Speed Knitting and Vintage Socks

Knitting humor cartoon comic

Knit Picks recently sent out an email about speed knitting (basically shilling their Options needles since the world's fastest knitter, Miriam Tegels, uses them, but there's interesting information in there too).

Anxious to see how I stack up against the world's fastest knitting, I conducted a very un-scientific experiment with my recently cast-on sock and an online stopwatch application. Click below to read about it.

While speed knitting competitions use flat knitting, stockinette, DK yarn, size 8 needles, and 60 stitches, I knit in the round, in ribbing, with fingering weight (KP's own Risata, in fact), size 1 1/2 needles, and 80 stitches around.

Vintage pattern handknit blue sock

I cast on this sock yesterday, because I'm still sort of running on UK time and woke up far earlier than I was expecting to. And, because the yarn shop doesn't open until 11, I had to do something while I waited. So I cast on a sock, naturally.

You may notice something odd, if you're familiar with my knitting: It's cuff-down! I figured, since there's a number of cuff-down sock patterns that I want to knit, but am not yet experienced enough to convert (and some patterns just can't be converted), I ought to start getting used to the cuff-down technique at least so I'm familiar with it.

In fact, this sock (though a pretty plain ribbed sock) is from a pattern from the 1947 book Practical Family Knitting Illustrated, owned by my boyfriend's mom. She let me copy out a few fabulous patterns I liked from this gorgeous old book. (I am a lover of old books. I got a job this year working at the university library, and it fills me with awe always being surrounded by these old works of art.)

Anyway, I set my stopwatch and got to knitting. Here are my results:

I knit a full round, 80 stitches in 136 seconds in 3x1 rib.
In 3 minutes, I knit 110 stitches.

That means I knit about .6 sts per second. The world record holder does 118 sts in 60 seconds, or almost 2 stitches per second.

For three-minute trials, she says, "Once you get above 200, you should participate in challenges." I'm not quite ready to compete yet, but I'm pleased enough with my score. What's your knitting speed? Leave a comment and let me know!

Later on yesterday I went to my LYS, Knit On in Newport, Kentucky. It's a lovely shop with a good selection and a yarn store cat (I have no idea how they keep her from eating the yarn. To my cat, a yarn store would be an all-you-can-eat buffet).

They were holding a New Year's Day sale, but the sale yarn didn't really interest me (most of the things were on sale for a reason). However, I was after something specific:

Elegant Yarns Daphne Jojoland lace wool knitting yarn

Elegant Yarns Daphne, a long-color-repeats cobweb weight yarn. I got two balls of pastel rainbows. (They're the same colorway, even if they don't look it in the balls) I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I'm thinking something out of that Knitted Lace of Estonia book.

I also got something I have been after for a long time: Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters!
It is amazing. I've been putting off getting, but I finally splurged and it is a treasure. So much information, so much cool stuff in there. I can't wait to try my first sock. I'll be doing the Spiraling Coriolis first, and then maybe the Dove Socks. I can't wait.

On Sunday I go back to college, whereupon I can begin swatching for Wings of a Dream, and maybe cast on a few other projects. And possibly finish my sweater, sometime this year.


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