My fingers have recovered

First things first: The President of the IKOC (that’s International Knitting Olympics Committee) herself has awarded me the gold… well, at least she visited my blog and left a comment saying that I’d made it. How cool is that? If I were a guitar player, it would be like Eric Clapton had come to a gig I played at a kid’s birthday party and told me afterwards that I rocked the house! I think I’ll order a t-shirt from the Panopticon shop on Cafe Press to celebrate my victory!

Here is a photo of Sami modeling her new sweater:

Loosely based on Debbie Bliss’ “Shaped Denim Jacket”, using Knit Picks “Elegance” in Jade

Next up, my fingers, which were quite sore from the marathon knitting sessions I pulled in order to achieve this great honor, have finally stopped hurting, and I’ve been knitting again. So far this year, I’ve finished 3 sweaters – one for each of the kids. I have one on the needles for myself, but I was getting bored with it so I took a break and knit…

Socks!

I have one of mine finished, except that I’m going to go back and re-do the bind off, because the one I used just isn’t stretchy enough. I’ll post a picture of it when I’ve completed that little detail, because off-the-foot, the sock looks ridiculous (because my feet are so big).

I’ve also finished one for Max. Isn’t it sweet?

Generic Sock for Max, using cool self-patterning yarn whose name I can’t remember

Amazingly, it fits him perfectly, which should motivate me to finish the second one before his feet grow and he can’t wear them. This is just a plain old sock, knit from the toe up (I am really starting to love this method) using yarn whose ball band I removed and then promptly discarded – I’ll get the name/color for you tonight when I go to Clever Knits for Knit Night. There isn’t any kind of chance that the second sock is going to match the first, so I’m not even going to think about it.

That’s what’s up with me.

Oh, wait. Did I mention that in October, we’ll be getting a new addition to our family? 🙂 Sami’s reaction to this, as Max was playing Godzilla with his train tracks, was, “Are you SURE you want another one?”

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Phew!

Ok, so I don’t think I technically got the gold this knitting olympics – the sweater wasn’t finished until about an hour ago, and even though I can’t find any reference to the time when the flame was extinguished, I’m pretty sure I missed it.

But do you know what? I don’t even care! I made a sweater in less than 12 days (due to a series of really stupid, totally preventable, and completely my-fault-type errors). My family supported me – well, everyone but my dad, who called to give me a hard time yesterday whilst I was in the middle of a knitting-children-Giant-Ahbot-related conundrum – in ways that I never imagined they would. My husband and children get gold medals for being the greatest family ever. My mom gets a gold too, even though she started the whole thing with my dad calling me. And my dad, as usual, gets the lump of coal.

Ok, my fingers are too tired from knitting to type any more.

Good night!

The Back is Done!

Yay! The back of Sami’s sweater is FINALLY done. I am soooo happy. Here it is, in all of it’s finished glory:

Please note the wondrous absence of knitting needles/yarn still attached to ball in this photo.

Upon binding off the final stitch, I sat down to figure out how many stitches I had left to do in the fronts/sleeves in order to plan out the next five days of my life in relation to the Knitting Olympics. Boy, do I have to work on my math! I calculated the number of repeats x the number of stitches in each section, and came up with about 1800 stitches to completion. Dude! That’s totally doable!

Yeah, until you take into account that every pattern repeat has 20 rows. That’s 36,000 stitches. In 5 days. That’s 7200 stitches per day. I’ve been averaging about 1,820 stitches per hour with this pattern. At that rate, it will take me about 20 hours. So, 4 hours per day. I’m thinking no one gets to eat anything, nor will they have clean clothing or dishes, until next Monday. I don’t think that’s asking too much, do you?

Olympic Knitting Part 2

Yesterday morning I told my husband, “I have to finish the back of this sweater today in order for there to be any chance at all of finishing on time.” And he, being the greatest husband ever, proceeded to take Max to get his hair cut and to visit his sister, leaving me alone to knit all through the morning. And knit I did. I finished two more repeats of the cable by the time he got home.

Then we went to lunch, since much like the Yarn Harlot, I’ve not yet found a way to overcome the need for food. We ate at an Indian buffet – it was lovely – and then he & Max went to the electronics store to explore & I walked over to the coffee shop to get some more caffeine and knit. I finished another cable by the time he returned to pick me up, and we went back home.

I settled myself into the rocking chair and started knitting some more. I was making great progress, and the end of the back was in sight. I only had 10 rows left before the arm hole shaping. But Max thought it would be fun to use me as a jungle gym, which is usually OK, except that I was on a cable crossing row, and I was afraid he’d get poked with my cable needle, or pull on my arm while the stitches were just barely balanced at the end of my needles. Alex suggested I go to the bookstore – and I took him up on it.

About an hour later, after several mistakes and interruptions, I was ready to decrease for the armholes, I executed this maneuver without incident, and then came to several horrible conclusions. First, although I could have stayed at the bookstore knitting for quite a while longer, it was almost 6:00, and I’d promised to make Alex & Max dinner. And I still had to do about five more inches of knitting before I could bind off the back. Oops. I forgot that Sami’s arms, although thin, aren’t only a 1/2 inch  in diameter.

So I went home and took care of my motherly/wifely duties – I even did the dishes after we’d finished – and returned to my knitting. I made it through one more cable, and was so tired that I couldn’t go on. I think I have about 20 rows to go before I can stop, which is easily doable, especially since that means only one more cable.

I didn’t finish yesterday as I’d planned, so my chance at Knitting Olympic Gold is looking pretty slim, but Alex totally gets the Gold for “Greatest Husband EVER”. Thank you honey!

Olympic Sweater – 20 rows left on the back

Olympic Knitting

This year, I finally got the opportunity to participate in the “Knitting Olympics” with my hero, the Yarn Harlot. I was excited all through January, finishing up projects so I could focus all my time and energy on whatever project I chose to knit competitively. After consulting with my daughter, Sami, it was decided that the project I made for the KOs would be for her, and in a pattern of her choosing.

Oh yeah, first mistake. To be fair, I did hand her Debbie Bliss’s “Celtic Knits” to aid her in her search for the perfect cardigan. And, to be even more fair, I did tell her that she could choose the yarn as well, then showed her some of the lovely choices on Knit Picks. And in the Olympic spirit, I admit that I waited until Thursday (yes, the day before the Olympics started) to order the yarn – although, in my defense, I thought they started on Sunday and felt I could deal with a one day handicap if the yarn didn’t arrive on Saturday.

Well. Let me tell you. I retrieved my yarn from FedEx on Monday morning, only to realize that I didn’t have the right size needles to start, and the yarn store that opens at 10:00am doesn’t open at all on Mondays, and the yarn store that DOES open on Mondays doesn’t do so until noon, and I had to drive to LA at noon – and my route did not take me anywhere near the Monday-noon-yarn-store. So I went to Michaels, where I discovered the only option for size 4 needles was straight, long and spindly bamboo. This was an emergency, so I got them anyway.

I proceeded to knit every time I had more than a few minutes free. I was doing pretty well, too, until I realized how much I hated the cables in the pattern Sami had picked. They crossed, once, then continued up for 10 rows only to end abruptly and restart at the center. In addition to them being kinda ugly, they also required cabling on every right side row. For fancy-shmancy cables, I might be willing to let this slide. But not for ugly ones.

So, on Wednesday morning I frogged the whole thing and made up a chart for a cable I liked. Now that I only had to cable on 3 rows out of 20, I was flying right along. And then, yesterday evening, I did something I should have done LONG ago.

I read the rest of the directions.

At the very end, it mentions referring back to page 7 to read about finishing the sweater. In the section on finishing, I found that the sweater I was knitting was designed to be knit in yarn that, although machine washable, will shrink. Apparently, it will shrink quite a bit. The finished, unwashed length of the sweater is 28″. The final length is 22″. Oh yeah, and I’m using hand-wash-lay-flat-to-dry-alpaca-silk yarn, which, if cared for properly, will NOT shrink.

I’m not starting over again. I’m just going to hold it up to Sami’s back frequently to make sure I’m still making her a sweater & not a dress. I’m nearly halfway to the arm hole shaping on the back (60 rows down, 73 to go). This makes me a bit sad, because I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll be able to finish in time to get the Gold. But then, when I really think about it (which, as evidenced above, I should probably do a lot more often), I got this far in just two days. I have 8.5 (or so) left.

I might just be able to pull this off!

Olympic Sweater – Debbie Bliss’s “Shaped Denim Jacket” (with heavy modifications) in Knit Picks Elegance (Jade)