Friday, June 29, 2012

A Real "Finishing Friday"

Or maybe just sort-of real as I didn't actually finish anything.  But I did get to craft without having to do ANYTHING else, so that still kind of counts.  The baby sweater now has a back and two fronts:

and I am still being monogamous!!!!!  In all honesty, since I've been doing political consulting, I'm just thankful to have time to do ANY knitting.  But I have finished with what I was doing for the campaign, so I'm getting my first truly free weekend in months and am looking forward to life getting back to normal around here.  Or normal for ME, at any rate. 

I'm still trying to figure out how to arrange the sewing room, so I still haven't done much sewing, but today I was determined to find a project.  I sorted through project bags, looked through patterns, and finally selected one.  And this:

is as far as I got.  I know this sounds odd coming from the woman who has foolishly plunged into every insane crafting challenge she can dream up, but I am a bit intimidated about sewing with knits.  I have serger and everything, but I just haven't gotten up the nerve to try it yet.  I'm not sure what it is--maybe the rolling while laying out the fabric.  It's hard enough to lay out patterns around here with my little kitty helpers--let alone when interactive fabric is involved!  But I'm hoping to find, get, or channel some gumption tomorrow and take the plunge!  If I sew it up, I won't need to find a place to store it.............................

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yikes! Has It Been A Week Already?

Random update time:

*  Because of the bullies at the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Ravelympics have been changed to the Ravellenics.  I think I like the new name.  The behavior of USOC has tainted the Olympics forever for me, so I'm pleased that the games will now have nothing to do with them at all.  There are discussions about changing the dates in the future or having the yearly, so maybe it's a good move after all.  I will not be bothering to update any of the verbiage on the blog.  Even if USOC is so petty as to start stalking blogs, the games WERE called the Ravelympics until USOC decided they owned even partial BITS of the word "Olympics," so I'll just add the following disclaimer:

Any mention of the word "Ravelympics" occurred before the jerks at the USOC decided to persecute anyone even using a fraction of the word "Olympics," so even in your wildest pettiness, I used the term before you decided to insult 2 million knitters.

That should get me off the hook.

 In a normal week, that might even mean a lot of knitting.  THIS week, however, was busy with stuff I swore I was finished with.  It's actually been 12 days since I've worked on anything but the baby sweater--which you would be seeing right now if I could find my camera (yes, I've been cleaning again--darn it).  Tomorrow is Finishing Friday, and I actually have no other plans, so I can actually craft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am not even going to ANSWER my phone tomorrow--who knows, I may not even get dressed!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And Now An Update From What May or May NOT be Ravelympics Training Camp

Bob:  We're here at the formerly-known-as-Ravelympics training camp, where the knitting world was stunned yesterday by an official Cease and Desist letter from the United States Olympic Committee, which asserted the term "Ravelympics" and knitting events such as scarf hockey "denigrates" the game's athletes.  Knitters worldwide surprisingly responded with something strongly resembling outrage.

Ron:  They did indeed, Bob.  Rumor has it that the email inbox of the U.S. Olympic Committee was filled by evening.  I believe officials were slightly shocked by the fury of 2-million crafters wielding sharp, pointy objects whose passion had just been insulted.  I'm sure they believed that the grandmotherly-types who were clearly exploiting the Olympic fervor for their own nefarious means (fun) would assume "denigrate" was meant in its very nicest sense. 

Bob:  In further developments today, the U.S. Olympic Committee has issued a statement:  

Statement from USOC Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky:
“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.

The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Ron:  We have with us in the studio today a spokesperson from USOC.  Welcome Mr. USOC.

Mr. USOC:  Thank you Bob and Ron.  It's a pleasure to be here at...........what do you call yourselves?

Bob:  The Wide World of Wool

Mr. USOC:  Ah, I see.  The Wide World of Woolens.  Interesting. [makes note to check to see if this name violates anything that makes the USOC money]

Bob:  Now in your statement, USOC claims that the letter that has outraged knitters world-wide was a "standard form" cease and desist letter.  Are you honestly saying that you have a regular form letter which specifically mentions afghan marathons, scarf hockey, and sweater triathalons?

Mr. USOC:  Oh yes--we believe in being prepared.  One never knows what sort of hobby one will need to insult next.  We have standard letters prepared which refer to quilters as "disturbed, obsessive-compulsive grannies," scrapbookers as "deranged, scissor-wielding psychopaths," and spinners as "reclusive shut-ins begging for an intervention."  One never knows which groups will completely "denigrate" the true nature of the Olympic games next.

Ron:  Which would be competition?  Fair play?  World-wide good will?

Mr. USOC:  Of course not--it's MONEY.  Why do you think we have the games?  We need something happening to be able to sell sponsorships and exclusive rights.  And we will certainly not relent on our quest to make sure that NO ONE exploits the name of Olympics--or any part of that word--for anything that we can't make money from.  That is the TRUE Olympic spirit.

Bob:  So that would explain your challenge to The Olympian, a newspaper that was actually in existence seven years before the first Olympics in 1896?  You don't find that a tad bit extreme?

Mr. USOC:  Extreme?  We're the organization willing to incur legal expenses to stop some harmless knitters from doing something purely for fun and which generates no profits of any kind for anyone.  We believe nothing is too extreme to make sure the Olympics stay completely about MONEY.  Or, I should say, about money for US.

Ron:  And it doesn't strike you as even the least bit asinine to tell the knitting world, only one day after you said their hobby "denigrate" the Olympic athletes, that you now hope they will spend their time knitting things for the athletes--while still not allowing them to use the name "Ravelympics?"

Mr. USOC:   Asinine?  Of course not.  We have no problems using athletes to rake in millions from such incredibly unhealthy products as McDonalds and Coca-Cola.  We see no contradiction in using the world's finest athletes to promote products they wouldn't possibly consume for health reasons.  In the past, we disqualified any athlete who had ever been paid ANYTHING while we raked in millions for the games themselves.  Why would anything about our current statement strike us as "asinine?"

Bob:  You're right.  I can't think of a single reason why it would.......

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Games That Shall Remain Nameless

So, remember all the fun we knitters have with Ravelympics?  Ravelry--a free social networking site for knitters--has been contacted by the Office of General Counsel for the United States Olympic committee.  Details on Ravelry here.  Among other pretty obnoxious things, the letter says:

"We believe using the name 'Ravelympics' for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."

Well I, for one, think that such a sentence is CLEARLY disrespectful to anyone who has a hobby that he or she has tried to master.  Obviously, we do denigrate the true nature of the games as this person sees them--ours have been about fun and teamwork, and NOT about raking in the greatest number of sponsorships.

Count this as one VERY angry knitter who will never watch, mention, or buy anything in ANY way connected with the United States Olympic committee.  JERKS.


And if you would like to share your thoughts with these lovely money-grubbers:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

They're Back!

Bob:  We're here at Ravelympics Training camp with some very surprising developments.

Ron:  Right you are, Bob.  In a sudden burst of activity, Ms. Sutton blocked FIVE scarves yesterday,
without incident.....
 Bob:  It looks like there might have been a little kitty subterfuge involved, but Ms. Sutton has completed her stretching exercises, and possibly even more surprisingly,
 is on day 3 of what could become her endurance test.

Ron:  Now this is earlier than you expected for the endurance test, isn't it Bob?

Bob:  It is indeed, Ron.  We had expected to see a little more activity with the mohair sweater
but some ongoing yarn thinning problems have landed it in the Project Protection Program, and we believe the sweater is currently in hiding somewhere in Montana and answering to the name "Beauford."

Ron:  Certainly an unexpected turn of events, but with the new baby sweater already being on the third day, it's off to a promising start for the endurance test.  But will it last?  Keep it turned here to the Wide World of Wool to see.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Here at Training Camp.....

Bob and Ron have the weekend off, so I thought I'd do a quick update without them. I have had a weekend all by myself.  This was not actually the intention, as we had agreed to go on a 3-day camping trip with friends, but my back could neither handle the car ride there nor (most likely) any part of actually being there, so Andy went with our friends and I have had a resting/crafting weekend.  The fact that MY weekend involved indoor plumbing was an added bonus.

I have 2 more mitten ornaments:
a pair of fleece pants finished (which are in the washing machine which makes them difficult to photograph, but you can take my word for this one),the start of a Mr. Flurry snowman:
a potential project for my "high jump" item:

which is a brioche stitch hat.....that currently makes me want to drink heavily, but I'm hoping will improve once I get past the beginning whole-bunch-of-needles-and-few-stitches nightmare.  This is why I generally prefer hats that start with the brim--by the time I get to the most troublesome part, I have already done all the work and am so excited about having a Finished Object that I can plow through even the slipperiest yarn/needle combination no matter how obnoxious it is. BUT, I'm hoping something will drive me back to finishing maybe this:
The mohair sweater!  I'm onto the sleeves, and really have been trying to be dedicated to the blasted thing, but this
is happening more and more often (or maybe it just seems like it because I'm working on two balls at once as I'm making both sleeves at the same time).  This was some unnamed mohair yarn I bought by the bag, and since it was inexpensive, I'm guessing that the problems were known and it was being discontinued, which I should have questioned.  I'm not really ready to give up on this sweater--I do have the back and both fronts done--but we need some time apart.  So, whether I'll live up to Gaidig's dare to finish this thing before starting the purple sweater remains to be seen.  I'm holding a few WIPs that can compete in the Ravelympics because I think that's what I'll do for the games this year, but there might be something to pull out and work on for a bit that I don't want to send through the food processor.......

One of the Training Camp "to-do" items is to either frog something, give away yarn, or give away something you know you're just never going to use.  After much sniffling, this:
is shortly to be on it's way to one of my closest friends.  When they were visiting last time, I had her try on several dresses I made to see which ones would be most flattering, as I was going to make her a dress for her birthday (which is still the plan, just hasn't happened yet with the "back/sitting" issues around here).  Anyway, this was very cute on her, but has only fit me if I don't move my arms.  I thought, "Well, I'm sure I just need to lose a couple pounds and it will be fine..." but thanks to the nausea-inspiring pain pills and the incredible schedule of physical therapy/weights/exercise I've been going through for the last 6-8 months, I've probably lost FIFTEEN pounds since then, and I still can't move my arms when I wear this dress.  It's the shoulders--I have very broad shoulders for a woman, which is why I generally favor sleeveless things whenever possible.  And.........I got lazy.  I didn't do the measuring, I didn't do the fitting--I just looked at the pattern, said "oh, it's sleeveless, it will be fine........" and made an adorable dress that I cannot wear.  So, I've decided to admit defeat, send it to my friend so I can be happy that SHE'S got an adorable dress that looked VERY cute on her, and I will remember to check the fit next time.............

But to end my weekend on a high note,
I made a cute little handbag last night.  It was surprisingly easy, though it's made with home decorating fabric and not the vinyl it was supposed to be, so it won't be the most durable purse ever, but I'm just incredibly pleased with the thing.  I'd found this fabric on clearance for something outrageous--like $2 a yard, and bought it to make a few shopping bags, but I've never been able to convince myself to use up such cute stuff just for groceries.  So, I have a handbag............and I still have enough for a grocery bag or two. At first I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't count this for one of my "12 12s," but then I realized that it's a BAG, so it gets to count as a bag--which makes a lot more sense than trying to justify to myself how one really WEARS a handbag, rather than just carries it.  Thank heavens I didn't have to try to pass it off as a Christmas ornament!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blocking Day

Items needing to be blocked:

Blocking day beginning:
Blocking day after Theo's "rodent gift episode:"
Tomorrow:  Blocking Day part two...............

Friday, June 8, 2012

Back at Training Camp....

Bob:  We're back at the Ravelympics training camp, where Ms. Sutton is showing tremendous progress on the one-row scarf:
Ron:  I believe she's more than half finished with the scarf, is that correct?

Bob: It does look like it Ron.  From here it looks like she might be even farther along--maybe 65%.

Ron:  Now this is her core training project--any chance this is also her endurance test project?

Bob:  Not a chance.  Ms. Sutton has spent a small amount of time with the mohair sweater, and even some time with
Ron:  Cross stitch, now that is a surprising turn of events.  Seeing such an uncharacteristic move this early--could it be Ms. Sutton is cracking from the strain already?

Bob:  It's hard to say, Ron, but the presence of the slowest possible craft Ms. Sutton has ever undertaken is a bit worrisome, though perhaps she is trying to finish up her "12 threads" for the 12-12s event before the year advances too far.  

Ron:  That could be, though considering Ms. Sutton has never before managed 12 threads on this project in a single year does make one wonder.   Is it dedication or general inability to stay in training that we're seeing here?  Keep it tuned here for all the training updates.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We Interrupt The Training Camp....

To bring you this:
The top shelf has been added, the lights are in, and the shelves are finished!!!!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Training - Day 3

Ron:  We're here at day 3 of the Ravelympics training camp. Ms. Sutton is still going strong with the wind sprints,
but it looks like she may also be moving on to another exercise as well:

Bob:  Now this could be either the endurance test or the core training as it looks like the one-row scarf that Ms. Sutton has made so many, many, MANY times.

Ron: It does certainly look like one of her "go-to" patterns, though it could be problematic for her "12 12s" challenge as there is no category for scarves.

Bob:  She may be using it in her "catch-all" category of "12 gifts," provided that there is a single person Ms. Sutton knows who hasn't already received a one-row scarf. 

Ron:  Good point, Bob.  We may be seeing some gift knitting.  As Ms. Sutton has just been spotted working on the mohair sweater,
she can't yet be attempting the 10-day endurance test.

Bob:  Could this sweater be a serious contender for the endurance test?

Ron:  Unlikely, Bob.  10 days of knitting nothing but mohair is a very big challenge for any knitter to attempt, and to tackle such a headache leading up to the games could easily cripple a knitlete and perhaps even put her out of the games.

Bob:  Good point, Ron.  While it seems unlikely with Ms. Sutton's track record, we may be seeing the mohair sweater as an attempt to clean up the existing WIP pile before the games begin. Since this sweater has been worked on since May 15, it is not eligible to be entered in WIP Wrestling, and if it isn't going to be her endurance test, it really looks like this may just be some knitterly dedication--certainly something we don't always see from Ms. Sutton.

Ron:  Too true, Bob.  With WIPs dating back to at least 2004, dedication is hardly a proven strong point. 

Bob:  We'll see how this dedication plays out as the training camp continues.  Could early dedication hurt Ms. Sutton during the actual games?  Stay tuned here to the Wide World of Wool for further updates.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Live, From Ravelypics Training Camp

Bob:  With the summer Ravelympics less than two months away, we're here at the Ravelympics training camp for Team Stashdown.  Knitletes are preparing for what could be the most grueling Ravelympics we've seen yet.

Ron:  How right you are, Bob.  The winter Ravelympics follow closely on the heels of the most grueling knitting season:  the Christmas sweater smackdown.  Knitletes who managed to pound out a cabled men's sweater in the month leading up to Christmas are lean, mean, and hardened, so they're focused and ready for the winter games.  The summer games could be a different story.

Bob:  That's right, Ron.  With summer vacations, hot weather making wool completely unappealing, and the general disgust often experienced by knitters who branch out into the cotton yarn family, summer is often a slow knitting time.  And aside from the isolated odd-ball knitter family, there is no general crafting mania building up to Easter or St. Patrick's day to get knitters in shape.  It's a much more difficult season for knitletes to stay lean and focused.

Ron:  The Team Stashdown training camp kicked off today to ward off cases of Flabby Fingers and Wrist Wobbles.  Between now and the start of the games, each team member is to complete six events:

Stretching:  blocking one item, the more severely the better.  (Lace, of course, being the ultimate fitness test)

Windsprints:  one or more items knit in a single day.  This one may be difficult because most of our knitletes have only the vaguest of grasps of how much knitting can actually be done in one day.

Bob:  Very true, Ron.  We may lose some contestants on the windsprints if they attempt scarves or socks or anything too complicated.  Luckily, we have a get-well kitty on-hand in case of injuries:
Ron:  The knitters who survive the first two training exercises will then move on to: 

Strength training:  frogging an item the knitter will never, ever finish or giving away yarn or other items that will never be used

High jump:  trying a new technique or pattern

Core training:  Making a favorite go-to pattern that always turns out well

and the final, most difficult challenge of all,

Endurance training:  working on ONE project only for 10 days straight--no exceptions

Bob:  That last one is, of course, going to be the most difficult challenge for our previous Ravelympic knitlete, Ms. Sutton, don't you think?

Ron:  I certainly do, Bob.  Between her general inability to focus on a single project and her current struggles with complicated patterns while on pain medication, this may be too much for Ms. Sutton this summer.  How is her training going so far?

Bob:  Last night before the training began, she pulled a surprise finish of a hat that was completely unexpected until today, 
and she's already finished two windsprints, so she's starting training very strong.  

Ron:  Of course, the big test will be the endurance one.  It looks like Ms. Sutton may be postponing that part of the training until she can be back off the pain medication, which may turn out to be a good strategy.

Bob:  On the other hand, of course, if she waits too long, she'll be going into the Ravelympics with just having finished 10 days of project monogamy, and that will probably make it much harder for Ms. Sutton to focus during the actual games.  So, the delay could be risky for her.

Ron:  Good point.  Ms. Sutton has never shown the sort of dedication that 27 days of monogamous knitting would require, so she may have to risk the endurance test earlier in training.  Do you think Ms. Sutton has gained any sort of pacing in the 2 years since the last games?

Bob:  Ms. "Let's-move-everything-and-paint-the-entire-sewing-room-while-my-back-is-still-healing?"  I hardly think so. 

Ron:   Good point, Bob.  Let's hope the get-well kitty sticks close by for the training.  I have the feeling Ms. Sutton might need him....

Bob:  Until next time, this is Bob and Ron from the Wide World of Wool, bringing you all the latest updates from the Ravelympics 2012 training camp.