Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Decisions, decisions!

A New Year without some kind of resolutions or challenge just didn't seem right. My world has been all out of kilter since I hadn't managed to find that one perfect goal for 2010.

In my younger days, I'd done the "Finish all the UFO's in the house or you can't start anything new for the entire year", "Lose 50 pounds in 4 weeks and figure out how to look 10 years younger as well", "Exercise every day until you Puke before giving up on January 5th", and "Clean house then keep it spotless all the time, even if it means alienating your children and ending up in divorce court" resolutions in the past. You can guess how successful I was with completing those crazy goals.

With age, however, I've become a bit wiser and much more realistic about resolutions. And I've learned to have fun with it. It's my humble opinion that resolutions should be about improving the quality of your life, not altering your life beyond recognition. So, given my love of all things crafty, New Year's Resolutions have become fiber arts adventures for me.

Those who have been with me for awhile will probably remember the great Ravelry Puck This Hat Trick 2009 adventure, when I completed 9 hats in the month of January (6 adult/3 baby). The whole challenge seemed to fire my imagination and I had a total blast trying new techniques and churning out WIP's in rapid succession. However, since we still have a large box overflowing with hats in the closet, Hat Trick 2010 just didn't seem all that appealing this year.

I had done some mulling and meditating on the whole dilemma. January 1st came and went and I still didn't have a clue what to choose. Eventually, though, Ravelry came to the rescue - again.

The Ravelympics 2010 is gearing up to start and I have joined the Team Minnesota-Ravelryolympics Group. In keeping with the whole sweater obsession I've been enthralled with since the end of Hat Trick 2009, I have decided to try and complete an entire sweater during the course of the Olympics this year. One sweater in 16 days. That's the challenge I've set for myself.

However, having also suffered from compulsive shopping for the past year, each trip resulting in one or more sweaters' worth of yarn each time, I find myself with a plethora of choices for this epic Olympic event.

(I have also considered the whole "yarn diet for a year" resolution this year but decided that was even more far fetched than the "lose 50 pounds in 4 weeks" resolutions in the past. Let's get real, after all! No yarn for a whole year. Yeah, right!)

I have a couple weeks to choose, swatch and prepare to cast on during the opening ceremonies on February 12th. I've narrowed the choices down to three options.

Option #1: The Fair Isle Cardigan (on the cover) from The New Stranded Colorwork Book. I picked up the book and the yarn at the same time this past fall. This would be the most challenging project to attempt in the 16 days alotted. I would be trying to perfect my two-handed knitting technique while working on a fine gauge yarn and having numerous high quality finishing techniques involved, including steeking, picot turned hems and hand-sewn ribbon trim embellishments. Whist I may not be able to meet my goal of finishing it during the Olympics, it is the project I've been dreaming about most in the past few weeks.

Option #2: The Daily Sweater (Ravelry link) from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. This project would not be nearly as technically challenging since I've already made one sweater from this pattern. There is a chart to follow for the raglan increases, which takes some careful counting but after that, there is a lot of plain stockinette. It would be highly conducive to watching the Olympics but likely to become a bit boring otherwise.

Option #3: Cable & Lace Cardigan from the cover of the September 2007 Creative Knitting Magazine. I bought the yarn for this sweater shortly after purchasing the magazine in 2007. I love the combination of cable and lace and the yarn has such a soft appearance and silky hand that I've had this in my queue for a long time. It is a bulkier yarn and should work up very quickly. However, since I've fallen in love with top-down, seamless sweater knitting, I'm less than enthralled with the thought of having to sew this one up by the deadline. I'm notorious for finishing pieces and then procrastinating on the blocking and seaming. The challenge would be to follow through and actually FINISH it by February 28th.

Well, it's your time to help. Got an opinion? Let me hear it. I'm completely kerflummoxed, so I welcome input.

Oh, in the meantime, I'll be ripping out carpet. Been working on that "little" project (2000 sq. feet of carpet to remove - oy!) since Saturday. I have 2 rooms and the upstairs hallway/stairs left to finish before Thursday morning when the new carpet arrives and is installed. We saved over $800 by removing and disposing of the carpet ourselves but it's made for a physically grueling week. Especially since Hubby has a very bad back and has been unable to help as much as he'd like.

Let's hope my hands and forearms have recuperated from this massive project by February 12. Or else I'll be learning to paint with my toes during the Olymics instead.


livnletlrn said...

The last one.

First one's a bit too much fiddling to squeeze into 16 days. Middle one's doable, but I think you'll want to poke your eyes out if you try to crank out all that mind-numbing stockinette at once. Last one's interesting enough to keep it fun, not so much that it's out of reach in 16 days -- looks like the kind of thing you'll be able to do without looking at the pattern too much, once you get going. And if FINISHING it means sewing up within that 16 days, all the better for the motivation!

trek said...

The idea is to be a challenge but not an impossible pipe dream so I am joining livnletlrn in tossing option #1.

I'd go with the plain sweater unless you feel that you'd end up missing deadline due to catatonia. If that's the fear, blithely cast on for the cardigan and let the games begin.

Rani said...

Cable and Lace! So pretty!

Guinifer said...

My favorite part of ripping the carpet is prying up the staples. It does hurt the hands though.

I like the cardigan - but can you adjust it to a top down pattern?