Saturday, February 16, 2013

Madrona 2


Continuing my blogging about the 2013 Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in Tacoma, WA.

 I stopped at a booth run by Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  I have heard of this company from the many many knitting podcasts that I listen to, but never seen the yarn in person.  Although I had said that I only need yellow sock yarn for next year's SolidSocks yellow month (I like to have the color in my stash, ready to go), I have been checking out Sock Madness on Ravelry

This is an international sock making competition based on the US College Basketball competition, March Madness.  This is a quote from the group's main page explaining how the competition works: 

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.
Registered players will be placed on one of 4 teams with approximately 50 players per team. It is announced ahead of each round how many will proceed to the next pattern/round. By the 7th pattern there are 4 knitters left to battle it out.

All last year, as I knit my socks for SKA (Sock Knitters Anonymous), and SolidSocks, I would drool over certain amazing socks.   I asked someone where they had gotten one of the patterns, and she replied that it was from Sock Madness.  Of course, this made me check that group out.  I was way too late to join up, but decided to give it a try this year.  The competition starts March 1, but they have posted a list of the yarns and other supplies needed for the planned socks.  One of the many cool things is that these will be new designs, and only released to Sock Madness Competitors at first.  From what I understand, the competitors get the patterns even after they have been kicked.  Kicked is perhaps not the best term, so, after they have been eliminated.  I doubt that I will last long as I am a slow knitter.  But, knitting socks this last year has taught me so much about knitting in general, that I am willing to give it a good try, and not be embarrassed when I lose.

Back to Madrona, and Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  So one of the socks planned for Sock Madness (sock number 8 - though the order in the supplies' list is random, and doesn't have anything to do with the competition order), is obviously a colorwork sock because it calls for 6 different colors.  I have never knit anything with more than 2 colors (unless it was striped), so this will be a real challenge.  Since the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Booth had smaller skeins for sale, I decided to get my colorwork yarn there.
I am just a tiny bit worried because, although the yarn is "sock" yarn, there is no nylon in it.  Just 100% superwash merino, which is lovely, but I wonder how it will wear.  Perhaps for a colorwork sock, that won't matter since the floats will make it extra thick.  We shall see.

The next stop was Sincere Sheep.

The colors of the yarns offered by this booth were just lovely.  They do not have the eye popping neon of some dyers, but their booth almost looked like it was full of embroidery floss.  The colors were so subtle, like a painter's palette.
Of course, the colors of this photograph do not do the yarns justice, as I was inside, yada yada yada.  But, I really loved their colors.

Next to this booth was a woman knitting socks.  Knitting... with a sock machine.
How long does it take to knit a pair?  2 hours (but of course, she is a pro.)  I asked if you had to make them with an Afterthought Heel, but no, she was knitting short rows as we watched.

I enjoy knitting socks, so this type of thing does not tempt me.  Good thing as it cost about $3000.  Really.

More Madrona tomorrow.

Just a quick update on my own knitting.

I brought my Improvised Crossings to  knit at the festival, since I don't need a chart for them.

But a minor disaster struck anyway.

I am using my prize yarn from SKA, Mombasa by Lisa Souza Dyeworks, and knitting them on Addi Turbo size 0 needles.   But one of the needles broke off the cable!
Lucky thing I was at a fiber festival, with lots of booths selling knitting needles.  I was able to buy a new circular ChiaoGoo stainless steel size 0 (2.0 mm) needles.  I have been wanting to try these out, as many of my Stitch Buds have the interchangeable sets of this brand.

With my new needles, I was able to finish the gussets and am working my way up the legs.

Shaping the planet with new needles.
The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, hangs out with our own Vanesapolo

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