No matter where you find yourself on the globe, the Olympic Games are magical. People from everywhere and anywhere come together, celebrate hard work, sportsmanship, true dedication, and patriotism. We root for our countrymen, the underdogs, the singular brave representative from a country, and for a moment forget about the bad things happening in the world and focus on the Games and unification. Personally, I enjoy the summer and winter games equally, but with this bone-chilling cold snap we find ourselves in this winter, I'm looking forward to hunkering down under a blanket with my family, and cheering the winter athletes on as they skate, ski, ride, and slide their way to victory.
While I look forward to the Olympics every 2 years with excitement, I anticipate casting on for my Knitting Olympics project and think about it very carefully months in advance. Due to some controversy a few years back, we're not technically supposed to call it the Knitting Olympics, so Ravelympics, Winter Games Knitting - whatever tickles your fancy - is upon us. What is the Knitting Olympics, you ask? This is a time to choose a project that you feel might be a smidge over your skill level, a project that you know will take some time (we're not talking about a garter scarf), or a technique you've been itching to try. We cast on when the Olympic cauldron is lit at the official start of the Games on February 9th, and bind off by the time the cauldron is extinguished on February 25th, at the official ending of the Games. It should be challenging, perhaps even something you're a bit nervous about casting on for, and the perfect companion as you watch the events. There are dozens of forums on Ravelry to join, with some that award virtual medals, some focusing on a certain technique, or some where all are working on the same project.
In honor of the Games taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year, I've teamed up with Hazel Knits - an American company featured way back in my first book Knit Local: Celebrating America's Homegrown Yarns, to bring you a free pattern perfect for your Winter Games knitting. A Fair Isle cowl worked in the round from the bottom up with corrugated ribbing edges, whimsical sheep motifs as a nod to early American shepherds, traditional stranded colorwork motifs, striping, and an apropos palette, this cowl was designed for both those comfortable with Fair Isle knitting and those ready to take the leap and try it out for the first time. Knitting up on US 6 circular needles, this cowl has a 24" circumference and a 12" height, making it my favorite size for a cowl that is not only beautiful, but will keep you warm in these chilly months. I love Hazel Knits yarn and their washable worsted weight Cadence has perfect stitch definition for this kind of knitting.
I've decided to release this design a bit early so you can order your Hazel Knits Cadence (100% superwash merino wool) in Poppy, Nekkid, and Jay Blue, and have time to take my Craftsy Fair Isle Fundamentals class beforehand if you need a comprehensive course in getting started with proper techniques. Hazel Knits has kits available for the cowl here at a special price until January 16th and you'll have them before the Games start. Once you've got your confidence boosted in stranded colorwork knitting, you can wind your yarn, print your pattern, grab your snacks, watch the Opening Ceremonies, and cast on!
I look forward to cheering on Team USA with my fellow knitters and hope you enjoy knitting this patriotic cowl. I'd love to see your cowls on Instagram, so be sure to tag me at @tanisknits so I can see your progress. GO USA! GO WORLD!
Download the free Winter Games 2018 Cowl here.