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Online Competitive Knitting

Online Competitive Knitting

Is a thing?

As I’ve said many times before, I knit in a vacuum for so many years. I had a couple knitting friends, but that was it. Then I moved to Kenya. Then I read a blog. Then I listened to a podcast. And another. And another. Then I started a blog. Then I really started designing. I started reading more Ravelry forums. And listening to more podcasts. Did I mention podcasts?

KALs never appealed to me, because I thought it meant everyone was knitting the same thing at the same time, and the odds of me wanting to knit a certain thing that I didn’t pick on someone else’s schedule were… nil. But it turns out there are all kinds of KALs! Heck, I even hosted one! And people offer prizes! Prizes, as an incentive to do something I would already do all day long, if I could? Sign me up!

Which brings me to online competetive knitting. It’s a thing.

This summer, I took part in Stash Dash, as hosted by The Knitgirllls Podcast. You try to knit, crochet, and spin as many meters as you can in a set period. It only counts if you finish the project, but WIPs count. This year, there were 3K, 5K, and crazytown 10K finish lines. With 6 knitting projects (including a wee Envelope, a wee Cria, the Green River shawl, a Knit Star, Bootstrap socks, and a Dahlia cardigan) and 3 spinning, some of which were in progress when the KAL began, I finished 3,111 meters. It was thrilling, in a totally nerdy way that had no real significance, in the grander scheme of things – though it did motivate me to finish a sweater that had been on the needles for 2.5 years, a huge victory. Next year, my goal will be 3,112 m (while secretly hoping to hit that 5K).

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So now what? Enter another online knitting competition! The Down Cellar Studio podcast hosts the Pigskin Party KAL, which runs along the NFL football season. You don’t have to be an NFL football fan to participate (thank goodness, because I’d be out). This takes more strategizing – you get 7 points per 100 yards, plus extra points for certain categories (like 4 points for knitting something using a sponsor’s product) or special challenges like the blitz (projects that use more than 1,000 yards). I’m starting off with 25 points for “drafting” my best friend to play, plus, I’m a sponsor. Some of my patterns will be prizes, and there’s a handy discount code for participants. I’m eagerly awaiting September 10 for this one, because WIPs don’t count.

And then there’s truly nuts. At some point, I saw the #hpkchc tag on Instagram and did some digging. It’s for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup. People are sorted into Harry Potter houses (which have different persons than in the books) to earn points through “classes” (basically a themed project a month for three months), OWLs (longer-term projects that you have to get approved for points ahead of time), Quidditch, etc. I’m a “Not Quite a First Year,” which means I’m playing along without being in a house, so no team points. These Ravelry chat boards FLY. I’m talking hundreds of posts per day. It’s all very overwhelming. But there’s strategizing and points and prizes and geekery…

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Actual conversation this morning:

Me: I’m writing a blog post about online competitive knitting. ┬áIt’s a thing. The post is about how I’m wondering how I didn’t find it sooner and how it’s weird, but it makes me so happy.

Husband: Good!

Me: And it’s nerdy. Did I mention one is Harry Potter-themed?

Husband: That is nerdy. Not as nerdy as if it were Star Wars. But it’s still nerdy.

Me: There will be spreadsheets.

Husband: Never mind. That’s nerdier.

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I started this blog for a few reasons, but one was interaction. My only knitting friend in Kenya moved away, and there’s no one to talk knitting with. I crave it. And I found whole boards of crazies who are crazy in my kind of way – who set arbitrary challenges for themselves and then rock them. And did I mention that some of these connections have resulted in free yarn to design with? I’m trying to come up with a negative.

So, yes, it’s a thing. Part of me feels like an idiot for not discovering it sooner. But mostly, I’m grateful I did. It’s a common passion, a common language, and a chance to make connections, both personal and professional. I’m holding my breath and jumping.

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