Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Faster, Higher, Smooshier

It's Knitting Olympics time!

This is my first year participating, which seems fitting as the games are on home soil.

For the uninitiated, the rules of the Knitting Olympics are as follows (from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee):

1. The project must be a challenge for you to complete in 16 days.
2. There are no rules about what a challenge would be. Like the real Olympics, there are many areas to compete in. If you are a new knitter, then a garter stitch baby sweater might do...If you are experienced, well. I've already considered Torino. Use your own conscience.
3. While this is intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin your life. Don't set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with pointed sticks because they haven't slept in five days. ) This is intended to (like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it should be possible to attain.
4. No casting on before the flame is lit.
5. Finish before the flame goes out.
6. You may swatch before the games. (I consider this "training.") 

I didn't get off to a great start... the band and I were the closing act at another opening night: that of the Festival du Voyageur.  It's a great Festival now in its 41st year - a celebration of French-Canadian heritage and history, an outdoor (yes, outdoor, in Canada, in February) event with snow sculpting, and dogsled races, and bands, and music, and traditional French-Canadian food, and beer.  It's a great excuse to get out of the house, and a great antidote to the oh-my-god-isn't-winter-over-yet depression that inevitably settles in this time of year. We're a Celtic-Rock band, but I guess we have enough French-Canadian spirit, because this was the third year in a row they've had us back. I'm glad, because it's always a blast, and I look forward to it every time.

All that to say that while knitters the world over were watching the Opening Ceremonies, needles in hand, anxiously waiting for the torch to be lit so they could cast on, I was on stage, accordion in hand, watching this:

 Hundreds of crazy happy dancing people, in a tent, in Winnipeg, in February. Aren't they the awesomest?! I live for it, I really do. (I took this shot from the stage, over the accordion, hence the blurriness...told them all to sccoch together and smile.  As you can see, they obliged.)

So I bought the yarn and needles on Saturday morning, and knit every waking, available moment until now, when I paused for long enough to tell you about it.  My Olympic Knitting project is a test knit for Allyson of The Sweatshop of Love.  And I'm feeling the love, big time.

Paton's Classic Wool in Dark Grey, 5mm needles, Allyson's lovely pattern, small size.

Loving the stitch pattern so far (about 7.75" in so far)... making a lovely, squishy fabric and perfect for Olympic watching as it requires my attention for exactly 12 stitches every 6th row.  One could say I have just a wee bit of a competitive streak (the way one could say Canadians are just a wee bit into hockey) so I'm hoping that the idea of Knitting for Home and Native Land will be inspiration enough to sustain me when I get to the inevitable knitting black hole (where one knits for hours and makes no perceptible progress whatsoever).

Go Canada Go!

(P.S. For anyone in the neighborhood: we're playing Festival du Voyageur again this Friday, this time inside at the Franco-Manitoba Cultural Centre, if you want to come see us.  You can totally bring your Olympic knitting. I'll understand.)