Back in 2006, I was just dipping my toes into blogging when the Yarn Harlot announced the first Knitting Olympics event. Since the Artisan family has frequently crafted during the Olympics, I was game for it. I attempted my first lace project with mixed results…yes it was completed in time but it now serves as a table cover instead of a shawl. In 2008, I went for a do-over & selected the same lace pattern in a different yarn. This time, the results were wearable!
Late last year, I started to think about what my winter Olympic knit challenge would be – since I’m currently on the road for work with plenty of evening knit time in the hotel room, I thought grander than before…what about knitting a cardigan? The pattern was selected, the yarn was ordered, the perfect buttons were found…I swatched and was ready to go. As the opening ceremonies began, I cast on for the sweater & quickly got going. Before long I was at my first roadblock…umm, I started with the larger needle & it should have been the smaller…so I started over again. By the end of the opening weekend, I was about 3/4 of the way through the yoke of the sweater & feeling pretty confident.
I figured that I would make great progress on the body of the cardigan that first week in the evenings. Work had different ideas & I think I knit maybe 10 rows by the time I came home. At this point I seriously questioned my choice of knit for the Olympics & was already preparing for defeat…seriously, why would I think I could tackle this? However, once I was back home my focus for that weekend was knitting on the sweater and by the time the weekend was done I had finished the body of the cardigan and starting on the first sleeve.
Once again I headed north with grand plans for evening progress. On Monday night I was making great progress…until I realized that I had completely misread the decrease instructions for the sleeves & had to rip back about 30 rows. Because I had picked up more stitches for the arm I then had to do a bit of scribbling on the hotel notepad to rework my decrease approach would be. On Tuesday evening I had recovered from the rip back and on Wednesday evening I thought I was ready for the final edging – but I held off till Thursday to confirm that I liked the length of the sleeve. On Thursday evening I finished off the first sleeve.
On Friday, I was up early to drive home & then had a bit of work that I needed to do. Just before 4PM I started on sleeve #2 and was finishing it up at 11PM. On Saturday morning I quickly got started on the button bands. Then the cardigan took a bath (Soak Celebration seemed appropriate) & overnight it dried with a fan on it on the dining room floor. On Sunday morning I sewed on the beautiful buttons & had a lovely sweater. (An overcast day & a temperamental camera remote make for few modeled shots.)
The details: Green Tea for the Gold!
Artistic Points: I went with 3 buttons instead of 2; I knit the body about an extra inch; I centered the buttonholes in the middle of each gathered section of the yoke; For the sleeves I ended up with 78 stitches on the needle – so I did the decrease row every 5 rows for a total of 10 times; I went with about 3/4 length sleeves
Technical Deductions: I’m very dissatisfied with the yarn – I have knit with Dream in Color in the past & have made some great smaller items. The color contrasts among the skeins of this “non lot numbered” yarn were vast & not always evident until the skein was wound up. Most of the body of the cardigan is striped because I had to alternate 2 skeins of yarn every 2 rows. I think this is a single skein project yarn only from here on out.
Overall Score: Wow – I can’t believe I knit this in 2 weeks!
Now that the Olympic torch has been extinguished, I’m still a bit in awe that I knit an entire sweater (with sleeves) in 2 weeks…and after so much knitting time in such a short window it is time to rest the needles for a bit & switch gears – evenings in the hotel are for reading this week…but the needles are calling & I plan to cast on a “reward” project this weekend with my Olympic Medals yarn…