Yes, Sock Madness!
This annual sock knitting competition is for those with skills and a competitive spirit.
Early in February I was knitting with a good friend. She was knitting a pair of socks designed to use up leftovers of 13 different yarns. Turns out they are the Sock Madness warm-up round socks. I have lots of leftovers I’d love to use up, but competing in Sock Madness… that I wasn’t sure about.
“Sock Madness is an international sock hand knitting competition based loosely on the basketball competition known as March Madness. There are 7 rounds of patterns. The first pattern is reasonably straightforward and as the rounds progress the socks become increasingly more complex in design. Every registered competitor who completes a pair of socks in round 1 will be placed on a team with approximately 40 players per team. It is announced ahead of each round how many will proceed to the next pattern/round. By the 7th pattern there will be one member from each team left to battle it out.”
(quoted from Sock Madness Forever on Ravelry)
Sock Madness is definitely cool. If you haven’t heard of it, I encourage you to do a quick search on Ravelry; you’ll see what I mean. I’ve been intrigued by the interesting patterns they do in this competition for a few years now. I’m curious about the many advanced knitting techniques included in the patterns. Each year I think that if not for the time crunch, it would be a great opportunity to learn some techniques that I’m unfamiliar with.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy amount of competitive spirit. I just can’t see having enough free time at this time of year to justify being on a competitive knitting team. I know that I’d put way too much pressure on myself and I’d pay a steep price for it. So when my friend suggested I sign up as a cheerleader, I thought, “this could be the perfect opportunity”. You have to make a reasonable effort to complete the round one socks. (One fully completed sock, or two socks done to beyond the heel assures you a spot.) Then you are granted access to the patterns for all the socks and you can knit them at your leisure without the imposed time limit. Registration happens through the month of February and the competition begins at the beginning of March.
I signed up! Since then, I have been toodling my way through the warm up socks. I have completed one sock and I’m less than a quarter of the way into the second sock. I’m very happy with the way they are turning out. Of course, I have two other pairs of socks in progress as well that I put on the back burner, but I’ll get to them all eventually. I figure I should be able to manage the expectations to qualify as a cheerleader.
I’m enjoying the warm up socks. It was so much fun choosing my 13 colours of leftover yarn. I love the way that the pattern gradually incorporates each new yarn. With all those different yarns, I had a mass of “tails” to weave in when I finished the first sock though. I sat there, staring at it for some time, deciding what to do. I imagined what a big job it would be to weave those ends in on two completed socks and that motivated me. I took the time and got them all neatly incorporated before starting the second sock. (I even have photographic evidence! LOL) That way, I’ll only have one sock to fiddle with when completed. It was definitely satisfying to complete that little operation! I ended up with a very pretty sock out of the deal!
Working on this pattern got me thinking. In a way, knitting up a pattern like this is reminiscent of making a memento quilt. Each yarn has a story behind it the same way that each fabric of a scrap quilt does. I like that. I knit a lot of socks. There are certain people that I specifically make a lot of socks for. I was thinking that it would be really interesting to knit a pair of memory socks using leftovers from socks that I made in the past for that same person. I think that’s a really nice idea. With that many colours, I should be able to arrange them in a sequence that will make sense and look good, even if (at first glance) I might not think they should go together. It makes me think about handling my leftover yarns a little differently. It also has me thinking about other projects that I could do using up leftovers. I’m feeling downright inspired!
I’m excitedly anticipating the first round of Sock Madness. I honestly never thought I’d be participating in this event. Who knows, maybe I’ll surprise myself and discover that it’s more do-able than I imagined… Maybe next year I’ll want to compete? I guess you just never know… and I guess you should never say never!