Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sock Madness returns

My pattern's been sent so I can finally talk about it! What pattern? sent? to whom? Well...

Sock Madness is back for its second year. Based on the men's college basketball March Madness, this sock knitting competition has its own rounds and brackets - one free new sock pattern goes out to all participants at the beginning of all “rounds.” Although all participants receive the patterns, only the fastest knitters survive to compete in the following rounds. Winners receive yarny prizes!

I would never make it in a timed knitting competition, I don’t knit that fast, but I went out on a limb and sent in my first-ever patterns to Sock Madness last year. They used two: Mad Color Weave socks and Mad for Fair Isle Batik Style socks.

This year they accepted one of my patterns, and it's just been sent to all the Sock Madness knitters! And here it is:

Because part of the competition is keeping the patterns secret until the round starts, participants get gauge, yarn, and needle specs but don’t know anything else about the socks until they get the pattern.

When everyone read that one of the sock patterns would use laceweight yarn, you cannot believe the amount of discussion! I wished I could have jumped in and reassured them. But hopefully they'll see now that it's a pretty easy pattern once they get the hang of knitting and slipping 2 strands at once.

Trekking XXL sock yarn was my inspiration.

I love my Trekking socks and loved the color changes while making them.

But then I thought: how can I get that look and have some control over the stripe widths and colors? I’m not a spinner, so that wasn't an option.

Sock Madness competitors are lucky I didn't have any cobweb lace because I wanted to try it with 3 strands. But two strands of regular laceweight worked just fine and the double strand knit up to a fingering weight gauge, perfect for socks.

I used KnitPicks Shadow in orange and red, put in slip stitches to ease the stripe transitions, and used heel stitch on the heel flap and sole to reinforce the sock.

Originally, I used a k1, p3 ribbing on top to match the slip-stitch pattern of the leg.

But the ribbing curled under annoyingly when I wore these socks. I changed it to a k1, p1 rib.

Last night, I cast on a new pair so that I could play with more colors.

Some of the Sock Madness participants are using one strand of solid and one strand of variegated. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

So good luck, Sock Madness knitters! and remember to take care of your wrists :)

NOTE: When Sock Madness ends, this pattern will be made available for free in extended sizes.