Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympian challenges

Short blog post tonight, because it's 2 a.m. and I've been knitting almost non-stop since a little past 9 p.m. I so did not realize it had been that long! :) That's good, though, because I have a lot of work to do in a small amount of time.

You see, Jess and I are both participating in the Ravelympics. I'll let her blog about her own project, but I'm competing in both the Hat Halfpipe and the Nordic Colorwork Combined events with the same project: the Vermont Hat. Knitting started tonight at the same time the Olympics opening ceremony began, and the challenge is to complete your project(s) before midnight on the last day of the Olympics. This gives us ... 17 days? I think?

Yes, my only goal is for one hat. Yes, hats are my niche. But this one is slightly different. For one thing, it's fair isle. Much, much slower than my normal hat-making. Also, I'm using fingering weight yarn (Knitpicks Palette) on size 3 needles, which is quite a bit smaller than my normal dk-to-worsted on 5s. It's going to be a real challenge for me to get finished in such a short time period, especially since I'll be at work for the majority of those days and my knitting time will be limited. But I'm excited about the prospect, and hey, maybe the Ravelympics will be just the inspiration I need to push me to finish.

Oh, and by the way, that original hat was worked in worsted weight yarn, and the top is solid color. The second color is only used around the "tube" part of the hat (technical term there). I didn't like that (stupid perfectionism!) so, as usual, I modified it. First I modified the hat to work with fingering weight, then I added extra colorwork designs to the crown of the hat, all the way up to the decreases. The last row that uses the second color is only 2 rows away from finishing the hat, and the next-to-last row would've been a solid-color row anyway. I'm kind of proud of my modifications on this one.

For now, anyway. Ask me again when I'm rushing to complete all that colorwork on the last day of the Ravelympics.

I will, however, explain what I did later if it works out well. I won't provide my complete chart, because that would be copyright infringement, but I can show off what I added and explain my other mods.

This is my first real fair isle project, by the way. I've done some practice stuff, and a little bit of intarsia, but I've never really done any large-scale stranded colorwork. I think I enjoy it. Which is probably a good thing, since I am completely in love with a lot of stranded colorwork patterns. Oh the prospects.

So, now that I've bored you with all those details, wanna see a picture of tonight's progress?

In case you can't tell from that terrible photo, my yarn is green and white, just like the pattern photo. It's Palette colorways Edamame and Cream, if you're interested.

I got through 5 rows of ribbing (on size 1s to help it do what ribbing's supposed to do: pull inward and stay snug around the body) and 5 rows past that, the first of which was just a solid color. I probably won't average 10 rows every day. That would be asking too much. Although, I have to admit, I was knitting 132 sts of 1x1 ribbing on size 1 Boye needles, which is no easy feat ... that didn't exactly go quickly, either.

Still, I like how it's turning out, and I'm 1/12 of the way to the decreases, not counting the ribbing or the solid row immediately following it. If I can work 4 stranded rows per day, I should be ready to start the decreases 11 days from now, leaving me 5 days for the decreases. That is definitely doable, since there are only 19 rows of decreases and the rows are shorter, ending with only 12 stitches after the last row.

I can do this. I can do this! But I might need you all to cheer me on. I respond very well to compliments and encouragement. ;)

More information on both Jess's Ravelympics project and my own is available on our respective Ravelry pages, which have been conveniently linked for you on the sidebar. Because my perfectionism doesn't just apply to hats.

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