Anything Knitted and Crocheted

Welcome to my blog. I hope to blog about my knitting and crocheting as well as everyday life. The patterns that I post are original and as such there is copyright on them. When they are based on another pattern there is a link to the pattern.

My husband and I adopted a beautiful dog named Leo. He is a dachshund and absolutely adorable! we adopted him on June 23, 2010 and he has become the love of our lives.

I love to share patterns that I find along the way or to talk about some of the neatest designers that are out there today, so I love to post links to the designs or the designers.

So grab a cup a and sit and enjoy the blog.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We made the Wall Street Journal!

Sock It to Me: Competitive Knitters Get Deadly Serious
Based on 'Assassin' Game, This Contest Has Players On Pins and Needles
December 17, 2007; Page A1

Meryl Williams's friends had been asking her for days, "Are you dead yet?" On Oct. 30, she suddenly was.

The socks did it.
Sock Wars is a test of skills, luck and endurance that participants bill as the "bloodiest extreme knitting tournament ever." Kevin Delaney reports.

Ms. Williams, 52 years old, was done in by a small package bearing an unfamiliar return address. When she saw it in her mailbox, she knew she had met her maker. Inside was a pair of black and orange socks, just her size.

In recent weeks, about 150 people around the world have received similar notices of their demise. They were all participants in Sock Wars, billed by its organizer as the "bloodiest extreme knitting tournament."

Sock Wars requires each participant to knit a pair of socks for another player and ship them off to the target. Players are eliminated from the contest -- or "killed" -- when, like Ms. Williams, they receive the socks. Once they receive their socks, participants have to ship to their assassins the pair they were still working on for their own targets. The assassins then must finish those socks and send them along, hoping that they don't first receive their own killer socks from another assassin. The last assassin standing -- or sitting -- wins.

Participants say Sock Wars brings out bloodthirsty instincts in the knitting community and sets hearts pounding each time these women (and a few men) check the mail. When the fateful package comes, "you stand there as if you really were dead," says Ms. Williams, a chef in Cape May, N.J.

Sock Wars is a twist on the game Assassin, whose other variations require participants to shoot assigned target players with water pistols or Nerf weapons or tag them with spoons. Such games are played a lot on college campuses.
[Leann Nassar]
Kevin J. Delaney
Leann Nassar of Half Moon Bay, Calif., was the winner of Sock Wars II.

Julie Gardner, a free-lance TV and film production manager near Belfast, Northern Ireland, got the idea for Sock Wars last year after hearing a radio report on StreetWars, an urban Assassin-style tournament involving water guns. Ms. Gardner, 31, was planning a follow-up to an online knitting contest she had run and immediately was drawn to the idea of pitting knitters against one another like assassins locked in mortal combat. "The whole 'knitting is the new yoga' cliché had been irritating a good few of us," says Ms. Gardner. "I wanted a wicked edge to it."

The first edition of Sock Wars, held last year, attracted more than 800 participants and spawned at least one imitator: Death by Socks. Participants in this year's contest, which began Oct. 13, hail from around the world, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Finland. Ms. Gardner says she hopes to line up corporate sponsors for next year's event and open it up to more knitters.

Sock Wars offers a view into a global community of knitting fanatics who are increasingly connected by the Web and email. The knitters swap patterns and stage "knitalongs," where they work on projects simultaneously and share advice and photos. A social network called Ravelry ( has sprung up for knitters and crocheters.
[Julie Gardner]
Julie Gardner

Other online events include the Sockapalooza handknit sock exchange, the Socktoberfest sock-knitting festival and the Knitting Olympics, which awarded virtual gold medals that participants could display on their blogs if they started and completed a knitting project during the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Socks are a favorite for knitting events because they're portable, possible for beginners and veteran knitters alike and don't require a lot of expensive yarn.

At the beginning of Sock Wars, Ms. Gardner provides each player with the name, address and shoe size of a target. She also designs an original pattern everyone has to follow. Ms. Gardner called the one last year "the International Sock of Doom." This year's pattern is "Scar," and has a ridge down the side meant to resemble one. Participants are free to add their own flourishes. One knitted the words "Sock Wars" on one heel and a skull and crossbones on the other.

They've also devoted a lot of energy to the delivery of the socks, packaging them with flowers and cheeky notes. Linda Cameron of Hamilton, N.D., says her assassin enclosed a sympathy card and a package of corn chowder mix.

One male knitter's assassin hand-delivered his socks last year. About six men participated in the contest this year. One of them, Uvon Tucker of Chicago, received pink socks. "A little disheartening since I'm a guy," says Mr. Tucker, a marketing assistant at a retirement community. Some postulate that men, whose feet tend to be bigger, have a slight advantage in Sock Wars because larger socks can take longer to knit.

Participants post photos of the completed socks online, with some dramatizing their assassination using fake blood or by lying on the floor beneath the pair they received. After her Sock Wars death, Heidi Imbody of Boyertown, Pa., posted a poem to the Yahoo Groups site used to coordinate the contest. It begins: "Here she lies brokenhearted. / She had one sock complete, / and the second one started."

Participants have employed various tactics to improve their odds. Kathryn Donaldson of Arlington, Va., knit until 4 a.m. the night Ms. Gardner posted the Sock Wars pattern. Leann Nassar of Half Moon Bay, Calif., paid $23 to send her socks by FedEx for next-day delivery. Adrienne Olszewska of Lancashire, England, bribed her children with candy and TV so she could devote more time to her socks. "I'm knitting -- go off and leave me alone," Ms. Olszewska says she told her kids.

But Sock Wars is as much about luck as it is about knitting skill, since players' success depends on the speed of the person targeting them and, in turn, the speed of the person targeting the assassin. The time it takes for shipping unfinished socks from those assassinated to their assassins also helps prolong the contest and makes the outcome less predictable.

Ms. Donaldson, 58, was just a few minutes from finishing a pair of socks for her target, Kathy Doughty, when, on Oct. 24, she picked up at the post office the package with the socks that did her in. Ms. Donaldson, a retiree, then packaged up the socks she was working on for Ms. Doughty and shipped them off to her assassin. Ms. Doughty still hasn't received them and calculates the nearly completed socks destined for her had been held by nine different participants, with each of them dying before they could finish their knitting. "I thought I was so doomed," said Ms. Doughty, a scientist in Santa Barbara, Calif., who has been knitting for 25 years.

As of Dec. 1, there were 12 knitters still standing in Sock Wars II.

Ms. Nassar, a 51-year-old executive assistant, was among them. She had been anxiously checking her mail lately. One day, a package for her husband made her heart race. The following afternoon, she walked up and stuck her key in the lock on her mailbox. "This is bad," she muttered as she turned it. Ms. Nassar leaned down and poked her head in, then let out a loud shriek. "Mail hasn't come!" she said, laughing.

In the interest of bringing the competition to a close, Ms. Gardner on Dec. 1 told the remaining participants that the first one to get a postcard to her home would take first place. Postcards from Ms. Olszewska and Ms. Nassar arrived on Dec. 7. Ms. Gardner declared Ms. Nassar the victor, since "the god of war" placed her card at the top of the pile in the mailbox.

"I have the silliest grin on my face," reports Ms. Nassar. Her prize? A pair of socks.

Write to Kevin J. Delaney at


• See instructions for "Scar" socks used in Sock Wars II

Ravelry -- A knit and crochet community
Craftster -- For patterns, ideas, swaps and discussion boards
Knit-Alongs and Swaps -- Knit-alongs listed by date
Garn Studio -- Free patterns
Knitty -- Online quarterly magazine with free patterns
Stitchy McYarn Pants -- "The Museum of Kitschy Stitches: a gallery of notorious knits"
Yarn Harlot -- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee "goes on (and on) about knitting"
Knit and Tonic -- "Knitting with attitude," plus some original patterns
Brooklyntweed -- Jared of Brooklyn writes about his knitting projects, plus photos

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Cora Shaw (formerly Levesque)