Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Knitting Olympics Learnings

1. I learned that I can do a knit-a-long if I can do a project that most other people aren't doing.

2. I learned that I am likely more of a rectangular shawl person instead of a triangular shawl person.

3. I learned that I will do crazy things in order to deserve a JPEG of a gold medal.

4. I learned that I cannot focus on just one project even in the short span of 16 days. Some may say that I knew that already.

5. I learned that even without the total focus, I still have enough discipline to meet my deadlines. I may have known that one already, too.

6. I learned that really, you can get past a troublesome spot if you just work at it. Throwing the project aside does not solve the problem.

7. I learned that it's much more fun to knit with friends. Whoops, I already knew that one, too.

8. I learned that above-mentioned friends and family are worth tons when it comes to support and encouragement, even if said support and encouragement includes some mocking and general shock and awe upon successful completion.

9. I learned that over 4000 knitters joined the knitting olympics, and only 2400 atheletes joined the regular olympics.

10. I learned that it is great to challenge yourself now and then, and the feeling of freedom when you finish is definitely worth the effort.

11. I learned that knitting a lace shawl with the same pattern everywhere can get a bit tedious.

12. I learned to follow my instincts when it comes to yarn yardage. I never would have had enough left over for another repeat.

13. I learned that actually finishing knitting projects can be very fun. So last night I finished another one. (Sadie's sweater. Can you believe it?)

Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm SuperGirl

Knitting Olympics Project Specs
Pattern: Diamond Lace Shawl designed by Sivia Harding
Yarn: KnitPicks Shadow in Sunset colorway
Needles: US5
Started: February 10, 2006, 8:30pm
Finished: February 24, 2006, 11:45pm

Before Blocking:

During Blocking:

After Blocking:

The Leftovers and the Prize:
Not only did I win the gold, but I also won this lovely ball winder, which arrived on Friday. Talk about a prize! (I actually bought it on eBay, but it came at the perfect time, no?) The teeny tiny ball of yarn on the top of the ball winder is the leftovers from the 440 yards of yarn I used for the shawl. It's a good thing I didn't attempt another repeat.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how I felt and what I learned from this experience. For now, enjoy my artsy photos!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Strike Up The Band

I'll post lots more pictures on Monday when I'm not trying to upload them via dial-up. Tonight's post is proof that I finished with plenty of time to spare.

I finished the final repeat, two last points, and the bindoff Friday night. I counted 241 stitches in the final row, and the bindoff took for. ev. er. However, the shawl was off the needles at 11:45pm on Friday, February 24, 2006.

I had sock club from 10a-noon today at the yarn store, and then I clerked in the afternoon. This morning before I left, I pinned out the shawl on my bed, turned the ceiling fan on low, kicked the cats out, and shut the door. By the time I got home after working, the shawl was dry.

I just finished unpinning it and seeing how it drapes. I have taken plenty of pictures (both pre- and post-blocking), and I'm going to attempt some artsy* photos tomorrow... hopefully there will be some sunshine.

More stats and info on Monday... hopefully along with some big fat gold. Go me!

*artsy for me = sans cat hair

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

He's Paying Attention

The other day Anthony asked me how "the project" was going. I described my progress so far and explained how much I had left to do. He wanted to know if I had had a chance to check out how the competition was doing.

"There is no competition," I explained. "Olympic knitting atheletes compete only against themselves."

"So," he wondered, "Do you think you have what it takes to beat yourself?"


Last night he and I talked briefly on the phone. He was waiting for his new car to arrive, and I was waiting for my CPR class participants to arrive. I told him I was going to try to knit a row or two before my class started.

"How much do you have left to do now?" he asked.

"I have eight more rows on this repeat and one more repeat to go. Then I have the binding off and the blocking."

"I know what blocking is!!" he exclaimed proudly.

"You do? What is it?"

"It's where you staple it to the wall and get it wet!"

"Close enough, Baby... close enough."

He's so cute.


Since that conversation I've completed four more rows. I'm up over 200 stitches per row now. Rows left to go: 24. Applied i-cord bind off. Stapling it to the wall. I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Feel the Burn

Go me. I hit my goal for the weekend (7 repeats complete) and even finished two more rows this morning while I waited for the cable guy. No, not THAT Cable Guy. (Apparently, some moron in my neighborhood broke into the cable box and started turning off random people's cable. Nice. One more reason to love my neighborhood.)

You can see the scrunchy, unblocked lacy goodness in this photo. I included the remote for size purposes. I'm not going to stretch the shawl out for any more pics until the photo finish, mostly because it would stretch waaaaaaaaay farther than my needle is long, and I really can't imagine the frustration it would be to try to get all those stitches back on the needle. I worked fairly diligently on my Olympic knitting for most of the weekend, not including the hours I had to work-work on Saturday. I must say I have my doubts about finishing on time. I watch my little ticker tick away, and check my calendar for the remainder of the week, and I have trouble seeing two more finished repeats plus an applied i-cord bindoff plus a goodly amount of time for blocking. The rows are getting longer, people. Every new repeat adds two additional diamonds. Each row takes a significantly long time, despite my fervent knowledge of the pattern. And no, telling me my Visa Check Card just got stolen is not going to boost my confidence.

And yet, despite my growing concern, I still had time over the weekend for this:

Sing with me now.

Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
For orangey waves of garter-stitch goodness.
Knitty's Unbiased majesty,
Above my fruit and grain (cereal).

Oh, Mango Moon, oh, Mango Moon,
Chaka sheds her fur on thee.
And crown thy good with straps and possibly a lining,
And stuff thee with some yarn-related loot.

Focus, Drunken Monkey, focus.

P.B. Happy happy happy birthday (yesterday), Joyer! I hope you had a relaxing, refreshing weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Five Down, Four to Go

Quickie update: I finished the fifth repeat last night around 1am. It looks just like the last picture, only there's an extra row of diamonds on the top. So you don't get a new picture. I am mean.

I've set up a "goal" for what I want to get done and when. (Some people did this weeks before the knitting olympics started.) I want to finish at least repeats six and seven by the time this weekend is over, and then I have a whole week to do the last two repeats and cast off and block the thing.

The pattern is becoming more ingrained in my head, so the rows (I think) are going faster even though they're getting longer, simply because I don't have to refer back to the pattern nearly as often. This is a good thing.

I won
Joy's contest. I get cookies. I'm trying not to sound too excited so that Brenda won't feel bad. (Muhahahahahahaha!!)

I've been promised pictures of the cutest kids in the world in their Valentine's socks, but they are thus far unseen. I'll share as soon as I get them, kay?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Disclaimer: Vomit Ahead

No, my preciouses, the shawl is far from finished. I have progressed to row 103, however, and I plan to finish this repeat tonight, which will give me five vertical diamonds. I will find an object to place in the next picture which will give you some idea of the size of the shawl. It's slightly larger than a do-rag at this point. (Go google 'do-rag' if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

My newest toy is in the sidebar. It's a count-down-o-matic from
Anny Purls. I like to stare at it while I'm at work, watching the precious seconds, minutes, and hours tick away while I'm not able to knit. I actually did two rows today at lunch time. I should have done more. No one would have cared. I could have sat in the kitchen for a couple of hours, knitting away. It would have been fine, right? Okay, maybe not.

You should be proud of me, though. I've had good, solid focus on the shawl since Sunday. I haven't picked up any other projects since then. Well, I haven't picked them up to work on them. I did pick up a project that one of the cats attempted to vomit on. Fortunately most of the vomit landed on the plastic bag containing my Lorna's Laces Seaside yarn and my Raindrop Lace Sock. Unfortunately, a small amount of the vomit landed on the ball of yarn I started a sock with this weekend. I suppose this is a lesson in not leaving important things (like knitting projects and yarn) on the floor in front of the couch, seeing as the arm of the couch and the immediate vicinity seem to be a favorite vomiting spot.

Haven't read enough about vomit? This story kind of reminds me of something that happened when I was in junior high. I was supposed to have straightened up my room one day, and I guess I hadn't. (Big shock, I know.) That night I got sick and projectile vomited some not-quite-completely-digested Spaghettios on the floor. But since I hadn't cleaned up like I was supposed to, some of the yuck got on my brand new basketball shoes. As my mom was helping me clean up, she kindly informed me that I was grounded for a week for not straightening my room like I was supposed to. And I was responsible for cleaning my shoes, because I wasn't getting a new pair.

You know how they tell you to learn from your experiences? Sometimes I wish I'd listen.

Oh, and I haven't appreciated a good bowl of Spaghettios, since.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

An Update for the Masses

It's not surprising, but it is somewhat amusing to read the different accounts and experiences with the knitting olympics. I know everyone is just dying to know how it's going for me, and far be it for me to disappoint.

I didn't actually get to cast on until about 8:30pm Friday night. (I did the right thing.) I had planned to leave work at 1:00 that afternoon and be home in plenty of time to cast on at 2:00. Instead, I had extra work responsibilities and didn't get to leave work until 3:00. (I did the right thing.) I also had to run some errands and make sure that a certain sickie had her yarn from the stash and some knitting accoutrements in order to be successful. (Wouldn't you agree that was the right thing to do?) By the time I got home, I had about 20 minutes to straighten up, take out the trash, and pull out the pattern before Brenda showed up. (Woohoo!!!) We met above-mentioned sickie for dinner, then went back to my place for the opening ceremonies and the much-anticipated cast on.

I think I got about 40-some rows done that night before my eyes threatened to quit reading the pattern correctly. Saturday morning Brenda and I went to sock club, where I worked on my Raindrop Lace sock and helped two ladies with their socks. We hung out a bit, Brenda bought some yarn (muhahaha!), Joy showed up, we went out for McDonald's for lunch, then went to Joy's house for a while. We continued the olympic knitting there for the afternoon, then Joy and her hubby got ready to go out for the evening, and Brenda and I went back to Chez Drunken Monkey to knit for the night.

I had only worked a couple of rows of the shawl Saturday night before realizing I had messed up. I didn't know how I had messed up, but I tinked back about 35 stitches and restarted the row, only to realize I had missed a stitch somewhere. I put the shawl away. I cast on for a new sock with some KnitPicks sock yarn, worked on that for a bit, picked up the Samus cables, worked on that for a bit, and laughed with Brenda about how ridiculous the whole knitting olympics thing was to begin with. Like anybody could really focus on one project for 16 days. Like anyone would actually have any steam to continue after a few days into it. Pshaw.

Sunday I picked up the shawl again, fixed the error, and got more steam. I have a drunken diamond in my shawl, but that only seems fitting for a drunken monkey, don't you think? In fact, I might be a bit disappointed that they aren't all drunken diamonds. The picture at the beginning of this post shows the progress as of this morning. I've completed 95 rows. There are four complete diamonds down the vertical center of the shawl. The pattern calls for eight complete diamonds, but I'm pretty sure I have enough yarn for nine, so my goal is nine. I'm really looking forward to the magical blocking at the end, as I already like how it looks when I pull it taut on the needle. I won't be able to do that much longer, as it's already stretching almost the length of my needle.

In short, I'm enjoying the pattern, still not able to focus solely on one project at a time, feeling confident of success, and pondering a worthy recipient. Any ideas?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ready, Set...



Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Betcha Didn't Even Know

As a self-proclaimed purveyor of information, I wanted to point all Knitting Olympics prospects to a list of preventative treatments designed to keep you from injury during the upcoming events. I didn't even know all of the physical dangers involved in knitting with a deadline. The Yarn Harlot herself recommends this list of precautions, and I just wanted to pass it along in case you missed it.

Apparently people are training and exercising and swatching and doing all these different things to prepare. I feel so... lazy. I suppose you could count my frogged attempt from a couple weeks ago as a training swatch, but I didn't even know about the Knitting Olympics then. So I guess maybe you shouldn't count it.

All I'm doing is knitting socks. I'm about to start shaping the toe of Maggie's second sock, and then at least two of the four projects I wanted to have done before the Olympics will be done. The Shedir hat ran into a snag (okay, maybe it wasn't the hat itself that had the snag) as soon as I started the decrease rows, and Sadie's sweater is hanging on my wall, unfinished. If it makes you feel any better, it stares at me with its evil eyes and makes me feel horrible every time I see it, which is multiple times a day.

On the plus side, my
knitting teacher is coming to visit this weekend, and we're going to spend as much time as we can with my knitting prodigy, so happy times are coming. Cable belt class tomorrow night, sock club Saturday morning, Brenda finally gets to see my yarn store... it's all good.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Gangsta Yarn!

Today's Get Fuzzy cartoon on my scratch-a-day calendar may be one of my favorites ever. Bucky is filming an episode of "Cribz" and he's showing off the dresser in his closet. He points to the bottom drawer and says, "Yo yo yo, these are my drawers, yo. This bottom one is where I keep my chow, yo. Kit'n'nibbles... cat snax... it's all good." He points to the second drawer and says, "And this middle drawer is full of dead stuff I find. Yo, roadkill, 'sup?! The rodents don't mess with the Buckmaster, yo." The last frame shows bucky with a sideways glance, saying, "And that top drawer... well... it's... um... I keep some pretty yarn in... umm... I mean GANGSTA YARN! YO YO YO!"

The more astute among you will notice some new features on my sidebar. With a few words of wisdom from
Joy and some words of support from my brother, I finally figured out the "pictures on the sidebar linked to somewhere other than a bigger picture of the picture" thing. So I've got the free pattern thing going on, and I put up all the Knitting Olympics teams I belong to. I have the "Swearing at Lace" button standing by, but I'm hoping I won't need it.

The weekend was rather productive for a weekend. I filed my taxes, taught a class for work, talked to my mom on the phone (Hi, Mom!), did a load of laundry, took out all the trash, provided "knitting help" on Sunday afternoon at the yarn store, watched the Super Bowl (too bad the refs were playing for Pittsburgh), and knitted, of course. Wanna see what I did?

I finished Calvin's V-day socks.

I started the second of Maggie's V-day socks.

I started and made decent progress on a Raindrop Lace sock, using the same Lorna's Laces as I used for Calvin's socks.

With significant help from the gift certificate my aunt gave me, and color help from Nicole, I gave in and bought most of the yarn for my Samus sweater. And then, since I clearly cannot buy new yarn and not use it immediately, I started the braid for the bottom of the sweater. Ooo. Cables fun.

All of the Lite Lopi has been traded for possible future use of a kidney, and the lilac-y and white Cotton Tots yarn has been claimed. The taupe Paton's Grace has also been spoken for. Everything else is still up for grabs. Speak now or forever keep your grubby little paws to yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Have Stash, Will Travel

So here I am, promising to let all these people raid my stash, and none of them can come over to raid it. Something about "my husband wants to spend time with me" or "I live seven hours away" or "I have to wash my hair". I don't know what that's all about. So here, for your viewing/raiding pleasure, are the parts of my stash that I will permit you to raid, if you so choose. I told Joy I would take pictures and post them, and she said maybe I could come out on the upside of this deal, if a bidding war were to take place. I don't really know about any bidding wars, but if you're interested in anything you see here, or a combination thereof, or if you want me to pose different stuff together, you just let me know. And if you happen to have something to trade in return, cool. Click the picture for a bigger version.

Here we have a bunch of 100% cotton, all the same weight (about DK weight, use with US size 5 or 6 needles), a little lighter weight than your average kitchen cotton. Each ball of blue is about 50g, the pink might be about 30g, the yellow is maybe 150g, the white is around 30-40g, and the cream color is closer to 200g. It's all very pastel-y, and I've made a number of really great baby things with it. If you combined the blue and the white, or the blue and the yellow, or the yellow and white, or the blue and cream, or the cream with pink, you'd likely have enough for a 3 or 6 month sweater.

Next we have some Lite Lopi, 100% wool, kinda scratchy, not recommeded for babies. On the left, a burgundy/purple on top and cream on the bottom, brick red in the middle, and on the right, brown on top and orange on bottom. Feltable. I've pondered some fair isle mittens or a fair isle hat with this bunch. The red is a full ball, maybe about 50g. The rest are partially used, as you could probably tell.

Next is some Heirloom easy care 100% wool. I think Brenda gave this to me when we moved to Southgate, and I just haven't found a good use for it yet. You'll have to have something really good in mind to make sure it's worth it. It's pretty soft, a nice denim color. About 150g total.

In the true spirit of the Olympics, here's some red, white, and blue 100% cotton. The white is cotton tots, and the blue and red are exactly the same as cotton tots, only they aren't called cotton tots. Red and blue have about 50g each, the white is about 100g. Enough for little kid hat and mittens, maybe enough for baby sweater.

More cotton tots. Cream on the far left (a deal at Hobby Lobby), a bunch of lilac-y purple, and a small amount of light yellow. 100% cotton. You could combine any of this with any of the red, white, and blue, too. Your choice. Your deal. Your day.

Remember the Coke sweater? Here's the leftovers. 100% mercerized cotton. Mostly white, some red. Good for kid's hats or mittens or socks or something.

Here's a bunch more mercerized cotton. This is all Paton's Grace, and it's a slightly lighter weight than the Saucy... almost a sport weight. Might be good for fair isle something, or a toy, or anything else your little heart desires. Clockwise from top left: dark brown, two balls of taupe, ginger/green, two little balls of white, a big ball of black, and light blue in the middle.

I think this is Rowan Cotton Glace, which is pretty soft, but there isn't a lot here. I made a fair isle hat for Maggie when she was about 3 months old, and it didn't fit her. This could easily be combined with some of that 100% cotton that was listed first.

Here's some Dalegarn Baby Ull which I hear is pretty popular. It's a shade of brown that I thought was exciting a few years ago, but again never found a use for. It's 100% wool, fingering to sport weight. Just one ball... 50g.

Pretty much the only "fun fur" I've ever really enjoyed, this Bernat Boa is pretty fun to work with and makes for fun edgings on things. It's not too bad to knit with and it's soft and even sort of pretty, unlike a lot of other nasty "fun fur"-ish types of things. Combine with anything else I've listed or use it on it's own. Two balls of the blue/green, half a ball of the red, half a ball of the purple.

I don't mean for you to use these together, but if you want to, knock yourself out. On the left is some hot pink boucle I got to do some fringe on a project at Christmas, but the project turned out better without it. You've got a full ball. On the right, some dark blue "mini" chenille yarn that I made a platypus out of when I was just a wee, new knitter.

Lastly, some Lion Brand Kool Wool oddments. I think this stuff is 50% wool, 50% acrylic, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Very soft, use on 7 or 8 needles, works up pretty quick. You could make some good stripy kids' socks with this. Black, cream, gray, little bit of blue and red.

Bet this was more than you thought it would be, Joy! And as you can see, it isn't my crap-stash! This is some decent stuff that I just haven't been able to use thus far, and I have enough other projects going (and new yarn coming) that I don't see using it anytime soon. And getting hand-me-down yarn is just like Christmas!

Raiding my stash is open to you if you're reading my blog. Just post in my comments or email me (brooketyler2002 AT yahoo DOT com) what you're interested in, and we'll talk.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Pacman Was Originally Called Brookeman

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Brooke!

  1. Brooke is the oldest playable musical instrument in the world.
  2. Brooke is the world's smallest mammal!
  3. Brooke will give a higher yield if milked when listening to music.
  4. Pacman was originally called Brookeman.
  5. Reindeer like to eat Brooke!
  6. The first American zoo was built in 1794, and contained only Brooke.
  7. Plato believed that the souls of melancholy people would be reincarnated into Brooke.
  8. 68 percent of all UFO sightings are by Brooke!
  9. The risk of being struck by Brooke is one occurence every 9,300 years!
  10. Brooke has three eyelids!
I am interested in - do tell me about

You know you want to.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Knitter's ADD

Sure, I joke and I laugh, and I laugh and I joke, but let's face it folks, Knitter's ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is a real problem. Please take the following quiz:

Have you ever caught yourself wandering around your home aimlessly, poking at this yarn, flipping through that pattern book, pulling out those needles, scratching your back with them, then putting them back, prying that other yarn out from underneath that pile of stuff, fondling it gently, running down the hall with it, running back to search for that book you know you have, remembering you lent that book to someone, sighing loudly, putting that yarn back, then plopping down on the couch amidst two dozen unfinished projects, proclaiming loudly, "I don't have anything to knit!!!"?

Have you ever had a really rough week at work and kept yourself entertained by writing out knitting patterns, reading knitting blogs, searching for patterns, gazing at a million different sites full of yarn that you know just HAS to be soft (darn that screen-in-the-way), talking to all of your co-workers about all of your unfinished projects, current projects, future projects, all prior and future yarn purchases, and how they need to come to the yarn store with you to pick out yarn for your next project, which you really ought to start immediately, except you have those socks you want to finish, and oh yeah, that knitting olympics thing?

If you answered yes to either of those... what? Okay, so it's a two question quiz. I have ADD. What did you expect? I think you get the idea.

I was at the yarn store last night because I had a You-Pick-It class scheduled. No one had signed up, but that's okay because I wanted to go hang out anyway. It was a good thing I went, because as I walked in the door there was a lady who was working on that earflap hat and she needed some help, and I was able to talk with her about it. She was doing a really great job, but she was at the point where she needed to switch from the circular needle to the double points, and she needed some tips on picking up stitches for the earflaps and the edging.

There was also a yarn rep there, so I got to sit in on some of that. Nicole was there, and she showed me her BEAUTIFUL Lopi sweater. (I honestly don't know how she knits as much as she does. I tease her that all she does is knit, but I know that isn't true. I've even seen her without needles in her hands!) I tried to pick out something to buy, but I was uninspired... again. I decided I needed to choose a new project before buying new yarn. See how grown up I am? I'm very mature.

So I went home and bought a bunch of yarn online. Knitsie, if you're still listening, I spread the wealth. I bought from
KnitPicks, kpixie, and eBay. No favortism here. I'm going to need to bulk up the stash if everybody's going to come raid it.

Speaking of, it's really the perfect setup. No one goes to the olympics alone. The way I see it, Brenda comes to Ohio for 16 days. She drives up on February 9, and that night she and Joy and Heather raid the stash and make their final knitting olympics decisions. We support each other. We're a team. We sing our knitting anthems and do our finger stretches and maybe break a couple things in our hotel room. For the next two weeks, we either go to Joy's or Joy comes to us, and we knit like banshees and help each other and cheer each other on and spray each other with water bottles and eat power bars and come February 26, we'll stand proudly as we receive our gold medals and once again sing our anthems as they extinguish the torch. It's beautiful. I can picture it all. So, Brenda? What time are you getting here on the 9th? (Besides, if you come to Ohio, you could probably use some of your birthday yarn for the Olympics! Oh! Oops! Did I say "birthday yarn"???)

Speaking of the Olympics, does anyone else get butterflies every time they see the promo commercials on NBC? The Olympics have never done that to me before. Also, I almost changed my project today. I need to knit
this for me. Yeah, a sweater for me before I finish the sweater for Anthony. I'm telling you, I have Knitter's ADD. It's a serious disease. Anyway, it's Samus from Knitty. I'm not going to make mine orange. Oh, and I'm not going to make it until after the Olympics. I'm sticking with the shawl. But I might change the yarn. If it gets here on time. From KnitPicks. I might even swatch it. Okay, I won't. That would be really crazy.

OH! And I finished the orange stripy sock that was featured in yesterday's post. Go me!