Union Jack and Bobbi Bear

I’m happy to report one completed project, “Baby Bobbi Bear” by Blue Sky Alpacas, and one nearly completed project, my “Union Jack” cross stitch design. Baby Bobbi Bear started out as a gift for my niece Ella’s first birthday — she is now four (or, as she would insist, four-and-a-half). Ahem. Then BBB (as I will refer to him from now on) was intended to be a gift for her sister Lauren’s second birthday, which was in late February. Double ahem! There’s nothing like sticking to your goals!

Anyway, next it was intended to be a gift for Lauren for Easter, but I also wanted to make a couple sweaters for BBB (just in case he gets cold) so I’ll be putting off giving him to Lauren for Easter. But I’ll get it to her soon. I promise. Blue Sky Alpacas has a free pattern that looks quick and easy. I’ll also probably knit up a hat or scarf. I’ll post a picture of the finished BBB soon.

Union Jack Freebie in Progress
Union Jack Freebie in Progress

The “Union Jack” freebie sample stitching is coming along nicely, especially considering I spent what felt like an eternity fiddling with what is, after all, a very simple charted design. I added a row on the sides, took off a row on the top and bottom, added those top and bottom rows back on, added the side rows back on plus another row on either side, removed the top and bottom rows again… and so on. You get the idea. I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible with the proportions, which is not easy considering that the slanting red stripes don’t line up “properly” in the original (that’s just my humble American opinion). What were those Brits thinking?

I love Union Jack designs and I chose here the same kind of weathered, variegated (“tweedy”) colors that I chose for the Debbie Bliss Union Jack pillow cushion I knitted in Fall 2012 as my Ravellenics project. In this case, I am stitching over one on 25-count oatmeal Jobelan with one strand of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads in Midnight (blue), Weathered Barn (red) and Oatmeal (off-white). When I print out the chart for Wordsmith Designs, I will offer some alternative color suggestions for people who want to use DMC/Anchor, Crescent Colors or Weeks Dye Works, or for people who want be more accurate to the colors in the actual flag. I should be finished soon. Rule Brittania!

If anyone would like a copy of the charted design, send me a message. Thanks!

Update: The Union Jack pattern is now available on my “Free Patterns” page. Just follow the menu link at the top of the screen. I’d love to see some photos of finished stitched pieces! Hint, hint.

The Olympic Games: Special Scandinavian Knitting Edition

I’ll admit — I’ve never been that interested in the Olympic games. Of course, I admire enormously the athleticism, grace and almost inhuman dedication of the participants, and I can only imagine all the hard work and sacrifice that’s gone into their training, but it’s never really been my cup of tea. I’m the classic fairweather fan; I watch the Winter Olympics for the figure skating. And the knits, of course. Can you believe those US Olympic team sweaters are selling for up to $3000 on Ebay?

However, during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I participated tangentially in the Ravellenic Games, the non-copyright-infringing knitathlon organized by some members of Ravelry. I was specifically, supposedly, participating in one with my favorite local knitting groups, the West Hollywood Stitch n Bitch (WeHo SnB) group. While I cast on faithfully just as the US team was entering the stadium for the opening ceremonies, I didn’t finish my tribute to England and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee until months later:

Cool Brittania! Long live the Queen!
Debbie Bliss Union Jack Cushion, my 2012 Ravellenics project

In related news from this year’s games, this story of Olympic KIP (that’s “knitting in public,” for my stitching friends) has been making knitters sit up and take notice all over the world. The coach for Finnish snowboarder Roope Tonteri (now my favorite snowboarder in all the world), Antti Koskinen, has been filmed knitting while Tonteri is competing and performing his flippy-doodles and twirly-gigs (you can tell by my clever use of snowboarding lingo that I really know what I’m talking about). What a multitasker! I always get a little burst of joy when I see displays of knitting in public (KIP) and, frankly, this one couldn’t make me happier. I mean, seriously now.

It also makes me happy to see a man knitting in public. Sadly, I think the entire story would have been treated with such condescension (and numerous references to grey-haired grannies) if it had been a female coach or even a female snowboarder. From the photos, it looks like he has his own knitter’s assistant, too, to feed him the yarn as he knits his little garter stitch masterpiece. Where do I get one of those?

It turns out the project is part of a larger scarf project that will eventually be given to the Finnish Olympic team going to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Why anyone would need a thick knitted scarf in Brazil in the summer is another mystery altogether. But I wouldn’t dare rain on this parade. And now there’s a reason to watch the next Olympic games!

And, to brighten your day even more, I bring you this picture of an enthusiastic Norwegian fan and his crocheted ensemble:

If only they gave out a medal in outrageous crocheted fashion! Go for the gold!
Brought to you by Ellen Bloom of “L.A. is my Beat” and WeHo Stitch n Bitch fame