Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympic Craft Watch: A Yarny Review of the Winter Games

Notable Knits from the Winter Games
 My family has always been very adamant about watching the Olympics. We never watched any other sports when I was growing up. No football, no baseball, none of that stuff (unless it was a local team and we were going to a live game. Sports are okay when you are supporting your hometown by being present). But every four years, when medals were being handed out, you can bet your sweet biffy my mom, dad, sister, and I would be glued to the tube cheering on America.

Maybe it was because watching the Olympics is an act of patriotism. Maybe it was because both Summer and Winter Olympics take place in seasons of less busy-ness on the farm. Maybe it was because my dad loves medals. Whatever the reason, I grew up being in love with the Olympics.

When I started dating Sailor, he was amazed at my incredible lack of knowledge about sports. I had never watched an entire NFL game all the way through, not even the Superbowl. I had no favorite teams for anything. I honestly could not have told you more than 10 professional teams, let alone name all the pro teams in one sport. The only players I could name were the ones I saw on cereal boxes. I had no interest in watching sports of any kind. But when it came to the Olympics, much to Sailor's surprise, I was the one begging him to watch.

"....But....you don't even like sports."

"But it's the Olympics."

"Which is a sporting event."

"But it's the Olympics."

"Which are sports."

"Olympic sports!"

I will have you know that I have since reformed my Non-Olympic Sport prejudice and begun to enjoy other sports. But the Olympics will always have a special gold-medal shaped place in my heart.

Especially the Winter Games.

This year has been so much fun to watch. In addition to the interesting political aspect of the games in Sochi, there have been so many exciting happenings. And amidst all these feats of athleticism and national pride and world togetherness there is something worth noting all on its own: the apparel.

I know big-name fashion blogs have already ripped to shreds all the various uniforms and outfits and dos and don'ts, but I want to hone in on an accessory that a lot of countries sport: knitwear.

So, here are the noteworthy knits I have seen thus far during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Austria's Matthias Mayer
Let's talk about Austria's earwarmer first. When I first had these pointed out to me, I could not tell if they were knit or crochet. Upon closer inspection, they are indeed knit. In a lovely waffley stitch that looks oober cozy, might I add? They have hats that match this ear warmer. I really need to figure out which stitch this is. So cozy!!

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Burton Boards for Team USA 2014
Okay, let's chat about 'Merica. First and foremost, I am completely obsessed with the US ski jackets by Burton. I know some people really hate them, but I am smitten. So rustic, so cozy, just yes. Yes all over. Yes everywhere. Send me one. Or two. The hats Burton designed for the team are quite nice as well. Simple knit beanies with rustic stripes. Lahve.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Team USA by Polo Ralph Lauren
 Okkkkkkaaayyyy. The interwebs have been going nutso about the "Ugly Christmolympics" sweaters designed by Polo for Team USA. I agree that they are a little much; overplaying the kitschy thing by a longshot. BUT there are nice moments in the ensemble: the mix-matched cuffs would look nice on a less explosively patriotic sweater, and the hat is acceptable. I am a big fan of the moose hat that they designed (the one the ladies wore) as well as the traditional turtleneck sweater with the mooses on it.

But this sweater? Buh. I vote, keep the mixed-up cuffs and the shaping of the sweater, but do it in solid navy with a striped back panel. But not Where's Waldo stripes, subtle stripes more like the Burton hat. Come on, guys.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Julie Mancuso at a pre-Sochi press conference
 Here is a lil pre-Olympic craft fashion for you. Julie Mancuso wearing a crochet hat at a pre-Sochi press conference. Ohmyyum. Such a squishy, home-made looking hat. Maybe it was homemade...I don't see any tags on it. This is a good level of kitschy for the Olympics. Cozy and homemade, not bombastically patriotic. Take notes, Polo.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway
To follow up that nice crochet, here's some bad crochet. Can we please talk about how freaky it is that Norway opted for a crocheted hat as opposed to a knitted one?? Norway is known for knitting. The craft is deeply rooted into the country's herritage. So why, why, whhhyyyy crochet? I mean, crochet is my first love, so I'm excited to see it featured in the games. But NOT on the heads of Norwegians.

I like the hat as a hat, but I'm disappointed in Norway. Honestly, I was expecting some amazingly beautiful knitted colorwork depicting Norwegian skiiers swooshing down an mountain and/or being presented their gold medals while riding a moose. Something like that.

Maybe while I'm re-designing the Polo Team USA sweater, I'll whip up a chart for a victorious Norwegian ski hat.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Joint gold medalist (left to right) Dominique Gisin of Switzerland and Tina Maze of Slovenia
 Enough with me ripping on the crochet, let's get back to the knits. Slovenia's hats are possibly my favorite. They at least make it to my top five for Olympic knitwear. I am happy to say, I could also make this hat. It's a delightful seed-stitch concoction with those glorious neon stripes. The subtle texture adds just the right amount of interest to a simple hat. All the good things.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Carina Vogt of Germany winning the first ever women's ski jumping gold medal
What a historic event for female athletes. The first ever gold medal for women's ski-jump was won by Carina Vogt of Germany. And, let me say, she definitely hits the podium in my book for her hat. You can also see the full hat that matches Austria's ear warmer in this picture. Delightful!

But Germany's hat is all kinds of cute. Simple, patriotic colorwork that doesn't overwhelm anybody. A straight forward design. And a pom pom! Can't go wrong with a pom pom. This is another totally doable hat for crafting along with the Olympics.

Notable Knits from the 2014 Winter Games: Last in Line Blog
Vogt being congratulated for her historic win





















As you can see, there is some pretty great knitwear making an appearance in the 2014 Winter Games. Have you spotted any others?

Your patriotically,
Carolyn
Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Ps: I'm trying to get back on a more frequent posting schedule now that phase #1 of our move is complete. Things have been a million kinds of crazy here, but hopefully everything is coming together now. I am ready to get back to blogging and relaxing!!