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July 2016
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September 2016

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 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!


"Cap'n, There Be Whales Here!"

I love that Star Trek movie.  Heart-icon_21153857

OK, this post has nothing to do with whales or Star Trek, but it does have to do with sailing and something that all knitters need -- tote bags to carry their knitting in!!

My friends Lynne and Mike McHenry had a fabulous windjammer in Camden called Angelique. She is beautiful. She still is, too! Just under different owners. Captain Mike and Lynne had Angelique for 27 years, during which time they accumulated a LOT of tan bark sail, tons of it. Being the thrifty and energetic person that she is, Lynne saw the pile of old sails as a recycling  and repurposing opportunity, so she designs and makes tote bags, log carriers, and yarn/tool/garden totes out of them. 

People, let me tell you -- these are wonderful bags! I have a small tote that doubles as a yarn bag and it carries my purse in it too. Lynne designed the straps to be just the right length to put over my shoulder.

She brought over some yarn totes to show me before sending them to the very lucky recipient. I got some pictures:

Tote  Holds enough yarn for a sweater!

Inside  The top folds down to show the deep interior.

Top The top can be pulled together so the yarn comes out but stays clean. Cats and dogs are unlikely to get into it. Lynne buys material for the top as it becomes available for a good price. She always chooses the prettiest materials!

Skein   Four deep pockets are on the outside of the bag. They can be used for yarn, bottles of wine or Scotch, and cats. And tools or whatever.

Tag  The pretty tag features a picture of Angelique under full sail, displaying the canvas that your tote is made out of. Her tags say "This bag was handcrafted in Hope, Maine using recycled sails that were used aboard Angelique through the years of our ownership.

"Each bag is unique, a lot of care is given to design and construction. To clean, I recommend wiping with a damp cloth and then lie flat to dry. Caution with heat or iron. Binding will melt. Enjoy a piece of history and a memory forever! All my best!"

Each tag is signed by Lynne, who is also known as the Admiral. :) She also adds a line telling you what sail was used to make the tote. She is making totes out of a mizzen topsail right now.

Lynne's prices are reasonable and her bags are beautiful. She sells them from her Windjammer Canvas web site, and Howard also has a few at Maine Gathering in Camden. You can almost hear the wind in the sails, smell the salt water and feel the warm sun on your back as you scud down the bay, in your mind. It's the next best thing to being there! Maybe you will see a whale!