Saturday, February 20, 2010

A disappointing realisation.

It was always going to be a challenge to finish my Chicknits eyelet cardi in time to register a success in the Knitting Olympics. That's the way it's meant to be. 

Unfortunately, my bad wrist started to twinge about halfway through the week, and despite an effort to take it easy since then, it's now clear that I pushed it a little too hard, and while it doesn't actually hurt to knit, I can feel the pain in my wrist afterwards. 

I'm quite disappointed. I really enjoyed the feeling of joining in on this global knitting challenge and I was making good progress. To come to the realisation that there was really no way I was going to finish unless I turned my full length, long-sleeved cardigan into a short-sleeved shrug was...hard. I didn't want to fail.

But, as Stephanie says in the Knitting Olympics pledge, "... I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I'm supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success....but on my trying."

And you can bet that I will keep trying....just a little bit slower!

Monday, February 15, 2010

And now we cross to the studio for an update.....

Garry: It's over to you, Larry and Barry!

Larry: Thanks, Garry! Welcome back to day 3 of the 17 day Women's Seamless Cardigan event. We've had a great three days of competition here and we've seen some absolutely amazing knitting, haven't we, Barry?
Barry: Yes, Larry, it's been really tough out there but they just keep coming up with the goods. After the really tense moment on day one when the Spanish competitor was nearly disqualified, everyone seems to just be getting on with the job.
Larry: So what happened there, it was all a bit confusing.
Barry:  The judges thought she was knitting a pullover rather than a cardigan. Once she explained that she was intending to steek at the end it was all sorted. 
Larry: I'll bet that was a relief for the entire Spanish team. She's got a real chance at a great result this year!
Barry: Oh - and here we get our first look at the Australian. It looks like she's catching up after the debacle at the start.
Larry: Yes, Barry, that was really unfortunate. She was out shopping when the flame was lit so she got a really late start, and 12 rows in she realised that she'd missed two increases on every right side row so she had to frog the lot and start all over again. 
Barry: She must have been pretty upset, but at least it was only on day 1.
Larry: So what do you think of her chances?
Barry: Well, Larry, I think it was a risky move to attempt this event while working full-time but I think she's travelling pretty well at the moment. 
Larry: Well, I think that she really thought about the amount of knitting time she would have available before she chose this event over something a bit tougher like the "Knit an adult pullover with your own handspun for novice spinners". That decision is definitely paying off with her progress over the last couple of days.
Barry: Yes, Larry, she's up to the eyelet rows already, so that means it won't be long before she divides for the body section. But we have to remember that this part of the event is her best, and I think we'll see her struggling a bit when it comes to the sleeves. That'll be the real test. 
Larry: And of course, her personal best on this project is about three months, so attempting to complete it in 17 days has got to be a real risk. 
Barry: I asked her about exactly that question just before the start on Saturday, and she said that it's a concern, but the last time she made this cardigan she wasn't really trying, so she really thinks that she can do it this time. 
Larry: Okay, Barry, we're really going to keep an eye on her over the next two weeks. And now it's over to Harry, who's over at the arena, for the latest on the Fun Fur and Mohair Poncho's...........

Olympic Cardi

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In which I prove my complete inability to tell the time.

For anyone who actually knew what time the Winter Olympics started today, my post from yesterday must have looked a bit silly. Two people pointed it out politely in the comments. The opening ceremony started at 12noon Brisbane time today, not 4am, as I said yesterday. I had looked it up online and found a way to display Vancouver time against Brisbane time. The only problem was that it also displayed GMT, and somehow, I looked at 6pm GMT and not 6pm Vancouver time. 

Once I worked all this out, I spent the morning picking up and setting up my new laptop and skeining up my first handspun yarn. I decided to stay true to the Knitting Olympics rules and not cast on until after I could confirm that the torch had actually been lit. That happened while we were out shopping so it was nearly 4pm before I got started.

In the end, I'm really disappointed with how little I got done. Of course, the realisation 10 rows in that I had made an error on row 4 and every right side row after and would have to frog the lot didn't help.  I've only done about 12 rows so far, so this is looking like I'm attempting the slalom in the wrong direction - up the hill rather than down. Oh well, I'll have to see how much I get done tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On your marks, get set....

I signed up for the Knitting Olympics this morning. I wasn't going to do it as I've got unfinished projects that I want to complete and taking on a whole other project that had to be started and finished within 17 days just seemed beyond me, but as I thought this morning, the Knitting Olympics only comes round once every 4 years so I should at least have a go. If I fail, at least I failed while having a go, and that doesn't seem any worse than not failing because I was sittting on the sidelines not even trying. 

I will be asleep during the actual opening ceremony (it runs from 4am-6am tomorrow morning where I am) but I will be casting on soon after I get up. I'm attempting the Chicknits Eyelet Cardi, which I've had on my queue for a while. I made it once before but it was a little bit small so I'm making the next size up. 

I'm even making it in a beautiful forest green that could represent my country with a little yellow thrown in!

Go team Lexy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

You spin me right round, baby, right round.

At the end of last year, I went to support some of my Stitch 'n Bitch friends at the Queensland Spinners and Weavers Christmas Fair. It's one of only two days per year where non-members are allowed into the hallowed hall of the Emporium, a large room full of fibre-y,  yarny, equipment-y goodness. The very lovely Miss Vicki helped me to choose some lovely Merino from Treetops and a gorgeous silk hankie and recommended that I should find a nicer spindle than the plain Ashford beginner's spindles they had available.

So the fibre has sat, largely unregarded in its bag in one of my sneaky stash spots, under my desk, until this last weekend. The also very lovely Fee decided to hold a crafty day at her cosy abode and there was the suggestion that instruction in the fine art of drop spindling may be made available.

(side note. I have no idea why my language has suddenly become extremely flowery.Please bear with me. Hopefully it will sort itself out!)

With the prospect of some assistance in getting started, I thought it would be a good time to buy a drop spindle and found a lovely looking one at Spun Out, for a very reasonable cost. This is Emma, made by Kevin Rhodes. She's got a 3" cocobola whorl and a 10" purpleheart shaft and she weighs 47g. I think she's beautiful.

Drop Spindle - Cocobola whorl, purplewood shaft

I watched a couple of YouTube videos for background and only needed a little encouragement when I tried to spin at Fee's place. I was pretty pleased when a couple of the girls said "Are you sure you've never done this before!". This is what I have made so far. I'm pretty happy with it, although I'm sure when I come to learn how to ply it, it'll be overspun and underspun and everything in between. All in all, pretty good for a first effort, I think!

First attempt at spinning with a drop spindle

In knitting news, I've finished the Bendigo cotton Pinwheel Baby Blanket for my Sister's expected baby, who has the nom-de-womb of Munchkin. I took a punt on the edging and did a slightly ruffled garter stitch border. It turned out absolutely perfect and I am so immensely pleased with it. Sometimes something simple just works out really, really well, and it certainly seems to be the case here. The cotton yarn is stunningly soft ("softer than any Bendy cotton I've ever worked with" seems to be the consensus from virtually everyone so I don't know whether they've improved it or I just got a good batch), the swirl pattern of the eyelet increases is simply beautiful, and the edging finishes it off with a stylishness I wasn't expecting. This project just fills me with such pride that I've been able to make something so gorgeous for this much-loved and much-anticipated little person. I live 1000km away from Munchkin's home and so it is incredibly important that my Sis can wrap her (or him - the scans seem to indicate girl at this stage but you never know) up snuggly in my love, even when I'm far away. 

Pinwheel Baby Blanket

Healthwise, I'm well enough to go for six months before I see the gastroenterologist again. That's a good thing, but he did say that I have some narrowing of the small intestine where my ulcers form, and my haemoglobin count is on the low end of normal, which could have contributed to my tiredness. He also thinks that it's possible that the drugs I'm on are not really doing anything as there's no significant scientific evidence that they do anything for Crohn's, but I'm staying on them as they're relatively non-noxious and this is the longest I've gone without a flare, so there's some possibility that I'm getting some benefit from them. I haven't needed prednisone in nearly a year now, which is brilliant. I'm lucky enough not to really get any of the nasty immediate side-effects of prednisone on the short bursts I've needed, but the Doc said that everyone who takes prednisone gets some side effects eventually, and I do tend to put on weight and get a little bit puffy in the face, so staying off prednisone is a good thing in my opinion.

On the work front, my performance review was really good - better than I expected, and while the mountain that is my to-do list is still resembling Everest, I really feel like I've achieved some important things lately. I have a new boss, who is really supportive but firm and won't put up with any crap, and just in the last day, I've started feeling optimistic about the future again. This, of course, goes in cycles, so I know there'll be downs again, but it feels good to be feeling up, even if it's only short-lived.

I think I'll end there today. Sorry this post has been long and all over the place, but so much has been going on and I haven't felt up to blogging most evenings so it's all piled up. I think I might go and knit a bit more on my Margot sweater. It's been a bit neglected lately and it will be nice to finish something for myself!