Olympics – but not of knitting

I saw something on my YLS’s group board on Ravelry the other day – about knitting to the Olympics. Whaaaat? Say I? The Ravellenic Games?? Sounds like fun! I’d like me a piece of that action.

So, after reading up a bit on it I decided, what the hey? I’ll give it a lash.

I’ve never taken part in a KAL before. My schedule is normally pretty crazy and it’s hard to keep up with any kind of group of more experienced knitters. I’ll be going along then BAM! I have a string of 12-14 hour days and I’ve fallen behind the group. Now, I’m sure I take things way too literally, but that’s kind of the place I’m at with my knitting right now. I’m still (mostly) following patterns slavishly – not really brave enough to strike out on my own (well except for the legs of my socks… and my fingerless mitts… and that one vest I made without a pattern… but those are all simple, uncomplicated projects). In general, if I have a pattern for something I follow the pattern (also unlike sewing where I open the envelope, pull out the tissue and pretty much toss the instructions sheets in the trash – not there yet with knitting). Much the same with the KAL’s I’ve tried – if I’m not keeping up with the group I get discouraged and usually drop out.

But this one is different. You work at your own pace. You pick your own project and materials. If you want to knit a super-bulky scarf at 6 SPI then go for it. If you want to knit a delicate, lacy shawl with 14 charts (TERROR!!) then go for it.

I decided on middle-of-the-road for myself. I entered the Cross Cowl.

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After a stop at Cream City Yarn in Brookfield (http://creamcityyarn.com) I settled on the Brae Cowl (above). Now you have to remember – I do not consider myself an experienced knitter. The only colorwork I’ve done thus far was in the Camp Hoodie that I made for Becky. Remember?

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That little checkerboard pattern is all the colorwork that I’ve ever done and now I’m going to do an entire piece? Granted, it’s a COWL for gosh sakes. A little cowl – hardly something to be afraid of. Sheesh!

But, what the hey? I bought 3 hanks of Cascade 220 and joined the mass cast on.

In honor of my favorite sport and team (and inspired by the jacket that I had on) my colors are green, gold and cream, so I named my project the Green Brae cowl – yes, I know – cutesy. I don’t care. I wanted something to wear with that jacket and a knitted scarf would just have been too bulky.

Now, as if the colorwork wasn’t enough this little project has an entire seam of Kitchener stitch. EEEEEKKKKK! A technique that I’ve done twice and failed miserably on both times. Well, we can worry about that when it comes.

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So – we start. The cream is the lining. It is knit up from both ends and joined in the middle with the dreaded Kitchener. But, not too bad a start, huh? I got into a rhythm. I’m a continental knitter, otherwise known as a picker so it’s very natural for me to use both hands for colorwork. I hold the base or darker color in my left hand and throw the accent or lighter color with my right. This also helps me keep my strands correct, in this case the green on the bottom and the yellow on top. After I got over myself I started to really have fun with it.

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Even Max got into the action!

Then, suddenly it was done!

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That second shot is the join. I can see the line of the join, but I haven’t blocked it yet, so I’m hoping that will work itself out. I made a couple little bobbles on the Kitchener, but the directions in the pattern helped me immensely. Her instructions overall are quite well written.

Oh, I almost forgot – it was also the first time I knit from any sort of chart!

So tomorrow I block and Sunday I turn in my entry at CCY. So, maybe this was a little (like tiny) personal Olympics of knitting. Tome the Olympics has always been about challenging yourself, doing you best in the company of the best in the world. Well, my little cowl is retry damn good for me – learning new things and reinforcing techniques.

I’m ready for the podium, Mr. Putin!