Medieval Sock Wars at West/AnTir War

This year's West/AnTir War will feature a unique competition: Medieval Sock War, a contest to create knee-length, SCA period style stockingsduring the event.

Sabrina de la Bere writes:

West/AnTir War in July 2010 will feature the FIRST EVER MEDIEVAL SOCK WARS!!

Here's how Medieval Sock Wars will work. (These are the rules as they stand now: please be alert for updates.)

The competition will be for knee-length, SCA period style stockings in worsted weight yarn. (Wool unless you're allergic.)

You must be a paying participant at the hosting event, the West An Tir War of the Society for Creative Anachronism, AS XLV.

A free pattern for knitted stockings will be provided. The pattern is Pre-Literate Stockings, also available online. Other knitting or nalbinding patterns that produce a period-plausible stocking at least 16 inches from heel to top can be used. Sock Wars stockings must be either nalbinded or knitted.

No Sock Wars stockings may be started before 9:00AM on Friday, July 2nd, 2010. (You may certainly practice on other projects ahead of time.)

All participants must sign in at Sock Wars Headquarters. Brown Sheep has kindly donated enough yarn for the first 20 participants that show up Friday morning to get free kits.

Others may participate but must bring their own yarn. If you bring your own yarn, you must show it to the judges when you sign in. A pair of stockings takes about 5 to 6 ounces of worsted-weight wool yarn (only one finished stocking is required for Sock Wars, but you'll probably want to make a second one eventually so you can wear them ;)

All participants must bring their own needles. Depending on whether you are a tight or loose knitter, these would most likely be a set of US size 5, 6, or 7 double-pointed knitting needles. Circular needles, while not a period technique, are allowed.

A short class will be held Friday morning to demonstrate two techniques that may be new to some knitters: knitting in the round with double- pointed needles, and the period-style heel found in the pattern, which is not like a modern sock heel but is very easy. Experienced knitters will be at Sock Wars HQ during the day on Friday,
Saturday and Sunday to provide help and instruction. (Volunteers for this are welcome: please contact Dame Christian de Holacombe)

Participants may turn in completed Sock Wars stocking(s) at any time (exact hours TBA) on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. All participants must stop and turn in their stockings by the announced time on Sunday, July 4th. (Time TBA, but it will
probably be around midafternoon.)

There will be two winners:

(1) First to turn in a finished stocking (only 1 is required). If no one has finished by the deadline, the longest stocking wins.

(2) Judges' Choice. Honorable Mentions may also be added at the judges' discretion.

Results will be announced at Closing Court on Sunday. Pickup of socks will be just prior to closing court and all participants are encouraged to bring their socks to Court!

We will announce more details as we have them, and full and final rules will be announced when Sock Wars begin.

Questions are welcome! We want this competition to be both fair and fun.

Sabrina de la Bere


Dame Christian de Holacombe adds:

A couple of updates and reminders for this event have just been announced.

The Medieval Sock Wars will be happening at the SCA's West/AnTir War in southern Oregon July 2 through 4. (Rumor has it that something similar is being planned for Pennsic War in the East in July/August.)

We are adding a third competition: TOTAL INCHES KNITTED PER KINGDOM!  (This is, after all, a WAR! ;) When you turn your sock in, you will be required to specify whether you are knitting for the WEST or AN TIR. The judges will measure the total inches knitted for each kingdom and declare a winner!


(1) Note: If you want to compete, you **will** probably want to bring your own yarn, just in case you are not one of the first 20 to sign up.

(2) If you bring your own yarn and want to compete, the yarn can be **no heavier** than standard worsted weight (8-9 wraps per inch, or 50+ yards per ounce, or it says "worsted weight" on the label).

(3) Remember in any case to bring your **needles** -- the nearest yarn store is 50+ miles from the war site. US size 6 is recommended; if you knit loosely, a size 5 or if you knit tightly a size 7. The best length for double-pointed needles is probably 8". If you prefer circular needles, the stocking is  small in diameter, so you will need to use either the "Magic Loop" technique or two circular needles (any length).

(4) You will also probably want to bring a ruler or measuring tape, safety pins or stitch markers, and a pen or pencil and paper. (And chocolate, if that's your thing!)