Sniper season

Tomorrow is the first of September and that means only one thing, as far as knitting is concerned: open season on sock-knitters.

At 2pm UK time, a variety of sock patterns will be released on the Sock Sniper website and I will choose my weapons (yarn and needles) to commence an attack on my target. The identity of sniper targets remains a secret for a couple of weeks, so I won’t say much about her – I have studied her dossier closely and I am fairly confident I can take her out.

At the same time, somewhere in the world, someone has their sights set on me. The rules of the game are simple: when a pair of socks arrives through the post, you are dead. Knitting after death is not permitted, but it is expected that any unfinished weapons are passed/posted to your sniper for them to finish on your behalf.

There is an international flavour to the game: 11 out of 58 players are from outside the US, so the speed (or lack thereof) of post is a big factor.

We don’t do this just for the fun of it: competition is fierce and there are prizes in various categories (last year I got two kills in and won ‘Last International Knitter Standing’), but also it raises funds for Doctors without Borders.

I’ll keep you posted on progress.

If my sniper is reading this, hello! *waves*. May your knitting be slow and your domestic and work responsibilities be many. P.S. I love dark chocolate or (no surprise here) anything knitting-related, but I also just enjoy the feeling of wearing socks that someone else has knitted, even if it does lead to my demise.

Anyway, I’m having a late night working at my desk getting everything ready for work on Sunday, so I have no distractions tomorrow afternoon. I’m minding the kids until 1.59pm, then knitting until I can knit no more.

[edited to add links]

Preparing for Autumn

It is a bleak and windy day. Living on a headland, jutting out into the North Sea, we often get the sort of blustery winds that you expect a mile or so out to sea, when the boat leaves the shelter of the shore. Here there is no shelter, just the sea surrounding us on three sides. The wind is whistling through the vents on the window, the light feels like the sun has taken a duvet-day and declined to put in more than a token appearance, rain drops spatter the slanted glass. For the first time since last winter I have picked up my thickest cardigan from where it lies, ready for days like this. I am warm, I am working.

Today, it appears, is the first day of autumn, at least as far as the weather goes. We are in a kind of hiatus: all the summer activities are done, culminating in the bank holiday. The tourists are beginning to depart and, in another few days, school will be back and the house will quieten down as well.

This feels like a time of waiting, a pause between two seasons. I’m sitting at my desk, looking ahead, planning activities for the next few months at work. Advent and Christmas and all the preparations needed are beginning to become a reality that should be dealt with before it gets out of hand. Next week, all the term-time weekly activities will begin again and things will get busy.

Autumn will be very different this year. My boss has moved on to another role and has not yet been replaced, so I am discovering more of the tasks that need doing. I’m still not completely back into the rhythm of work after maternity leave – stopping work before Advent and coming back after Easter and Pentecost means that I’ve missed out on most of the ups and downs of the year. The weekly routine is falling back into place, and I’m working on establishing routines for things that happen every month and so on, but the bigger spiritual picture is still somewhat elusive.

There’s the added frisson of applying for jobs as well. My contract here runs out next summer, so our family is living with uncertainty, knowing that every significant event now is the last time here.

I’m grateful for quiet days like this, when there is time to reflect on what is happening. In a few minutes I will look at the readings for Sunday’s sermon, then go and sit down and knit on some socks while I think about what I will say.


The beaded socks are coming along nicely. Back on the needles for two at a time down the foot and they should be done this weekend.

Something a little different for the reading matter this week. I’ve been reading Linux Format magazine off and on since about 2005 and I’ve been a subscriber for the last two years. I’m totally reliant on open source software for everything I do, including using Gnu-Linux for my operating system (currently Ubuntu 12.04). Subscribing to this magazine means that I am supporting the Linux community in a very small way. At some point I’d like to get into writing documentation as a more hands-on contribution.

Edit – See here for other posts in this week’s yarnalong

Ravellenic Games

The last few weeks have been mostly about watching the Olympics, which of course means some Olympic Knitting as well, although trademark infringements mean that the Ravalympics have been renamed the Ravellenic Games. The principle remains the same: cast-on during the opening ceremony, cast-off before the end of the closing ceremony.

Last time, I was over-ambitious and tried to do a lace scarf, but abandoned it in favour of crochet socks (incidentally they are really uncomfortable and I don’t recommend crochet for socks).

This time, I picked out two projects. Here’s the result.

The before shot of the modular scarf. Target – to add 14 squares to it.

Here is the finished article, although of course it isn’t finished since it is now about 2 and a half feet long and I’m aiming for 6 feet. Still, some progress. Here’s the medal:

The second project was an Anthracite Cowl designed by Brenda Dayne and found in her ongoing ebook project Welsh for Rainbow.

I’ve only got the late night picture of it so far, but it is now blocking upstairs, so there may be a picture of it in use before too long. The colour is completely wrong in the picture – much more blue than grey. I came perilously close to not finishing this, both because of a lack of time and because the yarn very nearly ran out. The picot bind-off on the cast-on edge uses only one strand of yarn instead of two and only goes half way round, before switching to JSSBO. I’m happy with it, anyway.

This piece qualifies for medals in three events:

Is it possible that I’m becoming more realistic about what can be achieved in a particular time frame?