Monday, March 1, 2010

Personal Best

One of the things I believe the Olympics is about is doing your own personal best, no matter the circumstances or weather.

I started this challenge thinking designing a hat, doing the test pieces and writing the pattern would be sufficient but I talked myself into a second event --my sister's socks.

MyVeryOwnSister's Sox
Spinning the yarn from 2oz of SW merino/tencel and 2oz of SW bfl both in Anshan's Biscotti took 3 days.
I consider that part of the trials -- fast but not record breaking.  However it did get me into the event and I enjoyed seeing the Biscotti play itself out on the bobbins.

Knitting the socks (two of them), albeit not fancy ones, took 6 days on size US 0/2mm circs.  A PERSONAL BEST.  I am very psyched about this time and the nice product produced.   They even look good with the cuffs folded down.  Sending them on to my sister this week as they are warm socks and I want her to get some wear out of them before the weather goes warmer as it will on the coast of RI way before it does here.

Bunny Tail Cap
The idea for this cap was processing in my head for months before I finally spit it out onto paper.  Sheesh.  I think I was scared of the construction yet knew I could really do it.  I just needed to persevere.
Afterwards I realized that writing the Bare Bones pattern right before these games was exactly the practice and exercise I needed AND I used that pattern for mvos' sox.

I did a trial cap which worked but gave me a better idea of  how to construct the one in my head.  This is a size small and will be donated to charity.
Then I put my scribbles into the computer with watermarks used as draft dates. This trial helped me figure out how the bunny could be better charted and got me into the next phase of the challenge.
The actual cap. 

 Of course the pattern was scribbled on constantly as I figured out better ways to say something or explain construction.  There are short row techniques used in both the brim and the ribbed backing.  I am rather proud of them and the fact that there is NO grafting need for this cap.  It is all done in one piece, albeit with several needle sizes.

Now for the finals.

Jim had spun some yak/merino for the latest pair of socks I knit for him, leaving a little over 1 oz in a small ball.  Each color in this cap uses a little over 1 oz so.......  He then came up with some fingering to sport weight black blue face leicester singles which worked perfectly in concert with the sport weight yak/merino.

Knitting with these yarns allowed me to try out my theory of using a heavier weight yarn for the cap.
I worked his cap following my pattern explicitly and thereby being able to fine tune the directions to a place I am very happy with.  Sportweight makes a heavier cap but also a wider top. It does not seem to make any difference in the hat sizing though.  Nice. 
Jim has a large head, as do I, which allows me to easily figure out the most yarn that will be needed.  This was such a pleasure to knit and a fast hat to make too.

The Bunny Tail Cap is currently the second kit in Finger Knittin' Good.  However the simpler version, Cadet Cap, with no charting and using simple Armenian style two color knitting is available on my website and on Ravelry.

What have I learned?
1-  While I see myself as having severe knitting ADD I found working on two projects to their completions with not allowing myself to start or work on any other projects to be very satisfying, if sometimes frustrating.  Postponing gratification in knitting and spinning is not my strong suit.  This was an excellent exercise in restraint and near obsession.

2- I still don't like watching TV.  The commercials, while at the onset of the Olympics seemed so creative became rather wearing after their 15th or 50th watching.  The only exception was the AT&T one featuring the skateboarder soaring into the Universe. That one is such a great feat of technology mixed video and the music was wonderful.
Why would you ever ingest one of those pills that have a zillion side effects and killed several testers?  Yet the pharmaceutical companies are spending millions showing them to you.  Does not compute.
Oh and I saw the previews/trailers to quite a few movies I will not mind missing.  However the new Shrek one looks promising as does the one about training your dragon.

3-  My construction skills will grow with these kinds of challenges as I learned designing the Bunny Cap pattern.

4- I love an excuse to be obsessed so had great fun watching the Olympics, listening to books on my i-pod and knitting knitting knitting.

5-  All good things must come to an end so all the good or not so good things I left undone for 17 days must now be caught up.

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