olympic lace

As is usual with knit-alongs (in this case Ravelympics), I seem to be slow off the start. Usually, I don’t quite have my act together. This time, it was more of a matter of work. Per the rules, I was allowed to start 8:00 a.m. EDT, at the moment the Opening Ceremonies were starting in Beijing. Only, I was already at work at that point – counting down the minutes until I could leave. Not only did I have knitting waiting, but it was a Friday and a slow one at that. Fortunately, I get off work early on Fridays (Mon.-Thurs have longer work hours), so I was able to start in the afternoon. All I really got finished before the Opening Ceremonies were broadcast locally however, was the cast on. Cast-ons are the trickiest part of the process for me. I’m a loose knitter except for casting-on…so that can typically require multiple restarts to get one right. This project has a provisional cast on however, so I only had to make one stab at it, but I do find provisional cast-ons a bit fiddly. At any rate, I was ready to just knit during the evening. I didn’t get quite as much done as I had hoped, as the artistic portion of the ceremonies was so dazzling (about my favorite that I’ve ever seen). After about 24 hours, this was all I had:

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Close-up:

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Sunday turned out to be much more productive, however. I also had today off (using up some vacation time), so I’ve made a good deal more progress, and should be finished with the first part of the first half of the stole tonight:

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Of course, tomorrow I have to go back to work. While I’m happy with what I have done so far, I’m truthfully not sure if I’ll get this finished by the end of the Closing Ceremonies. I’ll have to finish the first half by the end of the day Friday to be on track, and I don’t know if that can happen. On the one hand, there’s plenty of Olympics to watch knit to in the evenings, on the other hand, I’m finessing this pattern as I go. I think I have the right proportions, but I’m not sure (this first part is looking shorted than I expected) and I’m really unsure if I’ll have enough yarn, as currently planned. I’m trying to maximize my yarn usage, and with only a partial swatch as my guide, I can’t be sure if one more or one less repeat of any given section would be better. I won’t know for sure until I finish the first half where I stand. Worse case, I would have to frog back to where I am now. (Hmm…maybe I should put in a lifeline, just in case…)

In non-knitting news, look at the pretty peaches and blackberries my mom picked from a local farm. Fresh peaches have to be one of my favorite summer fruits, along with blueberries. She’s planning on freezing them for pies and cobblers this winter.  I just want to eat them all now!

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tiny stitches

One of the advantages of redoing my room is that I can now, for the first time use the quilt my grandma made for me years ago.  I actually received it when I graduated from highschool, back in 2000.  It’s been sitting in a box ever since.  But doesn’t it look better on my bed?

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Here’s a close up:

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I’ve never even attempted quilting, but I really admire the dedication it makes to create one.  This one, especially – every single stitch in the quilt was done by hand – seaming, basting, quilting.  And it’s queen size – which, along with color scheme, was one of the reasons I had shied from using it.  But my bed is rather high, so it worked out. (As a matter of fact, my grandpa built the bed himself not long after he was out of highschool.  I have a double heirloom in that picture!)

Quilting is one of my grandma’s winter activities – she also knits (she taught me), crochets (tried to teach me, but being left-handed I kept twisting it), tats (taught me that too), and does counted cross-stitch (large pieces – summer activity) – and I’m probably leaving something out.  She’s made/is making a quilt for each of her grandchildren, as well as a queen-sized Double Wedding Ring she made for herself (there’s a challenge!).  This particular pattern is Grandmother’s Fan.  I’m so glad I can use it now (and so is she) – and I look forward to using it as more than just a daytime bedcover come cooler weather.

In knitting news, I’ve been swatching like crazy.  I don’t know why, but I just haven’t been “grabbed” by any of my projects this summer.  Other than Elm Row, which is nearing completion.  (It’s also rather addictive, at least with the yarn I’m using.)  I think my gauge issues may play a part, but I also haven’t really found a good yarn-pattern combo.  The yarn might look good, but the bamboo‘s just too splity, and I think I’m bored with 100% merino. (Even though it’s one of my favorites.)  So I decided to try to find the perfect pattern for one of my spring purchases, Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl.  Given the stormy colorway, I thought something a little stormy or watery would be perfect.  But I couldn’t find anything just right.  I hesitated, took a big breath, and jumped in the murky waters of design.  Although a bit scary, I decided it couldn’t be too bad, I’m in a design field (architecture).  This of course, may be hubris talking…Fortunately, the local library had all (4) volumes of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  I’ve been doing a lot of swatching, and I think I’ve come up with something I like.  (And I LOVE the yarn.)
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The final project, as currently planned, is a  rectangular stole that’s somewhere between the two swatches above.  (To avoid confusion, there’s two different edgings on the first swatch.) Since I’m already in over my head, I’ve also decided to go for it and make this my Ravelympics project.  I’ve never knit a stole that quickly, and this isn’t exactly worsted weight, so I have my doubts…but I’m planning on watching a lot of the Olympics, and I find sports pretty easy to knit to – even lace.  So we’ll see how this turns out! Crossing my fingers for a finished lace project by August 23rd!