February 24, 2006

Last Ditch Effort

It’s unfortunate that even by ignoring most of my ‘real’ work I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this. And I really can’t ignore everything else this weekend — I have too much to do. So even though I think I might just be able to finish if I did nothing but knit all weekend, I really can’t. Sigh.

But I have been making progress! I’ve finished one sleeve:

ganseysleeve.JPG

And the shoulder strap of the other. These shoulder straps are really cool — I love the way they work. Here’s the second one about half-way through:

ganseyshoulderstrap.jpg

You cast on some stitches (around 20 in my case), and then start knitting the pattern you’ve chosen, knitting one stitch together with one from the shoulder stitches at the end of every row, and then turning the work — it’s short-rows, joining the shoulders. But it didn’t make any sense to me before I started doing it, and I don’t think I can explain it — you might be able to work it out from the picture, but I can’t photograph it very well. Just take my word for it, it’s very cool.

And now back to work — and the Olympics! (I don’t even want to tell you how much coverage I’ve watched… it’s Reading Week right now, and the laptop makes it way too easy!)

Posted by Aven at 11:50 PM | Comments (6)

February 20, 2006

My Olympic Hero

I’ve finished the body, and started the first shoulder strap. But it’s still not 65% of the final sweater, which is where we’re at according to the counter.

So I’ve decided to make Eric Moussambani my personal Olympic hero. Some of you may remember him from the Sydney Summer Games — he’s the swimmer from Equatorial Guinea who finished a full 50 seconds behind the next slowest swimmer in the 100m race. There were no other swimmers in his heat, so he swam the agonizingly slow race entirely by himself, visibly struggling to even stay afloat by the end of it. He had done all his training in a pool only 20m long, and qualified for the Olympics through a special scholarship program, essentially. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring to watch him fight for the finish, and the crowd cheered him on every flailing stroke of the way, giving him a standing ovation at the end.

So I think Eric Moussambani will be my personal inspiration to keep going until I’ve finished my event, however far behind the rest of the competitors I may be.

“Sometimes the race is its own reward.
Sometimes it isn’t about being the best or the fastest.
Sometimes the Olympics is about an Eric Moussambani finding a way, not to win, but just to finish.”

Posted by Aven at 11:55 PM | Comments (6)

February 18, 2006

Halfway Report

Well, the counter says that 50% of the time has elapsed, so it’s time for a report.

I am not, sadly, halfway done. I’ve just finished the back:

ganseyback.JPG

But I still have the section above the split for the sleeves on the front to do. And then the shoulder straps, and sleeves, and collar.

Still, I’m happy with what I have done. You can see the vertical patterns a little bit in this photo (taken in the midst of high winds and dropping temperatures, sorry for its quality!):

ganseybackclose.JPG

The centre image is an anchor; on either side of that are trees, and the zigzags on the outside are called “marriage lines”. I thought those were reasonably appropriate motifs for a sweater made for my husband while we’re in the province of New Brunswick, which is both Maritime and heavily forested.

Good luck to all the other Knitting Olympians! I hope you’re doing better than I am at meeting your goals!

Posted by Aven at 05:05 PM | Comments (7)

February 15, 2006

Day 6 Update

This will be quick, because I’m still falling behind rather than catching up. I’ve finished just over half of the body, and I’ve started on the sleeve gussets. By the end of tonight I hope I’ll have reached the point of splitting the front and back; that will bring me to the vertical patterns.

So far at least my math has been working out… though of course I’m still not certain that it’s the right size for Mark. Maybe I’ll have him try it on once I’ve put the sleeve stitches on holders… or not — if it’s the wrong size, I’m not sure I want to know, since I’m pretty much committed now! I don’t think I could face starting again, Knitting Olympics or no Knitting Olympics!

Right — back to work!

Posted by Aven at 09:50 PM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2006

Progress Day 4

I’ve had an unexpected bonus in my Olympics quest — a snow day! We got the tail end of the big Atlantic storm that shut down the East coast over the weekend; we didn’t get nearly as much snow as they did further south, but we had very strong winds, and big drifts, so I guess the University decided it wasn’t safe for those coming in from the region, and it was too hard to clear the campus. Just as well, since it would have been a pain to dig out — you can see what our front door looked like on Mark’s blog.

So, more knitting time! Though of course I can still work from home, and will. But every few minutes help!

Here’s where I am:

ganseyprogress1.jpg

(The colour is washed out, but the pattern shows up well.)

I’m almost done the first pattern band after the definition ridge; about 35% of the body. I don’t know exactly how much of the total that means I’ve done, since I’m not sure what proportion of the sweater the body is.

Onward!

Posted by Aven at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

February 12, 2006

Anxiety-inducing

I’ve just added something to my sidebar that can do nothing but increase my anxiety about the Knitting Olympics — clever, aren’t I! It’s a countdown timer, counting down the time left in the Olympics, and recording the percentage of time passed. Apparently it will turn yellow somewhere in the middle of the time, warning me to ratchet up the panic level, and then red as the end approaches. Perfect!

I must thank Anny and her husband for this — she gave up valuable knitting time, apparently, to design it! I’m sure she’d be happy to share it with you if you ask.

Ok, I see that 12.77% of the time has already elapsed, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t knitted that much of my sweater yet (and I think I’ve been more productive this weekend than I’ll be for the rest of the Games — eep!) so I should get back to it.

Posted by Aven at 04:04 PM | Comments (2)

February 11, 2006

First gold!

Congratulations to Jennifer Heil! Canada’s first gold, in freestyle moguls. What a great run, and a very happy athlete!

Great inspiration for all of us knitting Olympians.

Speaking of which, I’ve finished the 3” ribbing on the body, and am about to start the initials at the bottom of the front (MS, for Mark Sundaram). I’m not exactly speeding along, but I’m not too worried… yet!

Posted by Aven at 03:18 PM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2006

Go!

And we’re off! I’ve cast on a few ceremonial stitches (I made the slipknot at 2pmEST precisely, and had my first tangled mess that needed to be carefully unpicked by 2:01. Impressive!). I also read a few comments about the opening ceremonies from the CBC Olympics website, so I feel like I’ve participated in the important moment. Now I have to pack my knitting away and get on with my day, but I’ll be watching the ceremeonies on tape-delay tonight, and knitting my little heart out.

Hurray!

Posted by Aven at 03:14 PM | Comments (2)

February 09, 2006

Ready, set...

Everything’s ready. I have my wool, my needles, and my complicated diagrams:

ganseydiagrams.JPG

That’s all the numbers, and the patterns for the body and sleeves, charted out by hand… every single blasted purl stitch, carefully marked. Often more than once, when I messed it up the first time. But now it’s ready!

This is the pattern for the front:

ganseychart.JPG

I like the little anchors, personally.

Ok, I’m ready to go — let’s start those Games!

Posted by Aven at 10:25 PM | Comments (5)

February 08, 2006

Yellow!

(I know this isn’t an Olympics-related entry, but I’m not supposed to start until Friday, so in the meantime…)

Look what I have!

yellowyarn.jpg

Perfect for brightening up the dull February days.

yellowyarn2.jpg

This yarn, chosen in a late-night marathon online session, is destined to become Bad Penny for my sister, minus the contrast colour trim. (That is, it will still have the trim, but in the same colour as the body). This was originally intended to be a Christmas present, but I knew full well that I couldn’t just choose a top to make for my sister without consulting her — she has very good, but very specific, taste. So I asked her to pick something… and then things got crazy before Christmas, and continued so, and, in the end, we decided on the pattern and colour in the beginning of January, and the yarn arrived about a week ago. I’ve started, and am about halfway through the increases, but there’s a long way to go. I was vaguely hoping to make it in time for Morel’s birthday, but it’s only days away, so that’s not happening — especially with the Olympic knitting starting soon! My guilt is somewhat assuaged by the fact that this is definitely a spring/summer top, so it’s not like she’d be able to wear it in February, anyway.

But I’m enjoying working with sunny, shiny, yellow cotton. So I’ll surely be back to it pretty soon!

Posted by Aven at 10:28 PM | Comments (1)

February 07, 2006

Late entrant

Well, I have a feeling I’m going to regret this, but I just can’t help it. I hereby declare my participation in the Knitting Olympics!

I will, of course, be joining Team Canada organised by Kelly, if it’s not too late.

My project will be a self-designed gansey for Mark, made from the Briggs & Little I talked about here, using the books I also talked about in that entry: “Patterns For Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans” for the stitch patterns, and “Knitting Ganseys” by Beth Brown-Reinsel for the schematics and how-to. I’m still in the design phase, but I’ve got the front and back charted, so I just have the sleeves (and shoulder strap) to work out. This is intended to be Mark’s “New Brunswick Gansey”, to remind him of our stay here — the yarn is from New Brunswick, the patterns and construction are traditional, and I’m knitting it while we’re here.

As a first step (training!) I followed Beth Brown-Reinsel’s instructions for making a “sampler” gansey, which demonstrated the various techniques that will be used for the full-sized sweater. I haven’t taken a picture of it since I finished it, but here’s one of it almost finished:

ganseysampler.jpg

Isn’t it cute? I have no idea what to do with it now, but I’ll figure something out.

Now, I am fully aware that there is very, very little chance that I’ll actually finish this in the 16 days of the Olympics, or that if I do I’ll have any time left over to work, write, eat, or sleep. But I was about to start working on this anyway, and this may give me incentive to get it done as quickly as possible, at least. Maybe Mark will even have a chance to wear it before winter’s over — if, that is, winter ever starts properly down here.

I’ll show the charts soon, maybe once I’ve finished the sleeve chart.

Of course, this is all so that I can put the buttons in my sidebar — I love the buttons!

Posted by Aven at 12:17 PM | Comments (7)

February 06, 2006

Lopi Socks

Thanks for all the compliments! I’m glad you like it as much as I do.

I’m back from my latest trip, which went very well, I think. I’m hoping to be able to catch up a little on the other areas of my life by being in the same place for more than a few days. Among other things, that means catching up on blogging! So here’s one FO update:

Over Christmas, the main knitting I managed to do was to finish up two pairs of Lopi socks for Mark, to match with the Lett Lopi sweaters I’ve already made him.

lopisocks.JPG

I wouldn’t have thought they’d be comfortable, but he seems to like them — over top of another pair of socks, though (since they’re not exactly soft!). But since he wants them for the coldest days of the year, that’s fine.

Posted by Aven at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)