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What is the Ravellenics?

Patti Waters

Formerly known as the Knitting Olympics, this competitions was started in 2006 by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka the Yarnharlot on her blog. Here is the original post with the rules and signups for that year. The concept was pretty simple: knit a whole project during the olympic games. I went to go look up the Ravelry page for my olympic project, and then realized I joined Ravelry in 2007, one full year after my first participation in the first iteration of this competition! I barely remember such a time in knitting history, when I found all my patterns in real magazines that I actually held in my hands. And to find out what was in those magazines I actually went to a knitting store to see them. Anyways, you're in luck because when I joined the following year I added a bunch of my old projects to my notebook including, my very first Olympic Sweater! The pattern was from Vogue knitting, and like a lot of their patterns mine did not turn out the way it looked in the picture. The yoke kind of curled out no matter how I blocked it. The yarn was also a bit scratchy and stiff, this was an era before Malabrigo Rios even existed, a dark time for knitters everywhere.

By 2008 Ravelry was everywhere, including the knitting olympics. With the ease of online posting Ravelry provided, and the organization of a website that already had all the patterns and yarns and groups all in one place it was the logical host for the next knitting olympics. Now there were teams involved, so I competed with my formerly local yarn shop, The Knitting Experience in Brunswick, ME. This store doesn't exist anymore, but it gave me the sense of community that I try to bring to Passionknit. At the time was still my greatest source of knitting camaraderie. I had just moved to Canada from Maine, and only recently joined the knitting group in St. Catharines where I met my husband. I was ambitious, and chose a huge lacey shawl for my second olympic knitting project, arguably my first ravelympics project. I wore this shawl on my first date with my husband not long after the olympics ended, and we have now been happily married for three years. Not sure if the shawl had anything to do with that, but hey it didn't hurt. 

The next games were in 2010, and y this time I was in graduate school with less free time on my hands, so I participated in the WIP competition and finished off a few projects that had been in my UFO pile for far too long, so here, here and here are my third Olympic projects. I have no recollection how much of any of these projects had been knit at the start of these games, but I did finish them all before the deadline. 

Before 2012 there was a big scandal. Word of this online competition had reached the actual Olympic Committee. There were lawyers and cease and desist letters and a lot of people were upset, and we all know when people on the internet are upset words get said, well typed. At some point the Yarnharlot wrote a very articulate entry on the subject defending the right of the Olympic committee to determine who gets to use the word olympic and any derivative thereof. It was well worded and it seemed to end the discussion completely, and I can not find it in her archives to link, but trust me it was good. Thus the Ravelympics became the Ravellenics, and began to bear little bits of fine print clearly disassociating itself from the official olympics. Otherwise all was the same. Here is my fourth olympic, aka my first Ravellenic project. This was also my first project for Team Passionknit! This year I got so knitting crazed I finished my sweater way ahead of the deadline and unofficially added a second project which I also finished before the deadline. I still don't know how I managed that, I don't think I slept much. Also I did not have a child back then, so I was swimming  in knitting time. 

In 2014 I competed again with Team Passionknit. This time taking on a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, Channel. And if you have knit almost any Brooklyn Tweed pattern you know this means one thing: tubular cast on. This time I was not just tackling a project, but a whole new technique. If you click over to my project page you can see a picture of me ripping out the sleeve, again because something wasn't right with the cast on. It took me several tries to nail the many steps of this cast on, and eventually I learned to try taking out the waste yarn before I got too far with the sleeve. I managed this PIA cast on after getting it right on both sleeves and the bottom edge, and I can honestly say to you knitters out there: Yes you can totally skip it, just breeze right on by the tubular cast on instructions (easy to do because they are usually 12 pages behind where you need them) and use whatever cast on makes you happy. It has a slightly stretchy edge that looks a little like a hem, but if you really want a hem just do a hem! Way easier to do, and looks more like a hem cause it is a hem. 

In 2016 I had just become the owner of Passionknit, I had just returned to work after a year of maternity leave, and somehow the olympics and therefore the Ravellenics came and went without my really noticing. I must have had a few things on my mind for some reason. But here we are now in 2018, with another Olympics, and therefore another Ravellenics on the way. This year I will be competing, and so should you. See my previous post on this blog about how to join in the fun, and come pick your project and yarn. Pro tip: you can roll all your skeins before you start! We will be having a kick off gathering Friday Feb 9th exact tme and place TBD, check the Passionknitters revelry group for details when we have them worked out. 


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