Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Seeds of Inspiration

It is a mystery how inspiration can start from the smallest of things and bloom into something that promises to be wonderful. I was knitting my Ravelymics shawl which is very simple and easy to knit. On bulky yarn, it is likely that it will go quick. Actually, in the interest of preventing my hands and wrists from being strained I am taking my time and just coasting along.

As I knit, my mind wanders in some regret that the beautiful lace shawl I originally planned will be left unknit. I browse though the Ravelry shawl patterns and drool at the lovely shawls before me. And behold I spy a shawl so lovely made in variegated colors I can’t take my eyes off of it. I put it in my Ravelry queue, a knit waiting list of projects to be made someday. As the days go by, my thoughts return to the lovely shawl named Waves of Leaves Shawl by Malcolm and Marcus Design. I start thinking, “ Do I have anything in my stash that could make it. No?” Then I looked hard at the Sesame colored yarn I was going to make the first shawl out of. I learned that knitting a big project in this beige color can be boring very quickly. Then a light of genius strikes me…..what about over dyeing it. What is overdyeing, you ask? It is taking a colored yarn and redyeing it to get a completely different yarn. I have the yarn-I have the dye colors-Do I have the knowledge? Well,…..maybe.

I am needing to do this with repeated results for several skeins? It’s going to take some research, mathematical calculations and measuring, and a little bit of chemistry. This is going to be an experiment. What have I got to lose? Nothing but a few skeins of wool purchased on sale.
Testing for dye color

Dyeing small skeins

Dyeing the Big Skein in Red, Violet and Green

My first skein was a learning opportunity. The results were not too shabby. It gave me a great appreciation for the master yarn dyers who make hundreds of beautiful skeins of color. It is understandable why they elevate the cost of a skein of yarn. Their efforts are worth the cost. Nevertheless, as long as God gave me a brain, a love of colored yarn and a desire to figure out how to make it, I will forge on. I love making and learning things.

Good Strong Color

The Repeatable Results
Does it look like changing leaves?
In skeins

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A False Start

As I’ve been watching the REAL Olympics, I see that there have been a lot of false starts in the Short Track Skating Events. The Event I am competing in the Ravelympics is called Short Track Shawls. I knit over 12 rows which amounts to about 5500 sts, when I realized that the gauge on my shawl was smaller than I thought it would be.

I misunderstood the construction of the Faroese shawl, which is two triangles connected by a center panel. You start by making the bottom wings of the shawl and work up decreasing. I was thinking I was making the top edge, working down. This is why I thought my gauge was too big and changed my needles to two sizes smaller than what was called for. There was just no way I could salvage what I knitted. If I had plugged on, after knitting 30,000 sts, I didn’t want to discover the shawl was too small. So I decided to scrap it. A lesson was learned.

So why didn’t I just restart it? I could feel my wrist straining to make the 1700 sts goal and I happened to reinjure my right hand again, twisting a jar open. Will I ever learn? My tendons and ligaments in my right hand were severely stretched again and I just didn’t think I could make my goal. I hate getting older.

What was I to do? As long as I could hold my knitting needles, I felt I should make something, but perhaps take my time and not push it. I was doing a “Lindsey Vonn”, the skier who injured her shins and is determined to try for her medals anyways. After two days of knitting, I started thinking how I could pick another project that would be less stress on my wrist. What would help me fall in love with it? This is what I was thinking as I raced to Michaels to pick out some bulky yarn for the new easier shawl I had selected called the Splendid Triangle Shawl by Lion Brand.

What would make me fall in love with it? Answer: COLOR! Since tomorrow is Valentines Day, I thought of shades of Red. With 10 minutes left till closing I spied a bulky yarn, County Loom, in shades of red and blue called Caravan.

So as the starting gun goes off again in the Olympics, my Ravelympics starting gun has gone off and I am skating/knitting my way to the finishline. So far, I am loving it. I am feeling like the speed skater, Apollo Ohno, feeling fairly confident this project will go quickly.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Training and “On Your Mark, Set, Go…!

I spent the days prior to the start of Olympics practicing my chosen Project, the Faroese Shawl. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and realized I am not ready for this particular lace project. So I was back to the drawing board and trying to pick out a much simpler project.

I chose the Stora Dimun Shawl from the “Folk Shawls” book by Cheryl Oberle. It seemed much easier. However, it is also a garter stitch shawl which may drive me nuts and give me carpel tunnel. I am thinking about revising it somewhat by inserting some stockinette pattern in the middle to make it more interesting. I learned from the previous attempted shawl that may need to reduce my needle size so the shawl does not become too humongous and heavy with the light worsted weight yarn I will be using.

I love the Olympics! I love the Opening Ceremonies, the competition and the rooting for the home team!. Since I am fortunate to be spending more time at home taking care of my husband, I will be able to catch some of the coverage. On the times I am away from home, which are usually long waiting in doctor or chemo visits, I have a chance to sit more and knit. The shawl looks to be knitting that doesn’t need too much concentration, especially since most of it will be likely a lot of garter stitching with long periods of knit stitching.

So as the Opening Ceremonies have begun, I am off and knitting like a mad woman. I have figured that my project has a total of approximately 30,000 stitches and I have to knit about 1800 stitches a day to finish it by the closing ceremonies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

Woohooo! Four more days to the start of the Winter Olympics. That means Ravelympics Time!!!!
What is Ravelympics, you ask? It a knitting, spinning, dyeing Olympics for the crazy people who love to knit, crochet, and spin, etc. It is a challenge to make a project within the 17 days of the Olympics. Thousands of us knitters participate and sign up on a Community Internet Site called "Ravelry", thus the "Ravelympics". We cheer each other on by joining teams and enter in events according to our project.

Since I am spending alot of time waiting in doctor's offices while my husband receives treatment for his lymphoma, I have picked a project. I hope its not too tough. I am going to make a Faroese Shawl from the book A Gathering of Lace. I have figured that if I do 2700  stiches a day or more, I will make it by the end of the Olympics. I chose a beige Wool I found on Clearance.

As we cross the finish line, or rather finish the project, we are acknowledged with a cheer and medal from Bobicus Maximus, the Ravelry Mascot Dog. 

My needles are ready, my fingers are itching to start. I have been training hard. Let the games begin........