Monday, 1 March 2010

Olympic failure

So Great Britain isn’t so great at the winter Olympics, probably in part because we don’t have a proper winter. I know there was a lot of snow this winter but in general we’re not a winter sports country evidenced by the one gold medal at the Olympics. Perhaps it’s just that winter sports and the possibility of competing in the winter Olympics isn’t pushed as much, we did have athletes there so clearly British people are trying, just not necessarily doing very well!

Anyway...I’m babbling.

This Brit thought I might at least be OK at the Knitting Olympics, that seemed like something I could manage. Clearly not. My Ishbel remained unfinished at the closing ceremony, so near yet so far. I gave in after row 4 of chart C and accepted I wasn’t going to make it. OK so that’s only another 11 rows plus the cast off to go. Thing is that those 11 rows is over 3000 stitches with lace and charts and concentration. I have a reason for not finishing, it’s very poor but let me share.

Last weekend I was feeling very much on track, I had finished charts A, had started on chart B and was even contemplating doing A, B, A for the larger lace. Pride comes before the fall right? I told myself I’d do a couple of rows every night, that would get it done and I could finish at the weekend. A couple of rows every night would have got it done, did I do a couple of rows every night? Oh no.

Monday night I came home from work, I thought about my Ishbel, I thought “hmm I did a lot of lace over the weekend, maybe I’ll just do a couple of rounds on a plain sock tonight, I still have time.”

Tuesday I did manage to knit…a little. I had Tuesday booked off work, my husband was working from a different regional office and I’d offered to take him to the train station bright and early for the 6am train. I had decided there was no way I was then going into work so I’d have a nice, relaxing day. I could do some housework and lots of knitting. Brilliant. I took him to the station then came home and proceeded to fall asleep and stay in bed until 11am. I then have to at least have something to show for my day off when I’d told him I’d do housework so I sorted out my wardrobe. I then sat down to knit. I finished chart B when Mr Monkey called to tell me he’d finished the work he needed to do and would be home by 6pm. He got home, we ordered takeaway, no more knitting was done…but at least I’d finished chart B right? I could do the rest by Sunday night no problems.

Wednesday night is my choir night, I’m always busy and rushing around and there is minimal time for knitting, for minimal read no time. I didn’t get home until after 9pm at which point I still had to eat and do some other bits and pieces, none of these included knitting. No further work done on Ishbel.

Thursday night, Thursday should have been a perfect knitting opportunity. My husband was off playing football, I came home alone to a quiet house with lots of knitting time until he got home later. Perfect. Did I knit? Of course I did, I knit quite a lot actually, was it Ishbel? No. The thing is that on Thursday I got a new mobile phone, a much fancier one than my previous phone with a touchscreen and everything. It clearly needed some kind of protective covering so I had to knit one right? I picked out some leftover sock yarn and cast on a little sock for my phone. Great, knitting, just not the right knitting. (we will ignore the fact that I messed up, didn’t cast on enough stitches so the sock was too small meaning I’ve pulled the whole blasted thing out and started again)

Friday night. Of course I could knit on Friday night, it’s the weekend. There’s no need to rush to bed early, I can knit to my hearts content on a Friday. The thing is our friends were going to the pub. I told Mr Monkey that I’d join everyone for one drink then I’d get the bus home and wait for him to finish and could get on with some knitting. Thing is one drink turned into two, then three, then four and then stumbling onto the last bus home with absolutely zero chance of me being able to knit competently. Oops.

Saturday should have been perfect knitting time. We had a little job to do at lunchtime which involved leaving the house but that was for less than an hour meaning loads of free knitting time to get through my second chart A. I sat down, got my pattern and my project out and prepared to knit. I looked at the chart and felt a bit confused, I tried to knit but continued to feel muddled up. Whilst I didn’t have a hangover I’d clearly killed off enough brain cells the night before to prevent any successful knitting on Saturday. Well I can’t say any, Mr Monkey bought himself an ipod touch during the week and requested a sock for it. That did seem to be about as complicated as I was capable so I knit that on Saturday, Ishbel remained at the beginning of the second chart A. Blast.

Sunday is a perfect day to knit, just perfect. I could still finish Ishbel, it was only 23 rows and the cast off from completion, totally do-able right? I’d get up early, have a tasty breakfast and get started whilst I caught up on things I’d recorded on sky +. No problems. OK one problem, I ignored my alarm and slept until 11am. Drat. I got up and got started, I successfully knit the first four rows of chart A but it was going painfully slowly, I know there are a lot of stitches to knit at this point but I’m still not sure it should have taken me 15 minutes to purl back across a row. Oh dear. I did some maths for how long it would take to finish at this rate, I remembered the ironing pile also needed dealing with, I felt a little ill. After lunch and some light housework I returned to Ishbel and finished chart A. I set off on chart C desperately trying to convince myself this was possible, I could do it, I would finish before the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I knit the first row of chart C without problems at a reasonable pace, purled back across and started the third row. I looked at my chart, then at my knitting, then at the chart. I thought about what I’d done for the last few stitches…well that didn’t match the stitches within the box for row 3…something was wrong.

The green marker is the point where I started knitting the wrong part of the chart, the point I am at in this picture is where I realised I was knitting the wrong part of the chart.

It could have been worse, I could have knit a lot further before noticing…I might not have noticed at all. Even so I gave in, that was it, enough. I tinked back to where the mistake started, re-knit until I finished the row, purled back across and shoved Ishbel back in her little project bag in a sulk. I gave up.

I’m proud that I did as much as I did, I do think I did quite well but obviously I know I could have done better. I stopped before it turned into a mass of mistakes and I stopped before I ripped the stupid, splitty yarn off the needles and burned the whole thing in the back garden.

I didn’t stop knitting. I cast on again for my phone sock and decided to give magic loop a go as learning that had been a goal for this year. It’s going well, I’m about halfway through and finding magic loop easy, also I am pleased to note that it doesn’t create the ladders I get when I use DPNs (which I counteract by moving the stitches around on the needles) which is good, I’d read this was the case but couldn’t believe it until I’d tried it. I’m not sure about knitting a full sock on magic loop, I still haven’t gotten my head round how the heel would work but I will give it a go at some point.

So I suppose that’s that. I didn’t finish my Olympic project, I’m not even sure I can say I gave it a good go as I was terribly lazy about knitting on it particularly if I consider people have knit whole jumpers over the two weeks. Still, I tried something and I’ve got most of an Ishbel out of it. I’ve learned to knit using a chart, I’ve taken on a larger lace project and feel like I could even try one in laceweight next time. It wasn’t a completely fruitless exercise.

Ishbel will have to be slightly on the back burner now though. I promised my mum socks for her birthday which is on 9th March. I have at least started them and am about half way through the cuff so I can certainly do this one and finish in time. I may be able to let myself down without too much guilt but I’m not letting my mum down.

WIP list:

Ishbel – no longer time sensitive though would like it to be finished for my holiday, we go on 23rd March
Mum’s socks – to be finished by 9th March, it’s OK, she only wears a size 3!
Phone sock – not time sensitive but should be done very soon as it’s a tiny project
My German themed socks – am on instep decreases of second sock so not too far to go, want them done by 23rd March…shouldn’t be a problem!

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