Thursday, July 26, 2012

Games: Olympic, Knitting, and Rules for Both

     Tick, tick, less than 24 hours, the 2012 Summer Olympics will officially start in London, England. The Games have already started, as Women's Soccer kicked off yesterday with 6 matches (and the US Women's Soccer Team won their match against France, 4-2), but the Opening Ceremonies are Friday evening and the first medals will be awarded on Saturday.
     Also starting in less than 24 hours are the 2012 Ravellenic Games. After the USOC got their collective panties in a bunch over a bunch of (primarily) women calling a good-natured online excuse to spend many hours knitting, crocheting, or spinning while watching the Olympics coverage on TV the "Ravelympics" the name had to be changed. They were the Ravelympics in 2008, when 5,600+ people completed more than 16,000 needlework projects. They were the Ravelympics in 2010 when, during the 2010 Winter Olympics, 4,151 people knitted and crocheted through all that ice dancing and curling competitions. But this time, the USOC pitched a fit and threatened the nice young couple that created and run Ravelry with lawsuits because we knitters and crocheters were, in some way, denigrating the efforts of our athletes, and hadn't coughed up millions of dollars to use their copyrighted words and images. After much hand-wringing and (I suspect) some tears, the name was changed to the Ravellenic Games, the rings left by tea and coffee mugs replaced the Olympic rings, and even the Union Jack is "not quite" the right colors, just to keep the London Olympic Committee (LOC) happy.
     I am ambivalent about this year's "competition." Some of it stems from the wrangling over the Olympics itself, from the silly and stupid rules the LOC has put into place to the controversy over the US Team's uniforms (designed by USOC sponsor Ralph Lauren) being manufactured in China. More of it seems to rise from the moderation of the group that serves as the clearinghouse for all online discussions of the Ravellenic Games. I realize that when the number of participants in an event--even an online "event" such as the Ravellenic Games--grows, there need to be more structure. However, there is no reason to be heavy-handed. There is no monetary, or even tangible prizes awarded in this event: at the most, one can download a cute little jpeg file to add as a picture on a project. But the Rule of Inverse Importance ("The less important something is in the real world, the more important it is to people that have little or no control over their real world lives.") runs wild on a project such as this, and people have actually been threatened with "disqualification" if they break one of "the rules." Disqualification? Really? Is someone going to knock on my front door and then tell me I can't knit a tea cozy or crochet an afghan during the Olympics? It's all rather silly, and as a result I have stayed in the background.
     In spite of my ambivalence, I am planning on some nice projects for the Ravellenic Games. Once again, I am a member of Team TARDIS, made up of mostly Doctor Who fans. This year, we have a good-natured competition with Team SHERlocked (made up of mostly Sherlock fans) to see which team can produce the most British-themed items during the Games. To that end, these are my projects:

  • ACE Scarf. Event: Frogging Trampoline. Basically, I'm frogging this project because the yarn isn't suitable for the design.
  • Ishbel Scarf. Event: Frogging Trampoline. Frogging another scarf out of some wonderful handpainted superwash merino/cashmere because I completely screwed up the lace.
  • Fourth Doctor Scarf. Events: WIP Wrestling & British Cricket. Finishing is the bane of my existence. This has been nearly finished for more than a year, so I'll weave in the ends, add the fringe, and call it "done."
  • Purple Tea Cozy of Sex. Events: Home Stuff Hammerthrow, Cable Steeplechase, British Cricket. As part of a challenge from Team SHERlocked, I'm making a darling cardigan tea cozy that was inspired by the purple shirt worn by Benedict Cumberpatch in the series Sherlock. I have some nice hand-dyed purple yarn just for this.
  • Much Bigger on the Inside. Events: Lace Longjump, Shawl Sailing, British Cricket. The online knitting magazine Knitty ran a wonderful pattern for a TARDIS-inspired shawl out of sock yarn earlier this year. I didn't have the requisite sock yarn, but I had a couple skeins of Lion Fisherman Wool left from a sweater, so into the dyepot it went, and I have more than enough to knit a large-scale version.
The yarns are in cakes, my needles are ready, and I've laid in a supply of snacks for the next several weeks of marathon knitting and TV. I guess I'm ready to start!