Not on the Podium
February 27, 2006
Dateline: Torino, Italy, or Kay’s Apartment (You Decide)
Lame-Assed Hat Maker Lets Down Team, Claims Not To Care
Saying she ‘resents the comparisons to Bode Miller’, Team Dulaan member Kay Gardiner admitted that despite her legendary swagger (“just Kay being Kay”) and her great promise to bring home the Gold Medal, she failed to finish 16 hats in 16 days. Denying Italian press reports that she had hit every nightclub in Torino and drunk more than a medicinal amount of grappa, Gardiner tried to explain the loss:
‘I had plenty of yarn, although some of it was a little whiffy from being in a lady’s basement since 1973. I had plenty of encouragement. My Pantyhose Connector Parts held up just fine. I’m not making any excuses, okay? I got cocky and thought I could do corrugated ribbing on all of them without slowing down. My electrolytes got a little low, and I started thinking that I could take a break for a non-hat project once in a while……basically I just blew it. I think it was really over when, somewhere around Day 13, I realized that the Knitting Olympics was not really, um, the Olympics–that it was a totally made-up thing, you know? I let the idea creep in that I could knit a couple of hats the week after the Olympics, and they’d still want them in Mongolia. That was the beginning of the end. I started some serious non-hatting right then and there. I actually finished the back and one front of a cardigan before I realized my mistake.’
Here are some highlights from Gardiner’s reckless, feckless run. These are to be viewed while listening to the Italian national anthem being sung by the winner of the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country race, while he in turn was listening to a recording of a 9-year-old girl singing the Italian national anthem (wasn’t that THE BEST??? Can we have a 9-year-old girl sing OUR national anthem next time? And can it sound a little more like Toreadores?).
Hat 5, which taught that single-stranded Rio de la Plata (like Manos) was not thick enough for my idea of Mongolian winter. This will be nice Indoor Headwear or perhaps something to wear under a hood. From here on out, it was double-stranding all the way.
Juicies and blahs–the love affair with Noro yarns against a solid Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky. Warm, bulky, but stretchy. I learned the combined method (pick with the left and throw with the right) and embraced it for life. (But yo–I tried it knitting back and forth and it don’t do right on the Wrong Side. For me, it’s strictly an in-the-round technique. At least until somebody can teach me how to purl Continental.)
Yodel-ay-hee-HOO, y’all! This here’s a true ALPINE hat. It’s less pointy when worn. But still kinda pointy. I’m not saying it’s not pointy. Zig-zaggy fair isle is a fine way to entertain yourself when knitting a hat, and you get that scrumpy warm stranding of the yarn across the wrong side.
When I did one without the roll brim, the result was a little pillboxy. But this one may be my favorite. It’s in olive Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky and a turquoisey-gray colorway of Noro Transgressions, I mean Transitions. Toasty warm, as only a yarn made from Multiple Mammals can be.
Ann, at the beginning you taunted that I was going to make 16 tiny hats. That would not have been very Olympian of me, now, would it? This was my smallest hat, and it would fit a 2-4 year old. I sniffily point out that it has the same number of stitches as the other hats, it’s just worsted weight instead of bulky. Sniff!
This one isn’t pointy when it’s on a kid’s head. Noro scraps mixed with lady’s basement yarn. This yarn was on the Island of Misfit Yarns for a looooooong time. I’m happy to have found it a home; when mixed with a yarn without Noticeable Basement Smell, the hat as a whole had Barely Noticeable Basement smell. I think I’ll give it a Eucalan swish before sending it off on its journey.
Lady’s Basement Yarn
I have to give a shout out to my singing-group friend Sanna. Sanna knits. On the eve of the Olympics, Sanna emailed me with one of those messages that makes your fight-or-flight chemicals kick in. I was not sure whether to be really excited or frightened to death. Sanna reported that her sister, who used to knit a ‘long time ago’, had found some old yarn.
In her basement. Where there had been a flood. Years ago. Did I want it? (Is the hair standing up on the back of your neck now?)
Now, I’m sure there is a smell that I hate more than Flooded Basement Smell, but I can’t think of it right now. Yet I was intrigued by the concept of really old yarn. I was hoping that we were not talking really old Wintuk. Here’s the Sanna’s Sister’s Basement Yarn, group shot:
Okay, so there was a bit of a Dreadlock Effect going on with this yarn, but it was all good. The blue stuff especially. I think that if we send it to the lab for some DNA testing, the blue stuff will be found to be the Mother of Colinette, which Welsh archeologists have been trying to find for years. Sanna’s sister probably bought it with every intention of whipping up the very first Ab Fab Throw, but then cast on something else instead.
My courage in accepting Basement Yarn was richly rewarded by this:
A Bloomingdale’s price tag. Yes. Proof that once, before the Birth of the Bar Code and perhaps at the Dawn of the Ball Point Pen, they sold yarn at Bloomingdale’s. And, not surprisingly, the Bloomingdale’s yarn was some pricey yarn. $1.50 an ounce!
I did not use as much of this yarn on hats as I would have liked to. Hats, it turns out, do not burn much of a hole in a healthy stash of Basement Yarn. But eventually, with the help of Eucalan, this yarn will live on.