Weird Wool Wednesday: Sock Madness

I wasn’t going to participate. And then this happened and now I am a cheerleader in the official 12th Sock Madness:

Sock Madness is way too much fun to let pass by. In the Dutch Sock Knitters Group there’s a lively and friendly bunch. We’re cheering on the people who knit in teams, who are racing. Cheerleaders get the patterns and can knit along.

Fee Dragee by Caoua Coffee

64 stitches, dutifully knit according to pattern. No mistakes left that I’m aware of.

This photo shows the true colour: good contrast.
It also shows some purl-mistakes in the last round of the colour work. These were fixed by laddering down to them. This in turn causes those few purl bumps to appear like they are a row too late in the top photo but they are not. I have very loose gauge. Blocking will visually fix this.

I cast on too loose on first sock and didn’t go a needle size up on the bumps even though the pattern suggested it.
Remedied in second sock (the one with the markers). Trust the pattern. The motto of the SockMadness.

SM is the only time I knit a pattern exactly as written. It’s nice to not be a smarty pants for once but just follow the lead of the designer. I might learn new things or at least do things I wouldn’t incline to.

This is a good pattern! Well written and do-able for wide range of people. And fast! Even for me who hates doing k1, p1.
I loved learning the purl bump fabric and the special ssk, which is neater than the standard one. You slip the first stitch knitwise, slip the second one purlwise and then knit them both through the back loop. It produces a flatter ssk than the regular one and it mirrors the standard k2tog.

Now I’m a cheerleader. Not racing which is good. Looking forward to waving virtual pompoms around and perhaps even draw a doodle or two to make people laugh.




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.



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.

Weird Wool Wednesday: evil stroopwafels

Stroopwafels (Dutch sirupwaffles) are the official doping of the SockMadness.

Today I learned that the small ones are more evil than the regular ones:

When I started to take this photo there were enough mini stroopwaffles to cover every part of both socks.

But you know…. it took some time and some sugared fuel to come up with this idea. And then I had to stop before I ran out of waffles.

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.)

Weird Wool Wednesday: competing in the brainfog

On the last row of the leg I see I’ve been knitting it wrong:

I did not start the pattern on the back of the leg, after I put in the waste yarn for the afterthought heel.

It’s my first after thought heel and it was all new, not having a clear bend in the sock, an end row after which you do something different. I kept the sock on magic loop and just continued what I’d been doing: stockinette stitch on one needle, pattern on the other. Aiming for the endgoal: the cuff. Because then there’s be dessert: knitting the striped heel!

Only now, after 68 rows, do I discover that my sock is WRONG. Not the sock I meant to knit. Butchering the designer’s intent.

I could cry… not because of the competition, even though I probably lost it now. But because I’ve been working so diligently, catching and correcting every mistake I make in the stitch pattern (and I make mistakes every row because of brain fog). And now I’ve made this big mistake and didn’t catch it for 68 long rows. All that concentration, all that dedication and positiveness. I feel cheated. I hate ME.


It’s now a few hours later and I’ve started a new sock, with new yarns (both Drops Fabel):

Nice in white with greenish contrast colour. I’ll see how far I’ll go. At least the pressure is of the competition now, for me.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Sock Knitting Madness

Three days of SockMadness:
knitting everywhere
knitting everywhere

Eating with wooden dpn’s, secretly knitting under the table.
knitting everywhere
It’s our wedding anniversary lunch/dinner. This is at Sushi Kyushy at the Voorstraat 66 in Utrecht, best sushi in town. Genuine Japanese.

Love is in the air:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
These two sat cosy together, squaking and commenting on all the human commuters.

Trainspotting 2:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
Only six people in the theatre!

Can’t knit with dark grey in the dark. Can’t knit during this movie anyway. Nice movie!

Some things have not changed since the ’80s: the audio is way way too loud and the adverts for local venues is still an adorable clumsy array of photographs that blend into each other with ploink ploink music. The only difference is that now it’s High Definition clumsy.

Back home, time for bed:
knitting everywhere

knitting everywhere

Travellig with friends:
knitting everywhere
We are bringing my excellent spinning wheel to its new home.

Colour choices of Dropping Madness Sock being approved by local resident:
knitting everywhere
Cat Odin is way softer than any Fabel!

My cat is mainly soft on the inside:
knitting everywhere

This morning:
knitting everywhere

I’ve been looking at this for 45 minutes worth of knitting (while knitting) and designing the stranded vest in my head:
knitting everywhere
I need to make a swatch first…. there’s no escaping a swatch. I think I will call my swatch “wristwarmer”.

But first must knit this sock.

And its mate.

There are already people finished with this pattern! They knit a pair of Dropping Madness socks in 2 days. And they knit at a leisury speed!

must knit.

must knit sock.

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.

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!
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.

getting my WIPs in order

I’ve been coming around to working on my WIPs again. They’ve been dormant for months.
As a start I’ve decluttered the wool cabinet and taken out anything I didn’t love. What a fine way to organize things. It’s such a clear answerable question: do I love this?


Yes, I love this:
On the top shelf my tea china and spinning treasures.

Second shelf: the WIPs!

The third shelf holds my tools and some yarns I want to knit with a.s.a.p.

The bags at the bottom is the sock yarn stash and some odd balls I like to keep close.

The bags with sock yarn I took out yesterday and spread out all around my on the floor:
Initially because I wanted to look for x-massy mitten colours. But then I found a few of those few half projects and odd bits of yarn that have been lying about for years. Being nuisances, really. If I’m honest about it.
You know the ones, the you-shoulda-coulda-oughta-have-done-a-better-job-gnashers. The things I was going to work on, one day, and do better.
With the “do I love this?” compass still fresh on my mind I realized how much of a burden these nasty woolies are.

There were two legs I started that didn’t work out and are never going to work out. Some tube in a stupid colour. Two things in infuriating inferior yarn. And two bits of yarn with bad memories attached to it. Why was I holding on to these? Guilt mostly. Guilt and the delusion that I can change the past.
I didn’t match all the sock yarn stash to my “Do I love this?” compass but the four or five pieces that really bug me I took and threw away!
It’s not much but it sure feels good.

It gave room for a fresh look at the sock yarn that’s been here for years and years and then I saw this:
Half a knitted foot in a treasured yarn.

It’s Skinny Bugga! yarn by The Sanguine Gryphon. Given to me by a wonderful American Raveler back in 2010, when I was very ill and was in bed all day, barely able to think.
She send me this yarn and plenty more when a swap package of mine was not acknowledged by its receiver and she never send me anything. The group as a whole stepped in and send a replacement package. So heartwarming. It was the Handmade Pincushion Swap Group on Ravelry. A group that now has stopped existing but was a haven of lovely crafters around 2009-2013. This yarn has been dear to my heart from the very beginning.

I’ve started knitting with it many times… so many times that by now I’ve changed colour preferences and don’t even like orange anymore.

It’s such a wonderful yarn! Round spun, good handle, excellent stitch definition and great colouring. Also produced by a very sympathetic indy dyer team, which went on to other adventures a few years back. They felt so real and genuine, even when they dissolved the business.

Once upon a time I started these socks, my first toe ups I think. The pattern is Sacre du Printemps by Caoua Coffee:

A free pattern too!

I knitted, with my brainfogged head and all the concentration I could muster to make myself a glorious pair of socks in this high end quality yarn.

But they turned out too wide and I stopped knitting on them, quite defeated. I couldn’t make myself rip them out. All these fine cables. For years and years I’ve kept this half foot.

And now it will no longer be a foot!

It will be a phone cosy. I’ve ordered a new phone and while I wait for the protector to come from an exotic country far far away I’ll use this half sock as my pouch. Just knit a flap onto it and some sort of fastening and I’m golden.

Having found a new WIP to work on and some yarn for the x-mas decoration  *giggle, in June!*  I put the sock yarn stash away.

I’d now like to give an overview of the WIPs that are still active, in my mind anyway. They are in the wool cabinet and I will work on one of them any day now.
The funny thing is I don’t feel bad about them at all. Nor about the time I’ve neglected them. Nor about the fact that I’ve started new socks this week and will start a mitten next week. No guilt.

There’s one project though that I do feel a bit bad about. I need to formally put it to bed: the Sock Madness:

I started so enthousiastically back on March the 1st. But the patterns were all out of my reach. Twisted stitches, cables. Not one of them was a simple knit and purl combination.
I understand because this was a 10 year anniversary and they tried to make this fun for the experienced mad knitters. But for me there was not one pattern I could participate in after the first knit. It doesn’t feel very nice, not contributing to the fun. But that’s what happened.
I read along merrily. But haven’t posted. Feels weird.

Here are all 14 patterns from Sock Madness 10.

Caoua Coffee made one of the final designs: Coffee Cantata

Again: free!

Just to remind you and me, these are the current WIPs in my wool cabinet.
Tangled Cardi and Donegal cardi:

The Shetland Blue Texel throw that still only needs its border (I have been using it all winter though)
Next to it is Akelei Temptress that needs the final rows with beads and a non-frilly bind off; behind it the dark colours is Arlene cardi in Wollmeise Lace and in front is the white and green stranded little owl vest:

The sock yarn at the back is the Wolbeest yarn, from the ice cream parlour. It has one toe. But then I got distracted by Miyuki Bead Frogs and Blattwerk socks that needed reknitting.

So that’s where things stand. These are the knitting projects that are still active, be it only in my mind.

I have a feeling I will pick one of these up to work on any day now. I’m looking forward to it.