I Won the Sweater Triathlon!

Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem

 I don't know what a sweater triathlon is. That is just what they call knitting a sweater in the two weeks over the Olympics. A real sweater triathlon maybe would be if you knit three sweaters: one seamed, one in the round and one modular ... that would be a hell of a thing, hmmmm...

Anyway, I did it. I finished shortly before noon on Thursday, three whole days before I thought I would. The ends are woven in, the buttons are sewn on, and the sweater fits perfectly. 

Pictures of the finished sweater:

Final_Frontier_Complete_medium    IMG_2347_medium    IMG_2348_medium

Now I can go back to knitting my socks out of handspun wool and my beautiful lace scarf of red merino and silk, and spinning lovely alpaca. And wearing my newly completed sweater! 

The Summer 2016 Ravelry Games Update!

Halfway to the finish line! I can almost hear the cacophony of 200 or so Ravelry national anthems swelling the stands! 

My sweater is puttering along nicely:

Day_4_RG   Day 4

Day_5_RG_medium   Day 5

Pogo tired of watching me knit   Look! A cute kitty!

Day_7_RG_medium   Day 7

Day_8_RG_medium   Day 8

Bah humbug   Nicky would be tired of watching me knit too.

Cats 003   So would Nora.

Day 11   Day 11

I hope to be finished in time!

I am trying a sort-of new-to-me technique, magic loop knitting. It's where you use a circular needle with a long cord to knit small circumferences in the round, like on socks or sleeves; some people do it to bypass having to use double pointed needles, but I do it because I didn't have any freaking size 9 double pointed needles AND my Denise set of circular needles was missing one pair of needles --- you guessed it, size 9! Therefore I couldn't use the two-circular-needles method for small circumferences. So I am using a 36 inch (or 42 inch, don't know exactly) size 9 circular needle to knit my approximately ten inch circumference sleeve (which will be even smaller at the cuff). Good times. 

Magic Loop   Pogo's butt for size reference

The sleeves look too narrow, but hey. I can always unravel it and re-knit it after the Olympics are done if I need to.

I actually "invented" this method of knitting many, many years ago while on a camping/canoeing trip with friends. It must have been the 1970's or early 80's because Icelandic sweaters were all the rage, and I was knitting them for everybody on my Christmas list. The only thing I hadn't remembered to pack was my needles for the sleeves ... which I needed. Sigh. 

Most people would have given up on it, stuffed the sweater in the bag, and made a S'more. Not me. Maybe I needed to have the sweater done by the time I got back, I don't recall. But, I figured that there must be some way of making it work, and I knit the sleeves while pulling out the two feet of extra needle as I went. It worked. 

I had to chuckle when I found this on YouTube.com: The Traveling Loop method.

Or, the Being Stuck Up the Creek Without Double-Pointed Needles method. Hehe. 

See you at the finish line!!! 


The 2016 Ravellenic Games

(Previously known as the Knitting Olympics, but we can't use that name anymore since 2012)

I am knitting a sweater for this year's games. Yes, a whole sweater. No, not a sweater for a doll, it is for me. I have 14 days to do it; I have to get the ends woven in and take a picture by the end of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

My Opening Ceremonies:

The yarn: 10 skeins Rowan Calmer, plum.


The pattern:

Final Frontier Sweater, designed by Annamária Ötvös.  From the pattern description:

"Final Frontier is a top-down, seamless, boxy pullover with garter stitch panels and an interesting construction. We start the work with the shoulder saddles, they are worked sideways and joined at the center of the back neck. Then the stitches of the fronts and back are picked up along the edges of the saddles and the upper yoke is worked back and forth in rows. Shoulders are shaped with some short rows and the deep yoke is shaped with unusually placed invisible increases. After the front placket is complete we continue to work in the round to the underarms where the stitches of the body and the sleeves are separated and body is worked in one piece to the hem. Sleeves are worked in the round from the underarm to the cuff. Stitches for the neckband are picked up and knit in twisted rib."

Cast on during the Opening Ceremonies in Rio (counts as Day 1) and knit the left and right saddle shoulders that evening:

Day 1


"The most important thing in the Olympic [Ravellenic] Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

— Pierre de Coubertin

Day 2: Upper Yoke Shaping, and Shaping the Front Necklines and the Raglans

Day 2

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

— Muhammad Ali, American boxer and 1960 gold medalist. 

Day 3. Finished shaping the raglan shaping, joined the piece into the round, and worked on the lower yoke shaping. It's beginning to look like a sweater!

Day 3 Ravellenic Games

“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.”

— Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast and 1984 gold medalist.

I have 7 more rounds of lower yoke shaping, and then I will put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn to hold them, and knit for 14 1/4 inches and do 3/4 inch of ribbing, and then the body is done. I have no idea how long that will take, but if I keep knitting, it'll get done.... and then there are the sleeves. Luckily there is just the typical sleeve shaping. 

B E L I E V E, and you can do it!


Petting the Pueblo

I finished the pueblo stole/scarf in time, but I neglected to post that I had finished it on the event board -- actually I didn't even know that I had to do that. It's been two years since the last Olympics Ravellenics, and I forgot, I guess. So I didn't get a medal to show off, but I got the most important thing: the wonderful stole/scarf thing!

Pueblo Done

I have had it around my neck since I rinsed it, draped it on my wooly board to let it dry overnight, and trimmed the fringe. It is so soft and lovely, and has such pretty colors that go with everything! When I wear it, I feel fabulous. It truly is A Wonderful Thing! I am very proud that I finished my Wonderful Thing in the 14 days that I tried to knit it in. Now I'm going to snuggle with it and pet it :)

Rockin' the Pueblo

The Pueblo Stole, that is, by Carol Sunday of Sundayknits.com. I'm knitting it for the Ravellenic games, which finish up on Sunday. I am about 60% done; it's gonna be close. The goal of the Ravellenic Games is to challenge yourself, but knitting this stole has been a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be!

First of all, there are decreases and increases on each side because it gets it's drape from the slight bias that you knit it on. It is not a regular enough thing that my poor brain can handle -- I get what I am supposed to do, but I can't seem to remember it, so in the time constraints given by the Ravellenic Games (I only have two weeks to knit it), I have had to resort to the row-by-row directions. Oh, the humanity! 

Second, every other and sometimes every row, you join a new color, leaving a 4" tail that is left as the fringe. Sounds easy, right? It isn't. Imagine me with one hand, cutting a fringe that is vaguely 4", and then purling through the back and then through the front of the first stitch of the row. It's kind of hard; I think that it would have been sorta tricky but do-able back before I had my stroke. But, I'm doing it! 

Thirdly, you have to graft it together in the middle, which I am not looking forward to. I have decided that that is just finishing, so if I  can knit the whole thing by Sunday at noon-ish, then the medal is mine. If I get it grafted and weave in the few ends as well, that is just icing on the cake. :)

Now for the good news, hehe. I love this kit! Love, love, love it ... the yarn is just gorgeous. There are four kinds of yarn in the kit, chosen for the colors, and the colors really blend together harmoniously. There is Brigadoon, which is a 100% merino donegal tweed; Eden, which is 100% merino; Nirvana, which is 92% merino and 8% cashmere; and Angelic, which is 75% merino and 25% angora. Here is a picture of the first half, all knit:


I can't wait to wear this, it is so yummy! And despite the difficulty and my perceived whining, I am really loving this. It is so much fun seeing the color progression; it's like watching the sunrise over the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico. Beautiful!

Ravellenic Wrap Up

From Ravelry:

"Event: wips wrestling

Please stand to honor our revered medal winners upon completion of their herculean challenges in this the 2012 Ravellenic Games!

Congratulations on a job well done, and freeing those needles hooks and project bags! And last but not least, turning those wips into Finished objects to be admired!

{a list of Ravthletes who won a gold medal goes here, including ME}

Accept this lovely bouquet of summer flowers plucked from hillsides of Mount Olympus. And from the Bobicii Nereids, your Event Medal!


You’re now officially immortalized forever in the history books of the Ravellenic Games! Yeah You!


Now will Ravthletes and spectators alike bow your heads for the stately yet thrilling Ravellenic Games anthem … dum de dum dum … dummmmmm .. DA DUMMM!

and the crowd roars with excitement at yet another successful bid for Ravellenic Glory is achieved!"

Thank you all for cheering me along while I knit my October Frost! It was fun, it was exciting, and now it's over!

2012 Ravellenic Games Banner

Ravellenic Games Day 15

I decided to weave in all my ends to finish my sweater absolutely. It was a cold, foggy, cold, damp, cold rainy day yesterday, so Nicky decided to come inside and get some lovin'. He thought it would be fun to jump up on the table and help me:

Weaving helper

Nora is helping too, from a safe distance. I cuddled Nicky for awhile, then he left, and I finished weaving in all the ends. 

Lynne came over and I thought she was going to say that she ran out of yarn for her sweater. This sweater needs a little back story here: back in 1986 or so, Lynne bought the yarn to make a raglan sleeved sweater, knit on it for a while, then for some reason neither of us can remember, she put it in the closet ... for 26 years!! Earlier this year, she pulled it out and decided to finish it. The pattern was nowhere to be found, and it looked to me like the amount of yarn needed to finish it was a little more than she apparently had. 

She got online, found the pattern (I think it was an old Candide pattern), long out of print, found a woman who had the pattern on Ravelry, got a copy mailed to her, found where she was in the pattern, and resumed knitting. She knit steadily along, eyeing her rapidly diminishing ball of yarn. Things got busy and I didn't hear about the sweater for a long time. 

Then she showed up yesterday with a very small ball of yarn, and a bag full of sweater.  "Here," she said. "Finish it!" 

I took the bag with some trepidation. My mind was already racing ahead to how we could get two colors of one-ply yarn, ply them together, and make a facsimile of the yarn she had purchased twenty six years ago. Imagine my surprise when I pulled out the sweater,  complete, seamed, and beautiful! 

Like me, she had just put her nose to the grindstone, and finished that sweater. She deserves a gold medal for jumping over hurdles that would have made other knitters throw in the towel and give up. Now we have both faced our challenges and can embark on the prize that we both want to knit, without fear of another unfinished object languishing before us, weighing on our minds.

I put my sweater on and was very comfortable in it; the day had become quite a bit colder. Nicky came and snuggled with me. He's used to sleeping on my sweater, so the fact that I'm wearing it makes it that much more snuggly. I like having a warm sweater on that a cat likes to snuggle in, better than sweater pieces in a bag by the window any day.

Oh, and I got Mouse 33 done yesterday too:

Mouse 33

Ravellenic Games Day 13

My second sleeve is all knitted, and I started sewing yesterday:

Sleeve 2 Done

This is going well. The saddle shoulder went in easily and it looks good. I wish I had been able to block the pieces before seaming, but I didn't have time; anyway, the pieces fit together well, and I can block it a little when it's done. This sweater is really well-designed, so that helps. Lisa Lloyd gives very easy to understand, step-by-step directions about finishing.

The only thing I would say is that the pictures for this sweater are more for art than for usefulness. There's a gorgeous close up of the sweater folded up, slightly out of focus; while it is very pretty, it is not very useful. There is also a picture of the sweater hanging over the back of a chair, with another sweater folded up on the chair as well There's no picture of a person wearing this beautiful cardigan, there's no picture of the sleeves or the back; you can't tell how long it is. I would say maybe her photostylist was not a knitter. I could be wrong.

Thankfully, we now have Ravelry, with lots of pictures of the finished project, so when I had a question, it was easy to look it up.

Today I have to finish seaming it together, and pick up the sts for the collar, and knit that as far as I can. I can't believe I'm almost done, tomorrow I will be all done this sweater. Tomorrow I will weave in the ends. While  I am happy to be finished, I'm a little sad, too ... until the next project!

Ravellenic Games Day 12

Well, I didn't finish my second sleeve yesterday, but I will today:


When this is done, all the pieces of the sweater (except for the collar) will be knit. I wonder, how long will it take to sew together? How long will it take to knit the collar? How long will it take to weave in all the ends??

I'm starting to look forward to next week, when October Frost will be completed and I can go back to knitting socks again. :)

Ravellenic Games Day 11

I knit on my second sleeve yesterday:

Sleeve 2

I'v got a pile o' knitting to do to get this sleeve done by the end of today! See those little circles there in the middle? There's 4 of them so far? The other, completed sleeve has 12 of them, and way more sleeve. Yikes! I'd better get the sticks to flying!!

Assuming I get the sleeve done today (itwillbedoneitwillbedoneitwillbedone), I just have to sew it together and knit the collar, which is 110 stitches in ribbing for 4 or 5 inches, which is a lot. Especially since I have the whole freaking sweater hanging from it while I knit it. I am not looking forward to that!

Ravellenic Games Day 10

Yesterday I finished my first sleeve:

Sleeve 1

I finished it at about 1:30 a.m., right about when Curiosity, the new Mars rover, began it's descent. It was so exciting! It went off without a hitch, and landed just where and how it was expected to.

You could see the strain on the faces of the mission controllers on TV. All those months of work, billions of dollars, everything riding on that piece of equipment out in space, hoping to make it to Mars, and you could tell, they didn't know if the new landing that was devised for the much bigger rover would work or not. I read about it, and it was a crazy idea, something only Americans would dream of -- and they made it work. While they were waiting for the rover to land, they kept referencing its heart beat -- tones that it was making, saying it was ok and still there. They passed out peanuts for good luck, another thing only Americans would do.

When Curiosity was safely landed and was in the right landing zone, with wheels on the ground, and started sending pictures back -- the place erupted with pure joy. It reminded me of one of the scenes in Star Wars when they blew up the Death Star and there was a big party, only this was more like birthing a baby, a big mechanical baby, and no one knew whether it would make it or not. Welcome to the world, little one -- I hope Mars will give you a lot to study!

Today I have to work as far as I can on my second sleeve; it should go faster than the first one, now that I know where it's going. It's got to be easier than landing Curiosity, anyway!

Ravellenic Games Day 9

I knit my corrected button bands:

Corrected button bands

I feel better having corrected them.

Then I knit a little on my first sleeve:

Sleeve 1

I only have one and a half sleeve to go! Today I hope to finish this sleeve. I figure the next sleeve will take two days, sewing up will take two days, and the collar will take one day, so I should be just finishing when the closing ceremonies are taking place, just in time!! The end is in sight and I can smell the gold medal!!

Ravellenic Games Day 8

Here is my first sleeve:

First sleeve

Alert readers will see that it is about where it was yesterday. 

I took some time to knit the button bands so I wouldn't have to do it at the last minute:

Button bands

But I did it wrong. I knit them for a man, not a woman, so I have to re-knit them from the buttonhole up on one side, and put buttonholes in on the other side. Luckily they don't take much time to knit!

Yesterday Lynne came over and we made peanut butter and chocolate cookies that were wheat-free, and they are very yummy. They're kind of like a meringue, but with chopped nuts, peanut butter, and grated chocolate. It sounds weird, but they are very good. 

Last night I decided to take a break from my knitting and I hung out with Nicky and slept instead. Today I'll finish my button bands correctly this time, and work on my first sleeve. Really, I will!

Ravellenic Games Day 7

The right front of October Frost is done:

Right front done

I would have taken a picture with the other front and the back, but somebody appears to have claimed that:

Nicky and the sweater

Silly boy.

I made a start on the first sleeve:


Today I plan to get as far as I can on the first sleeve. This sweater has a saddle shoulder, which should be interesting; I don't remember ever doing a saddle shoulder before, but with the tons of sweaters I've made in the past, I may have forgotten. I remember there were a few Alice Starmore sweaters that I wanted to make that had saddle shaping for the shoulders, and a top-down Aran sweater that had saddle shaping. I guess I won't be doing that one in this life; too bad I didn't do it when I could have. Let this be a lesson to you: knit the things you really want to try before you have a stroke and can't do them!!


Ravellenic Games Day 6

The left front is done:

Left front done

The right front is about half done:

Right front

I like the way the cables are reversed on the right front; they're easier to knit without a cable needle, and I can go faster.

Todays goal is to finish the right front, and do as much as I can on one sleeve.

I've been listening to a lot of music. Spotify has a great radio feature that lets you select whatever song or artist or album that you like, and makes a radio station from it, sorta like Pandora or Last.fm or MOG does, but for some reason the Spotify radio is more appealing to me, even though it has less features than the others. It just reads my mind better, I guess.

I'm off to knit!

Ravellenic Games Day 5

Yesterday I put in a lot of knitting and got the whole left front nearly done:

Left front

I have 24 rows to go, with a little neck shaping thrown in. One thing I like about this design is that there enough shaping to make it fit well, but not so much to keep track of. Another thing that I like is how every chart has 24 or 12 rows, making it easy to keep track of while you knit. As Arans go, this is a speedy little knit!

Today I hope to finish the left front and knit the right front as far as possible.

Ravellenic Games: Day 1

Yesterday we watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. It was very British and very beautiful. Then I set about on my WIP Wrestling.


See that little safety pin on the right? That's where I was when I started. I basically knit rows 11 through 24 of Chart B, so 14 rows in 3 hours. That is way faster than the last go-round.

This project seems much easier than it did before; it makes sense. That's a big step up from where I was! 

It's a really pretty sweater. I don't think I will finish it before the games end, but now I know that I can finish it!