Sunday, February 26, 2006

Knitting Olympics - Gold Medal!

Pattern: Baltic Sea Stole from Fibertrends
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in Tahoe
Needle: Bryspun size 6 circulars
Start Date: February 10, 2006
Finish Date: February 26, 2006
Comments: I signed up for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics the day she first posted it. I took a quick look at my project list and decided this challenge was the perfect impetus to make my first lace project using a pattern and yarn I already had in my stash. During the next 3 weeks I spent hours scoping out what the other Knitting Olympians were going to knit. I thought about picking a less-challenging project. I thought about why was I doing this in the first place. While knitting like mad the last two weeks, I realized I was doing it because I love knitting and I love to compete. Watching what everyone else was doing was such a treat as well.
It may sound trite or silly, but I am very proud of what I accomplished during the last 16 days. I stressed, I knit, I admired, I tired, I loved it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Knitting Olympics: Day 14 and Day 15

Here are the promised blocking pictures (notice Laska the cat helpfully supervising the blocking). The pattern suggested blocking out to 27 x 80 inches, but that just seemed a little too big. Final approximate measurements are 24 x 70 inches.

The stitch breakdown:

  • 111 stitches cast-on
  • 18 seed stitch edge rows
  • 422 pattern rows
  • A total of 48,840 stitches
  • Finished knitting while watching the US Men's Curling Team take home the Bronze medal - Go Team USA!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Knitting Olympics: Day 13

End of day 13 (Thursday).
12 rows to go.
111 stitches per row.
Must be blocked and dried by closing ceremonies Sunday.
I'm still in gold medal contention!

Stay tuned for exciting blocking shots on Saturday and finished project shots on Sunday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Knitting Olympics: Day 10 -We Have a Connection!

Above you will see progress as of the end of Day 10 of the Knitting Olympics (Monday). The stole is now getting to be stole length (a good thing, I think) so it is making it a bit more challenging to photograph. As I barely function in the morning this is the best I can do. Below is a close up so that you can admire the pretty colors and stitch pattern:) I am absolutely on track to get this blocking on Friday and therefore, hopefully, completely finished for the Closing Ceremonies. (Yea!)

GROUP knitting is tonight at Borders in Wilmette (corner of Skokie and Lake) at 6:30 - See you there!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Technical Difficulties

So I'm having technical difficulties. Not with my knitting, not with my camera, but with my home internet connection. I'm hoping things will magically fix themselves during the day as they tend to do with Comcast. Rest assured my Knitting Olympic knitting is going well and after some concerns that I would fall behind schedule this weekend, I am right back on track.

Friday night, with our modest tax refund in transit to our bank account, M and I decided to go buy a new camera. Our old one, while still ok, had a few issues. Anyway, after driving all over Evanston, Skokie, and Niles dealing with some of the worst sales force I have ever dealt with at multiple Best Buys (when one calls a store to see if something is in stock and one is told it is so then one drives to said store and it is not in stock, one tends to be a bit annoyed) we ended up at Ritz Camera in Skokie and within minutes we had our new awesome camera - the Casio Exilim EX-S500. This camera meets M's criteria that it be tiny and mine that it has to do good close-ups (for knitting pictures, of course). We spent a good part of the weekend testing it out and we are quite pleased (plus it's so tiny!).

We also watched a lot of movies this weekend (which helped me keep on my knitting schedule). First we watched Mirrormask - one review had called it something like "scorching eye-candy," and yes, yes it was scorching eye-candy. Very much like an updated Labyrinth. I liked it a lot (I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman) Next we watched The Machinist which proved to be a very interesting thriller. Christian Bale did an excellent job in this movie. Highly recommend it. Our final rental was Word Wars, a very amusing documentary about Scrabble tournament players. Always interesting to get a glimpse at a different sort of folk. We also went out to a movie Saturday afternoon. We went to see Date Movie and we were pretty disappointed. We love silly spoof movies, but this one just misses the mark. If had it to do over, I would rent this one, not pay for a ticket. As M said as we walked out, "That's a couple hours we can't get back." :( At least our rentals were all good:)

In addition to all the movies, we watched a bit of curling - the Men's team is doing so well! The semi-finals on Wednesday when the U.S. plays Canada should be exciting.

Ok, enough with the sad pictureless post - Hopefully I'll be back online tonight to upload photos at home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Knitting Olympics - Day 3 & 4

Day 3 (Monday)
No problem staying ahead of schedule. I never thought I'd enjoy lace knitting, but look at me now - I'm even using a lifeline just in case! Overnight I had recorded hours of Olympic curling action and I was set! (I love having a DVR- it's like TiVo, but no phone line necessary). So a few hours later (and an amazing game between the USA Men's Curling team and Norway) I was wrapping up my 4th full repeat.

Day 4 (Tuesday - Valentine's Day)
So, unexpectedly I got a little bit of knitting done yesterday therefore keeping my lead. Granted it was only 1/2 a repeat, but look at the progress. What's that? Those cute little trinkets on my Baltic Sea Stole? Well, those would be adorable little pendants I had been wanting that M gave me for Valentine's. They are from this fantastic art glass maker, Happy Owl Glass. They have an animal menagerie with different animals pictured on these little squares. Someone at work had a few of these pendants and I was hoping to have some of my own. I love them!

Then, while at work , M came into my office with these lovely roses. They are the most gorgeous shade and they are so very fragrant. Roses are my favorite and of course M knew he couldn't go wrong with these:)

To celebrate Valentine's Day, M and I went to a favorite Evanston restaurant, Koi. They have outstanding maki rolls. The sushi chef was doing a special roll for Valentine's called the Sweetheart roll. It was gorgeous and the taste was perfection. Every 2 pieces of maki roll were formed to create a heart when placed together. They were wrapped in pink tuna and salmon. Mmmmm....sushi! Afterwards we walked over to Ethel's Chocolate Lounge and picked out a couple chocolates for later. After we got home I had a chance to knit a little while enjoying the lovely chocolates.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Valentine's day too - how did you celebrate?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knitting Olympics - 1st weekend

Day 1 (2/11) Knitting Olympics:
Knowing I had dinner plans for the evening I knit the whole afternoon. Towards the end of the 1st repeat I finally got it. I finally could see the relationship between the different stitches. Suddenly lace knitting was a lot more fun than I expected. The picture here shows one full 32 row repeat and 6 rows of the next. There was also an equipment change that day. Wednesday night, after I swatched, I realized I really needed a pair of good circulars for lace knitting (I'm so used to knitting with circ's that I kept letting go of the right hand needle expecting it to stay where it was, only to have the needle drop out- Doh!). So, this was my chance to order from a store I'd been wanting to try out - Angelika's Yarn Store. Even though I chose regular shipping I got my order Saturday! I switched out my Balene straight needles to the Bryspun circulars and I am rather pleased. Overall, I really like the tips of the Bryspun needles. They have a kind of indent that lets you really get into those tighter stitches. The flexible cord is fantastic too. I'm not thrilled with the join between the cord and needle, but I think that may be due to how tight some of my stitches are right now.

Day 2 (2/12) Knitting Olympics:
Sunday I knit and knit and knit. M was in the lab the whole day and part of the evening so I plopped myself on the couch, turned on the Olympics, and knit. I was trying to get a little extra done yesterday as I know it will be hard to keep to my schedule with Valentine's Day this week. The picture at right shows a total of 2 repeats and 95% of a 3rd! I really really really like this project. All along I was unsure about lace. I thought it was so fussy and it sounded so frustrating (big needles, little yarn). Even while swatching I was skeptical. Sometime over this past weekend it did finally click for me and I can honestly say that I'm enjoying the process and the product is lovely (and that's not even blocked yet!). The Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace is just fantastic to knit with and the color is so deep.

How is everyone else doing with their Olympic knitting?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Opening Ceremonies: Cast-on

As I prepare now to begin knitting on Day 1 of the 2006 Knitting Olympics I look back upon the opening ceremonies with confidence. Not only did I cast on for the Baltic Sea Stole, but I completed the 9 row seed stitch border and the first 8 rows of the 32 row repeat - all while watching a movie and then Arrested Development (let's not even talk about how sad I'll be if that show really is cancelled). I'm feeling strong. My only struggle today will be that my husband made dinner plans for us with a group of people from his lab. So - what am I doing here wasting time blogging??? I've got to get knitting!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Olympic Training

There it is. My first lace swatch. It's not the most beautiful thing in the world, but this was my first run through on the pattern (as well as with lace). It's funny. I have no problem using size 0's and thin sock yarn or size 7's and some plump wool, but give me lacey merino and size 6 needles and I feel like I'm learning to knit all over again. As to feasibility...I think I can do it. The pattern has a 9 row seed stitch border on either end and then recommends 13 pattern repeats of the 32 row pattern. If I do at least one 32 row repeat a day I can do it. I'm a little apprehensive that I'm out of my league, but even while watching the Simpsons I was able to muddle my way through the pattern. I did scope out all the other lace knitters listed on the Yarn Harlot's olympic page trying to see if there were any others like me. There are a couple beginning lace knitters out there who have picked extremely big, complex projects for the Knitting Olympics - I look forward to seeing if we can all rise to our personal challenges. Though at times I do feel as if I ended up signing up for the Skeleton when Curling would have been more my speed. (I love curling!).

Oh, and Jen had mentioned in the comments the other day that I either had no life or knit very fast in order to knit what I do. She is correct on both accounts: 1) My husband is in grad school, so I'm on my own a lot, 2) I love to sit at home with a cup of coffee, a cat, and some knitting, and 3) When you knit obsessive amounts you do get faster and faster:)

Please don't forget knitting GROUP is tonight! (Moved a week earlier due to Valentine's Day next week) -- See you at the Borders on Lake and Skokie in Wilmette tonight at 6:30.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The View from Everest

It has been a week, but somehow it feels like even longer since I last wrote. Work was exceedingly tedious this week only made worse by the flooding of my office due to a broken water pipe. Ugh. Supposedly I will be back in my regular office on Monday.

Knitting has been going well though. Here are the updates on my projects:
Veste Everest

Pattern:Veste Everest from Interweave Knits Fall 2005

Yarn: Jaeger Luxury Tweed in Lavandula

Needle Size: 5's and 3's

Size: 41 1/2

Started: January 14, 2006

Finished: January 31, 2006

Comments: I finished Veste Everest just at the end of January as I had hoped I would. This was a simple, well-written pattern that worked up quickly. I had serious doubts as to whether the yarn would work for the pattern and after I had gotten in 5 or 6 inches I actually swatched and then worked this pattern in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes for a few inches before I realized I liked the thinner yarn as it made a flatter cable. I'm very happy with the result. I think I did a very good job seaming and the three-needle bindoff on the shoulder looks great. I've never been good at wearing vests (seems like its a talent some people have), but this vest may convince me otherwise. The color of the yarn and the subtle cabling makes this a tough knit to photograph. I've been trying to get a decent pic all week. This is the best I can do for now, but I'll try to get one of me actually wearing it soon. Maybe I'll wear it to GROUP next week and have one of my fellow knitters snap a photo :)


This is Sesame from MagKnits (August 2005). I'm doing it in one color as I'm just not a horizontal stripe kind of girl. I'm hoping to get all the pieces done before the Knitting Olympics begin next Friday. I may be a little over ambitious in my knitting plans, but that's what keeps things interesting :) So far, I'm really enjoying how the Rowan Wool Cotton is working up. The color is Smalt. I don't know what Smalt is, but the color is a cool steely blue. I like it a lot and the drape is beautiful. It's very mindless stockinette which is great for mindless weekend knitting.

My So Called Scarf

Still chugging along on this one. I seem to only work with it a couple hours a week. I do love the Malabrigo and the pattern is nifty, so hopefully I'll get this one finished up soon.

Next on the list is to wind up the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in Tahoe that will become the Baltic Sea Stole - my Knitting Olympics Project. I need to swatch this week so that I'm ready to cast on Friday. Whoohoo - first lace!

I do need to finish up M's tiger socks....he's starting to ask about them...maybe by Valentine's Day. Speaking of Valentine's, since it lands on the same day as our normal knitting GROUP meeting, Jen and I discussed moving GROUP to the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays this month (instead of our regular 2nd and 4th). So, we'll be meeting February 7th and 21st from 6:30-8:00 at the Borders in Wilmette (corner of Lake and Skokie). Hope to see everyone there next Tuesday!