More Mara, and Olympic Knitting

DSC03431Shortly after I finished my first Mara Shawl (blogged about here), I picked out more Madelinetosh DK/Light Worsted (Thunderstorm) to make another one. My favorite thing about this shawl? Well first of all, it’s easy as pie. It’s one of those knits that you like to do when you have other things going on around you and can’t be watching charts or multiple-line patterns as you work. I might start a third one and keep it on hand for times like that. The other thing I like about it is the design. The pleated edging on the bottom is my favorite part. And last of all, it looks so darned cute when you put it on. (Thus the need for a few different colors in my wardrobe.)

DSC03429Specs: I used a size 7 (US) needle on 32″ circulars. The pattern doesn’t specify exactly how many stitches to work up to, before starting in on the edging. It says “continue working rows 2 and 3 until shawl measures desired width across.” I hate directions like that. I want the designer to tell me exactly what they did, so that I can have mine turn out like the photo. (Or at least tell me what they did so that I can work to that point and then decide if I like the result, or need to keep knitting.) To make it easy, I just knit the body until I’ve used up the first skein of yarn. That’s about the right width. (One skein of Madtosh DK is 225 yds.) You’ll use the second and third skeins for the edging. Actually, I end up only using about half of the third skein, which leaves you enough leftover yarn to make a pair of Mom’s Cabled Mitts, if you were so inclined. (Note – Aurora Shawl pin by Annie Adams. Looks great on there, doesn’t it?)

Speaking of mindless knitting (like the Mara Shawl), I changed my mind about Olympic knitting. I watched people pick intricate, challenging, time-consuming projects for their Olympic knitting. I had finally decided on my First Quarter KAL project – the Hawthorne Vest from Black Water Abbey. (I’m knitting it in String Theory DK.) I thought I’d challenge myself to get it done during the Olympics. It’s not really a difficult pattern, but it has a lot of cables going on, all with seperate charts that combine together along the same row of knitting. It’s one of those projects where you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing. (Or at least I really have to pay attention to what I’m doing.) Why do people pick challenging projects for Olympic knitting? I’d rather be knitting a Mara Shawl, because I want to watch what’s going on on the television. It’s not like a movie, where you can listen and look up now and then, and get the gist of things. The Olympic events are ones that I want to really WATCH. So, I’m back to some fairly mindless knitting (socks) and am postponing the vest until after the Olympics, when I can knit and pay more attention.

Did you commit to an Olympic project? And do you find that knitting a challenging design is completely do-able for you? (And did you notice the great hats that the US team is wearing in many of the photos? Laura from PA alerted me to the fact that there is a free pattern on Ravelry for this hat. Helena Bristow decided that she’d rather figure up the pattern than shell out $65 to Ralph Lauren for the hat. Now you can make one, too!)

Sheri lookingforwardtoknittingtonight,but


  1. I think the point of Olympic knitting is stretching yourself a little. Doing a challenging project just like the athletes are doing challenging events.

    Since I have a ten month old daughter, I’m not ‘competing’ in the knitting Olympics this year. Maybe next time. I am going to knit the U.S. team hat though.

  2. I didn’t commit to an Olympic project because I have a design project I have to get done. I guess maybe that’s my commitment, but it can’t be public until later this year, so. . .

    I just bought the Hawthorne vest pattern at Madrona. It’s lovely! Haven’t decided what yarn to use for it yet. And I just finished my Madelinetosh sweater — the pretty Sarah sweater from Cabin Fever’s “Button Up Your Top Down” book. LOVE that yarn! I used the Fjord colorway and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Now I need to get pictures!

  3. YAY!! You found something at BWA!! Can’t wait to see pictures!!

    I must get started on my sweater, though until my thumb heals, I can’t purl, so I’m stuck crocheting. Love to crochet, mind you, but I miss knitting. πŸ™

  4. I decided I had too much going on to knit during the Olympics. I like to watch all of the events – including curling. LOL. But especialy ice skating.

    You may be talking me into another Mara shawl, Sheri. It was a fun and very easy project.

    Hope you have fun with your vest. Pretty, pretty pattern.

  5. I’ve been planning on knitting the Vancouver 2010 sweater for my hubby since the 2008 summer Olympics. I was thrilled to find out that it’s a relatively easy sweater. There’s not a ton of colorwork. I have the sleeves done and I started the 18 inches of stockinette on size 2 needles! Perfect Olympic knitting!

    Why do we do stupid things like this? I have no idea.

  6. Your Mara is so nice. I need to put this in my Ravelry queue.

    I’m making the Placed Cable Aran from Interweave Fall 2007. I’m making good progress so I’m keeping those fingers crossed.

  7. I am doing an olympic knitting project. I am doing the socks from last year’s loopy ewe valentine’s day kit. It fits into 4 different events and my personal project club for this year. I also have never finished a pair of socks in 2 weeks so that will be a challenge for me as well as the fact that I learned a new cast on for the toe up. Challenges all around. I love the vest you picked out looks like a keeper.

  8. I chose Olympic knitting that is more challenging in the completion rather than the actual knitting. I’m working on my husband’s sweater, which without a deadline, would have languished indefinitely, never to be cast on. Now I am soaring through the millions of inches of not too mind numbing cartridge rib. The real challenge for me will be actually seaming it all up and finishing it. Love how the first shawl turned out. I may have to add that one to the queue…

  9. I am knitting a Citron from Knitty for my Olympic knitting. I love your sweater pattern. I think I am going to have to make the Mara shawl now. How do you wear your shawls??? I love making them but they seem a little over the top for me to wear around the house.

  10. I am still struggling with the Traveling Woman Shawl and I have a pair of socks on
    the needles also. That’s about all I can handle right now. I do love your new
    vest pattern though. If I could I would knit that also. Be sure you tell us what
    color you have decided on. I guess we have to wait until after the olympics to
    see that. You know I’m trying to learn to be patient.

  11. Wow, I so want to complete a shawl sometime! On a completely different topic, I got some post-valentine’s day cookies on a stick at a local bakery — they were cheap — and decided to give them to my students this week. Well, one of my students, as senior boy, almost cried and said that no one who wasn’t a family member has given him a valentine in the last 6 years. So much for worrying about what a high school boy will think of a valentine from a fat old math tutor. You never know who needs that little bit of extra love…….. May your acts of kindness be as sweetly accepted!!

  12. I had to frog my Mara four times. FOUR. Attempt #5 seems to be sticking, now that I changed to a marker that isn’t slippery and ruining my counting. You’re right, it’s good for knitting while you watch the dog show or burn CDs to iTunes. You know, multi-tasknitting.

  13. I am doing Clothilde in DK weight for my olympics project and love how it is turning out! I am on the third repeat of chart 2, and then I have 2 repeats of chart three and the bind-off. Hopefully I can get it done by the closing ceremonies! Oh, and yes i saw the free pattern for the USA olympics team hat and have yarn on the way for it from you as we speak! The question is whether it will be for me or hubby…He immediately commented on the hat when he saw it during the opening ceremonies!

  14. I do better knitting something simple, no matter what I’m watching on tv. For anything complex I’m better off with podcasts or audiobooks. I didn’t commit to an Olympic project this year, because I started my Dream in Color Monday Morning Cardigan before they started and I want to keep working on it so I can wear it before the warm weather comes!! (although I do have an unofficial goal for myself of finishing before the Olympics are over)

  15. I’m plugging along on my February Lady Sweater as my Olympic knitting and I finally made it though the garter and into the lace today and I’m very happy with how it is looking. And I LOVE the Malabrigo Silky Merino, it is so soft. Thanks, Sheri!

  16. I am knitting “Steeler” socks “two at a time”, toe up ( two circular needles) with diagonal cable pattern-they are challenging enough to keep my focus yet easy enough to watch the Olympics. I also have yarn ready to cast on for this quaters KAL that will either be a summer sweate or a cable vest. I love the winter Olympics and have the Cascade 220 on order from “EWE” (you:-) to make the Olympic Reindeer hat. I am the “Laura” from PA who alerted Sheri to the free pattern on Ravelry. It is so adorable and looks so fun to knit!!! πŸ™‚

  17. Totally know what you mean about wanting explicit knitting directions. I made a ballet shrug for my 8 yo daughter. The directions for the left side consisted wholly of “knit like right but reverse”. Um, yeah. I kind of guessed that.

    Beautiful shawls! I’m inspired!

  18. Yes, I decided to try five projects!! One being a sweater…I think I may have been sleep deprived when I put these projects in my queue. I finished a hat last night and cast on for some mittens. Realistically, I will probably get two maybe three projects done.

  19. My Olympic knitting for Team Loopy is socks (getting them done will be challenge enough!) I also have an insane one skein dye/knit/crochet project that will be too much fun.
    For the Yarn Harlot Olympic knitting, I have started an EZ percentage sweater in Canadian wool. If all goes well (and I have frogged only once so far!) I will be steeking it into a cardigan at the end of the Olympics.

  20. I’m working on my Oregon Cardi and a baby sweater while olympic watching. I have to stop every now and then and watch because Oregon is not mindless. The baby sweater is. Tonight I did a lot of sleep knitting. Fortunately I DVRed the games.

  21. Hi Girls!!!! I finished my first Mara last week. I did it in Tosh DK in Vermillion and it is so neat I’ve already worn it twice while trying to survive the 12/5 inches of snow we had. Ordering more to do it again. Thanks for telling about it.
    Ann in Dallas

  22. Nope, no Olympic knitting here. Just a push to get some old WIPs completed, including a pair of socks for my mom, a pair of socks for me (or my favorite cousin if these turn out too small), an afghan out of Homespun, and a new Stacy Shawl for some KAL I joined. πŸ™‚

    Eventually, I’m casting on a vest. And will get back to the sweater I need to frog and start over. And some colorwork, and a hat out of my first homespun three ply that turned out to be bulky…but first I have to clear my deck, and I’m making progress.

  23. No Olympic knitting for me, but I also love the Mara…it’s one of those shawls that is not hard, but really looks great when it’s finished. I am thinking about another one as we speak; I fly a lot and it’s great plane knitting).

  24. I picked an olympic knitting project that has lots and lots of stockinette. However, it’s wasted on me. We don’t have TV so I can’t watch the Olympics. πŸ™ I tried to find a live feed to watch the TV coverage on my computer, but no luck.

  25. Ok Sheri you finally talked me into a shawl. The one in the photo is lovely. I have just placed my order for the Madeline Tosh. I was sold when I looked at the pattern and it does not say blocking required. I cannot block to save my life. I have no carpet at my house and a bed does not work the same….

  26. My original Olympic knitting was a mitered poncho. I think it was the ‘Another Turn’ pattern from Knitters (I know it was from Knitters), but anyway, it had a mitered band at the top, then mitered squares and rectangles, and another mitered band at the bottom. The magazine had done it in Karabella Gossamer; I did mine in JoAnn’s Rainbow Boucle.

    It was a lot of garter stitch, so easy to do while watching. I did not finish within the Olympics, though, but did eventually finish the piece.

    This year, I thought I’d design and knit an outfit for a teddy bear. My guild provided the bears, and we’re dressing them for a contest, and then to give to the local police for giving to traumatized kids. I have leftovers from a Clapotis in Trekking XXL, and the color is dark blues/greens, with some lighter stripes. I thought it looked sorta like pinstripes, so I’m doing a pinstriped vest and pants. So far, I’ve swatched and measured, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I need to find my copy of A Knitter’s Almanac so I can figure out how to fit the pants (baby longies or leggings). I have off tomorrow, so hopefully can make some progress on this. I think there will be a lot of trial and error!

  27. No official Olympic knitting here, either! I figured I didn’t need to create more stress in my life, and I like watching the action on TV too much, but I did start several new projects–things that I really wanted to start but put off to do “gift knitting”.

    Thanks for posting the hat link. I LOVE that hat. I would also love to find the Swedish blue, yellow and white hat that looks like it was crocheted. Really like that one, too.

  28. So my plan was to knit socks from my stash but I am loving knitting the Feathers of the Phoenix shawl by Jeri Lea Kisala in Haidmaiden Seasilk 150 in Sangria. It is gorgeous and so nice to work with. My fear is how to block, since I have NEVER blocked anything before. Maybe I will have time for some socks when the shawl is done.

  29. I started a Gaenor on second day of the Olympics, not with any intention of racing to the end. I am using Lorna’s Laces Team Spirit #15, Dodger colors, for my niece. My only real goal is opening day at Dodger Stadium. It is going quickly, though. It is a well-written pattern, all in knit, although I did try to do it in stockinette on one start. I had to go down a needle size, too. BTW I am using Darn Pretty circulars for the first time. It is a wonderful needle, and I really like the join and the cable.

  30. Lovely Mara! I’m going to have to knit one of those. Right now I’m working on a large Ishbel for my Olympic knitting. I had actually started this last summer, but it ended up hibernating when I was probably about halfway through. I started over and I’m loving the garter stitch center! It’s pretty mindless, but still seems to keep me interested. I think it’s the knitting equivalent of breathing. Anyways, I should probably get back to it. I can hear it calling my name….

  31. Well, I have three projects planned for the Olympics – a WIP which is Vortex Shawl, my first circular shawl, a Wandering the Moor shawl which is mostly stockinette with a lace border so is mindless knitting right now and an aerial unwind which is a sock which has to be unknit since it is really small. I might finish the sock unwind….

  32. Lovely colorway for Mara – I thought seriously about the Thunderstorm but ended up with the Port – I take it out of the bag every now and then and just hug and smoosh it but so far have not started my first Mara so I greatly appreciate your advice on how much yarn it actually took and how you were sucessful with yours.

    No Olympic knitting for me – actually no olympic watching for me – we did two nights of the Westminister dog show (I showed dogs for 25 yrs) and that was about all the forced TV watching my husband could take – Oh yes we have 2 other TV’s in the house but we watch an hour or three of TV together at night so we try to be congenial on the selection – neither of us are particularly sports minded people so we have not tuned in on the O’s as yet. Have fun all ! Melody

  33. I’m knitting easy stuff during the Olympics. I like to see the events too much. I started teaching my girl’s small group to knit. A couple of them are getting it and a couple don’t like it. We’ll see.

  34. Your Mara is beautiful! It is on my to do list.
    I loved the US Olympic hats also. Thank you for the pattern link.
    No olympic knitting this year as I have gone back to school and have homework. But I am trying to squeeze in some Olympic events on TV. And of course had to watch West Minster dog show.

  35. The more I see one, the more I like the Mara. I’m on teamUFOs for the ravelympics. I finished one UFO already — stole out of a worsted yarn + a mohair = size 11 needles (It helped that I had finished all but the last 8 inches). Next up is a Noble Cowl out of cherry tree hill oposum yarn. Then I’ve got a smoking sock to do. And I have a sweater to get through. Whew! I’ll have a bit of time to think it over, but that Mara looks might attractive.

  36. I had been too afraid to try intarsia until the Knitting Olympics. The KO gave me a reason to challenge myself. So far, so good — I’ve only had one meltdown over the Kandinsky Kimono (Interweave Knits). Will I finish it in time for the closing ceremonies? Probably not. As in “snowball’s chance in hell” probably not. Does that make me wish I hadn’t cast on? Absolutely not. I’m doing intarsia!

  37. Well, you HAVE to have something on the needles at all times – right? So why not call whatever that is your “Olympic Knitting”? I am working on February Lady Sweater – a challenge in that I will complete a whole sweater in 16 days!! and easy in that the pattern is very easy to remember and you can talk and watch olympics while knitting!

  38. The figure skating always makes me watch, but the other night I was mesmerized by the short track speed skating when skaters kept coming in and out on to the track and pushing each other in the small of back. I had never seen it before, so it had my full attention.

  39. Thanks to the Olympics I have finally finished the 4 pair of socks I had on needles. Wanted to thank you for the link to the Olympic hat. Thank goodness for the ole yarn stash, just happened to have a skein of each of the colors needed. For the life of me I can’t remember why I bought it but I’ve started the hat while watching what else, the Olympics.

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