It all started with the Knitting Olympics. The Games may be over but the yarnsanity endures....

Saturday, September 30, 2006



I'm Dead

Death arrived in the mail today, from Wyoming , not the West Country as I had expected (I had read the sidebars of Yarn-Monkey's site incorrectly).

The socks are lovely, made of Plymouth Colorspun DK (75% Acrylic, 25% Wool), which means they'll probably last longer than the ones I made. They fit perfectly and are in a colourway I'd wear any day of the week. (To be honest I'd have worn even the most horrible of colours anyway, simply because they were my Socks of Doom and would make me smile).

The blow was further softened by a handful of Ghirardelli Caramel Chocolate Squares and a lovely postcard of a landmark near her home, the Devil's Tower.

Sock Wars Killer Postcard

Death Becomes Her

I received a message from the assassin of my assassin (in Sock Wars, of course).

"Jaycee is so very dead," it read, "and we mourn her passing….but she died happily with alpaca/silk blend socks for her feet!

Ah, it comes to us all. It just hasn't come to me yet.

I checked the package tracking facility at USPS and my victim's socks were in her mailbox as of yesterday morning, so she should be dead by now and thinking about mailing her work-in-progress to me.

If it arrives before my West Country socks I'll be able to add a few rows before sending it on to Texas. If not, I'll be providing my victim with the address of the assassin of my assassin. Who then gets to knit for the victim of my victim.

Confused, yet?

In other news, I think I might be ready to get back to work on the Never-Ending Aran. Although there is the Cyberman Sweater to consider, and I have most of a pair of socks knitted from my Trekking XXL...but I might be socked out.

The weather is definitely cooler here, and I feel the need to knit with speed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All's Well

My poor victim contacted me this morning, as did her potential victim.

The socks are in the mail.

I'm still a terminal case, but I feel happier about it now that the system is working as it should.

But then, I'm Roman Catholic, so you know, I like things to stick to their proper structure.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sock Wars - Deadly Weapons Done!

The socks, they are finished...

OK, so it turns out I'm not dead until the socks arrive, so I kept knitting, hoping to take someone else out before I died, and look: I have.

And they are not, as you might notice, stripey or in the least colourful.

There were a few *ahem" hiccoughs in the Sock Wars Universe. Allow me to ennumerate:

1, Hurricane Gordon, or the remains thereof, sideswiped the Yarn Monkey, our Commander in Chief and knocked out communications. As any General knows, communications are critical and without them a war is not going to progress smoothly. Our esteemed CinC did well, posting pattern, errata and list of assassins and victims to her blog, but without a head, many of us are running around like the chicken's body after the chopper has done his job.

2, When I realised that I had missed the start by a good 36 hours, I feverishly began winding and dyeing wool. It worked well, although I limited myself to two colours.

3, I logged on to the forums on Saturday afternoon to read that at least one knitter had MAILED her socks at 11.15 that morning. I had yet to dry my wool, wind it into balls, or cast on.

4, In my haste, my yarn and I had a bit of a misunderstanding about its ability to survive a ride in Sir Tumble-Dryer. I was sure it was Super-Wash. It informed me, a little too late, that it was not. (If anyone needs two balls of pink and blue solid fluff with which to stuff toys, let me know and I'll mail it off).

5, I rushed to the yarn store to buy a replacement only to again bewail the fact that I have a yarn store in walking distance, and yet it sells so few tempting yarns, especially in DK (acrylic city!). I saw something nice that seemed to have the write stitch guage on the label, even if it looked a little thick, so I bought it, at considerable cost.

6. I spent precious time on Saturday afternoon, closetted away from the family, swatching with my new yarn. Hopelessly out of range.

7. I rummaged in the stash and found a wonderful Knit Picks Elegance in Coal (Black) that I have already knitted one hat for the husband out of, and that I would never have knitted socks from except for the fact that it was an emergency. I can only hope that my victim treats them gently, as they are cashmere and alpaca. Not exactly hard-wearing sock yarn, but hey, they felt fantastic to knit.

8. I stayed up past midnight on Sunday grafting the toe of the first sock, and woke up, bleary eyed to an email entitled "Are you prepared to die?". It was unnerving and I might have deleted it, except that it was exactly the kind of email I was looking for. My assassin must have been one of the lucky dossier-receiving types as she never asked me for my address and indicated that my socks were in the mail. She also advised me to keep knitting, in order to take out someone else, the thought of which was an immense comfort in the face of my own imminent demise, I must say. Plus she's an ocean away, so I reckoned she was on to something.

9. Part way through the second sock, on Monday, I emailed my victim to ask for her mailing address. Here I am at 12.30 AM, Wednesday,
still waiting for a response. And the socks, they are ready to do their deadly deed.

10. I left a comment in the blog of my victim's potential victim, to see if she had had any taunting from her appointed assassin. I also emailed her. She must think I'm stalking her because I haven't heard from her either. But that was just this evening and I think she might have been in bed or offline, what with the time-difference and all that.

So, I'm pretty pleased that I am at least in the position to take someone out, but a little disappointed that I don't get to scurry to the mailbox, package in hand right now (and I would, you know).

Poor yarn-monkey. If I'm a little disappointed, imagine how she must feel, having set this all up only to have a hurricane rip through her powerlines at the very hour and minute the Sock Wars day dawned. Since she has posted nothing recently, I'm assuming she's missing the whole thing. Poor, poor monkey.

Monday, September 25, 2006



I received an email this morning telling me that a pair of deadly socks are winging their way towards me even now.

I was up until after midnight last night finishing Sock1 and casting on for the second. Oh, if only I had remembered to start on Friday...Nah, I still would have been dead.

Ah well, 't was fun. And a nice cushy pattern too. I may have to file it and try it again.

I've seen some of my assassin's work on her blog and it looks like I should be getting a well-made instrument of death, at least ;-)

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Sweet fancy Moses, that's what I get for having lots of time. I fill it with other stuff.

My days got really busy and I have only just realised that The War is on! Not only have I not cast on, I haven't dyed the wool. Doh! Maybe we'll go with cream socks after all.

And today is going to be fiendishly busy too.

Oh dear. My assassin is going to be miffed when she finishes my socks and finds herself with unwound hanks of yarn to work on!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Did I mention the word "insanity" in my profile? Yes? Oh good.

To date I have wound some of my skein of Sock Wars KnitPicks Bare into a small ball, knitted it, frogged it and measured it: about 30" makes a round of 44 stitches. I reckon the Sock Of Doom will be about this or maybe a few stitches less.

I have cut a piece of cardboard down to 10", and wrapped yarn around it in three different places. I have pulled it off in mini-hanks, soaked it and slung it into three cups full of different colours of Kool-Aid, cooked it in the microwave, rinsed it, left it to dry, rolled it into a tiny ball and knitted it once again.

It looks nice.

This is SOOOOOO not like me. If it weren't for a start-date that was a week away, I would be half way up the first sock, without so much as a gauge swatch. But the forced inactivity (as regards this particular yarn, at least), is making me very ambitious.


I just worked out how many wraps I have to do, into three different hanks, to get a roughly similar number of stripes of each colour; thus:

yarn-monkey says that 180 yards are needed for a pair. That's 90 yards a sock. That's 270 feet, or 3240 inches. My piece of cardboard is 10" high, so I can wrap one sock's worth of yarn around it 324 times. Every three wraps equals (I figure) a round on the sock. So each sock will have 108 rows. I have three colours in mind. So I should do 36 rounds' worth (or, oh look how nicely the maths worked out; 108 wraps) for each colour. Twice.

But of course, I want them to stripe, so I'll have to lay out the loops I wind, shamrock-like, in multiples of 3.

This is why I like short deadlines. See what I do to myself when I'm given time?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sock Wars Mobilization

Ooo, Ooo, I got my package from KnitPicks today: Bare DK for dyeing and two sets of their new Options interchangeable circular needles.

I hadn't noticed in the pictures that the cables and accessories are a fabulous purple colour. I was predisposed to love them before I ever tried them. I haven't knitted with them yet, but I did assemble them. Impressively smooth join and a cable that doesn't want to be in a tight loop for the rest of its life? I think the Knit Picks folks were being honest when they said they were made by knitters for knitters (which I'm sure they probably did, somewhere).

I am dying to carve out some time to wind the luscious yarn into balls, then knit a guage swatch, then frog it and measure it and figure out how best to dye it.

Maybe I should be cleaning the kitchen instead of blogging, in that case.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Trekking XXL Handwarmers

Trekking XXL Handwarmers
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.
As promised, a picture of my handwarmers. Tell me those people who dyed this aren't artists.

I'm knitting mitt covers for them now, because I know I'm going to want to wear them past the coolth of autumn (which has yet to reach us).

I'm happy with them. Must write up the pattern properly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sock Wars and Trekking Mitts

OK, so the Cyberman Sweater is seriously in the frogpond. That's what you get for winging the pattern for a style of sweater you've never knitted before. Not to worry. I broke out the Stitches software and have a pattern I think will work. At least I know my prototype was cute, if small. It should knit up not-too-slowly once I get going.

I'm very excited that yarn-monkey has posted the specifications for the Sock Wars bloodbath, that is due to start on September 22. The good news is that the pattern is in DK, which means it will knit up relatively quickly. That is also the bad news, since I'm sure there are knitters out there who do not have two small children and two grown men to look after at that point (no, I'm not a polygamist, but I will have my father-in-law staying) and who will also be able to knit socks quickly.

I ordered some "Bare" DK from KnitPicks and intend to break out the Kool-Aid and dye the yarn into something fabulous. I may get #1Son to help. Or I may not, since I have great plans for how I can figure out how much yarn goes into each round, and create great looping stripes of colour. (You know it's all going to end up as a puddle of mud, but hey, even that will go well under business trousers).

After I had clicked the "BUY, BUY, YOU CRAZY FOOL" button, it did occur to me that I might never see the finished result, should I be killed in the first round, but I'm hoping that wherever the socks end up, they end up with someone with a sense of humour, a digital camera and a blog.

In other news, I broke out the Trekking XXL (which seemed only fitting coming up to today's 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Star Trek), that I bought at the Knit and Crochet Show back in July. It is absolutely gorgeous. Subtley gorgeous, but gorgeous nonetheless. I'm knitting some fingerless mitts (and maybe mitt covers). I had started them as socks, but I couldn't bear to put this beautiful colour where I wouldn't see it very much. Looking down at my hands will be like looking down into the tarn at the bottom of a ridge on a mountain I once climbed on a clear autumn day, back when I was free to date outdoor cats. It is deep and blue and watery and as natural a blue as I can imagine.

And what's more it feels great in the hand.

I've been very impressed with KnitPicks, but I have to say theirs was the first sock yarn I ever used and it almost put me off for life. I think the fact that I was using needles too big (what did I know?) didn't help but it felt like I was knitting with string. Trekking feels like I'm knitting with spun baby hair and sponges. Hmm, that didn't sound as attractive as I meant it to.

Anyhoo, I'm off to add the mitts to the sidebar. Pictures tomorrow in the natural light, if I remember, because I'm not sullying this project with yellow artificial light.