Monday, March 17, 2014

SM8 - Round 1

Finished Round 1 of Socks Madness 8 today. The cutoff is tomorrow at 10am eastern, so I'm skating pretty close to the wire. I blame early procrastination and the an ill timed cold. Still, I made it and they're all done!

The pattern is Brucie, and you can find my project page here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SM8 - Round 1 Specs

So the specs and materials list for Round 1 was released today.
The pattern was written with:
Wollmeise Twin in Spina de Pesce 510 yds/150g 80% merino/20% nylon
Needles: US1.5/2.5mm & US2/2.75mm
Gauge: 8 sts, 12 rows per inch stockinette with smaller needles
Tester used: 450 yards Pennyrose merino/nylon, Orange
Yardage used by tester: about 150 yards per sock, 300 for pair
Notions: stitch markers
With the thought of choosing my short list of yarn came an idea for some advice I could offer people getting into Sock Madness for the first time. Advice that may have been more timely before folks started ordering yarn, but oh well.

You should consider the texture of your yarn before selecting it for a pattern. Smooth, non-splitty yarns are best. One year I used Noro Sock and while I love it, it is the stickiest sock yarn I have ever used. You cannot knit at your fastest when you constantly have to tug the yarn free from itself.

You should also consider the color of your yarn. If you want to truly be competitive you will likely find yourself knitting in sub-optimal situations. Dark yarn can make it very hard to see your stitches and keep track of where you are. Even if you only knit in adequate light, a lighter color of yarn makes it easier to see the stitches and helps prevent eye strain.

Truly the best advice though is to use a yarn you like or even love. Even if you disregard both the previous bits of advice and are using a sticky dark yarn, if you love it you will find a way. If you find yourself staying up 2 hours past bedtime or getting up extra early to knit before work and you HATE that smooth white yarn? Well, you're probably going to hate the experience a little bit more too. In the end, this is supposed to be fun. So follow your heart.

Personally I try to have 1 or 2 choices picked once I have the materials list, so if my first color choice seems wrong hopefully the second will work out. I'm planning on using one of my darker colors for this first round, since I know the time frame we have to work in. If my eyes get tired I can afford more breaks this early in the competition. Also, I won't be winding my yarn until I see the pattern. In later rounds I'll have yarn that needs it wound into a center pull ball before we get the pattern, but again I have time to spare this round so I will wait.

I think maybe Teaser #7 will be the one to match our pattern.

[Edited 3/17 - it turned out that the teaser for this round was #6]

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gearing Up for SM8

It is almost time for Sock Madness 8 to get under way. We were given our materials list the first week of February, giving us ample time to acquire some yarn, buttons, chocolate, cardboard, ruler, and drinking vessel. Some of the supplies are matter of course, but some of them are a bit puzzling.

Since then we've seen teaser photos coming out, in no particular order. It would spoil the surprise if we new which teaser we'd be knitting in what order. In the past they've been quite sneaky. The mods will post pictures of the inside of a test knit, or upside down, or a real close up of a gusset stitch to try and throw everyone off the trail.

It's always fun to see people speculate on what a pattern might be based on these clues, between the pictures and the materials list. The forum is full of lovely and bright people. And sometimes silly youtube videos about llamas.

I'll post the 8 teaser pictures from this year below a cut.

Today is the cut off for signups. If you've been on the fence then I think you should sign up and go for it. Every year there are new people and they always seem to have a great experience. For details you'll need a Ravelry account, and this is the Forum for our crazy group. This post will tell you who to email and what information they'd like from you.

Now we wait....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SM7 - Round 4

Sock Madness 7 round 4 was the pattern High Button Socks and my project page is here. In case it isn't obvious from the name, there were buttons on these socks, and they're completely functional too. The leg of the sock was knit back and forth, rather than in the round.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SM7 - Round 3

Sock Madness7 Round 3 had a really interesting construction, both on the sides of the foot and underneath, on the sole. It also involved a new stitch for the bind off that tripped a few people up. The pattern was Greenhouse Socks and my project page is here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SM7 - Round 2

Sock Madness 7 Round 2 was quite the color work trick, but the result is pretty amazing. Using short rows Flying Dutchman creates the image of a sail boat on ocean waves. My project page is here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

SM7 - Round 1

We're getting close to the end of this trip down memory lane! Today we start Sock Madness 7, which was last year's competition (2013). The first pattern of the year was Sockdolager and you can find my project page here. The self-striping yarn just worked perfectly with this pattern, and it was fun to knit too. The best combination.