I got the gold!

When I logged in to Ravelry this morning, I was thrilled to see this waiting for me in recognition of my completion of my Shawl of Happiness in the 2010 Winter Ravelympics;

And this medal-wearing dog for my Ravatar (Ravatar = Ravelry Avatar, of course!)

I modified it slightly so that I wouldn’t look exactly the same as the many, many other victorious Ravthletes (see what they did there??) and the gold medal is there, but he’s hiding it modestly just under the edge of the picture!

Onwards and upwards, to the next project!

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Outpourings of happiness!

Hurrah! Hooray! And expressions of great joy! The Shawl of (was Doom but is now) Happiness is done, and therefore my main project and medal hope for the 2010 Ravelympics is complete and has been submitted!

I will hopefully have a lovely picture of it being worn by it’s intended recipient soon, but for now, have this one which highlights the stitch detail.

Nothing else much to report, other than that I made a very nice (if I say so myself) dinner this evening, the recipe for which I intend to post right as soon as I get some time to write the recipe out nicely! I hope you’re all well, and that all of your projects etc are going as well as the Shawl of Happiness!

Springtime at last???

Well, today came as a pleasant surprise. I’ve given up watching the weather forecasts as they are largely unreliable and mainly gloomy! So, having become accustomed to cold, wet, snowy, cloudy (or all of the above) weather, today’s rise in temperatures and blue skies really cheered me up. Especially as I’ve not been sleeping too well for a few days, so I was incredibly tired this morning. The cheerier weather was a valuable pick-me-up.

After lunch with my in-laws, GG persuaded me into a bit of a walk before we came home. If I’m honest, the only place I wanted to be was in my bed, but I knew how much he and the boys wanted to get outside, so I made the best of it, got my camera out and enjoyed the sunshine.

Roath Park, especially the area in the photo above around the promenade and lighthouse, was very busy today. Many other people obviously had the same idea as us to get out into the sunshine. I especially love the sky in the above picture, with the gradations in colour caused by the clouds.

The sunshine made some beautiful relections in the river possible. Roath Park is split into several parts. The two main parts are where we were today. The best known is the lake part, with (I think it’s) a five acre lake, well populated with fish and the accompanying ducks, geese and swans. Across the promenade begins the other part, with the beautiful big trees, planted borders and beds, lawns and river. I think that the latter is my favourite part. The lake is very beautiful, but other than to walk around it, there’s not much more scope to enjoy it. Whereas, in the rose gardens you can watch the changing seasons pass, you can picnic on the lawns and let the kids run off some energy while you enjoy your seat on the picnic blanket, you can watch flowing water in the river and you can admire the grand old tall trees (I love trees!).

After our walk, we returned home and I set up camp on the sofa. Wrapped up in my blanket, I’ve enjoyed lots more Winter Olympic action and have knitted another repeat of the lace pattern on my Ravelympics medal attempt, Shawl of Doom. I’ve been spoilt rotten by both my children and my husband, and now I’m watching some ice dancing. Hopefully I’ll get a couple more rows knitted before bed time. I’m really hoping to finish this shawl in the next couple of days – I’m getting really bored writing about it! At least if it was a jumper I could say that I’ve done back and front and am heading up the sleeves. With a wrap it’s all about how long it is. Progress pictures won’t mean a lot, which is why there was only the one after the first couple of days!

Please, please please God, I’ll come back tomorrow and tell you that it’s finally done. And also please God, we’ll see some more of those blue skies in the near future!

Relaxing Saturday

Today has been a very restful day. It started off with my sleeping in, eventually waking for my first cup of tea just before 10am. Then, after some reading in bed (essential lazy day activity) I eventually got up and cleaned out my big kitchen store cupboard, and did some laundry. Now, I know that doesn’t sound relaxing, but the cupboard is something I’ve been meaning to tackle for some time and I’d just not found the time. I knew that I’d enjoy my afternoon much more if I’d done something useful in the morning, and so I did. Most of the afternoon was spent knitting, a large chunk of it whilst listening to the afternoon play on Radio 4 starring David Tennant (Scottish accent and all – a happy hour and a half, even if his character was a little too lecherous for my tastes!). I also discovered (only a week late!) that I can watch the Olympics by pressing the red button on BBC 2. Bless me! I had been grumbling and whingeing to myself that there was very limited coverage of the Olympics on the BBC, and there it was all along! So we watched some ice dancing, some slalom-y stuff and some curling. Then we moved on to ‘Back to the Future 3’, which series my children have only recently been introduced to by their godmother. I made a sort of halfway to lasagne pasta bake for tea, and have since been on my laptop. Good times!

I did manage to get a goodly amount of knitting done, although I’m not letting myself count the lace repeats any more as it was getting too disheartening when I realised each time how much I had left to do. So, as I’ve more or less got to knit to the end of the ball of yarn, I thought I might as well just knit and try not to think how much I’ve done or how much I’ve got left until the ball of yarn is about the size of a marble. At which point I’ll cast off, it will be done and all will be well with the world. Hurrah!

Tomorrow I have the delightful prospect of someone else cooking my dinner for me, and hopefully a few more hours of uninterrupted knitting time. Also, as I don’t take my Shawl of Doom anywhere that I might be required to talk, when I go out tomorrow, I’ll be taking my ‘Not Socks’ which I’m knitting as part of a KAL (knitalong) initiated by my friend Ellie to a pattern created by another friend of mine, Machelle. I have talented friends!

Day three, I think I’m getting somewhere.

I’m not sure it’s anywhere I want to be though.

I’ve managed another lace repeat and a bit today, so I’m up to eight pattern repeats out of twenty two. I’m going to try to finish number nine before I go to bed, and then knit another two tomorrow to see me half way through! Fingers crossed! However, I’m not enjoying this shawl any more than I was yesterday. I don’t think I will actually enjoy it until I’m on the twenty first pattern repeat. And then maybe I’ll get nostalgic by the time I hit repeat 22, thinking that it is the last time I’ll be knitting each row of the pattern. I’ll let you know when I get there! But, just to prove that I’m not making my progress up, here’s a WIP shot for you;

However, tomorrow, I get to knit something different for a while. I’m having a little trip out with a knitty friend, and as I need to concentrate too much on the shawl I’m going to take something new to start while we enjoy some hot chocolate somewhere! I can’t wait to knit something else for a change!

GG had a day off today, which was nice. We had a nice lie-in this morning, while Handsome brought us a cup of tea in bed. Then we potched around the flat, doing this and that (including teaching Cheeky how to clean a bathroom – I’m investing in the future!). Cheeky has also been busy today designing and helping to make a birthday present for his auntie – GG’s sister celebrates her birthday tomorrow, and the children are old enough now that they want to think of presents for themselves. I’ll try to post pictures tomorrow. I’m fairly certain my sister in law has never looked at this blog in the three and a half years I’ve been writing it, but knowing my luck she’d look for the first time tomorrow!

I’m enjoying following the blogs of everyone I’ve found who is taking part in the knitting olympics or the Ravelympics – I think most people are pleasantly surprised by the amount of knitting they’ve managed to achieve in just the first few days of the challenge. I know I’ll be extremely happy if I manage to reach half way by tomorrow night.

I never knew lace could kill…

…but I think this shawl might just about do for me by the time I’m done with the Ravelympics project I’ve picked out. I think the yarn is cursed. Or possibly the needles. Or maybe it’s just me.

This is the yarn.

Looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Springlike, light, pretty. Well, you’re wrong. There’s evil in that yarn. But the only cure is for me to get the shawl finished and delivered to it’s rightful owner. I started this pattern last April, quickly discovered that it would drive me mad and frogged it. I rewound the ball of yarn, found a lovely crochet pattern, dug out the crochet hook and made a start. I got to this

before discovering the inherent evil in this mohair. I loved the pattern and was really enjoying crocheting it up, but the ball of yarn was magically shrinking in front of my eyes. At the rate it was disappearing, I might just manage a nice cushion cover with this pattern, but there was no way I was getting a full length wrap. So, back to plan A. I frogged it (again), and cast on to knit the original pattern. I managed 18 rows before giving in to the despair and leaving it in the bag for three months. But I am determined this thing will not beat me! There are 22 sets of 16 rows to knit (each 16 rows makes one pattern repeat) and I WILL DO THIS BY THE END OF THE WINTER OLYMPICS! I may need some quiet time in a padded room by then…but that’s a whole other concern. So far I’ve knitted six of those twenty two pattern repeats. I’m aiming at another two today, after which I will only need to aim at one a day. Which is more than enough to test my patience, my temper and my sanity.

**I would like to point out that the yarn itself is very nice. It’s a 2ply (thin, for non-knitters!) kid mohair (fluffy, for non-yarnies!) yarn, and feels lovely to work with. It’s just so hard to see where all the stitches are, given the inherent fluffy factor. However, I’m trying to convince myself that this same fluff factor will make it harder to spot the inevitable mistakes!

**EDITED TO ADD I’ve just noticed that my keyboard is covered in suspiciously green yarn fluff. It hates me. It can read, or mind read, and it hates me. There is no hope. If noone hears from me for a few days, send in the search parties. Tell them to look under the mountain of pale green (with hints of peach) fluff.

2010 Winter Olympics – Yarn Addicts, unite!

So, the torch is lit, the athletes are off and skating/skiiing/sledding etc etc, and the yarnies are knitting and crocheting! What am I talking about? Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Olympics and Ravelry’s Ravelympics. Both events are similar in that yarnies are invited to attempt a challenging project during the seventeen days of games. In the main, the projects must be started and finished within the time that the Olympic flame is lit. I’ll be taking part in the Ravelympics, as I heard of that one first, in Team Gryffindor (from the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup)- ROAR, Gryffindor! (I’m a yarn geek and proud!) I’ve got my project lined up to do, it’s by my side now and I’ll make a start just as soon as I can post this and get my Grey’s Anatomy DVD started!

I have knitting and crochet as the two wordpress tags I follow on the tagsurfer, and when I looked at it last night, more than half of the yarnies were taking part in one or other of the winter olympic tribute events – it’ll be great to see what people come out with after the seventeen days!

I thought I’d list some of the other WordPress participants in either event, so that you can go and wish them luck. Plus, the Olympics are supposed to bring countries together – maybe I’ll make some new friends!

  • Rogue Tess is knitting some pink ribbon socks; I really need to make time to knit my first pair of socks as well! Oh, and flame throwing tap shoes?? I’m intrigued – I need to find coverage of the opening ceremonies on iPlayer!
  • Lina has started a Hammamelis shawl in a beautiful bronze colour, and has the cutest pictures of her dogs in the snow!
  •  Ms. Knit-It-All has started a project for herself, a cottage lace cardigan in another lovely rich brown yarn.
  • ndscribbler has begun a lace vest – I’m in admiration of people who can knit lace whilst watching the tv – my lace project is strictly for silent time only!
  • mtmom has cast on an inishturk tam – a lionbrand pattern which has a matching sweater which I hope will be a future project of mine. I’ll look forward to seeing how the tam turns out.
  • Angelvista is knitting a pair of socks for her event – I’ve heard that sock knitting can become addictive once you’ve successfully completed your first pair. Is that true?
  • Saltymomma is also knitting socks, and having seen the variegated yarn she’s using, I can’t wait to see how it knits up. Black and purple and turquoise and white – I’m intrigued!
  • Jessica Lynn is taking part in the aerial unwind event – is that what I think it is?
  • Yogageekfreak has cast on a project in pale blue, which looking at previous posts of hers will become a Rockefeller sweater – that looks lovely. Hmm, I can see that on me in the future!
  • Hoc Age is aiming to knit an Icarus shawl in an effort to work on the ‘citus’ (faster) element of the Olympic motto of Citus, Altius,Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger). I’m sure Icarus is in my queue of things to knit as well, and her goal is a good one. I hope that the next sixteen and a half days make me a bit ‘citus’ at lace knitting!

Good luck everyone, and here’s to the successful completion of our events!