And the Tour is Done!

Tour de Sock is all done for 2018. What a whirlwind of sock knitting! I thought I’d sum my 2018 Tour experience today. It’s been a lot of fun, a bit of frustration and a whole lot of learning.

Warm up: Miriam by Eeva Kesäkuu

We started it off with a warm up sock called Miriam. This stranded colourwork sock was a really fun knit. It had an unusual heel construction that made it just a little different and interesting. The combination of the colourwork with the style of heel was cool. It was important to carefully follow the instructions so the stripes were correct. I was concerned that the fit might be a little strange when I first did them. However, they fit beautifully.

 

Stage 1: Plan A by Adrienne Fong

Oh my, these were such a delightful knit! I have generally always used 2.5mm needles to knit socks. This pattern called for light fingering and I used fingering weight on 2.5’s; they came out huge. I ended up submitting my photos for the stage and then frogging them back to take out as much as necessary to make them fit. I reknit the toes and “Ta Dah!” they fit. I’m actually knitting another pair (on 2.25mm needles this time) and they are perfectly to gauge. I love this pattern. On my second pair I left out the twisted cast on. I found it just a little binding. Other than that, I think this might be my new go-to for a while. (Sorry, “Hermione’s Everyday Socks“; you’re in second place…. even though I still love you.)

 

Stage 2: Odensjön by Suzanne Sjögren

These cabled socks were an absolute joy to knit. The pattern was complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough that you could memorize it and just sit back and watch the pattern unfold. I knit these in CoBaSi yarn. It was my first experience with this yarn and it was the perfect combination. I’ll be looking for more patterns from this designer.

 

Stage 3: Bicycle Race by Heidi Nick

Wowzers! Heidi Nick sock patterns are intricate works of art. Her charts are gorgeous and in full colour. You cannot let your attention flag on any of her patterns. Heidi’s trademark interweaving traveling stitches make for a stimulating project. They are so worth the effort. I made these with CoBaSi yarn as well. I adore them. If you are looking for a challenge, I encourage you to check out her designs on Ravelry.

 

Stage 4: Arctic Blizzard by Katrine Birkenwasser

The challenge continued with stranded colourwork socks. They are stunning! The random snowflakes mean that you can’t really predict or memorize any part of the pattern. It took tremendous focus and determination to complete these. They took me almost to the deadline to finish these. They are beautiful. It’s an unusual choice to use a short-row heel on a stranded colourwork sock. I actually changed to a larger needle for 10 rows above the heel to make it just a little easier to put them on.

Stage 5: Flibbertigibbet by Lisa K. Ross

I have to say that the predictability of the chart on this round was a huge relief after the previous two stages. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these socks. I plan to these again to give as gifts this Christmas. I love the combination of lace and cables. I see butterflies in this pattern. I hadn’t heard of this designer before, but I’ll be looking for more of her work. There is enough to sink your teeth into without it being too much.

 

Stage 6: Sidetracked by Kirsten Hall

Oh my! Kirsten Hall is so innovative. I love her creativity. This pattern is so very “out of the box”. These look like a ribbon wrapping around your foot. They are so interesting. The toe is done as a round toe. Once you wrap your brain around the chevron it’s easy and fun to knit. I did one spiral too many and then misread the heel instructions. I ended up with a ginormous heel. I kept going. I was away without internet access so I missed some pattern updates. Let’s just say, my sock didn’t turn out well. With work getting busier, I was feeling a bit burnt out. I was so disappointed, I set it aside and decided not to try meet the deadline. I still plan to complete this pattern. It really is very cool. I think I’ll knit sock 2 (which mirrors sock 1) first. Now that I know what to watch out for, I should be able to have success with that. Once I finish that, I’ll frog sock 1 back to the end of the fourth spiral and reknit the heel properly and finish them. I want to get them done before the end of this year. I am absolutely determined to finish them though. They look like they would be uncomfortable but they are actually very cozy and the “braids” don’t feel bumpy under your foot. Last year I got the cuffs of the final stage done and then threw in the towel completely. I may not have met the deadline to get points on Stage 6, but I will definitely complete it this year. I am not going to put a photo of mine up at this time because I am not happy with how it looks at all.

What a wonderful challenge the tour has been this year. It was so worth the effort. I learned so much and I have 6 completed pairs of socks (and am on my way to having a 7th pair) to show for it. My hat is off to the organizers, the moderators, the designers and all the folks that knit in this competition. Without all of them, I wouldn’t have had this fantastic experience. What a fun way to support Doctors without Borders! I’m excited to do it all again next year!

…I’ll be honest, last night I started a doll sweater, not socks.

Happy knitting!

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