Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ready? Set? Second-Guess!

Full disclosure: A previous version of this post "aired" over on the Bloomin Yarns blog yesterday. They get confidence. You get self-doubt.

We are roughly 48 hours from watching the Olympic Cauldron lighting ceremony in Vancouver for the XXI Olympic Winter Games. Have you picked your Knitting Olympics project?

I thought I had picked my project. So here's all of my information, and we'll get to the mental breakdown later.

I tried and tried to use pattern author David Schulz's photos (with his permission) in this post, but just couldn't figure it out. Please click the links on the following links to see the awesome that will (maybe? probably?) be my Olympics project!

Meet the Northman Mittens.

They are colorwork mittens that are fully lined. My hope is that when I complete this pair during the 16 days of the Olympics, I will not only have an awesome pair of fully lined mittens in yummy yarn, but I will have boosted my colorwork confidence by enough of a margin to try to tackle a Dale of Norway sweater.

I have completed several colorwork projects at this point, which is why I didn’t feel that another simple colorwork project was an appropriate Olympic project. I wasn’t particularly happy with my Postwar Mittens, but after knitting a pair of Christmas Stockings and my Hybrid Hat, I’m feeling a lot more confident in my fair isle skills. And I’d love to have a perfect pair of handknit colorwork mittens.

The lining on these mittens means two things: First, these will hopefully be a wonderful pair of warm mittens. There’s a lot of alpaca in this project! And secondly, I’m essentially knitting four mittens (two pairs) during the Games.

Oh, yeah! What yarns did I pick for this little adventure?


For the outer mitten, I’m using two colors of Ultra Alpaca. I plan to use the navy blue as the background/predominant color with the light blue for the stars. The electric blue is Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca Sport Weight and will be used for the lining.


I wound the yarn at Knit Night last Thursday (pre-Snowpocalypse) and did a swatch. I got gauge for my size (7 sts/inch) on a US 4 needle/3.5mm needle, so I’ll be magic looping this project starting on Friday night.


I love the swatch. It's gonna be an awesome pair of mittens.

My personal choice is to skip the Ravelympics and participate in the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Olympics. And that's where my mini-breakdown comes in to play.

I've been attacked by a major case of second-guessing. Am I being ambitious enough, or is this a cop-out project? I've done colorwork mittens before, so even though this is essentially two pairs of mittens, is it a Big enough project? Is it "epic" enough? Hell, I finished my last pair of mittens in two days.

I have yarn and pattern for a spring cabled sweater (Rowan Pima Cotton/Pavillion -- Rav link) in my basement, but I'm hesitant to do a sweater with sleeves because I'm still shrinking and am unsure of my "finished" size, but I could switch to that project at the last minute. But is that too much to bite off? I still have a Hubster with a broken collarbone who requires shuttle service. I'm (probably) about to take on a thrice-weekly writing assignment. I want to be able to live my life around my Olympics project and still sleep and not overwhelm myself and all that good stuff. But is a pair of mittens Olympic Enough?

Maybe I should think of this in a slightly different way. Maybe I'm the utility player on the fourth line of the Olympic hockey team. I still made the team. I still go to all the practices and suit up for the Games, but I'm getting 5-10 minutes of ice time a night because I'm young and this is my first Olympics, and when we roll around to the Sochi Games in 2014, I'll be the first-line All-Star working on an Epic Sweater instead of mittens.

Am I crazy? Did I just get cold feet when it came time to officially sign up for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics? Please, people. Talk me down off of this ledge!


Celtic Queen said...

Think of it like this, if you finish the mittens, move on to your next goal. Maybe you'll surprise yourself in what you can do. Finishing is not the goal, the goal is the goal. Given that you've got life commitments, I think you have a challenge. :)

LisaBe said...

i'm paralyzed by the choices, too. i like your reasoning. and i'd also remind you that olympians compete in something they love. they can get jazzed enough to really compete and win only if the event is something they love and are passionate about. so that's my vote: you're clearly passionate about these mittens, so i vote that you make them. :)

Jen said...

Beautiful mittens! I'll have to solicit your help sometime. I'd love to knit EZ's Fair Isle yoked sweater someday, but I've always been intimidated by the colorwork.

turtlegirl76 said...

Yeah, I hear ya on the second guessing. Should I pick one big project or stick with my plan of a pair of socks and as many shawls as I can knit? *sigh* The mittens are gonna be pretty. I think it's enough of a challenge to stick with it though. They do have that liner.

SJ said...

Just because you've done colorwork before doesn't mean that it's not still a challenge. And frankly I think adding that additional element -- the lining -- makes these mittens a perfect Olympic project. Think of it this way: There are Olympic competitions that have lots of events (like hockey) and then there are those where the medals are determined from one event. The sweater would be more like the long-haul events, but the mittens are somewhere in between. You should be able to finish them without making yourself crazy and while still living your life. In my opinion, that's the ideal kind of project.

LaurieG said...

Of course it's a challenge! You said yourself that you were not happy with the last pair of fairisle mittens you knit. Creating a better pair of mittens is absolutely an Olympic worthy challenge. Not everything needs to be a time challenge -- yeah there's the 50 KM cross country event, but it's the same gold medal for the 10 KM race too. So don't beat yourself up and knit the project in front of you. Besides, time challenges are the least impressive kind of challenge -- it's just putting in the time. It's the skill of creating a perfect mitten (or landing a perfect quad) that's the real challenge. (Says the woman who is knitting a sweater.)