Amy Artisan

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Category: Olympic Knits (page 1 of 3)

On the Podium…

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!

Tea Leaves Cardigan in GoGo Grassy Dream in Color Classy with Buttons from Jennie the Potter

(Journal of the event in Ravelry)

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…

In tutto il traguardo

…Across the finish line…

On Thursday evening I finished my Olympic shawl as the men’s beach volleyball gold medal match began – it took 45 minutes to work my way across the final row. On Friday evening, I gave the shawl a good soak and then used my blocking wires to transform a lumpy mound of yarn into a flowing shawl. This morning I snapped a few pictures of the finished product & then wrapped the shawl around my shoulders as I enjoyed my breakfast before starting my day. I look forward to wearing this in the coming weeks.

Estate Italiana

I’ve decided to call this shawl Estate Italiana (Italian Summer) – the colorway (Trevi) and pattern (Capri) conjure up memories the great trip to Italy in the summer of 2005.

Now, back to the many projects on my needles – some “knit for others,” some early Christmas gifts, maybe some fall/winter accessories to prepare for cooler days, always some socks. And also back to a project that has been off my needles – it is time to finish up my first sweater – all that remains is blocking, seaming & the armhole/neck bands. Hopefully I will be revealing the sweater in the coming weeks!

A Return to Capri

…no, unfortunately not a return to the isle where I snapped the picture in my blog header…

Well in advance of the buzz on Ravelry about the Ravelympics, I had started to ponder what my Olympic Knitting Project would be as I watched the games in Beijing.

For the Winter games in 2006, I joined in the “Knit Olympics” mania with my first Capri shawl. It was my first attempt at a lace project and provided me with several problems along the way. I pressed on & had a finished shawl at the end of the games. Honestly, the more I looked at it the less happy I was with the outcome. Since then I have never worn the shawl & now use it as a table topper in my bedroom. In Spring 2006, I knit a second Capri shawl as a birthday present for Artisan Mom – a shawl that turned out much better than the first.

Earlier this summer I came across an ad for Rock Creek Yarns. In addition to a beautiful Cherry Blossom yarn, I was immediately drawn to the Alpaca laceweight in the Trevi Fountain colorway – a subtle mix of water blues and grays. Again, the name of a colorway reminded me of a fond travel memory.

 Trevi 2005

Ah ha! Trevi Yarn + Capri Shawl Pattern = 2008 Olympic Knitting Project

The yarn arrived & I wound it by hand into a ball, I picked up a pair of Addi Lace needles, I swatched. Last Friday evening I cast on while watching the Opening Ceremonies. I have had a few hiccups along the way; however, I’m making progress and believe I am on track to have a finished (& wearable) Capri shawl on August 24th.

Trevi Capri Shawl

What have I learned so far with this most recent attempt on this pattern?

  • This is my first time using laceweight yarn – the pale color of it means that my eyes tired out on this project in the evenings before my fingers do.
  • This pattern is not conducive to stitch markers. So, I’m using a row counter & every odd row I am counting under my breath as I move across the row.
  • Even though this is a fairly simple pattern, it’s best not to knit on it during the really exciting parts of the Olympic coverage.
  • Paper cuts on your finger tips (& the subsequent Band-aids) make the knitting much slower.
  • Laceweight yarn does not like to be housed in a project bag. But, I have a great remedy for this. The cute sheep & yarn bowl that I bought from Jennie the Potter at last year’s Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair is the perfect size for holding the yarn ball.

Sheep Bowl Holding Yarn

And now, back to knitting & watching…

Lace Bowl

An Obvious O

My plan for Friday evening was simple – watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony and cast on for a new knitting project. Earlier this summer I started thinking about what my Olympic knitting project would be. As I mentioned during the Winter Knit Olympics, crafting has always been a part of Artisan Family Olympic Watching. For this Olympic crafting, I’m knitting another Capri shawl – more details about that in future posts. As I continue to jump around the alphabet for the ABC-along, I’ll jump to an obvious O.


I’ve had the opportunity to see the Olympic torch relay twice – for the 1984 Games while living in Lompoc, CA and the 1996 Games while living in Greenville, SC. In fact, when I saw the torch relay in SC, a local tv station interviewed me along the route because they were talking about the “once in a lifetime experience” & I mentioned that I was seeing a second relay.

1984 Olympic Torch Relay

1984 Summer Olympic Games Torch Relay – Lompoc, CA

I have two key memories of watching the 1984 games on tv: 1) Our whole family became enthralled with the rowing competions and I remember us buying a rowing machine for at home. I’ve often thought that if I had ever gone to school where rowing was a sport I could have seen being a part of that team. 2) To this day, whenever I hear “Rhapsody in Blue” I think of the opening ceremonies and the site of 88 baby grand pianos playing that classic song.

 1996 Olympic Torch Relay

1996 Summer Olympic Games Torch Relay – Greenville, SC

I was in high school when Atlanta won the 1996 games. My senior year of high school, our marching band show included John Williams “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” which I have always enjoyed since it debuted at the ’84 games. For Christmas one year in college, I gifted my college roommates with an inscribed brick at the Olympic Centennial Park and “made” bricks for each of us – I still use mine as a doorstop. By the time the games arrived in 1996 I had moved to SC and wasn’t in Atlanta at all for the games. I don’t have any “key” memories from watching these games – maybe because I was working full time then and the coverage wasn’t quite as non-stop as it is these days. I do remember cringing when the shiny pickup trucks were on the field during the opening ceremony – really, was that the best we could do?

So far this year’s Olympics have provided several memorable viewing moments – the 9 year old boy who rescued classmates from the aftermath of the earthquake definitely stole the show on Friday evening. Today at work everyone was a buzz talking about the 4 x 100m men’s relay last night. I wonder what other memorable moments are yet to be made?

Chicago is in the running to be the host city in 2016 – I must admit I’m more excited at the prospect of Chicago hosting the games than I was of Atlanta hosting – maybe there will be another Olympic Torch Relay viewing in my future?

Ah Capri!

In the 2006 Knitting Olympics Lace event is Amy Artisan with The Capri Shawl!


(Pardon the “lack of natural light” pictures – when the weather is warmer I may post some pictures of Capri “in action” outside.)

The Details
Pattern: Capri Shawl from Morehouse Farms

Yarn: Aqua Morehouse Merino Lace

Needles: Brittany Birch – US10 – 14″

Cast On: Friday, February 10th (2nd Cast On: Sunday, February 12th)
Bind Off: Sunday, February 19th

Customizations: I spaced the triangles 20 stitches apart since I was knitting during the 20th Winter Olympics. The “open” triangle is 10 rows because my 2005 Italy/Greece trip was 10 days long.

Notes: Overall this was a fun project – even with the assorted detours that I had to take on the route to Capri. As I mentioned earlier, the pattern had very light instructions for adding additional triangles into the design & I had to come up with my own notes for how to do them. (I’ll be happy to share the Amy Arithmetic if anyone wants it for future reference.) Looking at the blocked & finished shawl I notice some bobbles (not the intentional knit ones – the “oops” ones) that will not be making an appearance in future lace projects – but they are part of the process of learning something new. Previously I had mentioned that this was knitting tight & I would probably use size 10 needles (instead of the recommended 9) for any future knits of this pattern – after the blocking it doesn’t look as tight so I might use the 9s again.

Capri in Repose

I can’t wait to wear this shawl! Wrapping it around me this evening brought a huge smile to my face – this is the first knitwear that I’ve completed for myself that wasn’t a scarf or a hat.

Since I finished knitting the shawl I’ve decided that the color of the yarn, while still representing a favorite color from my Italy/Greece trip, is closer to the color of the water along the Greek coast instead of Capri. Here is a picture of the water that will give you a better representation of the yarn color.

The water along the coast of Greece

And here is the artistic shot of the Shawl draped over my computer that currently has the Greek Water picture as my desktop wallpaper.

Capri & the computer

Beyond Capri…what has the Knitting Olympics taught me? I can knit to a deadline if I have to – but I’m not sure that’s how I want to approach my knitting. (Must start on Christmas gifts now!) I enjoy having a couple of things going so that if boredom sets in I can switch to something different. I’m ready to try some more new things – at first glance this pattern seemed so much like my standard baby blanket pattern; however, it managed to trip me up more than once & yet I was still able to get it done.

p.s. Dad continues to make progress in his Needlepoint Olympics – sometime in the future (currently no ETA) you all will get to see his finished object!

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