not here to play Games?

Today the Olympic Winter Games start, in Korea. Worldwide knitters challenge themselves by knitting along with various projects in various difficulties.

Here’s a link to the official Ravelry group if you want to join in the fun (or just read about it a bit).

It’s a nice event ūüôā Here’s a bit of collective history, about that time when knitters made the Olympic Committee grow up and behave and about that time when knitters didn’t know how to behave online and sabotaged their own games and then saved them.

There’s another nice event just around the corner:

Sock Madness starts the first of March and warming up has already begon. You remember how much fun I had last year:

And the year before that, with this post about the importance of stroopwafels and that ridiculous sock surgery I did:

Oh man! I came here to tell you about these games and then to confess I wasn’t playing this year because I’m an adult with adulty responsibilities this Spring and I benefit from pacing and planning and allotting time. The next two to three months I’ve got a full plate. There’s no time for extra knitting and I need my knitting time to relax so no games.

But revisiting these previous events and looking at posts and pictures…. oei oei oei!

The Dutch sock knitters group on Ravelry is such a friendly bunch! You cannot read there and not participate in the fun. For both events! Everyone is so supportive, even with Sock Madness being a competition. And there will be wool parties!

Oh mannnn…. wool parties….

I’ve posted there that I will take it easy this year.

Let’s hope that those are magic, self forfilling words.
(I already am taking stock of my sock yarn. sssh)


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:¬†

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.)

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.)
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 ūüôā

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: 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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā
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

Sock Madness sock 2

The second pattern for the Sock Madness competition is out:

Rose & Thorn Socks by Ronni Smith

Beads! Cables!

Obviously this pattern looks best in a solid colour. Of which I happen to have bought two at the fair last Friday:

On the left a sock yarn from Wol met Verve: Ultra Merino Sock with a nice round ply. On the right Spinspul Merino with bamboo and glitter. Two quality yarns which both have me eager to knit with. All the things I bought on the fair have me eager.

As a way of choosing¬†I’m imagining the socks in the sea foam colour…. they’ll look nice. But I’d rather knit¬†this yarn with another pattern. Something with smaller “frunnikjes”, smaller details, smaller repeats. Prickly Pear socks¬†perhaps (again)?

Now I’m imagining the socks in the dark bamboo purple…. they’ll look nice too. But in the dark colour I’m a bit concerned that my white skin will become quite a feature with the holes in the lace pattern… There’s a lot of contrast between this colour and my skin…

So there I was, having a reason not to knit this pattern with either yarn. And I had nicely cornered myself with the knowledge that the pattern looks best in a solid colourway.

Ha! No corner will hold me! (there may spiders here anyway)


Woohoo! Caston with beads on purple! This is¬†another¬†Wol met Verve Ultra Merino Sockyarn that I bought and I see it made into socks the most urgent of the three yarns I showed in the top picture.This Is The Yarn I Want To Knit With Now and as¬†long as the colourway doesn’t overwhelm the pattern completely I’m very happily knitting. Such gorgeous colours.

The cast on for¬†Rose & Thorn Socks¬†is a bit fiddly, with Judy’s Magic Cast On and beads. But the designer has provided an excellente video and by just copying what she’s doing I got me a cast on in no time.

Closing and knitting in the round for the cuff:

Awww… such lovely colours. The cast on is with two circulars. One is just hanging there, keeping the beads in check. After knitting the cuff and giving it a picot edge you double back to the row with the beads and knit it together with the life stitches.

That’s the cuff done! Picot edge and beads, this will look so pretty on a leg:

Having a closer look….

Are you kitten me?!

Signature dropped stitch in plain stockinette! After all the “octopus wrestling” of the cast on with beads and two circular needles and tying the two things together I dropped a stitch in the easiest part of the project. So typical.

Well, I’m repairing it right away. I’m threading a piece of yarn through that dropped stitch and copying its neighbour stitches with the ends of that piece of yarn. No ripping. Just securing that stitch in place.

There, all done:

And already one of the roses in bloom above the beaded row. Ahh…such lovely yarn. I’m loving every stitch I knit with this yarn. It has taken me many years to learn to buy good yarn, good fibre. I still stumble and go for a cheap deal and end up with wool that gives me no pleasure. Heaps of it in fact. I ought to throw things out I guess. Create some breathing space. Or I could just go on knitting with the luxurious yarn in hand.

This is my progress on the SockMadness sock after two days:

One cuff and a quarter of the leg.

I’m out of the competition by now. Several of my team members have already finished their socks. A whole pair of socks in two days!

I’m in team Myngytken Mimosa. “Myngytken” means “ten” in one of the Inuit languages. Teams range from starting with letter A to letter P.¬†Paaikuyuw Pansies¬†are the fastest knitter around. One of them finished their pair of socks before I was done choosing yarns!

piratepippismmimosa_xlarge my temporarily ravatar. Mimosa flower.

So, thinking A to P, team Myngytken Mimosa is one of the faster teams. Way too fast for me but fun to be in.

But:¬†my shoulder is hurting again…. I have to seriously pace cables and stressful knitting.

It happened last Wednesday, when I had that stressfull day with the court decision. On top of that I had a lengthy appointment with my GP which was also stressful. We’re finally making sense of¬†the three pronged puzzle that’s my illness and it’s complicated and overwhelming but he’s now¬†up to speed to Methylation (on of the few people in the Netherlands, if not the only one) and now we’re applying it to my DNA profile but he’s stopping his practise in a few months so we’re in a bit of a rush. (He will continue as a molecular nutritionist, specializing in methylation cycle problems. But my insurance won’t cover.)

Thirdly, on that same dreaded Wednesday, I started my introduction to weight bearing exercises and made a mistake. I’m 40+ and in no condition, it’s time to strengthen my physique. (this is not the mistake I made)

The first machine I worked on¬†hurt my shoulder. But I was too amped up because of¬†the dr. appointment from which I had come running because it had also run late, the court’s decision, the two butter brownies and the extra dose of hydrocortisone I had taken to counter the stress of it all. I just didn’t think and made one wrong move and hurt my shoulder. And then I repeated that wrong move about ten times with ten kilos because it was all new and I was so happy to finally use my body again and the guy was egging me on. I just didn’t think. It’s the one ball I dropped that day and I shouldn’t blame myself.

For a few days I hoped it was just muscle fatigue or something. But no. This is Shoulder Impingement again. And I need to take that as a given and work from here. Before I have to stop knitting the fun things I have on the needles right now for a whole year again and have to invent Brioche projects and drop spindle projects again.

So this is as much roses as my socks are going to get:


I just cannot muster enough grip to make twisted stitches or cables. Three roses on the leg and just knit plain stockinette for the rest of the sock will be fine. The yarn will make the sock beautiful anyway. But I will pace myself to perhaps 20 rows per day because knitting at sock gauge is also RSI taxing.

Health first. Luxury yarns second.

Stroopwafels and SlipStripeSpiralSocks

On March the 1st I started the pattern. It started with a starshaped toe, using the two balls I used for binoculars.

Nice toe! Starshaped. A new technique for me. The multicolour part is new to me too. You don’t alternate colours, you just have the colours chasing each other. Not jogs at the end of round.

As soon as I started the slipped stitch part I knew I didn’t like the way the colours knitted up. It’s the variegated yarn. I want stripes instead.

So I switched to the best stripey yarn I have: purple and green with sparkles! I chose a dark blue solid to combine it with. It’s left over yarn from my Old Jeans Town¬†cardi (2014). That’s a handdyed Zitron Trekking XXL sock yarn. The self striping Opal yarn also has some dark blue and it might result in a plaided look.

This is as far as I got on the first day:

The same nice toe and slipped stitches with a bit of a plaid thing going on! Yay!

On March the 2nd I went to the market and bought myself flowers, stroopwafels and a funny little perforator called “haps! haps!”:

Ranunculus are one of my favourite flowers. They are so cheery and airy and they have gentle greens and they talk of Spring. I never buy myself flowers, never get them either, which makes this feel like a real treat. I believe Ranunculus can only be bought for a few weeks.

Stroopwafels are the Sock Madness Doping for the Dutch. We all eat them and we show each other our cups of coffee with a waffle on top in photos on the internet. We compare brands and bakeries. We tease the American and Canadian knitters and they tease us right back by ordering them online. It’s all good fun.

 pic from Huffingtonpost from their article explaining stroopwafels to Americans.

Every weekly market in Holland has a booth where a chef bakes and sells stroopwafels. It’s very Dutch. Just like every market has one of these noise machine/street organs:

My local stroopwafel experts are Rob¬†Hendriks and his wife. They’ve been on this market for 34 years! They really want to pamper their costumers and Rob has a collection of fun one liners. Getting one of their freshly baked, warm stroopwafels filled with caramel is delicious!

 pic by Wonderlicious that ran an article about Hendriks Stroopwafels (in Dutch)

 Rob Hendriks Stroopwafels

Here’s a video interviewing the couple. It’s in Dutch.

At their booth they sell various kinds of stroopwafels including glutenfree or with real full fat butter. I chose some organic stroopwafels because they do not contain fructose glucose. The chef didn’t bake these himself, he buys them¬†from a wholesale retailer called The Stroopwafel Express. They taste great! Much better than the¬†kinds that contain fructose glucose. These waffles taste like the old fashioned waffles from the previous century.

Stroopwafels are historically¬†connected with the city of Gouda, where my friend Wolop lives. Stroopwafels were invented there! Isn’t that a strange city? Famous for cheese, candles, stroopwafels and ceramics. Curious city.

Gouda Day 58 | 29 May 2008 | Stroopwafelpic by Manuel and by Shereen M

Stroopwafels¬†didn’t get baked and sold outside the city of Gouda until after 1870. There are still four large plants running in Gouda.

Then Wolop tells me she’s knitting on her Sock Madness socks and doesn’t even have waffles in her home, her Gouda home! That’s grounds for disqualification, right?

I made some tea, took my flowers and waffles and settled in for a bit of knitting. It was a lovely hour.¬†I wasn’t exactly sure when to start the heel. I opted for a bit more than others: 63 rows of slip stitch pattern.¬†6.5‚ÄĚ (16,5 cm) from the tip of the toe.

Then I did the heel. It is a Sweet Tomato Heel with Japanese Shortrows. All new to me but the pattern explains it really well and I managed to work through it without faulting. It did take three hours however, Japanese shortrows are a bit fiddly…

Managing the short rows in the first wedge with a piece of waste yarn:

Halfway I inserted 3 extra stitches on the instep on each side because it was getting a bit tight, with my high instep. In the second sock I will insert a proper gusset.

Then the heel was finished:

Now it’s time for the easy yet entertaining slip stitch pattern for the leg. Easy knitting until I reach the cuff.

Because I will be visiting a knitter on Friday and we’ll be knitting together on our Sock Madness socks I had the clever idea to leave this piece of easy knitting for that occasion. Can’t juggle Japanese Shortrows and a conversation about stroopwafels.¬†That’s why I cast on another toe for a second Sock Madness sock:

This one is knitted from the same 100 grams glittery Opal sock yarn I’m using for the other sock, only this is knitted from the inside of the ball. Combined with a green Meilenweit that I hate the colour of.

The pattern is excellent for colours you hate. Somehow they combine into marvelous combinations! It’s quite addicting to want to knit one more row, just to see how things combine and turn out.

I’m not sure yet if this is the second sock of the first pair or the first sock of the second pair. I love the colours on both socks and would love a pair of each.

Now it’s the end of March 3rd and this is where I am:

Nearly time for the heel. I had to stop though, I’m going too fast. My wrist is is startingto hurt¬†and the weak spot in my shoulder has woken up.¬†And I antagonised my gut with the gluten in the stroopwafels. So I’m going to pace my fun. And I’m switching to chocolate, I gave the last two stroopwafels to my husband.

But boy how I love doing this. Sitting in my knitter’s chair, with tea, cat and flowers next to me and a good light on my knitting where each row gives new colour combinations.

Afternoon Tea pic by Vicky

Finished: Sock Madness Warm Up Socks

The one with the lighter toe is done on a bigger needle. On 2,25 mm instead of 2 mm. The fabric is quite loose, I think it’ll wear soon or perhaps cause the sock to loose its shape.

The colourwork on both legs was done on smaller needles.

For both socks I altered the heel significantly. Until they fit.

I’m ready for Sock Madness now!

It took 9 days to finish these. That’s my speed I’m afraid. A plain vanilla pair of socks will go faster but I doubt I’ll be a constructive¬†addition to any team that’s going for speed. I hear the absolute winners can pound out a pair of intrinsic socks in 12 hours.

This has been my day to day progress:

Day 1: toe and up to nearly all the gusset increases. Locked my stitchmarker in with knitting.
Day 2: heel, heel, heel, heelflap, heelflap. Ripping and redoing.
Day 3: few rows, completing gusset under ankles
Day 4: leg up to half of stranded part
Day 5: Saturday, lots of knitting time. finished 1st sock (it’s 40 grams) and knit toe of 2nd sock.
Day 6: colourwork on foot 2nd sock finished
Day 7: gussets done, 48 st op de ondervoet, 32 op de bovenvoet. Attach new yarn.
Day 8: turn heel, flap and up to row 16 of colourchart for the leg (colourwork in needle 2 mm)
Day 9: rest of colourchart and cuff. Finished.

Sock Madness! Warm up sock based on Indy 500.

In March sock knitting people run a fun competition based loosely on the US basketball competition known as March Madness. There are 7 rounds of patterns. The first pattern is reasonably straightforward and as the rounds progress the socks become increasingly more complex in design.

Every registered competitor who completes a pair of socks in round 1 will be placed on a team with approximately 40 players per team. It is announced ahead of each round how many will proceed to the next pattern/round. By the 7th pattern there will be one member from each team left to battle it out.

Competitors don’t sleep at this stage. They get fed by their spouses while they knit knit KNIT.¬†Usually a Fin wins. It’s great fun and great suspense! Here’s the group on Ravelry.

The fun has already begun and there are two patterns to warm up with. I’m doing the second warm up pattern is¬†Don’t Tread on My Toes by Heidi Lenore:

Lenore is a Indy 500 fan and based her design on cars, racing and tire tracks. There are four versions, here presented with most straight forward one on the left and the more intrinsic one on the right.


I’m doing version C. Here’s where I am after two days knitting:

Not much progress on the second day considering this is where I stopped after day 1:

But I had many difficulties with the fit of the heel and the heel flap. The pattern is good, mind you. It’s just that I have weird feet and a gauge to match them.

Below is the pattern when all the gusset increases are done -interestingly placed at the underside of the sock!- and the heel is turned:

It doesn’t have enough length for me, the heel should turn at the end of my foot.

This is caused because my row gauge is off. I’m doing 52,5 rows to the 10 cm and the pattern states 48. In a 20 cm long foot that’s 8 rows. Which is exactly what I lack, 1,5 cm in length.

I ripped back and knitted 8 more rows after the gusset but before turning the heel:

Ah yes. Better. This is where a heel should turn.

Normally you’d lengthen a foot before you make the gusset increases. But because I have a wide instep I need those gusset increases to appear where they are.

Now I made a heelflap and let it “eat up” the stitches on the left needle right up to the patterned part. Just like the pattern says I should.

I couldn’t put the sock on anymore. It was way too narrow. Caused my gauge, I’m sure my stitch gauge is off too (I’m going to measure it afte

I’m at 35 st per 10 cm. Pattern says 34 st/10 cm. That’s not too different… did I read the pattern wrong? By now I’m so flustered I’m knitting it my own way: I’m now knitting in the round from the point shown in the last photo. No heel flap.

I occasionally decrease and it will end up with two gussets tapering to the ankle bone. But I’m wrecking the original pattern and I feel awful about it. This is absolutely not allowed once the competition starts, you’re supposed to knit the pattern as is. Even if it doesn’t fit you (or anyone you know). This is to ensure that everybody knits the same amount of stitches at a minimum. Levelling the play field.

I’m sure I make too much of this. I should just relax, tinker some more and enjoy the ride.

 photo How-to-change-a-flat-tire-like-a-pro_zps5813bf47.jpg

Weird Wool Wednesday: Hats over Heals. Sockmadness!

It’s Sockmadness over at!

Loosely based on a basketball competition known as March Madness, teams of knitters compete in 7 rounds with brand new sock patterns and they’re trying to knit them as fast as possible. Every team is international and consists of fast and slow knitters and it’s a lot of fun.
As the rounds progress the patterns become increasingly more complex in design. In the 7th round each team will only have one member left to compete and when that round starts there’s no time for anything but knitting.

The sock fun is contagious! So I’ve started a fun sock on my own: Sokike Sok.

pattern SOKI KUDUMISE JUHEND by Tuulepluus
It’s in Estonian and it’s free. Lots of people have understood the pattern and are providing English and German instructions and tips.

It’s a sock pattern with a different constructions that gives you this fun chevron shapes. Ideal for self striping sock yarn. You start with some sort of heel hat…

When it’s wide enough to fit your heel/arc you proceed to work to the toe while continuing the chevron pattern. At the tip you can decide to make the swirl the pattern photo shows: decreasing like it’s a hat for the toes!
Or what I’m doing: shortrows to make a little triangle and end with a conventional toe.

Then I’m picking up the stitches that are parked on the knitting cable at the right, to knit the leg.

This pattern is really fun to do and it’s a good knit while resting and reading up on how my friends are doing in Sock Madness. I’m reading here, where the Dutch are talking amongst themselves.

In the beginning I hadn’t understood the pattern very well, I just assumed: A hat for the heel!
So I knitted a hat. Increase 4 stitches every other row untill it fits:

This is one big heel hat! More of a heel pancake (crepe) rather.
Heels are not as domelike as heads and I had finished the whole part before realizing I should have read the pattern that clearly shows to knit a bell shape. With charts and everything.

So I frogged it. (but not before I started the second sock first, the one you see at the top. Frogging is such a definite action that I always need a little time to be sure. In that time I started the second sock, following the pattern).

When I frogged the pancake I did not frog it all the way. I took a look at the heel hat I had now knitted correctly and tried to start the second one at the same place in the colour sequence. I’d like these socks to match. This is as far as I frogged.

Cut yarn, start second heel hat:

fiddly fiddly

This way of knitting, with a circular bend double in the knitting, is called Magic Loop. You work from one end to the other and always have a surplus of knitting cable at those positions halfway the rows.
It’s an ideal way to knit in the round. You do have to take care that the begin- and end stitches are pulled tight. And you’ve got to mark which part of the loop is the beginning of a row and which one is merely halfway a row. I mark mine with the loose end of my yarn.
I weave it in and out the rows as I pass. Here you might see it in the finished heel:

This is all done in Magic Loop. The tiny beginnings of the second heel hat. The toe on the first one with its shortrows:

And the parked stitches on the leg:

I do almost all my knitting in Magic Loop. All tubes, all bells and all circles/pancakes.