life on Olympus

London Olympics, Day 3


First small project complete – a pair of Turkish Bed Socks in Spud & Chloe Fine, colorway "Goldfish" (hee):

Though this one felt like medaling by default because the Ukranian team got stuck in traffic around Trafalgar Square. Honestly - the second sock just needed toe grafting. Five minutes yesterday morning, and *whammo!* Medal.


London Olympics, Day 2

Neckline on the Koigu Featherweight is complete and blocking!

I stayed with the gauge needle size, and picked up 3 sts for every 4 rows, then worked tweed stitch to desired depth. One garter ridge and and a fastidious bind-off later, and she's ready for sleeves!

This WIP Wrestling is fun! (Who knew?)

Meanwhile, for my schlep-to-work project, I'm tackling the Small Project Event with some Turkish Bed Socks. Should have more to show for my efforts tonight.


London Olympics, Day 1


The Koigu Featherweight has its bottom edge complete (with my signature 'Purl Darts'), and I've picked up for the neckband, which I've decided to do in tweed stitch, just for fun and a little textural interest.

And I have to say it's only once every two years that I ever wish to have network TV. Isn't it amazing how tight the commercial interests have sewn up the streaming of the Games? The "free NBC Olympics app" requires that you have a cable account somewhere. Even my treasured Beeb has no streaming on this side of the Pond.

I just wish that they might release some of the footage of the events a day or two later, for free streaming on the web. I'd be happy to sit through a periodic commercial, or put up with a sidebar ad, for the luxury of seeing some of the competition online.

Harangue over, climbing down off the soapbox. Time to go paint some trim at the cottage so I can sit down after lunch and work on this neckline some more and watch the final episode of Season 3 of Torchwood!


let the games begin!

Why should the folks in London have all the fun?
There's a whole world of challenge and excitement on Ravelry right now, with the Ravellenic Games starting on Friday.

I've decided to enter the 'WIP Wrestling' event, in two distances: Socks & Scarves,
as well as Sweaters.
Unofficially, I'm awarding myself a medal for each WIP completed in the category:
one project completed = Bronze; two = Silver; three = Gold!

Went diving in the UFO stash this last week and came up with some great candidates: why on earth didn't these things get done in a timely manner?

1. A Bias Before & After Scarf in Habu Stainless/Linen and Cashmere (ooh!):

2. A Koigu Linen-Stitch Scarf in what I'm calling the 'Crazy Circus' colorway. (I'm not usually that into brights! Gracious!)

3. Four, count 'em, FOUR lonely Turkish Bed Socks with no mates. Second sock syndrome, anyone? Sheesh.

(Apparently, in this distance, I'm running for the Churchmouse team! All CM projects. Coincidence? Perhaps not.)


And in the Sweater distance:

1. Tempest, which really just needs edgings and its ends woven in. That's a 100-meter-hurdles kind of project.

2. A Featherweight Cardigan [Rav link], out of a solid Koigu KPM – not far to go on the body, and then it's neckline and sleeves. Doable.

3. My second Bailey Cardigan [Rav link], out of Rowan's spongy "Lima" – which I just noticed has a pretty striking dyelot issue on the left front and under the arms. Might require a re-knit of the upper back and fronts, as well as sleeves. Ugh.

Twelve days, six projects... Doable or just plain nuts?

Hell, it can't be any worse than the Starmore Olympics of 2008!

olympic knitwear

While the Ravelympians and Olympic Knitters run to the corner store for more Band-Aids for their sore fingers, the rest of the world seems to have discovered Olympic-themed knitwear!

(Didja catch those great moose-knit hats and Canadian Maple Leaf mittens on the athletes during the Parade of Nations last weekend?)

Here's an article about the objects themselves.
And there has got to be a designer out there whipping up a pattern for the rest of us to knit!

Meanwhile, I'm about to finish the first piece of my first Olympic project: Gatsby's almost got a back!

ready, steady...


Olympic knitting UFOs, clockwise from upper left:

1) "Whisper Weave Scarf" (my own pattern): Isager Alpaca 1. Linen Stitch, nice and wide, US 6 faaahbulous rosewood needles, handmade on Bainbridge. Smooooth.

2) "Gatsby Sweater" from KnitPurl in Portland. 2 strands of Kidsilk Haze for the upper bodice, Koigu monochrome for the torso in Cardigan Belt Rib (my new fave). Remind me to show you the buttons I got yesterday in the Madrona market. Oooh.

3) At bottom, my "Gallivant" crocheted (yes, you heard that right!) skirt, designed my my supremely talented sister-in-law, Mooseknits. In two shades of Koigu.

Hey, there's a Canadian theme to the fibers in my Olympic projects! Koigu, Koigu, Koigu!

GO, Canada!
As an honourary Canadian, I'm so chuffed for these Winter Games, I can't even tell ya.
And I know that by working on UFOs, I'm not adhering to the 'official' Knitting Olympics rules, but these are the things that are important for me to get off the needles. So let the games begin!

new year, new decade, same ol' knitter

Hiya, Troops!

Life proceeding on behind the scenes here at casa akabini — change of venue to Northern California for the holidays. (And a convenient prolonged stop-over on our way to Long Beach for TNNA next week.)

But now, suddenly, it's December 31st, and Das Internetz is full of reflections on the past year. Clara over at Knitter's Review has done a nice write-up of 2009: my goodness, did we get a lot done this year! Sock Summit, Ravelry pattern sales topping US $1M ... Astonishing.

The two things I'm proudest of this year:
a) Actually having fun running a marathon. I trained solo this year (Nurse K being out of commission for part of the season), which took a lot of dedication. And then I really focused on running my own race in Chicago, and had a blast. (It helps when the course is flat. It helps a lot.)

b) Knuckling down and dedicating my work time, full-time, to the Unpatterns. I've been hell-on-fire since early September to get this trade show thing done, and by the time I go live on the show floor next week, I'll have 6 new samples, 6 re-vamped patterns, a brand-spankin' new website, and downloadable .pdfs on their way to Patternfish! I really grew up as a company this year, thanks to a lot of good advice and role-modeling from my colleagues, whom I now get to join at TNNA. Can't wait to hang out with all of you and share the stories from the trenches.

I may also be growing up a bit, now that I'm in my forties: Dr. K and I were just discussing 'big project' people and 'quick challenge' people … No surprise which category I fall into. Give me an idea, and I'll turn it into a dissertation, or a product line, or a magnum opus with full marketing plan.

So I'm catching myself this morning wanting to post a full list of twelve sweaters for my NaKniSweMoDo'10 projects … and stopping. Not that I don't have a Ravelry queue as long as a donkey's ear, but I'm just getting wise to my tendency to overbook things. I got smart with the TNNA booth and decided to do a soft launch of just the 6 Pullover Unpatterns, postponing the Cardigan release until the June show. Likewise, I'll have sweaters in the back of my mind to work on this year, but I'll consider the 6 Unpattern Cardis as half of those 12, with another 6 or more to round out the year.

And the Olympic Challenge? (It's coming up! Can you feel it?) No new sweaters for me—despite all your great votes, I've decided to get even more grown-up and tackle the UFOs. There are some very worthy projects in there that have just stalled out, and they deserve to get off the needles. So we're-a-gonna hit them hard in February. Finish one, and I get a bronze medal. Two for silver, three for gold.

Here they are, in all their delayed glory:



And there's a lovely Linen-Stitch Laceweight Stole that may take me until the End of Time, but it's worth a shot—

That oughta keep me out of trouble, eh?

Happy New Year, one and all!
See you on the needles next year.

still not urgent, but...

... still fun to think about.

Thanks for all the votes in the comments of my last entry, peeps!

And the surprise winner, by a good margin, was


But here's the thing…
I kept thinking.

[Yeah, I know - Boy keeps warning me about that.]

I'm not getting around to my goal of finishing all my UFOs before the end of the year [that's UnFinished Objects, to you non-knitters], and a girl does like a sense of completion.

So now I'm thinking about working through my UFOs during the Olympics:
Gold medal if I finish all of them;
Silver if I finish all but one;
Bronze if I finish all but a few.

Time to go rustle them out from the boxes and knitting bags where they live to see what I'm up against.
But if it works, and I medal in this event, I'd get to knit Tweedie as a prize!


vital matters of no urgency

Am I the only one out here who starts obsessing about completely irrelevant things when under the gun on a deadline?

I mean, frankly, there's nothing like giving your brain a break from the things that really matter (like getting 12 Unpatterns ready for launch in two months' time) (and designing a trade show booth) (and getting sexy marketing materials organized and printed) (and re-designing a workshop for trade show participants) by planning what you're going to knit in …


But I got a little taste of Olympic fever when we were up north across the border (Victoria being deliciously close to Whistler, host of the Winter 2010 Olympics). So now, there's a part of my brain that's planning for the Winter Knitting Olympics, which probably starts when we're at Madrona.

For Torino 2006, I set myself the absurd challenge of whipping up Alice Starmore's "St. Brigid" in 17 days. And, to be honest, I got a bronze for effort: back and most of the front done in time. Had I not hit the speed bump of needing to add a full repeat for length (which meant ripping back the front neckline, a heinous bit of shaping - in pattern), I might have muscled through. As it was, I finished it before the … Summer Olympics were finished (yes, in 2008):

So this time around, I'm playing a bit more conservative with my goals.
Sweater? Sure. Charts? Perhaps. But no all-over cable craziness!

In the last 24 hours, I've settled on three top contenders, and decided to take it to the vote with you all (mainly so I can reclaim my prefrontal cortex for more important matters, like, um, work).

In the first corner: "Tweedie"
by Hanne Falkenberg.
• size 4 needle or so (my fastest size … really!);
• no charts to speak of, just color wrangling every 3 rows;
• cachet of putting "Falkenberg" on my knitting C.V.;
• plus, I actually already own the kit!

Cons: well, none, really.
Bought this kit at Stitches West a few years ago after seeing one of the Madrona gals sporting it. Loved it, loved the shape, loved the colorway, and it would make a great addition to the wardrobe.
(Besides, I've been assured by others that if I knit this, my ass will indeed look that good in jeans.)


In the next corner: "Ivy League Vest"
by Eunny Jang.
•Fair Isle a serious opportunity to show off chops;
•no sleeves to speak of (thereby vastly increasing chances of actually finishing);
•great color play opportunity before Olympics, and chance to use what I've learned from Feral Knitter in color workshops;
•plus a chance to use some of my Shetland stash!

Cons: well, none, really.


In the third corner: "Seneca"
by Jared Flood.
• a chance to hop on the "I [heart] Jared" bandwagon;
• lots of stockinette makes up for the presence of sleeves;
• cool cablework, but only in a few select places;
• plus, I actually already own the yarn and the booklet!

Cons: well, none, really.





In the fourth and final corner:
One of the Official Vancouver 2010 designs

by Kristina Hjelde for Dale of Norway.
• actually knitting an actual Olympic sweater less than 500 miles from the Games!
• lots of stockinette plus strategically-placed colorwork
• an official patch to put on the sleeve when you're done (we loves us our schwag).

Cons: don't own the yarn, don't own the pattern book – but Yarn Barn does let you choose a unique colorway! I'm thinking charcoal gray for the main color, plus natural and orange for the contrast colors.


So what say you, Gentle Knitters?
Vote in the comments.
The brain you save may be my own!