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Olympic Hat Knitting: Compulsory Figures

Dear Ann,
While you’re sitting there mocking a nation’s aesthetic sensibility, I’m one of the 4000. The few, the proud, the 16 hats people. I’m on Team Dulaan. I’m knitting 16 hats in 16 days. Woo-hoo y’all! Du-LAAN!
Let’s cut to NBC’s row by row coverage of the Hat Knitting Compulsories.
Bob: Here’s Kay Gardiner, warming up with a double macchiato with extra foam. The story of this woman’s quest for Olympic glory fills me with the desire to talk without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise. Breathing fills me with that same desire. I’m chatty. I have an excellent vocabulary. But that is not to say that Kay Gardiner is not extraordinary. This athlete–for she truly deserves the description–is a rebel. She has shown up for the compulsory phase of the hat-knitting competition without having a clue how to Fair Isle. Here’s what she had to say about this when I interviewed her:
Bob: Why do you not bother to learn this technique, or any other technique beyond knit and purl?
Kay: I don’t get why the judges are so uptight about the Fair Isle. When I am supposed to change colors, I just change colors. I don’t think about it at all. I don’t do the mixed pick & throw, I don’t make a fuss about not twisting the yarns, I just change colors–BAM! The crowd loves it. Can I say hi to my mom? HI MA!!!!! Mwah!
Bob: [Bob is not talking. Bob is speechless. His hair gel goes wobbly for a second.]
Bob: [recovering]. I am amazed. I wonder how you qualified for the Knitting Olympics at all, let alone made it onto the prestigious Team Dulaan.
Kay: Dude. I sent an email to the Harlot. That was IT. She let everybody in. Isn’t that awesome?
Bob: I’m not sure how long Kay Gardiner is going to last, but on the third day of competition, she in fact has turned out 3 woolly hats for Dulaan. Even more impressive, they are all from certified stash. For a kid who’s allergic to wool, she seems to have quite a bit of it.
(These hats were photographed in the Italian Alps aka a rock in Central Park.)
Hat Number 1:
Noro Transitions. Pattern freelanced with the help of Ann Budd. Here we see, right from the start, Kay’s signature move, the roll brim. Expect to see plenty of roll brims over the course of this event. Kay can pretty much blow away the competition when it comes to rolling brims. When she rolls a brim, it ROLLS. There is an elegance and an ease, a grace about Kay’s brim-rolling.
With her second hat, Kay proves that she is not as dumb as she looks. Hat 1 taught her that a even a chunky multi-beast fiber like Noro Transitions could use a little oomph to withstand the winters of Mongolia. Kay kicks it up a notch by fair-isling the Noro Transitions into a background of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky. This hat is a winner. As magnificent as it is on its own, the Noro looks even better against the olive Lamb’s Pride. On day 2, it’s probably too early to use a word like ‘genius’, but this color combination — remember it’s from STASH — is not far from it.
On Day 3, Kay hunkered down and stopped showing off. For this humble hat, she achieved double-thickness the old-school way: knitting 2 strands together. One strand of Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and one strand of Noro Kureyon. When she ran out of Kureyon at the top, she just carried on with the Lamb’s Pride. The judges did not fail to note that by Day 3, Kay has cured the pointy-headed look of the Ann Budd hat pattern, by spreading the decreases out a bit. A solid, if pedestrian and somewhat garish, performance.
And now we leave you with scenes of a historic snowfall in Torino, aka Manhattan.
Ciao y’all!
Love, Kay
P.S. With two days left to go, the auction to benefit Afghans for Afghans is going great guns! Thanks to all who have bid, and to the generous, anonymous souls who are still in contention.



  1. An inspired performance so far! Bravo!

  2. GO KAY! Where’s your button? YOU NEED A BUTTON!

  3. Oh, I mock all right. I mock all the way until the Closing Ceremonies, which will be just as mockable, if not more mockable, than the Opening Ceremonies. I’m telling you, there aren’t six Italians, other than Mr. Armani, Mr. Famous Dancer w/Temporary Mohawk, Mr. Ferrari, Mr. Ducati, and whoever is Italy’s largest vendor of spandex, who gleam with pride at those Opening Ceremonies. I’m telling you! Go check out http://www.embarrasseditalians.com! They’re howling over there!
    I love them hats. And I cannot believe that snow situation up there.
    Off to watch the flakes fall here, one by one.

  4. There were challenges I considered for the Olympics, but 16 Dulaan Hats was way beyond me. I’m impressed.
    And the snow? I’m in northern Wisconsin, and we haven’t seen that kind of snow in years. Actually makes me nostalgic.

  5. Kay,
    Oh the hats are fun, but where is your Olympic beret? I know its early yet…..
    I loved the colors of the doublestranded yarn hat.
    Your snow is lovely. I loved the wooden bridge shot.
    I havent’ seen you in the village yet. I’m the one in the stands knitting of course.

  6. Tee! What a great interview! (“Hi Ma!”)

  7. Thank you–times 16. What more can I, Cuzzin Tom, the folks at F.I.R.E., and the children in Mongolia say?
    P.S. I’m particularly enamored of the Lamb’s Pride and Noro hat. I want to eat those colors right up!

  8. Blimey ! Look at that snow !
    Fab hats !!!
    x !

  9. Yes, the hats are excellent. What a champeen you are!! Fairisle against all the odds. I love your commentary. I hope there will be more like this every day. It made me laugh!!!!

  10. Oh, you made me laugh so hard, but I’m also amazed at the idea of a hat a day. The only way I could possibly do that is if my boss assigned me to “hat knitting” instead of the Reference Desk for the next two weeks!
    Go for the gold!

  11. I just hope you don’t get disqualified after the drug test…..ahem. ;-D

  12. I chuckle to think of you dragging those hats out into the snow and taking pictures of them. Of course, in New York, no one prob’ly thought twice: “Please get out of my way, hat-photo-making lady.”

  13. What is NORO!! New to this.. Please explain?

  14. shiver me timbers…..blimey, it’s cold in your neck of the woods. when this is over, you will certainly have to enhance your stash of snippets once again… what a big heart you have!

  15. Love the third hat. I think it’s the best! Did you know Bob interviewed me, as well? He gets around, doesn’t he? Looking forward to 13 more hats from stash!
    And jeez, lookit that snow!!

  16. Hats = fantastic, SNOW = EVEN MORE FANTASTIC! (Coming from snow freak in London who sees about 3 flakes a year). If the planes were working I’d be on one this morning to go and join in the fun with those two shiny red sledges….. Enjoy it, I think you’ve got more than Turin! x x x

  17. Espresso is the only thing you’re on? You haven’t been hanging out with Bode Miller, have you? I mean, I know you’re a hotdog, but this, my friend, is OUT OF THE BOX!

  18. Make a red had for Dulaan and they can have “flying tomato” too. Love the hats.

  19. Hey, Kay! Love the hats, love the post. It’s great to start Monday with a laugh. A gold medal to you, girl. And dontcha think there should be some kind of Olympic talk-off competition? Bob v. Charlie Rose. Now that would be something.

  20. Nice work! Extra foam huh? Never would have guessed. I figured you for a no-nonsense no foam kind of girl. Ah, I suppose you have to break out of the mold somewhere. 😉

  21. Wow…. the snow…. the hats…. really it’s better than the Olympics!

  22. Go Team Dulaan!
    I’m on hat #4 at the moment. Great minds and all that.

  23. I love this blog! This is just plain funny. Not affected funny, not trying to hard funny, not “hey look at me I’m so witty funny,” just good and funny. I cannot wait for your book.

  24. The French judge, Fifi LaRue has filed a protest on that third hat not having the varigated yarn continue up to the top. How will you respond?

  25. Damn that’s a lot of snow! GO KAY!!

  26. ann….young sons knitting is so very cool!

  27. I join you in that 16 hats project. ! I didn’t sign up but I will complete the challange. thanks for the inspiration.

  28. I join you in that 16 hats project. ! I didn’t sign up but I will complete the challange. thanks for the inspiration.

  29. bravo darling – your folks must be so proud! now you can sit back and wait for those endorsements to start rolling in …..

  30. I do love a spot of sports knitting commentary.
    Great work!
    I also love the snow in New York. Wild.


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