Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Challenge

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, in particular Stephanie's friend Lene, have inspired me.

3 years ago now, I started a sweater for my husband. It's a really cool looking sport weight sweater called "Cables after Whiskey" by Lucy Neatby. It has random cables and the picture makes it look like some kind of wonderful root system. I happily picked Brown Sheep's Sport weight Mocha to do the sweater in, and because my husband only wears sweaters as outer wear, I decided to do it in the largest size so he could wear it skiing or sledding with the kids as the outer layer.

I don't like sewing up (let's face it, if it gets to that stage, it will sit in my sewing basket forever. I'll feel guilty, but it won't get done. I really really really hate sewing up.) I decided to modify the pattern and do it in the round. As the pattern row is every 8th row, that's 58 inches x 7 rows of straight knitting and then something interesting happens for one lousy row, then back to the endless knitting.

Endless... it goes on and on and on and on... and on... and ... well... the sweater I started for my husband as a Yule gift 3 years ago is sitting in my basket about 10 inches up... waiting... I pick it up when I'm watching something involving that requires my attention-- like the occasional PBS genetics show... I think I've completed 1 inch in the last year.

And so... inspired by Lene and Stephanie.. I'm going to accept Stephanie's Olympic Challenge. I'm going to finish that endless sweater.

I thought about starting something new... something I've been anticipating... like a cashmere lace shawl... I have a beautiful lace weight cashmere which has been in my stash for a couple of years. I even balled it up, savoring every inch of's so soft and pretty and the shawl will be beautiful. I thought of doing the gray alpaca cable cardigan I've had planned for myself for 5 or 6 years. My office is freezing and this would be a wonderful thing to have. I thought of doing fairisle mittens for everyone in the family, the boys lose mittens at an astounding rate. But anything which is "interesting" to knit requires at least partial attention and... I love the Olympics.

I love to watch the Olympics. My husband and I are Olympic junkies. We only own a television set to watch movies, Alton Brown and the Olympics (I'm not kidding).

Summer, Winter, we don't care. I can get just as worked up over something like Greco-Roman Wrestling (I have no clue what they're doing-- but 2 big sweaty guys acting like my kids? Hey, I'm there) as I can about Ladies Figure Skating (Go Michelle!) I can't watch the Olympics and work on something my hands don't already know... 406 inches of straight knitting... 1877+ stitches/1/3 of an inch... about 25 more inches to go plus sleeves... 16 days of Olympics. It will be hard. It will be grueling...

It will be like running the Marathon... I know a Marathon runner who has figured out his pace, and exactly how many steps it takes him to run a Marathon. Edwin Moses, the great Olympic Hurdler, had his pace down so that he would run an exact number of steps between each jump. I think they're nuts... but it's that kind of mentality which will help me finish this sweater in the alloted time.

And so... I'm there... I've started preparing. I have found my pattern (no small feat, as we've moved since I started this sweater. I knew right where it was in the old house... but... things have changed. 2 hours of looking found the right black notebook, which has the original and a copy!). I've found the right bin with the rest of the yarn. I have the sweater and a lovely new basket to put it in right in front of the television (to get it off the bottom of the basket in my bedroom where old projects go to die). I swatched part of a sleeve last night at my son's hockey game to see if I could get the correct gauge. I'm ready.

Let the Games begin!!


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