
round 6, the last round, Pentoeminoes by Mylene Pijpers:

This sock features intarsia in blocks of five squares which are called pentominoes. I’ve never done this technique in a consistent way. I have not knit this sock.

This is round 5, Honey and Clover by Natalia Vasilieva:

This technique is mosaic, with slipped stitches and changing colours every two rows. It’s not a technique I particularly like because all the slipping means you have to practically knit every row twice. This sock is made with garter stitch which I do not find an appealing look.

Beautiful cuff brim and heel and sole stripes:

So many socks this year have colour work in them, it seems to be an emerging theme for SM11! It made a lot of socks thick. Not bulky per se but warm.

In this sock madness there were also some bonus patterns, for the people who had finished their competition socks fast and had to wait for the end of the round.
This is Guise & Gyle by Carolyn (Candy) Degel:

Cables and stranded colour work and twisted stitches.

There was one sock that could benefit from a semisolid yarn, Ssssnakes by Bridget Landry:

There’s a snake lurking in the greens.

And the other solid coloured, no stranding, no beads sock this madness, Retro Madness by Copper Blade Designs:

Just playing with knits and purls.

Here’s the bundle where all the patterns of this year’s Sock Madness will be: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sock-madness-11/patterns

Now I’m getting ready for the last round of this competition and being a fun cheerleader. Of to search some more pictures and help those goats.

Go Puppymancer, go!

(breaking my own rule I did not put sources to the puppy and goat pictures yet. I’m too tired at the moment.)
(All sock pictures are pattern page pictures and are attributed to the designers of the socks.)

more WIPs

The new Sock Madness pattern dropped and it’s Symphony Socks by Elisabeth White:

Beads! Twisted stitches! Lots of little cables!

It’s a lovely pattern but pretty much from the start I knew I’d better be sensible and stop racing. Allow myself to become a cheerleader in the Sock Madness competition. A sock like this, with little cables and a deadline, would ignite my RSI. The same thing that knocked me out in the first round of the competition last year.

It’s not too bad to bow out. I had so many things I wanted to knit on instead. The startitus was raging and now I got to do something about it.

A…a….ah….

AH-TSJOOH!

This flew off the needles.
It’s my continuous version of Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor. Provisional cast on at the back, only need to cut yarn once before the body is cast off.

This part took 150 grams of handspun, about 340 metres on needle 3,75 mm. Getting pattern gauge which is 19 st /10 cm
The ribbing on the neckline and arm holes is done on needles 3,25 mm. Which means my 3,75 mm needles are free to cast on another Continuous Debbie vest in the green yarn I bought at Midwinterwol for a Spring vest.

I’ve also started on my mushroom dyed stranded project:
It will be a wristwarmer. So much more sensible than trying out for a vest.

This way I can try out the pattern I made on Stitchfidle and find out the gauge. I was tempted to cast on for a steeked vest but that’s really too ambitious if you don’t know your gauge, if you don’t know how much yarn the stranded parts take, if you aren’t sure about the design you made anyway and if you have never steeked before.
Also: next week there’s a woolfest in Nieuwpoort, organized by De Schapekop, and I promised to show my stranded mushroom thingie there. Knitting a stranded vest in fingering weight in the coming 7 days is ludicrous.

The yarn knits very nice and the pattern makes me want to do one more round, one more round, just one more round 🙂
I’m knitting on 2,25 mm and my gauge seems to be 26 stitches in 10 cm. The colour work is done over 60 stitches, the ribbing over 54 st.

In between I’m knitting away on my magic ball:

Here’s me this morning, having a bit of quality time by myself 🙂

The yarn is indigo dyed sock yarn from Wolop and I’m making it into Blattwerk pattern socks top down. The magic ball unravels while I knit and reveals little presents. This one was made by Lieneke from Wolop.
I’ve nearly finished one leg and the first little present is in sight!

On my plate i a Dutch pastry called a Bokkepootje. This one is huge! Usually they are about the size of a finger:
 pic by cliokchia
It consists of two almond merengues, glued together with buttercream and both ends are dipped in chocolate. With almonds sprinkled on top. Here’s a recipe.

The name means something like “Billygoat-feetsie” and originates from a baker in the very old dike-hamlet of Tuitjenhorn. In this God loving community there was an annual gathering to commemorate all the local people who had died. Eating pastry was part of that event. Eating little devil-feet shows wished victory over evil influences in the hereafter.
(I did not know. Eating “bokkepootjes” no longer has this connotation but it does explain where the name comes from.)

Two vests, a sock and a stranded cuff can be added to the WIPs I’m already working on.

Finished: SM Spring socks and Spring yarn

Pattern Lambs and Chickens and Bunnies, Oh My! by Ros Clarke.

I made fraternal socks, I didn’t have enough of the Gouda green left after the first sock. Then I decided to mix all the colours up a bit. Except for the bunnies, I liked them to be the same popping Moonwise purple.

You will notice that, even though I mixed up the colours, the colours in the rolled cast on are the same (albeit in a different sequence). That’s because I made a mistake in the first sock.

We were supposed to cast on with colours A, B and C. Which in the pattern refer to: “A = light green; B = undyed/white; C = yellow” which are the background of the bunnies, the colour of the sheep and the colour of the chicks:

Colour F is the background of the chicks and is called “grass green” in the legenda.

Now then, my stupid tired brain last Saturday evening insisted that the bunnies are sitting in a field of grass (while the chicks are in… some forest?) therefor their background colour must be called “grass green” and since that is colour F in the legenda I cast on with F, B and C: yellow, white and brown.  That’s the left sock:

I corrected for the left sock which is casted on with colours A, B and C: background bunnies = white; colour sheep = yellow and colour chickens = dark brown. The same colours as the first sock but the correct route taken to get there. And a different sequence which explains why they the curly top doesn’t look exactly the same on both socks.

Luckily most honest mistakes that do not butcher the intent of the designer are allowed. I assume this is the case here too but I will have to get official recognition before I can say I’m in the clear.

For the competition the sock needs to be at least 9 inches from toe to heel:

There are other rules too, which can vary per pattern. Here there had to be at least 50 rows between the turn of the heel and the row where the sheep on the foot start.

The leg had to be at least 6 inches high. It’s nice that my size is the usual size Sock Madness knits for so I can be sure the, when following the rules, the socks will fit me.

It was fast knitting. I’m glad they’re done. I love them and am wearing them right now. So pleased with the colours! But I’m glad they’re done, I’m a bit done with sock knitting now. Especially with stranded knitting.

Luckily there’s room for something else now, for example I made 309 meters of this lovely yarn:

out of the raspberry rolls from Schaap & Draak at the Knit & Knot fair in Tilburg:

I think it will turn out to be a worsted or DK weight, what with handspun getting all fluffy after setting the twist.

I’m hoping to make this lovely cloche out of it:

It’s the crocheted The Shelly Cloche by Devon Finney. A nice Spring and Summer hat I think. Can be made in one afternoon! How’s that for fast gratification.

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!

 

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.

Weird Wool Wednesday: “What are you doing!?”

This was bellowed out by my husband on Sunday, just as I was about to learn to do my first afterthought heel ever. “What are you doing?!
He scared me!
(In Dutch we say: “I frightened myself a little hat!”. This mental image is my gift to you today.)

From the corner of his eye he saw me taking some scissors to knitwear and he shouted out in disbelief.

It’s just an afterthought heel, dear.

My first afterthought heel ever was an adventure:

An adventure made bigger because the ball of yarn was still being used for the leg. I had the luminescence idea of turning the balls inside out in order to work from the other end of the yarn:


Easy peasy.
I did get quite a tangle but soon the yarns will be cut and the ends kitchenered in.


Now just turn the balls the right side out again.
Hm. 50% succes rate:

Still well enough to knit with and not long after this heel I finished the Dropping Madness Socks!

Now I needed to take the official pictures. One from the top, one from the side, one with the measuring tape beside it:






My turn to bellow: “What are you doing?!”

These loved ones I live with…. I may think they spend their days sleeping and snoozing but they do keep tabs on my knitting!

The socks are very comfortable. The afterthought heel makes the gradient in the stripes progress nicely AND is designed to have a striped heel. That’s some good designing right there:

Now if you’ll excuse me? I have a feeling my hairy room mate is in for a little play time.

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.

How sock knitters party.

The knitters’ party last Saturday was a blast!
Sorry to say that I only took these three pictures:

More people love the bird house bags from FiberRachel!

A lot of us were knitting on the Sockmadness qualification sock: Twisted Madness by Gina Meyer.

It’s a pattern with a specific stitch, a 1×1 cable Ktbl that makes for a twisting fabric:

It’s a slow stitch. I will definitely need the full two weeks that are given for this sock. One row takes me about three and half minutes and that’s fast compared to a lot of other knitters. Lots of people get aching fingers, hands, elbows and shoulders and a few people have quit. I too can feel it and must take breaks and knit on other things.

But it’s still Sockmadness. Stroopwafels are involved!
lillepoes
Stroopwafels (sirup-waffles) are the secret doping of Dutch knitters. Well, not so secret anymore since everybody in the Sock Madness Group seems to know about them now.

On the morning of the party I cast on for the Twisted Madness socks, while watching a special video with Lillepoes:

We are watching a sock knitter! This is Plien. (pronounced “Pleen” and may be short for Pauline).

Plien is famous in the Dutch Karma Swap Group and has brought about a new word to the knitting vocabulary: Plienspinning or Plienknitting. It’s when you craft solely for pleasure and refuse to be bothered by deadlines or the nagging of should-have-demons.

Plien has recently started living on an antique Dutch ship, with husband and cats. Here she’s being interviewed by the local TV and talks about knitting, in the local dialect: West-Fries.

Did you know Frisian is the second official language of the Netherlands, besides Dutch? It’s akin to Old English and the Scandinavian languages. West-Fries is different from Frisian but not very much.

It’s a delight to watch. The man wears wooden clogs. The cat is moping because the door doesn’t open and/or nobody feeds it. And there’s knitting!
Plien talks about the Sock Madness and the man just can’t believe it, so many people all over the globe going nuts for socks. Plien has some examples and kindly shows that it’s not “just socks”, it’s higher level socks.