You may recall if you are a regular reader that last year I took part in a competition called Sock Madness. This year I decided not to do that. However I couldn’t go a whole year without entering some sort of mad knitting competition so I entered Tour de Sock instead. It runs along side the Tour de France, hence its name. There are 6 stages, each lasting 10 days, and the idea is to finish your pair of socks within that time. The quicker you finish, the more points you get. There is also a team option (which I decided to go for) in which 7 of you try and get as many points as possible for the team. The first 5 to finish each stage get their points counted. You get bonus points for using sponsor yarn or doing little extra tasks.
The first stage began on 1st June at 2.30pm. The pattern is Virrat and is fairly simple but a little tedious. I chose to knit it using some John Arbon Alpaca Sock in the Rose colour. I finished it on 3rd June at 8.30pm and finished 63rd out of 330 entrants which I’m pretty pleased with, although I think I could have finished sooner if work hadn’t gotten in the way. Total knitting time was about 22 hours. During the 54 hours between pattern release and completion I knit for 22 hours, worked for 16 hours, travelled for 3 hours, prepared/ate food/did general stuff required to live for 2 hours, and slept for about 11 hours. I think I used my time pretty efficiently.
The next stage, which began on 11th June at 6.30pm, was a little more conveniently timed for me. I only had 8 hours of work spread over the two following days, plus 4 hours of travel. The pattern is Far into the Forest and I used some yarn I bought from Lidl a long time ago. I completed in on 14th June at 2am. It took a lot more work than the first stage but the result was fabulous. I finished 20th out of 196 that finished the pattern on time. Unfortunately these socks don’t fit.
The third stage began on 21st June at 2.30pm with the pattern Touring Bubbles. The pattern was inspired by the fact that the riders get a glass of champagne on the morning of the final race. I had some champagne so I had some fun with the photos. For this I used some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the Pennyroyal colour. I finished this stage at 12.15am on the 23rd June so it didn’t take me very long. I would have finished quicker but I had work on the 22nd. I came 52nd out of 284 finishers.
The fourth stage started on 1st July at 2.30am. The pattern is From a Distance. I used some yarn I dyed myself. Unfortunately I had work on the day of the pattern release and then every day until 5th July which is when I finally finished at 7.30pm. I didn’t have to use beads on the whole sock but gained a bonus point for doing so. I finished 63rd out of 188 finishers which surprised me considering how long I took. The photo is awful. I couldn’t get the socks to lay flat and I can’t put them on because the cast on is two tight. The second of two pairs that don’t fit, but only a small modification required.
The penultimate stage began with the pattern Ophidia on 11th July at 11.30am. I was at work so couldn’t start knitting until about 5pm. I was then also at work for the following days. I finished it at 7.25am on 14th July finishing 40th of 152. For this stage I used some more yarn I dyed.
The final stage was perfectly timed for me. It was released at 11pm on 21st July, right in the middle of my week off. I spent the day relaxing with a friend (picking our own fruit then turning it into some rather delicious jam) as she is a doctor and was working nights. Then when the pattern, Nordic Stripes, was released I began knitting. And I didn’t stop knitting until 7.30pm the next day, gaining me 12th position out of an unknown amount of finishers (the competition doesn’t end until the 31st). This was also my favourite pattern and I’m quite tempted to knit it again sometime. I used all sorts of random bits of yarn I had (and still have plenty of!).
My team is set to come 4th of all the teams in Tour de Sock, which is a perfectly respectable result for a group of working people and mums with a lot of other things going on in their lives.