On the Podium

Success!  I’ve been awarded medals for my first four hats!

There’s really no time for celebration though.  There’s still 9 more to reach the goal.  The next hat is ready.  I love how it turned out, but man was it a pain in the butt.

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Tentacles are a hassle.  I’m not sure how actual cephalopods do it.

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I should have Hat 6 to report on as well, but distractions happen.  That’s actually a lot colder than it looks but still, we’ve been having gorgeous, dry weather and I’ve got plenty of wool to handle the crisp ocean breeze.

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I can say though, it’s beyond this stage!  And I’m really loving the colors so far, very foresty.  I think this might be a good bear hat…I’m gonna hunker down with some figure skating and make progress tonight.

As always, I’ll let ya know how it goes…


 

A Parade of Hats

Anybody else tune in for the Olympic opening ceremony last night?   They say Parade of Nations.  I say Parade of Hats.  (this post is pic heavy so may take a bit longer to load!)

There were some winners.  Mostly, though, they played it safe.  Lots of bland.  I’ll skip over the bland and just get right to the highlights.

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Or, is that highlighters?  Kudos to Hungary and Slovenia!  I like their bold use of color!  Slovenia has a nice texture too!  I like texture.  Might as well have a bit of fun with it.

Finland gets points for color and patterning too!  It’s not knit though, so not as exciting to me.

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Croatia and Latvia both had striking red designs.  The Latvian hat is probably the one knitter’s will want to make most.

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The Latvian design in 2014 at Sochi was also a knitter’s favorite.  No surprise given the well known history of Latvian knitting!  It was a black and white hat, highly patterned.  The patterning was of the pictorial variety with symbols taken from a historic Latvian town, where all the buildings were patterned in a similar way.  I have some very specific images in my head and yet, google has failed to produce any evidence, that what I speak of is based in reality.

At any rate, in my mind, Latvia is the reigning two-time Parade of Hats gold medal holder.  They hit all the right notes, classic but modern. Striking but wearable.  And, knitter’s want to make it.  Well done, Latvia!

There were lots of other nice hats.  Knitters have made and will continue to make these hats for years to come.

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I think the Gap has made most of these hats too.   So, ya know, not exactly my wheel house.  If I want interesting and unique designs and if I want to see handmade, I’ve got to turn to the spectators.

So far, the 2018 PyeongChang coverage hasn’t included long, slow, sweeping crowd shots.  I’m wondering if that’s because the crowd hasn’t really gathered yet.  More people definitely make for more interesting crowd pans.

I did find one good crowd though!  The girl in the front is wearing an interesting stocking cap.  Heathered and striped and maybe even cabled?

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Her brother (?) has a cute hat on too.   And see the purple pom-pom behind them?  That variegated business is absolutely handmade!

I spotted Team USA snowboarder Jaime Anderson too.  Looking fashionable in an on-trend bulky knit pom pom hat.

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Very Knit Collage.  I’m really more interested in the guy next to her though…check out that jacket!

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That’s the Canadian snowboarder’s jacket!  A printed version of a hand knit sweater!  So cool! Fashion and function! Well done, Burton! All of the athletes get a hand knit sweater too.  I imagine those will be saved for the apres-ski though!

Here’s a link to more photos of the sweaters and the rest of the gear from Burton.  The video with the company founder is very off-the cuff but it’s perfect.  Take note Ralph Lauren, that’s how it’s done!  They really did a great job here!  I love these jackets.

The Where’s Waldo of Knitwear is far over though.  My mission is to find this hat again…

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This is snowboarder Shaun White hugging family after his 2006 gold medal run and after his 2010 gold medal run.  I think the girl in the hat is his sister.  That is definitely some handmade love right there!  Shaun competed in 2014, the hat was no where in sight and he did not medal.  Coincidence??  I don’t think so.

It’s 2018, Shaun White is back.  I hope the hat is back.  I’ll be looking for it!

I’d tell you about my own progress on the Hat Halfpipe but there is none.  Two runs have both ended in an Aerial Unwind.

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Third time’s the charm, right?


 

Knitting + Olympics

Any other Olympic fans out there?  I love the Olympics…especially in the Winter!  The outdoor events are a knitters dream!  A huge sea of people in hats & scarves…no better people (or knitwear) watching than that!

And of course, it’s not just watching.  The athletic games have inspired many knock-off competitions (and many cease and desist orders!)   Never fear…the IOC may have taken the original name but the re-branded, Ravellenic Games are set and ready for cast on!

If you don’t know about the Ravellenic Games, you can find the group with all the details HERE!  The idea is simple, pick your event (anything from cowl curling to scarf skating), cast on during the opening ceremony, aiming to finish by the closing ceremony.  Complete your goal and you get a medal!

I’m a highly decorated knitter!  Here’s a sampling of my medals…

The medal is a jpg blog badge.  Unlike the real Olympics, there’s no drug testing here and it’s easy to cheat.  Obviously, winning isn’t the point of these games.  The Ravellenic Games are really about fostering community and challenging yourself.

Knitting groups – virtual and in real life – form teams to support and cheer each other on (and often award prizes!  If you don’t have a team and you’re interested, check out your favorite indie dyer…those groups get the best prizes!)

After giving it deep thought, I’ve decided to enter the Hat Halfpipe, thirteen times.  I had a minor hat binge back in December but it didn’t come even close to scratching my hat knitting itch.  The games span 19 days, certainly enough time to knit several hats.  In the interest of setting a stretch goal, a baker’s dozen it is!

I’ve certainly got the yarn for it.  Now to come up with that many patterns.  I could easily bang out 13 striped hats from the oddment bin.  That might be too easy though.

I think I should create some guidelines for example, at least 5 hats should be fingering weight, 3 hats should have bills, 2 hats should have cables, 4 hats should have non-stripe colorwork, 3 hats should be from Wooly Wormhead patterns, etc.   I need to think on it a bit before I make decisions!

I’m open to suggestions…got a favorite pattern or some other crazy idea?  Lay it on me!  I’m ready for a big showing in the Hat Halfpipe!  Who else is participating?  I’d love to hear your goals!


 

Ravellenic Round Up

The Rio Olympics came to an end last night and along with it, the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics).  My final medal count is 5 — a sweater, a cowl and 3 hats!

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My main event was the Sweater Triathlon.  Much to my own surprise, I successfully crossed that finish line 6 days into the competition.  It seems so long ago, already.  With San Francisco Summer in fully swing, I’ve been wearing my new sweater almost daily!  It’s been a fully integrated part of the wardrobe right from the start!  I always hope that happens with a new sweater, but you just never know.  This one is definitely a keeper!

Week 2 produced a hat and a cowl.

The final push brought two more hats!  Back in July, Woolly Wormhead had a scrappy hat knitalong, seeing those hats definitely brought me inspiration!  I’ve got enough odds & ends for a hundred hats!

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The knitalong didn’t feature a pattern but a set of options to pick your own.  I was especially drawn to the use of short rows.  My sweater, up top, called for the use of Japanese Short Rows, which I’d swatched years ago but never incorporated into a project.  It’s a fiddly technique that seemed unnecessary for that particular project.

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Japanese short rows are the ones that eliminate the wrap and instead use a locking stitch marker.  The idea is to use less yarn when closing the gap left by the turn and thereby create a neater fabric.  It’s not really necessary when working with garter stitch so I skipped it with the sweater.  A hat is the perfect place for it though, especially if it’s stockinette!

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I was pleased with the result.  Without blocking, the short rows are very neat!  I suspect once I’ve blocked it, the short rows will be invisible!

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I’m definitely not done messing around with short rows and hats.  It’s, surprisingly, not something I’ve done much.  Rest assured, there will be more short rowed hats!  This particular hat binge is just getting started!  I’ve got lots plenty of hat yarn in the stash!

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FO Friday – Outer Space

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The idea was to knit a sweater in 17 days.  Part of the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics!)  I may not have set a world record but I certainly hit a personal best finishing it entirely in just 6 days.  All the details here:  My Rav Page!

The pattern is Stephen West’s Outer Space.  An unusually constructed sweater with a yoke that mimics my favorite of his shawl designs.  I didn’t think I’d like this sweater but I didn’t think I’d like my yarn either, so it was a sort of practice sweater.  Something I wouldn’t mind giving away if I hated.  Ultimately though, I love it.

I knit it without major modifications.  I attempted to lengthen the sleeves but it wasn’t a good look so I frogged and left the sleeves as the pattern was written.  Of course, I didn’t know what was going to happen.  I had to try it on a lot, just in case the need for mods arrived.  And so, I present top down sweater knitting in selfie form.

And, I’ve still got plenty of the yarn left.  I’m contemplating another one, reverse colors and no sleeves.  The math works…1 sweater in 6 days means I can do 2 sweaters in 17 days.  Right?

 

A Tale of Two Swatches.

It’s time to prepare for the Ravellenic Games (the knitting olympics, for those not in the know)!  My event is the ‘Sweater Triathlon’.  Yes, that means I’m going to knit an entire sweater in 17 days.  I want a sweater.  I have yarn for sweaters.  I have sweater patterns in mind.  I just finished a whole bunch of WIPs.  The time is right.

Option #1

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The yarn is Lace Lux, same as the scarf I just finished.  The pattern is Sabine.  A repeat of this beauty…

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I really want to wear that sweater!  Just not sure I want to knit it in 17 days.  Even on a size 6, that’s a lot of stitches.  So…

Option #2

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Chunky yarn on size 11 needles.  Now that seems reasonable!  The pattern I’ve got in mind is Stephen West’s Outer Space.  It’s got the classic WestKnits’ wedge & stripe construction so even if I don’t like wearing it, I’m going to like knitting it.

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I get to stashbust a little.  I’m throwing in the leftovers from the cardigan I knit in January. I think this is the plan.  With only 17 days to execute, it’s good to have a plan.

Cast on is one week from tomorrow…theoretically, I’m continuing my WIP knitdown until then.  I may crack though.  It’s hard to not cast on.  Amirite?  I’m gonna try.  I’ll keep you posted!