Ravelympics Winter 2010

Who am I to fight against weird internet memes? The knitting Olympics has been run for many years by the Yarn Harlot. Then Ravelry got in on the act setting up the Ravelympics. The idea is that you cast on at the opening ceremony and finish a whole project by the closing ceremony challenging yourself in the process. I was on holidays during the last olympics so I didn't quite get my mittens knit on time and missed out on a medal.

This time there would be no mistakes, I had put in the training and I was going to get a medal if it killed me, well perhaps not kill but major RSI was a risk I'm telling you. I decided to do two challenging projects, one spinning and one a lace shawl.

The lace shawl would be the famous and fabulous Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. I cast on the day the olympics started in The Bull and Castle pub with a pint of Galway Hooker to steady the nerves. I was there to meet the wonderful Irish members of the all conquering Ravelry group, Lazy, Stupid and Godless. I love that group of crazy beatchs. I got to meet my fibre dealer Laura Hogan too, go to her Etsy shop and she'll sort you out with a fiber fix. Kneehigh brought a date, her Mmmmalabrigo scarf, she knows how to show yarn a good time. The distractions of great conversation, a rugby match and beer were all too much and I had to start it about five times before I figured out what I was supposed to do. I then had trouble with the purl yarn overs so I put the knitting aside and concentrated on the fun day out part.

It transpires that I'm not the only one who had problems with the yarn overs and this helpful post explained the problem. I used the large holes solution and that worked perfectly. The yarn is a lovely merino, cashmere, nylon mix from Old Maiden Aunt that I dyed myself during the course I did with Lillith in Scotland last year. The stocking stitch part went really quickly and then I got into the lace. I haven't done much lace knitting before so doing a big project with charts was a challenge. When I figured out how the charts worked I found the charts much easier to follow than written lace directions. In future I'll definitely be doing all lace from charts. I really enjoyed knitting the lace. I made a couple of mistakes but I noticed them and was able to either tink back or in the case of a missing yarn over a row down I used this handy method to fix it.

I knit most of the shawl while actually watching the Winter Olympics on BBC2. I love the winter games, as a kid we had Eurosport and I got obsessed by watching ski jumping on it and I still love it. This time I really fell for the new discipline of ski cross. The first set of obstacles are called Wu-Tangs after the Wu-Tang clan, bringing some much needed gangsta to proceedings. I also got to dream about being as cool as Amy Williams and throwing myself at race car speeds down an ice slope on a glorified tea tray. In fairness the closest I'll get to emulating the athletes is by trying my hand at curling in Chamonix later this year. Here's the Ishbel blocking on my bright blue yoga mat. When it's dry I'll take some glamorous shots of it and post them up. I've been looking at it not quite able to believe I knit it in just over two weeks. I love it.


The spinning part of my Ravelympics was a challenge too. I wanted to spin up the lovely merino/tencel fiber that I dyed as part of my dyeing course at Old Maiden Aunt. I had ideas about what I wanted this yarn to be. The fiber is a grey/purple mixed with white. Tencel being a plant based fiber doesn't absorb the acid dyes one uses on wool based fiber so it stays white which gives a fantastic effect.

I wanted to corespin the fiber but my last corespun yarn ended up very over twisted and not looking too happy. There's a great group called Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners on Ravelry where I found a link to JazzTurtle's fantastic blog post about core spinning. I tried her technique and it worked much better this time, it's almost balanced in the end. I wanted this yarn to be bulky and thick and think. I also autowrapped the yarn with black lurex thread. Autowrapping is a fun technique where you leave a thread to do it's own thing while you're spinning so it wraps around the spun yarn at the wheel's orifice. The yarn ended up bulky weight and I have about 70 metres of it. I think it will look fab as a funky hat or cowl. I might combine it with some left over black Hulda from my Owls jumper. I named the yarn Bill Compton as I've been watching rather a lot of True Blood lately. I think it suits, it's dark and twisted and all that.

4 Responses to "Ravelympics Winter 2010" (Leave A Comment)

sheknitupthatball says
February 28, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Wow, both look absolutely fab! I just love the colours in the shawl.

WorstedKnitt says
February 28, 2010 at 11:28 PM

I managed to finish a shawl for Ravelympics too! Not at all so easy, but hey, it was supposed to be a challenge :)

Love that yarn, too!

Sinéad says
March 1, 2010 at 1:03 AM

Well done on your Ishbel *applause* it looks fantastic!

Bionic Laura says
March 4, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Thanks everyone!