Thursday, February 09, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fortius: I'm In!

I have responded to the clarion call of the queen knitting blogger The Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and participating in the first ever international Knitting Olympics. Faster, higher, stronger, I have challenged myself to go where my knitting needles have never ventured before and knit a red lace shawl over the course of the 16 days of the Winter games in Torino, Italy.

When I first signed up for the KO I elected to participate by knitting my first-ever pair of toe-up, short-row heeled socks. Since knitting my 1st pair of socks in November I have become addicted to handknit socks-- both to make and to wear. They knit up quickly and are so soft and warm and yummy to wear. I have 3 pairs completed and nicely worn in, and 2 more OTN. I hope to finish one of those pairs tonight, before the games begin tomorrow. I figured socks would be a reasonable, doable, yet challenging enough project for my olympic event. After all, finishing my dissertation *is* my current priority, not knitting. But somehow socks didn't really seem to be challenging enough, not special enough for this big deal. Not truly *Olympic* in scale for me.

Last week I was in the Knit n Purl (my lys) and I came across a huge hank of red lace yarn. It was that pretty deep rich red, not a hint of orange or tomato in it. A great Valentine's Day red-- my kind of red. And it was a 50/50 blend of cashmere and fine merino wool from Italy. How olympic, I thought! And its so soft and yummy...I fondled it for almost 30 minutes, I think. But my budget called you really need more yarn right now???? You have plenty of yarn in your stash. My heart replied, but it's a pound of cashmerino, 2000 yds. for only $42.50. It's a bargain!!!! (I think it's been hidden away at the bottom of a corner shelf for a long time). I petted the hank once more, put it down, and went home. It followed me home. All I've been able to think about for days is that delicious red yarn. What a yummy shawl it would make! A red lace shawl is truly an olympic project to knit. Much more olympic than socks.

OK OK OK!!! I've give in. I went back to the KnP on Tuesday, dashed in quickly as I was running late for my research group meeting on campus, and told the gals I wanted the red yarn and could they please wind it into 2 balls for me??? I don't have a swift and my crude method for a swift substitute would have been a nightmare trying to wind my own balls. Since the shop only has a small swift, it wasn't exactly easy for them either. I barely made it back before they closed to collect my prize, but they had another customer they were helping (a local VIP person, no less) so it was ok that I was 5 minutes late.

So I've been gathering patterns and swatching for 2 days now. Trying to decide what pattern to knit hasn't been easy. I already have a flower basket shawl OTN out of KP alpaca cloud. It's come together very quickly and looks great. In fact, the success of the FBS is what really pushed me over the edge about doing a shawl for the olympics. Ingoing through the patterns I had on hand, I narrowed things down to 4, and then 2 designs: Kiri from All Tangled Up or the Kimono Shawl from the Folk Shawls book. I have enough yarn to do the Kimono (it calls for a pound of laceweight silk) and I like the idea of a rectangular shawl, but it looks really long and I think I might get really crazy bored with it before it's over. Plus I doubt I could finish it in 16 days. That leaves Kiri. I *love* the design of Kiri. the leaf motif is not too diferent than the FBS and I like the center top worked out and down technique. You can quit whenever you think it's long enough, less if needed or longer depending on looks and time left. While my yarn isn't fuzzy like the mohair in KSH, I think the Kiri will still look lovely in the cashmerino. Lace is very adaptable after all.

Swatching the shawl: Kimono, Kiri

1 comment:

Christy said...

I'm doing a red shawl as well! I'm starting to wonder if I bit off a little more than I can chew but it's supposed to be a challenge, right?

Good luck!