An Ulster woman has sparked a knitting frenzy in the United States after organising an extreme knitting tournament which has taken the country by storm.
Hundreds of people from across the globe have taken part in the Sock War tournament which has become so popular in the US that it has even received coverage in the Wall Street Journal.
Julie Gardner, who works freelance in film and TV, said knitting is especially popular in the world of film where a lot of time is spent hanging around sets and she cites Russell Crowe and John Malkovich as unexpected aficionados.
After deciding to launch an extreme knitting event the Whitehead woman pitted hundreds of knitters against each other in a needle-sharp answer to the US-based Street Wars from her blog yarnivation.blogspot.com.
"I wanted to organise an extreme-type knitting event. Street Wars has real people meeting each other and they kill each other with water pistols - I wanted to translate that into some kind of knitting-related nonsense," Julie says.
This autumn saw the second Sock Wars event, culminating in a grand sock-off at the start of December. Participants each have to knit a pair of socks and send them to a 'target' before receiving a pair from their 'assassin'.
If a player receives their socks before knitting and sending a pair to their target, they are "killed" and are out of the game.
Once they receive their socks, participants have to send the pair they were still working on to their assassins, who must finish them and send them along.
Julie says her mum taught her to knit but she was put off at school when all the girls had to knit and the boys got to do craft work.
"That's what turned me into a feminist," she said.
"I took it up again about five or six years ago. I picked it up and I haven't stopped since. The range and patterns now are a world away from the plasticised stereotyped granny tea cosy type of knitting. You get a great deal of satisfaction from making things yourself and adapting things to how you want them to be."
Julie added: "There has been a huge kind of renaissance in knitting in the last 10 years and a lot of 'knitting is the new yoga' articles which has really got our backs up," she says.
"It's much more common than you would believe. When you come out as a knitter, it's amazing how many other people sidle up and confess to it.
"There is a huge sub culture I never realised existed of people who are knitting and wanted to put a different spin on things."
Sock Wars came hot on the heels of the Knitting World Cup which was arranged as an alternative to the World Cup and timed so that cast-on and cast-off coincided with the first and final whistles.
The event attracted more than 800 people, followed by another 1,000 who took part in the first Sock Wars.
Following the success of last year's competition with the " international sock of doom", this year's pattern was called "scar" - a sock with a ridge down one side.
The players also post photos of the completed socks online, with some dramatising their "assassination" using fake blood or by lying on the floor beneath the pair they received.
By the start of December, just 12 knitters were left in the second Sock Wars. Ms Gardner told the players that the first person to get a postcard to her home would take first place.
The prize of a pair of socks went to Leann Nassar, an executive assistant from Half Moon Bay, California, declared victor because "the god of war" placed her card at the top of the pile in Julie's mailbox.
And the Sock Wars are set to erupt once again.
"Sock Wars 3 is going to start in the spring. Because we have done our experimenting we are going to try to go semi-professional and get sponsorship," Julie says.