January One -- Knitting Olympics 2006
February 26, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Sixteen: TEAM BOSTON ROCKS!
I wanted to thank everyone who came out for the Closing Ceremony party! It was by far the best party I've ever thrown and that's only because of ALL OF YOU! TEAM BOSTON ROCKS!!!!!
I also wanted to CONGRATULATE all of the knathletes whether you finished your project or not. It's enough that we all participated and challenged ourselves. What an amazing endeavor! I'm truly impressed. So I say GREAT JOB! YOU ROCK!
February 24, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Fourteen: Stick a medal on me BAYBEE!
Alright, ALL RIGHT! I have a few ends to weave in but I plan on doing that as a symbolic closing ceremony thing. You know, for the DRAMA and all.
Lemme tell you, I actually don't need the drama. A word of advice, my fellow knitters. If you fuck up your Olympic knitting the night before a major road trip, with only two days to go in the competition, and you're pretty sure if you don't finish tonight they won't get done, and you're thinking the misstep is big enough that you may have to rip out a WHOLE FREAKING MITTEN to fix the mistake - well - DON'T CALL ANN. She won't help you. She will LAUGH at you. (Cue the creepy Carrie music. Piper Laurie in her witch costume. "Ann's gonna laugh at you. Ann's gonna laugh at you!" Yeah. I was throwing knives in my mind.) Bethe will be helpful. (Oh my! Check out Bethe's banner! TOO FUNNY!) Kathleen and Peggy, a little bit, but they were under Ann's influence. The thing to remember is that you're ON YOUR OWN when it comes to Olympic Knitting. It's just you and the yarn, baby. Just you and the yarn.
The problem was those freaking thumbs. I've never picked up stitches off of waste yarn before and the row before the waste yarn was super easy, but the yarn above the waste yarn? Where were the loops? I don't get it. To clarify - I did stick the needle into the loops before I removed the waste yarn, but there seemed to be TWO loops, whereas in the row below there was ONE clear loop to stick the needle in. At the top, where there seemed to be two, well, they weren't even loops! In the end I totally fudged the damn thing and it looks okay. Think Sasha Cohen falling twice but still getting the silver. That's how it looks. Good enough. There was a moment though that I had ripped back to redo it because I didn't like the gapping hole I was getting and I ended up losing what I thought were the stitches and I panicked and didn't think I was going to get them back and I thought I might have to RIP OUT THE MITTEN down to the waste stitch mark. But I sat back, despite seven taunting phone calls from Ann, and persevered. I summoned up my Olympic strength. I thought about all I had been working towards. I thought about my family - the pain and humiliation if I couldn't pull through. I thought about these kids and how excited they were when I cast on! I thought about my teamates: Team Philly. Team New Jersey. Team Boston. I knew what I HAD to do.
Doesn't it look like I'm flipping somebody off? That's because I am.
If I hated the yarn, Dale Falk, before, I REALLY hate it now. It's splitty. Splitty doesn't work when you're trying to pick up stitches and there's yarn behind and yarn in front and more strands than should be there and one color is so bright it gives you a headache while the other color is so dark it gives you a headache. I did like the pattern. I really, really did. I love the way the pirates turned out and I love my name and I love the year and I love that I reversed the yarns. They fit, although they're still a little snug. I have to say I think I prefer gusset mittens to straight out thumb mittens. But it's all good and I'm finished.
What is the sound of two thumbs clapping?
In order to celebrate my Olympic Achievements, G took off today and we're ROAD TRIPPING!!!!
We're throwing a PARTAY! Beantown style! WHOOHOO! I'm so excited to see all my Team Boston peeps and I'm hoping they'll be plenty of pictures to share. I'm bringing the camera, but that doesn't always work out and I'll be hosting but someone will remember the camera, right? We'll be back sometime Monday, and I don't know if I'll have Internet but whatever you're doing this Olympic weekend, I hope it's fun and you have friends around and you accomplish what you set out to do - even if that's just learning your limitations. SO IMPORTANT in this life. Everyone's got them. We need to embrace them.
Knit ON fellow knathletes. KNIT ON!
PS - Can I just second Lauren's account of the Olympic Commentators? I'd like to tell you what I think Dick Button needs, but this is a family site. WOW that man is bitter. And HELLO? Skaters? I remember when Olympic Figure Skating was fun! Surya Bonaly anyone? It was everything I could do to STAY AWAKE. No one can get through a program without falling and yet they all seem like drones out there. Doing the same thing and the same music and Y A W N.... And I will agree with Buttonhead for a second and say if I see one more chick bring her foot up to her head and glide around...well...I'm going to be honest and say I was hoping someone would trip and the blade would actually go INTO her head. Not so deep as to do damage. A little superficial wound - but with BLOOD on the ice. You know. To spice things up. ;-)
February 23, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Thirteen: What separates us from the animals
Thumbs. So right now I'm an animal, cause I ain't got no thumbs. But it's all good. I'm thinking of doing one thumb today, maybe, but I have to get things ready for a road trip G & I are taking tomorrow. More info on that later. But back to the mittens: The second mitten is a bit wonky but you know what, I don't care. I'm bored of this project. That's not to say it's a bad project and I do like to see the pattern appearing beneath the needles, but I don't like the yarn. And when I don't like the yarn, forgetaboutit! Ruins a whole project for me. (See Ribby Cardi.) But I'm persevering, if only to show Ann (there's your link for the day, honey bun!) that I will finish. I think she's got some money riding on me to fail. To FAIL people. Ann is betting AGAINST me. But I will WIN! No doubt about it. ;-)
February 20, 2006
As the indomitable Snow put it, I'm suffering from Post Ikea Stress Syndrome. P.I.S.S. How great is that?
When last you found our intrepid Heroine, I was going to take the fucker apart and show it who's BOSS! On Saturday G and I ventured out to a Lowe's to get some supplies for rip down and rebuild. I think we were successful. Things were looking up!
Cedar balls, for the finished product, and an electric screwdriver. I was OPTIMISTIC!!!
We started to take the thing apart. The first thing we had to do was get those little grabby half circle things out of the holes - you know the ones that hold the metal thingamajigs? You don't? Consider yourself lucky because once you get those things in there they don't freaking come out! So we're trying our hardest to get these fuckers out and it's amazing we're still married and we can't get them out. Then I think hey! Maybe all I have to do is unscrew these screws over here and I can get it out! No go. Those little wooden Ikea pegs things that I want to stick in some Swedish designer's eye are everywhere in this piece so even if you take the screws out you can't get the thing apart. So we're back to trying to get the top off so we can begin to TRY to take the thing apart but we can't do it. I'm crying. I want to throw the thing out. And G's totally with me. I call Ikea and ask them if I can drop the thing off and pick up a new one, since I can't take it apart. The woman tells me I can return it fine, but it has to be unassembled. In the calmest, most exacerbated voice I have I tell her that if I could get it apart, I wouldn't have to bring it back. She puts me on hold. I want to set fire to everything around me made of particle board. She comes back and tells me that they'll take it, but I'll have to pay an additional percentage, depending on its condition, over and above the 30% restocking fee. I say thank you and hang up. We consider this. Really, really consider this.
One problem. The freaking thing won't fit in our car.
So we, two intelligent creative people, think of what to do. We'll rent one of those trucks from Home Depot! Yeah! That's it! And we'll take it back to Ikea and get 50% or less than what we paid for it then buy a new one! Then return the truck! So we'll be out an extra $500 but it will be PERFECT!
I actually made a few phone calls to some people to see if I was crazy to do this (G was right there with me, god love him!) but no one was home. Which turned out to be a very, very good thing.
This is CRAZY! I thought. GO BACK AND RETHINK! I was right when I started. Go back and drill the freaking holes in the wood. Turns out that middle piece, remember? It's not particle board. It's solid wood. Maybe that's why it's the piece that holds the whole sideboard together? Anyway, we get to measuring and turning it this way and on its head and every which way and in the end WE DO IT! WE DRILL HOLES AND THE DRAWERS WORK! And it's all fixed and we can dance and sing and rejoice.
As I'm finishing the rest of the drawers, I realize that one of the reasons you needed to put that freaking piece of wood in the right way, besides the holes, is that the stain is on the front side out. You know. To match up with the rest of it. So I've got all the drawers in and everything's together and this thing ain't never coming apart, but I've got a nice solid piece of PINE sticking out of my DARK WALNUT dresser. FUCK!
Off to Home Depot we go.
It looks good enough for me, so please don't tell me if it looks bad. Seriously. I don't want to know. This thing about killed me. I have poly for it too but I'm letting it go for now. I can always poly it later. Jacobean MinWax if anyone's interested.
You think that's the end of the story, don't you? It's NOT! So I hated the drawer pulls that came with the dresser and I walked into Restoration Hardware and found the perfect pulls IMMEDIATELY. Bought them, brought them home, tried them out. BINGO! They don't fit. Well, they fit, but the screws were too short and they didn't come with backs. What the? So on our venture to Home Depot we got some longer screws and some nuts and washers and problem number 3,719: the screws are silver and the pulls are a dark bronzy color. So the guy at Home Depot suggests we paint the screws. We buy paint and long discussions ensue on what's the best way to paint these little teeny tiny screws that will attach the draw pulls that I adore for the dresser that I now loathe.
The ones I love on the left, the Ikea icky ones on the right.
Not to fear, my lovelies. At around midnight Saturday night in a stain induced haze I figured out the problem. So genius am I.
See (well you can't really see, but take my word for it) the Ikea pull has like a tube that extends through the hole in the drawer front and you screw in the screw into the back. So what I figured out is that I could attach the Ikea drawer pull onto the INSIDE of the drawer and screw in the screws on the beautiful drawer pulls into the tubes from the front. Make sense? Look at the picture again. It makes perfect sense and better yet it WORKS!
Knit Olympics:Day Ten: PROGRESS!
I started the second mitten. As I mentioned before, I'm doing the reverse on the second one. Pink as the Main Color, Navy as the contrast. I like it! I'm confident these mittens WILL be finished by next Sunday.
I also started a couple of socks:
On the left is the ribbing for the Embossed Leaves Socks from the Winter 2006 IK (do I really need to link to it?) in Koigu #P704 and on the right is a new Jaywalker in STR Panzanite (no it's not on their website and Toni at The Fold doesn't have it - if you like it, call and ask for it!)
We're off to look at cars today. G has a spreadsheet with him. Oh fun!
February 17, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Seven: HOT FLASH!
First off, thank you everyone for your commiseration and suggestions with the whole Ikea thing. There really shouldn't have been any doubt in your minds that I wouldn't take apart the whole thing and rebuild it. The glue thing was just a nod to G, who came up with the idea, and honestly, a temporary lapse in judgement. I will be rebuilding it tomorrow. With finished pictures of amazing goodness on Monday. I had two favorite comments from the lot of you: Stacey said, "Like knitting, you would frog it if you discovered a huge mistake way back. Leaving it as is may be bad karma for the knitting to be held in it!" Food for thought! I'm a HUGE believer in Karma and this one is very, very true. It would be like putting a curse on my yarn! Can't have that. And the other great comment was from Carrie K., who said, "Oh, how horrible! I say burn the thing and start over." Oh my, Carrie, if I had the money, that's exactly what I'd do. My OCD perfectionist self would LOVE to throw it out the window, drive to Ikea and get a brand new one. Also, I find Carrie's comment wonderfully ironic, given that her blog is called My Middle Name is Patience. HAHAHAHAHA! Isn't that great?
A little update for you - G's hip isn't as bad as we thought. The pain isn't being caused by bone rubbing against bone, rather the theory is the pain is being caused by tendonitis, which in turn is being caused by all the crap floating around the bad bones and stuff. His hip is still really bad and EVENTUALLY he will need replacement surgery, but for now we're going to try to fix the severe tendonitis and do some hardass PT as a way to strengthen the muscles around the hip to better support the area. To wit, yesterday he had a cortisone shot in his hip. To get it precisely right they had to do a "special procedure" which meant the hospital and hospital gowns and no eating before hand etc. His shot was pretty delayed so there was plenty of waiting time to do this:
Honestly, I was going to cast on a new pair of jaywalkers but I brought a size 2 and a size 1 and at least now Ann will stop her bitchin' that I'm going to lose. It seems she has some sort of wager riding on me. Alas, I'm not completely finished.
I think I'm going to start on the second mitten before I get to the thumbs. I'll do both thumbs together. I'm going to plug along on these gloves, but, the bloom is off the needle, so to speak. If I hadn't brought the wrong needles, I would NOT have been knitting them. Is it bad to say I'm a bit bored by them? I am. But I'm an knathlete, so I persevere.
Did you see that new spanky yarn in the picture?
Oh my god can you STAND all that pinky goodness?!?! Do NOT tell me it looks like pepto bismol because I LOVE it and also because I will have the pepto dance in my head all day. (Do yourself a favor, PLEASE click on the pepto link!)
Anyway, this fibery goodness is a NEW Socks That Rock color - HOT FLASH! How great is that? I'm thinking a picot edge plain stockinette sock because the stripes are thicker and I've decided I don't like jaywalkers with thicker stripes. I think they look best when there are lots of colors. What do you think? I ripped out the other stockinette socks I was making way back when and I'm not sure I can do it anymore. But I can try!
ETA: Every color you've ever seen of Socks That Rock ON THIS BLOG is available directly through Blue Moon Fiber Arts. All you need to do is call or email with the name of the colorway you've seen and ask them if it's still available (they do retire colorways.) They have over 200 different color combinations - their website and Toni's site, and my site for that matter, only show a fraction of the colors available. They are planning to unveil more colors on the website - but these things take time - and I for one would rather they dye yarn, then worry about web stuff! ;-)
Thanks again for all your comments about G's hip and possible replacement surgery. We're feeling really optimistic that he has at least a few years before we have to worry about surgery - he even sent in his membership fees for the tennis club this summer, so he's definitely feeling better. We appreciate all your kind words and thoughts.
Today has been declared cast on day. I'm going to cast on two socks and my mitten and then I'm going to weave in Short Row ends. I don't feel real well - awful horrible headache yesterday that's come back today and I think I'm getting a cold, but not really. So I feel like crap - but not enough to say I'm SICK. You know? Hope you're well and have a great weekend. WISH ME IKEA LUCK!
February 12, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Three: Five! Five! Five! Judges Unanimous!
I found US 5s in the pile of knitting crap and cast on. I tried to knit as loose as I possibly could and I saw the difference immediately. The mittens are still a snug - but not in a bad way. They will be form fitting mittens. I'm a tad concerned about what happens now that I'm getting close to the thumb stitches, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. So far so good. I also took this opportunity to make some pattern modifications.
Just so there isn't any doubt - these babies are MINE!
And in a moment of athletic envy, I checked out Bethe's mittens - she's making the same ones - only she's WAY cooler than I am mixing up the Falk Neon colors in some rocking mittens. If I finish these up super quick (I realize now I could've gone more challenging - beginner's folly) I will try to copy her genius.
Oh and here are some cute pictures of my 6'1" baby playing in the snow!
I LOVE SNOW!
Knit Olympics: Day Three: BLIZZARD!
Conditions at the PANJMA Olympic Village are stormy at best! We've got the weather outside:
Snow drifts on our covered balcony.
Sad TEAM USA flag blustered by the blizzard.
Under normal circumstances, we'd have perfect conditions for the PANJMA team. The weather outside might be frightful, but inside we've got candy galore, hot chocolate, snuggly pajamas and an even snugglier cheering section and three full unseen hours of 24. But, alas, as Coach G-Love says: IF THE MITTEN DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST NOT KNIT!
I did as I was told and went back to knitting on the 4s. I finished one skull and I tried to knit as loose as I could. I swear, I'm not pulling tight at all! I think I'm knitting pretty normal for me. I mean, it FEELS normal for me. And honestly, I could not be anymore relaxed. I was practically knitting in my sleep. My desperate voice in my last post shouldn't be an indication of tension or worry - more of suprise! The idea that I'd have to go up two needle sizes is preposterous to me. But I really think I need to. I can barely get the mitten off once it's on. So I'll look for 5s in the my needle collection today, and if not - it's off to LYS tomorrow. Here are my floats - I don't think they look that tight at all!
What do you think? It's also been suggested to me that my problem is most definitely an equpiment problem. Like I should be knitting with DPNs instead of two circulars. To that I say PEESHAW!!! Look at the Clapskate! I hearby declare Two Circular Knitting to be the Clapskate of the 2006 Knit Olympics!
Oh and there's been some grumbling from the sidelines about pinch knitters. I can assure you, I'm the only one knitting these mittens. Although a certain baby did manage to get into the knitting bag and make knots in a bunch of places, but I don't think that counts. Funny story though. Thursday night my nephew and I went for a walk to Loop in Philadelphia - it's not far from my brother's new apartment - and we walked in on a Beginner Knitting lesson. I looked around - it's a beautiful store - and I was ready to leave, but Max wanted red yarn for socks. He proclaimed in his loud five yr-old voice: "I want to knit my own red socks." The women at the table for the lesson all whipped their heads around. One brave woman asked him, "You can knit?" I felt so bad for all of them! Here they are, struggling with their knits and purls (c'mon! We've ALL been there!) and this five year old, in a stroller no less, is declaring that he will be knitting his own red socks. Crestfallen faces everywhere! I told them he was just learning and quickly found him some Red Dale and headed out of the store. It was pretty funny. Max can't knit. He thinks he can, but he can't. He's not too bad, but I don't think he'll be knitting socks any time soon.
I think it will be socks all day at the village. Socks, some romping in the snow with my honey, and some spinning. Socks, snow and spinning. PERFECT!
ETA! I found two 5s! YIPPEE! I'll be casting on yet again.
February 11, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day Two: 10 Point Deduction for GAUGE
See, bragging gets you nowhere. It was pointed out to me a when I posted my training knitting for the KO2006 that you can't measure gauge for circular knitting with a flat swatch. I, in all my bravado, replied back that I wasn't really swatching for gauge, I was trying out my fair isle skills, of which I have none. That gauge really didn't matter because they were mittens and if they were a bit big or a bit small it would be all good. Gauge is the FRENCH JUDGE OF KNITTING!! Gauge will BITE YOU IN THE ASS EVERY TIME!!! Every FREAKING time. (By the way, my sister informed me I'm not allowed to say freaking in front of my nephew anymore, because he's taken to using it himself. Of course, the only reason I was saying freaking in the first place was because I'm not allowed to say FUCKING. Thank god for the baby. He's still small enough you can say whatever you want in front of him and he just smiles and laughs!)
I cast on at 2PM yesterday, on the US size 3s the pattern calls for. I knit along happily for about an hour until the baby woke up, and then I left it. Right off the bat I had concerns. This sucker is TIGHT. Like cut off your circulation tight. I can get it over my hand, and it is ribbing (all be it not very stretchy ribbing) but still. It just didn't seem right to me. Especially since the picture in the pattern has the whole mitten sort of straight on the sides until the decreases. Like it wasn't going to all of a sudden stretch out to accomodate my hand when I started the stockinette knitting.
So today, right after G picked me up at the train, I headed to the closest LYS and picked up a pair of US size 4 Addis. G dropped me off and headed back to work (where he's been all week) and I came home and immediately ate an entire box of Junior Caramels. (Thanks M!) Fortification for them here games. I then cast on and knit away. (See picture above for Day 2 knitting.) It's going well and I relaxed myself a bit - I think I was double pulling on the stitches on the Day 1 knitting - you know - when you throw, you pull the stitch tight, then pull it again when you knit the next stitch? Really, you only need to knit the next stitch to pull it tight. Anyway, after knitting the ribbing and starting into the stockinette it's still pretty damn tight. I can't imagine how this mitten will fit over my hand - I'll have to keep my fingers extremely close together. Or maybe not. When you add the thumb it makes things wider, right? I've only made one mitten and that had a lot of increases for the thumb gusset. This mitten doesn't seem to have a gusset.
All you people cheering on from the sidelines - what do I do? Do I go to US 5s? (I'm not sure I have two pairs of 5s in my arsenal which means another trip to the LYS. And there's a freaking blizzard this weekend so the earliest I do that is Monday.) Do I keep knitting and hope for the best? Do I start over on 4s and try to knit really loose? (This is weird for me - this tight knitting thing. I generally knit in the middle - not too tight, not too loose - just right.) I mean, I've gotten pretty far in a couple of hours, I'm not too worried that if I had to start over again from the beginning I would lose too much time. I'm guessing I could knit one of these suckers in a weekend if I worked really hard. What would you do if you were me?
If that weren't bad enough, I ate a whole bag of gummy bears too. Note to Olympic Village food suppliers - are you trying to KILL me!?! Stop with the goodies! (I was just reminded of the humongous bag of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the fridge. Where's the Team OD ON CANDY button?)
February 10, 2006
Knit Olympics: Day One: LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
February 08, 2006
If you like Cheesesteaks with Onions and Cheering Mummers on the First
here's the button you've longed for...let's not be-e dispersed!*
ETA: Wendy's got the Philly team blog all ready to go! Check it out here. Thanks Wendy! GO TEAM PHILLY! (Oh and I believe, in the tradition of the City of Brotherly Love, that anyone that wants to call themselves a member of Team Philly - or just wants to sport the fab button ;-) , be my guest! The more the merrier!)
I'll be heading down to Philly shortly - I'll be casting on there Friday night. I'm going to try to have daily updates for the Knit Olympics - I'll be back in NJ on Saturday - so if I don't get you an update Friday Night, look for one on Saturday.
I'll be casting on in Philly, casting off in Boston, and knitting like a fiend in New Jersey. Wouldn't want the Garden State to feel left out!
We're all about inclusion at januaryone! ;-)
Knit On Fellow Knathletes! Good luck with the Games!!
* My apologies to Rupert Holmes.
February 07, 2006
Cue The Rocky Music
Dudes! We're running up the Art Museum stairs! We're chasing a chicken! Burgess Meredith is spitting at us with his half-eye! It's TRAINING TIME!
Rest assured, no photographers were harmed by the ultraviolet glow coming off the Neon Pink Falk.
I received my yarn yesterday, from a lovely shop in Wisconsin, Yarns By Design. Prompt, friendly, and the woman I spoke to you used to live in MY neighborhood. She also told me that if I had any problems with colors running, I should promptly send back the yarn. Good customer service goes a long way in my book.
So here we go! I cast on a swatch last night - late - but so far so good. The Xs on either side of the garter stitch edging are a bit wonky, but the ones in the middle are pretty good. I'm using some kind of mutant combination knitting that is so completely awkward it qualifies for a special version of the Olympics. (Insert Ann and her fake Boston accent!) I'm thinking things will be much easier when I start knitting in the round. So far I like it! I think I might do one mitten with the pink as the main color and one mitten with navy as the main color - just to make things really wild and crazy. So far so good with the yarn - the fabric is nice and thick and I think they will make nice warm mittens - even though it hasn't been cold enough to wear mittens.
I will be in Philadelphia, home of Rocky, when I cast on this Friday. I can guarantee, at least once or twice in the knitting of these mittens, I will be screaming ADRIAN! ADRIAN! at the top of my lungs. Even if I don't really need too. ;-)
PS! Is there a Team Philly Button? Do I need to make one? I think casting on in the City of Brotherly Love qualifies for team membership. C'mon on out you Broad Street Bullies! Where are you?