Qualified Madness

I love my Knit-A-Longs.  And I love crazy ideas.  So, when I heard from a fellow retreat-er about Sock Madness back in November, I filed it under “Good One”.  And then it kept following me around.  Sock Madness, is of course the March Madness of Ravelry…in international sock knitting competition form…and I think it actually takes ’til sometime time in June.  So of course I signed up.

I set myself a very obtainable and sensible goal.  You get cheerleader status if you can complete one sock in the first two week period.  That will get you free access to all the patterns released for Sock Madness…and you know how I like free patterns, right?  Well, the qualifying round dropped last Monday and whole my pair is done now!  Which means (assuming these are accepted) I’m going to be qualified and placed on a competitive team.  I guess I should mentally prepare to knit more socks!

This qualifying sock (Slip Stripe Spiral by Mylene Pijpers, which will be released publicly sometime after the competition) was SUPER interesting for me.  I generally knit most of my socks they same way – top down, after thought heel, sometimes I get crazy and add a stitch pattern – but always a very simple one.  This was basically like learning to knit socks all over again for me.  Here’s what I got to learn in this one pair:

A New Toe

It’s Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints Toe, I love how round it is.
Slipstitch ColourWork

I’ve never used more than one ball of yarn in a sock before – because I always relied on self striping to give me pretty colours.  (I sadly don’t remember what this blue/purple spiral effect yarn is and the ball band was gone!  Sorry! The grey is Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather)
A New Heel

It’s Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel…somewhat adapted for this pattern’s needs.  Yes those are lifelines at the base of my heel and toe – I learned from experience ripping stuff out once. 
A New Way to do Short Rows

Japanese short rows, a la Ysolda Teague! A rather fiddly, but useful technique. 
And! The pattern gave you your choice of bind off, so I consulted with a friend who only knits toe-up socks, and learned  Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which I don’t think I took pictures of.

So, my brain is exhausted, but I’m amazed, because I learned all of that in a few days, and ended up with an amazing end result!  The first sock was all learning and the second sock was all consolidating that learning and now I feel pretty confident in most of these techniques, which is pretty neat.

I knit these in about 8 days. Other people in the competition had them in 24-36 hours from the pattern being released it seemed. 
I should be placed on a team of sock knitters with a similar speed to me, but who knows what the next sock will bring!!! After this particular ’bout of sock madness, I know I can probably handle it.  And now I’m left with just one work in progress and a week or so between rounds!  Time to make some headway on Tenaya!

Bonus Glamour Shot of them actually on my feet.




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