Competition Pushes us Forward

Not just in business and innovation, but also in…you guessed it! KNITTING. Since July 15th, I’ve been participating in a community knit-along competition/fundraiser called Tour-de-Sock. Styled after the Tour de France, this competition sets teams of knitters in a speed sock-knitting race. There are six stages that are nine days each, and for each stage, you and the other racers knit one pair of socks. All entry fees for the race go to Doctors without Borders, and the group has raised $32k since it started a few years ago!

The first pair of socks didn’t go so well for me — I finished in the 366th spot (out of approx. 1700 knitters), and my socks ended up not fitting. This is most likely my fault — I decided to make these for my husband, so they are super long, and I even added extra room for the heel, but I ended up making the leg too tight in an effort to have a smaller number of stitches on the needle (so I could finish faster). So for the second sock, I made the smallest allowable measurements. So I’ve got one long and one short sock. *facepalm*

Anyway…for the next stage, which starts today, I’m hoping that the socks are knit top-down. Then I could throw a lifeline in just before the toe, and I could go back later and make them as long as I want.

I’m still waffling on color choices, but as I’ve learned from quilt making, it really doesn’t matter, since things end up looking pretty good in the end. Hopefully these turn out better than the last pair and I will actually feel confident enough to share a photo. I’m thinking I’ll use the Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Astrid Gray as the main color, and either Esoteric (the dark teal) and Hosta Blue (the light teal) with a splash of Pop Rocks (the pink) or the Astrid Gray with Ink (the dark blue) and Liquid Gold. I’ll go with the first option if it is a more feminine pattern and the second option if it’s a more masculine pattern.

In other news, I am diligently working on Joel’s Forest Moon of Endor socks. I showed him pictures of a bunch of different patterns, but for that pair, I included the name of the pattern. And of course he chose that one for me to make! I’m using Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock (an incredibly soft 80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere blend) in the colorway “Creeper.” (This is a Minecraft reference for those of you who don’t know.) I’ve used this yarn before and have even accidentally run the socks through the washing machine, and it has held up wonderfully and is soooooo soft! I’ve got one sock finished and have finished the leg on the second one. This is a super easy pattern, so it’s perfect for when I’m stuck in traffic and stopped at red lights.

I’m also starting a knit-along with my BFF (for 20+ years so far!), who is making her first pair of socks! We are making Please and Thank You Socks. I love the simple elegance of these socks, and I envision making several pairs of these! The pattern also comes with instructions for making them starting at the cuff AND for starting at the toe. My friend is using Nerd Girl Yarns Bounce & Stomp in the Blue Box Exploding colorway, and I am using Madelinetosh Twist Light in Tern. I am stepping out of my comfort zone with these and trying to knit using 9″ circulars. We’ll see how it goes! So far, so good. I’ll definitely have to get my hands used to working on such small needles.

Also, my daughter is almost walking. She has an elephant toy that she walks behind as she pushes it around the house. Knitting time has definitely decreased now that she is mobile. I can knit about three stitches before she gets to the fireplace and tries to open the glass panels (after she crawls over to it, turns around to look at me, shakes her head “no” with a big grin, then turns back to the fireplace). SHE IS SO FAST. And AMAZING. I marvel every day at how awesome she is. Also, she likes to help me knit. ūüėÄ

Knitting and Fishing

wowscrnshot_011317_220237The two go together pretty well, I think. Both require a lot of time and patience, and for fishing, at least the kind that I prefer, you don’t need to pay much attention.

For those of you who know me, you might be thinking, what in the world is she talking about? I am not exactly known for my love of the outdoors. I prefer climate-controlled, bug-free locations. And, as my husband reminds me, I once mused, “I like the outdoors in theory.” Beautiful landscapes, grass, trees, the oceans, all that jazz.

But there is one place that allows me to fish and knit and be comfortable. And that is in the World of Warcraft. Joel introduced me to WoW in 2013, not long after we started dating. I already had a penchant for video games: I grew up enjoying and playing a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and later a Wii, and I was quite adept at some mobile games. Shortly thereafter, he gifted me with my very first gaming PC, complete with a Haswell i5 processor, a GTX-660 Ti videocard, Razer Naga and, very importantly, a pink case and green LED fans. It was beautiful. Maybe a little tacky. It was the only pink case we could find, and I loved it.wp-1484797565458.jpg

Fast-forward to 2017, and I’m still an avid WoW player, but with a more powerful computer with a sleek black and green case and color-changing accessories (of course). We raced the clock with the birth of my daughter, who was due just 5 days after the launch of WoW’s most recent expansion,¬†Legion. She was born three days late, giving us about a week to experience the new content. We took a short hiatus, and recently our precious girl has blessed us with an earlier bedtime, allowing us to resubscribe to the game.

There’s a game mechanic that allows you to fish, and you can listen for your bobber to splash in the water. It’s quite relaxing and entertaining for me. And best of all, I can knit and fish at the same time.

I’ve just completed a pair of WoW-themed socks for my husband, at his request. I used madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Ink and Liquid Gold to represent Alliance colors. Early last year, I made him a WoW-themed hat with the Alliance crest on it, so now he has the set!

 

My next project is an afghan using fingering weight (sock) yarn (i.e. it’s going to take the whole year), and there’s an achievement for catching all the rare fish in WoW, so I will be doing a lot of fish/knitting in the next few months!

Staying Up Til Midnight

In college, I could stay up late with the best of them. Two a.m., the Acorn Cafe, and I were very good friends. On occasion, I even hung out with Great Oaks Hall and the elusive all-nighter.

Not so anymore. These days, my eyes are drooping by 10:00 p.m. Baby J is a good sleeper and will usually sleep all night, but in the last two weeks or so, her sleep time shifted from 10:00 to 11:00 to 11:30. After a discussion with our pediatrician, we are moving her bedtime up to 8:00, and so far this seems to be working.

I don’t need to go to bed as soon as Baby J is asleep! This has been great — I can stay up and knit, play a game, or watch a show with my husband. It’s a double-edged sword, though, as I get addicted to the time, and I end up staying up later than I should.

Last night is the perfect example. Baby J was asleep and in her crib at 8:00 p.m., my husband was playing Battlefield 1 with friends, and I had a date with a sock.

I am not typically a monogamous knitter. I love to cast on whatever project grabs my eye. Yes, sometimes this means that projects don’t get finished for a year or that they eventually get frogged (ripped out so the yarn can be reused). But for me, the joy of knitting comes from the process: finding a pattern, discovering a beautifully dyed skein of yarn, casting on, and knitting (not always in that order).

These socks, though, are for my husband, and he is patiently waiting for them to be ready. Because he is paying attention to what I’m knitting, he would notice if I switched projects. So I need to finish them. Because I want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS.

Thus midnight and met once again. One sock is completed, and yesterday at Knit Night, I made great progress on the cuff and had even started the heel increases. So after Baby J was asleep, I went to town on these socks. By the time 11:00 p.m. rolled around, I was so close to being ready to turn the heel that I had to keep going.

I should have stopped. The later I stayed up, the more mistakes I made. This row was off by one stitch. That pattern didn’t quite line up. You get the idea. I felt like Tina from Bob’s Burgers, but with the enthusiasm of her sister Louise.

Fortunately, I made it through without needing to frog any of the work and was able to drop down one or two stitches to fix my mistakes, but it takes longer to fix the mistakes than it does just to knit! I made it to about four rows before the heel turn, and in the process, I qualified for the Night Owl Knits badge for the Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon Booster Club!

This morning during Baby J’s first nap, I was able to finish the heel turn! Now for the foot of the sock. I WILL finish these this weekend so I can knit all the other things!