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An Olympic Hangover

August 13, 2012

Well it’s over. Just like that, the 2012 Summer Olympics are over. I love to watch the Olympics. I don’t really know why I do so much, but they captivate me. I love to watch just what the human body and spirit is capable of. There isn’t one event that I watch where I think, “yeah, someday I could do that.” Not one single thing. From track and field to swimming to mountain biking to water polo and everything in between, each and every athlete that competes makes me say “wow.” Even better than the wow moments is seeing the reactions from the athletes when they finish, whether or not they won a medal. The overwhelming joy of the British distance runner when he won both the 10,000 km and the 5,000 km races, it was enough to bring tears to your eyes; the infectious excitement of the US marathoner who finished 4th? Why you would have thought he won gold. The rower who had never rowed a boat until two weeks before the games? Priceless. Moments like that make me remember that the human race is pretty amazing, even when they drive me crazy with their terrible driving, poor manners and total lack of self awareness.

Moreover, the end of the Olympics means the end of my excuses to sit on the couch all night long, watching the events and knitting. I can no longer justify ignoring the dishes, laundry and sheer amount of dog and cat hair on the carpets because I am working on my Olympic knitting project. How did I do? Well, after losing an entire week due to a gauge failure on my part and a complete 180 on my project choice, I do have something competed.

I love my sock. It is so bright and happy and soft and shinny and fun! I’ve had the yarn in my stash for a while and couldn’t decide what to do with it. After failing so badly on my pretty sea blue cardigan plans, I needed something wild and crazy to take my mind off of it. This fit the bill perfectly.

It’s a relatively simple pattern, Hermione’s Everyday Socks, and it was a good project to work on while watching tv, with an easy pattern to memorize. Did I mention I love my sock? Why this sock is my new favorite . . . what’s that? Did you notice I said sock? Where’s the other sock you ask? Don’t I have two feet? Well, yes, yes I do. And the other sock is right here.

Now I realize that some might consider that I failed on my Olympic knitting quest. One sock hardly qualifies and a completed project. One and a quarter socks are no better. Even with the handicap of losing 8 days to a failed sweater project, I should have been able to devote my time and effort to getting those socks finished. I should have knit faster, longer, harder! If Oscar Pistorious can run in the Olympics with artificial legs, I should have been able to finish a pair of socks! I probably should have, but . . .

I got sick.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and ready to devote all my time and energy to my second sock until I realized I had come down with a terrible case of startitis. We are talking a stash tossing, pattern printing, yarn shopping, needle searching/buying terrible case of startitis. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t fight it. The only thing I could do was go with the flow and see what happened. How bad was this infection?

The first thing that happened was I realized a really good friend of mine was due to give birth in a matter of days and I hadn’t knit that precious baby anything. That just wouldn’t do. I’ve got ¾ of the body and one sleeve done. I can totally finish the rest of it before she has that baby, right? {Psst . . . Sheila, I am going to need a few more days, ok? You love being pregnant, right??}

This is going to become a scarf. Knit lengthwise. I realized early on that this wasn’t going to be something that I would relish working on for extended periods of time. This thing has 472 stitches per row. I can only handle 2 or 3 rows at a time before it feels like my head is going to explode.

This bad boy is my opening salvo in my quest to trade hand knit socks for good bottles of wine. So far, since I have gotten three bottles of wine and haven’t produced any socks, I think I am winning. But I had better start producing or my supply might dry up. I adore the yarn (Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock) and I love the pattern. Just a simple sock with two twisted stitch cables thrown in to keep me interested. The only flaws are that I am knitting them in a men’s size 11. On size 1 needles. I have a feeling these things are going to end up being worse than that pair of knee high socks I knit for my daughter earlier this year.

My raging case of startitis hasn’t been without its dangers. I haven’t knit socks in a long time. While I have been using sock yarn for other projects, knitting socks on small needles means I am tensioning the yarn more. This has resulted in a blister on the third finger of my right hand and a yarn cut on my pinkie finger. Knitting with bandaged fingers doesn’t work, so I have to power through the pain. Just like an Olympian.

Because I am not done yet. Oh no. I have plans . . .

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