Olympic fever

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I am not a sports person.  I can identify many of them if I see them – “That is a baseball!”  “That is a hockey puck!” “Look, that woman is bicycling!” – but I don’t know a lot about the rules, players, or records.  My life feels okay, despite this.

Yet, I love the Olympics.  Not the player bios that all seem to have tragedies-overcome-redemption videos that NBC dwells on far too much, but the actual Olympic events.  I watch the Super G, even though I don’t know what the G stands for without a quick google.  I watch the biathelon with my son, who is intrigued by sports that require weapons.  I spent a lot of time this week discussing curling with my friends.  (We all want to try curling, mostly for the teflon shoe sliding. )

It is weird, and not easily explained, but every two years I get all settled in and watch non-stop sports (with breaks for night, and work) and then I forget all about sports until the next time the flame is lit.

There used to be a knitting Olympics.  I don’t know if it still exists online, but people would start a project during the opening ceremonies, and race to be done with it before the flame was extinguished at the end.  I decided to do a knitting Olympics project this year.

Snow colored yarn seemed appropriate.  And an outdoorsy sort of pattern, since all those skiers and snowboarders are going to be out in frozen nature for their competitions.  Plus I’m back on a lace knitting kick.  Understoried, the wrap version, fit all the right criteria.  I cast on during the opening ceremonies.

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And, like a crashing speed skater, I quickly realized that I will not be bringing home the gold.  How did I think I could knit 1000 yards of fingering yarn in two weeks?  Especially since right after I began, I had to stop to knit a hat my son demanded for an upcoming camping trip.

I’m on the 8th repeat of the first chart of Understoried.  The chart requires 14 repeats.  There are four or five more charts to come. I am announcing now that this wrap is not going to get finished by the end of the final ceremonies.  I’m going to be that last struggling athlete across the finish line.  Sometime in March, maybe.

But it is lovely to knit, and it is growing, albeit slowly, and I’m still going to call it my Olympic wrap.  Someday, when it is done.

My son’s hat was a much speedier knit, and my official finish for the week.  I’ve knit a number of hats from this pattern in the past, and it never fails to please.  Stretchy so it fits many head sizes, adaptable to any yarn, a little twisted stitch cable detail to keep it from being boring.  It is a winner, deserving of time on the podium. The pattern is Jesse’s Christmas hat.  The yarn is a random unlabeled green from the stash that my son chose.  I’m just now noticing it is remarkably similar in looks to the one posted on the pattern’s website!

I knit the finished hat, and also began the unfinished wrap, while we were in Seattle this weekend.  We watched the opening ceremonies from our hotel room and then spent much of the weekend out revisiting favorite tourist sites – eating crumpets and smoothies at Pike Place Market, watching the octopus at the aquarium, going up in the waterfront ferris wheel, and riding across the Sound on a ferry.  It was a really wonderful break, and the kind hotel bartender even let us have control of the cable remote so we could keep the TV filled with alpine skiing and curling matches in the evenings while we met up with relatives.

We’re back at home now, and back to work, but there is a four day weekend coming up quickly, so me and my knitting will be parked in front of the TV, cheering on the best of the best.

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Thanksgiving knitting

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While making the Thanksgiving meal and enjoying visiting relatives, I tried to sneak in some simple knitting.  It did not go well.

I had two colors of Noro silk garden yarn and planned to make a simple striped scarf.

Step 1 – Cast on 45 stitches.  In between stuffing a turkey and ricing potatoes for lefse, knit about six inches of the two row stripe pattern.

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Step 2 – Decide the edges are too ragged.  Rip it all out and start over, slipping the edge stitches at the start of each row.

Step 3 – Start worrying that the yarn is a little rough.  Will it be too inchy?  And since I added some stitches to the cast on, will I run out of yarn?

Step 4 – Rip back half the rows, then have second thoughts and decide that it will soften over time as other Noro projects have, and that I can always order more yarn if it is too short.  Pick up the stitches and start reknitting the rows I just ripped back.

Step 5 – During a board game of Would You Rather with the extended family, ask self if I would rather have a cowl.  Decide yes and rip all rows back to zero.

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Step 6 – Eat way too much really good food.  Wash way too many dishes.  Tear apart the craft closet looking for another size 7 needle so I can cast on a spiral knit cowl.

Step 7 – Knit seven or eight rows of a long cowl, but dislike the single row look. Rip it all out.

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Step 8 – Look up directions for jogless two row stripes and start again, on one needle.  Decide that I won’t like the thin strips in a multi-wrapped cowl.  Rip it all out.

Step 9 – Cast on 45 Stitches and restart the simple two row scarf.

Step 10 – Eat pie to forget.

Blocking

My mom needed a present for my cousin so I finally got around to blocking a handspun scarf I made a while back.

I checked my Ravelry projects and couldn’t find this knit anywhere, so I’m not sure of the pattern or the yarn.  It was one of the few times I’ve spun a single ply yarn, and I know that I didn’t like the original dye job so I overdyed it with blue.  I think there is mohair in it from the sheen and the halo.  Other than that, a mystery.

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I know more about the next project, which I just made with some wonderfully soft yarn I bought at OFFF.  Yak and silk and merino from Alexandra’s Crafts.  The pattern, hard to see in the lines of my wooden blinds, is Silverwing.  A fast, easy pattern that I think really does look like a wing.

As a reaction to all that gray, I’ve started a deep red project for my next knit.

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Andy’s boards & hooded scarf

My brother lives on the east coast, and the winters can be bitter.  He’s a fan of my knitting, although I still haven’t recovered from the time he machine washed the handspun cabled blanket I knit him and turned it into a small bullet proof rectangle.  I try to make him something warm periodically, and I definitely owed him because he just made me the most beautiful cutting boards:

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They are walnut, made from a tree on his land that came down.  He bought a little mill saw and now he can make his own boards!  I love them both, but especially the one on the right which he left with the live edge.

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And the grain is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’m going to let a knife near them.

He also made a stack of small cheese boards for my friend who wanted them for gifts for her office mates.

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And for my mom he made one using dark end grain cuts.

 

The most creative one I somehow missed taking a picture of – one in the shape of a flying pig for my sister.  I can’t believe I can’t show it to you.  I’ll have to add it if I can get her to take one.

Anyway, as you can see, the man deserved more hand knits!  He’d asked me a while back for a scarf that he could pull up over his head and around his ears when he’s out walking in the cold.  I took some chocolate colored baby alpaca yarn my friend brought me home from Peru and made him a hooded scarf.  It is about the simplest possible pattern – a biased garter stitch scarf with a seam added to create the hood.  I threw in some noro kureyon stripes to add a little more color to it, and made it quite long so he can wrap it around multiple times when he needs extra wind protection.  He can also push down the hood and it just looks like a normal bulky scarf.

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It was a hit!

 

 

Purple hedgerow socks

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I finished my sock on the last day of vacation, though the photoshoot had to wait until I got back to Oregon as the sun had gone down.

They fit perfectly.

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Despite my troubles due to inadequate note taking and letting far too many months pass between the first and second sock, with some ripping back I got them to be the same size.

The pattern is Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran. A simple broken rib pattern with lots of stretch.  I made mine 6 stitches narrower and change the heel out for a partridge heel as I think they wear better.  The yarn is something I dyed, but I’m not sure when or what.  It was in my stash a long time.

I’ve learned my lesson about knitting pairs.  I bought another set of my favorite sock needles and I will be knitting two at a time from now on to avoid the replication and memory problems.

Back in the airport for the trip home I cast on 331 stitches for a crescent scarf.  So many stitches!

This one is being knit with handspun yarn – I don’t spin singles very often as I worry about their durability, so it will be interesting to see how this goes.

Filling in

In spare moments during a busy week I’ve been filling in the gaps between stars on my scrappy quilt.  Soon the partial seam sewing will begin so I can start attaching all the large seams that are left.

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I also finished the scarf that I started at the cabin.  It only took a day or two to weave.  The very vivid warp yarn was toned down some by the solid green weft, but I didn’t lose the rainbow stripes I wanted. It is light, airy, and warm, and I’m already looking through the yarn bins to decide what the next one will be.

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Starting out right in 2016

A belated happy New Year to everyone!  We were away at our wifi-less cabin for a few days.  We came back today in the midst of both holiday traffic and a sudden unexpected winter blast of snow and freezing rain.  My district has already declared tomorrow a snow day!  To the despair of my sons, their district is so far opening on time.  My joy at the possibility of a childless day at home is deep.  🙂

It has been a smorgasbord of crafts during the beginning of 2016.  I got started in the quilting of my older son’s night sky quilt, warped a scarf on the rigid heddle loom, and dug out the cotton for some kitchen knitting.

My basement floor no longer has room to pin a quilt after my sister dropped off a piano this summer, so we went last week to her school where she organized her classroom and I pinned a couple of quilts.

My knees and fingers were only good for two quilts worth of pins, plus my boys’ patience ran out at that point.  But that gives me a start on the pile of tops.

The kitchen wash cloths were looking pretty grungy, so I pulled out my cones of cotton and made a few more in simple seed stitch patterns.  They are a little uneven but that’s not very important in a cloth destined for scrubbing around oven burners, and they tighten up when they are washed.

I also packed the loom and warped it for a scarf while we were at the cabin.

All went smoothly until I looked for the stick shuttle to start actually weaving and realized I hadn’t packed one.  I made one out of folded cardboard but it wasn’t very stable and bent a lot, making it a very slow process.  But now we are home and the shuttles are at hand so it will move faster.

 

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I used a Crazy Zauberball yarn for the warp – it has long bi-colored color changes creating stripes.  The weft is a green lace weight alpaca yarn (Misti alpaca) doubled.  Still trying to use up stash yarns, though I have to admit the Zauberball is a fairly recent purchase.

So a lot of different crafts to start out the year.  Starting as I mean to go on!

Ironically, spinning wasn’t one of them, though that is on the top of my crafting resolution list – to spin more regularly in 2016.  I love it when I’m doing it, but have just not turned to the wheel very often.

My resolution list is shortish and project based. More spinning.  Doing more home improvement sewing like runners for bureaus, covers for the living room chairs, and wall hangings for a few bare walls.  I’m also going to finally refinish the dining room tabletop and stain the unfinished dresser.  And a biggie – have the kitchen remodeled! The only really personal improvement is to establish a regular walking routine.  I need more movement.

Now that I reread that list, it isn’t very short.  But I have a whole year to accomplish it all, and I think it is doable.

I hope everyone is having a happy, safe, and fiber filled start to the new year.