I’m exhausted today. Why? Because I put my life and work on hold since 10:00 am on Tuesday to make a pair of socks. I finished at 12:40 today (Friday).
What on earth did I do that for?
Because I entered the Tour-de-Sock knitting competition. Am I nuts? Maybe. But I finished them and they look fantastic! I checked with the organizers and they said I can share photos with you. Today I finished stage 2: Like a Boss!
So this competition — a fundraiser for Doctors without Borders — all started with a warm up pattern. The pattern is called Priha, designed by Tiina Kuu. These were my first attempt at stranded colourwork (other than an abandoned sweater from decades ago).
What a fantastic opportunity for me to learn something new.
I asked my friends for advice and watched a bunch of You Tube videos. I usually knit socks two at a time but with this being a new technique to me, I did them one at a time. The tension was inconsistent between the two socks and now that I tried wearing them, I think I’ll frog the second one and re-knit it to match the tension on the the first one.
Stage 1 was a really fun pattern designed by Sarah Bordelon called “Fins”. It’s just so whimsical. It was a great design to start the competition with. The pattern is blocks of fins (you decide whether they are sharks or dolphins) alternating with blocks of waves. Each row has the fins going in the opposite direction. The actual fin and wave pattern was pretty easy to do. You end up with this curvy, wavy, swirly effect. The structure was unusual. It was the first time I ever heard of an “afterthought leg”. You definitely had to just follow the instructions and trust that they would work out. They did and I adore these socks. I especially love the fins trim along the top of the cuff.
Definitely 10 out of 10 for whimsy!
Today I completed stage 2. The pattern is called Kanteletar and the designer is Tiina Kuu.
This was a very challenging pattern.
I had to learn some new skills in order to complete it. There was a provisional cast on and a doubled cuff. I had never done a Latvian braid before. That was cool but awkward to do. I think I would have to do a lot of them to make the process feel comfortable. The heel is amazing. This design is so incredibly comfortable. When I read the instructions I was thinking WTF? But it is by far the most comfortable heel I have ever knitted. I’ve purposely tried a lot of different sock patterns just to try various heel techniques. This was definitely new to me.
I had a little trouble with reading the colour chart. For some reason I kept reversing two of the yarns. So I did a whole section of colourwork and realized I had used the wrong colours. I pulled it all apart and reworked it. I lost a solid 4 hours doing that. Oh well. I still finished in a respectable amount of time considering the difficulty of the pattern. It’s definitely an advanced level. But so beautiful! (I already had a family member ask me to make them a pair for their birthday). By the time I finished I was finally feeling comfortable with how I need to hold the yarn to do the colourwork.
I was knitting almost as fast with two colours as I do with one. Almost.
I am so glad that my friend convinced me to sign up for this competition. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be up to the challenge but so far so good. It’s been really fun learning new techniques and trying patterns that I probably would have never chosen under normal circumstances. And I have 3 pairs of socks that I didn’t have before… and there are still 4 stages to go.
The next pattern drops on August 4th.
In the meantime, I’ve got company coming this weekend and I need to bake some cakes. YUM! See you next week.