March 1, 2010

Knit, Purl, Toe Loop

My Oma was a neat lady. Teacher, skater, gardener, knitter. She taught me to knit and to cross-stitch and needlepoint. She tried to teach me to skate. And about that, let's just say that I really liked the knitting.

I was a little thing when we started. My Oma showed me how to cast on, to knit, to purl. I knit up a swatch big enough to be a potholder. Except I didn't learn to bind off, so I wound up with a set of fat, plastic, circular needles wrapped in white yarn. I still have that thing somewhere.

But it was a memory. And it stuck.

When I took up knitting for real, the first project I made was for her. A simple feather-and-fan lapghan in pink acrylic with a long yellow fringe, meant to keep her warm while she watched figure skating on TV. It came out sideways. She used it anyway, because that's what Omas do. And when she died, my cousin thoughtfully packed it up and sent it back to me. Now it's draped across the foot of my daughter's bed.

I never took to skating. Too clumsy. Although, somehow, knitting and skating remained inextricably linked in my crowded little brain.

Which is why I signed on for the Olympics. The Knitting Olympics, that is, sponsored by my girl, the Yarn Harlot. The goal: cast a project on during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, knit like a madwoman for 17 days, watch a little skating, and finish the whole thing before the closing ceremonies are done.

Knitting? Skating? At the same time? Cool!

Of course, we were about an hour into the opening ceremonies when I decided I should do this. Like any obsessed but time-pressed knitter, I do have a few projects waiting ... so I dashed upstairs and found this gorgeous cotton I'd bought last year along with the pattern I'd picked to go with it. I managed to dig up a pair of size 6 needles: if you've ever seen my closet (which you won't), you'll know just how hard a task that was.

And then I cast on. For 17 days, I knit like a fiend. I watched some kick-ass skating, and I knit. Kim Yu-Na beat the tutus off of everyone else on the ice. And I knit. I have a callous where the yarn wraps around my finger, and a deep bruise where I push against the needle. My shoulders ache. 

And yet, I didn't finish. I didn't finish because I'm a crazy lady who thought a hardworking single mother of three would have time to knit a whole sweater in just over two weeks. I mean, it's sleeveless, right? Piece of cake!

Yeah, not so much. I got about half of it done.

I'm awfully darn proud of myself, though. I'm proud that I tried. I'm proud that I made it as far as I did. I even learned a few new skills along the way.

I'm still knitting my sweater. I may not have finished on time. But I will finish. And I will have a beautiful, summery sweater to show for it. My version of a skating sweater.

Thanks, Oma.

* PS Yes, it's rather ridiculous to blog about knitting and not include any pictures. But my camera is full so, well, there you go.


  1. I'm so jealous! I haven't knit in years and you know how much I love to knit. The pattern looks great. Maybe you can finish while watching 'Dancing w/ the Stars'. Evan Lysacek will be on the show. He won't be skating, but he's a skater that will be performing to music, so it's close.


  2. You have to start again, Nancy! I'd left off until pretty recently in favor of crochet, because it's so quick and usually easy. But oh, the joy of knitting! Nothing like it. :-)