No, I’m not talking about Michael Phelps…which might make me the only person who isn’t. He’s amazing, though, isn’t he? 8 for 8 in gold medals, with 7 world records and 1 Olympic record. Wow. Just…wow. His swimming was about the only Olympics I did watch, since I had no intention of giving one more viewing audience to a soul-crushing, Tibet-suppressing, independent-thinking-vaccuum, lying, cheating, and all-around evil government like China’s. But that’s just me.
I saved my energy for the Ravelympics!
When I first posted about it, there were just under 1500 Ravelers competing, and we were already in awe at how many people had joined. By the end, the stats were just a little more impressive:
- Ravelers competing: 5702
- Number of events: 31
- Number of projects entered: 16125
- Number of projects completed for a medal: approx 6500
- Number of teams: 218
There were teams for countries (14), U.S. states (17), and cities (19 that I recognized); teams for TV shows, LYSs, interests, and hobbies; teams for teams (both the Yankees and the Red Sox were represented, of course) and teams for all 3 major U.S. presidential candidates. Team TARDIS (the Dr. Who fans) was the largest at 233, although Team Canada was a close second at 208. Team Hopelessly Overcommitted was third in members at 178, but first in medals with an impressive 395. The two smallest teams to earn medals were Team Hip to Make Squares and Team Mamfa, with one member and one medal apiece. The largest event, by far, was WIP (works-in-progress) Wrestling, with 5000 projects entered and 1671 completed. Remember those numbers…
As for me, I got more ambitious before the Opening Ceremonies actually commenced. I’d originally signed up for two events: Hat Dash and Felted Freestyle, with one project (a felted hat) covering both. Since you could sign up projects for more than one team as well, I entered the hat for Team McCain (the first of my groups to field a team) and Team Little Knits (since that’s where I got the beautiful Noro Kureyon I was using). Then I started wondering what I’d do if I finished the hat–I mean, it’s just a hat, how hard could it be?–before the end of the Ravelympics. There was a deadline for signing up, so I had to decide quickly. I did a search for projects using the Noro Kureyon on Ravelry and found a beautiful scarf that I had to make. Great–two projects, both feasible. So I was…done entering…events…um, what are those?
They were wristers (aka fingerless gloves) also made with the Kureyon. Heck, might as well finish out a winter set I won’t need until we move, right? The pattern appeared to be fairly straightforward, which is good for someone who’s never knit fingerless gloves before. And really, it wasn’t like I was going to get 20 lashes if I entered a project I couldn’t complete. The idea was to challenge myself, so I put it on the list. Both the scarf and the wristers went under Team Little Knits.
First up: the scarf. It occurred to me that since I was still working on Stella’s birthday quilt when the Olympics started, and I was going to be traveling to visit family for 4 days in the middle, I ought to start with the project I had the greatest likelihood of finishing, to ensure at least one medal for my blog.
- Project: Jen’s Ravelympics 2008 scarf
- Pattern: 2 Weeknights with Warrick by Karin Bole (available for free)
- Yarn: Noro Kureyon (2 skeins)
- Needles: US8 / 5.0mm
- Stitch pattern: Feather and Fan
The scarf knit up so quickly and easily that I was able to knit while watching kids, on the plane, in airports, chatting with the family…just a simple 4 row repeat where 3 of the rows are either knit or purl. I loved the colorway I was using, and the end result was better than I expected.
For my efforts, I earned my first gold medal for Team Little Knits!
Then I returned to my original Ravelympics project, the hat. This one I was living a little dangerously with. I wasn’t using the recommend yarn (or even the recommended fiber–the pattern specifically recommends not using 100% wool, which is what the Noro is) and I couldn’t get gauge for the life of me. Nor had I ever felted before. But I finally got a gauge that was close enough and decided nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I took the plunge.
- Project: Jen’s Ravelympics 2008 Hat
- Pattern: Stirling Cloche by Cirilia Rose (available for free)
- Yarn: Noro Kureyon (3 skeins)
- Needles: US10 / 6.0mm
- Stitch pattern: Stockinette, knit in the round
The hat, when knitted up, was pretty cute, and I was even more worried about felting it since I didn’t know how that would change it. And when I finished, I couldn’t see the difference because I’d watched each step of the process. But my husband saw it immediately, and it was pretty clear in the pictures (note: if you want to see the before and after, look for the yarn review on Noro Kureyon coming soon). I love my new felted roll-brim hat (although the pattern is for a cloche, I knit the brim longer so it would roll).
Two more medals, this time for both Team Little Knits and Team McCain!
Unfortunately, those were the last medals I won. I came up just a little short on the wristers–I finished them on August 24, the same day as the closing ceremonies, but not until early afternoon…and my deadline was 10:59 am US CST (11:59 pm Beijing time). When the flame was extinguished, I was just past the thumb opening on the second glove. Still, since I’d really only started knitting them a few days earlier, I was quite pleased with my progress–and I stuck it out to the end.
- Project: Jen’s Ravelympics 2008 Wristers
- Pattern: Extra Warm Kureyon Wristers by Debi Leshin
- Yarn: Noro Kureyon (1 skeins)
- Needles: US4 / 3.5mm
- Stitch pattern: Stockinette and ribbing, knit in the round
Because the color run in Noro Kureyon is so long, my wristers ended up looking like they came from two different skeins of yarn. I have enough skeins that I could have made them match if I’d wanted…but I didn’t want. I love how different they look, and emphasized this by intentionally using yarn from the opposite end of the color run on the thumb. This actually helped tie the wristers together, since the thumb on one matches the body of the other, and vice versa.
But although I crossed the finish line a little late with my wristers, I was awarded a fourth gold medal, one of which I’m very proud:
I was a Bobicii.
As the event mushroomed beyond anyone’s expectations, the original organizers got swamped. Even though Casey stepped in with lots of cool organizational tools created just for the Ravelympics (Casey, you are, as always, a god among men), there was still going to be a lot of work to do. Early on, on a whim, I’d sent an PM offering to help. My original thought was that I could help keep track of sign ups, since that would all happen before I got really swamped with my niece’s birthday quilt and the travel. But Casey automated sign-ups, so I forgot about the PM…until I got response saying, “Did you mean it? Because if you did…”
And that’s how I became one of Bobicus Maximus’ helpers: the Bobicii. There weren’t many of us: in addition to head mod Kimberli and assistant head mod paksenarrion, there were only six of us plus one backup (k2togkate, who backed me up for the 4 days I was traveling–thanks, Kate!). The eight of us watched the finish line threads, and then posted the names (and sometimes the team names) of the finishers to the podium thread each evening. Everyone was a signed a number of events, except me. I just had one…WIP Wrestling.
Remember the numbers on that one? Yeah. It was big. I usually had around 100 finishers a day (although there was one day when there were over 300). I had to figure out all sorts of ways to transfer and organize the data–I had to alphabetize my list to make sure I didn’t magic link the same name twice…or three times…or a couple days, seven times–but I got it down to a science…right about the same time the Ravelympics ended. S’ok, though–I’m ready for 2010!
The volunteer work did cut in to my knitting time, but if I had to choose between being a Bobicii or getting that last gold for the wristers, I’ll take the Bobicii gig every time. It was so much fun seeing all the FOs cross the finish line, and I got a real kick out of working behind the scenes. In the end, Kimberli revealed our names to the masses, and the expressions of thanks were wonderfully overwhelming. We were even awarded another gold medal on behalf of Team Free Formations.
Bring on the Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010! I’m already paging through my queue…