Monday, September 8, 2008

vintage olympic

The actual 2008 Olympic games were made meaningful for me by the Ravelry Olympics challenge. Just before the start of the games I happened into one of Chicago's most unusual yarn shops. Midwest Discount, a dark and cluttered place with old-fashioned wooden floors, carries what appear to be mill ends of yarn. They have a lot of acrylics and fewer natural fibers. They also have some of my favorites - vintage yarns.

This yarn named Olympic-Monterey called out to me. I like the soft green color and the vintagy label. The shop had nine skeins of this for $2.00 per skein. It is a stretchy fingering weight boucle with irregular lumps in it made of 95% wool and 5% nylon. Each skein has 130 yards, so I have a total of 1170 yards of this yarn.

So I owned some Olympic yarn in time for the Olympic games, but what is this yarn for? Was it meant for socks due to its nylon content? Here is a scanned swatch done on #2 needles.

I think it would make lumpy socks. The fabric is quite irregular as well as lumpy, with little holes all through it. I just keep wondering what it was meant for. If you have some ideas, please let me know. I am thinking scarf, shrug, or little vest. Any other thoughts?

Speaking of the Olympics, I once visited Olympia in Greece, the site of the original Olympic games. It is a beautiful lush, green spot with well-preserved and reconstructed ruins. There is a little pit there where the Olympic flame is still ignited to this day, I believe using sunlight. Below are the torch site and a view of the competitors' housing (in ruins).

To add to an already photo-heavy post, here are squares number 13 and 14 of the Learn to Knit Afghan:

Monday, September 1, 2008

i deserve a medal

Ok. I missed the deadline for Ravelympics. But I am pleased with how the child's sweater I made came out. It is for the afghans for Afghans youth campaign:I used a vintage yarn called Marina under the brand name Bouquet. It is an aran weight superwash wool in a rich blue that an observer has called a Ralph Lauren blue. On a #7 needle and made in the hefty brioche stitch, the resulting fabric is dense and warm to stand up to an Afghan winter. It says 'boy' to me and at 30" across should fit a 7 - 10 year old depending of course on the size of the child.

One thing I learned from Ravelry about this yarn is that it has only 85 yards per skein. I had over 9 skeins, but the skimpy yardage and the dense stitch explain why I feared running out of yarn after I started on the sleeves. I had a soft, heathery mystery yarn in a dark sand with subtle blue and orange touches, so I added a contrast stripe, saddles, and collar. It looks way better than I thought it would.

This is how much blue yarn I had left after using the blue for trim on the collar and for sewing the pieces together:

Would I have had enough blue without the intarsia stripe, etc? I think I would have run out near the end, certainly by the time I got to the collar.

The yarn is posing on top of The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. I roughly followed the proportions for the Saddle Shoulder sweater - Child. This is the first sweater and second project I have made using Ann Budd's garment outlines. The first was mittens. These pattern books come in handy, but they are not perfect. For the sweater, my gauge did not match any of those given in the book. I made so many changes that I feel like I wrote the pattern. Also, the neck was too small. I don't know whether to blame the book or myself. But no matter. I ended up leaving the collar open on the side and adding a loop and button closure, a nice solution. The photo shows the back of the sweater.