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Knitter’s Guide to the Winter Games
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Knitter’s Guide to the Winter Games

As many of you know, tomorrow evening is the beginning of the Vancouver Winter Olympics !

Many knitters are participating in the new incarnation of the “Knitting Olympics” that have been deemed the “Ravelympics” now on Ravelry.  Last I looked, there were over 8000 knitters and crocheters signed up for those events – with event names that run the gauntlet from the “Hat Halfpipe” to “Mitten Moguls”, there is something for everyone.  These Ravelympians far outnumber the actual Olympians in Vancouver.  It should be great fun to watch!

I have not participated in a Knitting Olympics, and I am not planning to this year as I feel that I have pressured myself enough with deadline knitting… but that doesn’t mean that I am not cheering you on wholeheartedly!  I would love to hear what you are planning for the Ravelympics – leave me a comment and tell me about your team, your event, and your project!

I hope many of you are planning to watch the events – you will be in for some real treats!  Since the Summer Games have such a ginormous following, they are

Here are a few tips and things to watch for during the Games:

  •  Winter Olympic Sports are FAST.  Several of them involve icy surfaces, so this means that the action just *zooms* right by.  So, you may need to work on a project that doesn’t require large amounts of attention!  You look down to count your stitches or check your charting – and boom, you just missed the win!  Luckily, there are DVRs and instant replays – but you don’t want to miss the action!  …and in case you do miss it and have an accident, there are always commercial breaks for a little bit of frogging :)
  • I don’t have to tell you that my anticipation for the Games is all about the ice hockey.  Because the Games are in Canada – the Home of Hockey – there is a HUGE HUGE amount of pressure on both the Men’s and Women’s teams to bring home the gold medals.  And honestly, both of them are so good that they could do it.  The most contentious matches will be between old rivalries (aren’t they always?).

For the Mens’ tournament, the match that has the most hype is Canada versus Russia.  Both of these teams are very deep and star-studded.  Both teams are fully made of athletes who do this for a living – both in the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).  Two of the undisputed “best players in the world” will be facing off – one leading Canada and the other leading Russia.  Watch for Sidney Crosby (Canada) and Alexander Ovechkin (Russia) – and if you watch the Games, you will hear their names A LOT.  However, because the Olympics are a one-stop shop, unlike many of the other “best of seven” style tournaments, there is a very distinct possibility that one of the other national teams could make a real showing.  The biggest “contenders” in addition to the two already named are the US, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia.  There could be a “dark horse” – and that’s what makes it so exciting!

As for the women’s hockey, the biggest rivalry is between Canada and the United States.  Canada won the Gold in Torino in 2006, with Sweden taking the silver and the US taking the bronze.  Women’s hockey is serious business with serious fans!  I watched one of the matches between US and Canada a few weeks ago and really got into the excitement in the game.  It was a nailbiter right to the end.  The Canadians took the game, but it was so close!  Women’s hockey doesn’t get much (if any) “air time” on TV and in the news media, so I simply don’t know that much about these athletes as I do about the men – but I will love finding out more about these amazing women through the course of the Games.

  • Figure skating is always the soap opera of the Olympics, and I doubt this year will be any different – from the costumes, the judging, the relationships between partners… oh!  so juicy and exciting!  the figure skating consistently ranks among the most popular events on TV and in person (that is why the tickets were so hard to get – the price point was so high!  so, we will be enjoying the figure skating on the screen, not in person).


  • In a weird turn of winter events, the Vancouver area has had a very mild winter – so much so that they are trucking in snow from the mountains to bring to the ski/snowboard courses north of the city.  Conditions are not really improving, and while there are some contingencies in place, everyone is hoping that things go off as planned.  Several of our events are indoors, but we do have a ski event in Cypress Mountain and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that it happens!  …I wish there was a way I could take the 4 feet of snow here in Maryland to BC with me!

I would love to hear about what events you are planning to follow!

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23 Responses

  1. Leslie

    Thanks for the awesome guide! I’ve never done the Ravelympics before either but I decided to try it this year. I’ll be knitting the Napoleon vest from the Berroco Blackstone Tweed book using O-Wool Classic. I have been thinking about you a lot and hoping that your sweater is working out AND that the storms back east won’t prevent you from getting out of town. Have a WONDERFUL time. I think it’s so cool that you and Kris are doing this together — what memories!!!

  2. LisaB

    It would be awesome if you could bring some snow! It’s been so mild and warm here that the cherry trees are blooming and tulips are coming up all over the place!

    The torch relay hit Vancouver yesterday and the party is definitely started here! You’ll have a blast when you arrive!!

  3. Sarah

    I’ve always preferred the Winter Olympics to their summer counterparts. My favorite has always been Women’s Figure Skating. I haven’t kept up in recent years , but this year I plan to watch again! I’m participating in the Knitting Olympics and the Ravelypmpics for the first time this year. My goals are pretty modest, but it’s going to take a lot of effort for me to finish in time. I’m hoping to knit a pair of Pomatomus socks for myself, finish the second sock in a pair for my 6-year-old son, and knit myself a Wurm hat. I’ve got my yarns and needles ready and I can hardly wait for the opening ceremonies tonight!

  4. Theresa

    Have fun, Lolly! I am looking forward to reading about your trip. I am so glad that our snow won’t impede your trip. I was worried the local airports would be so backed up after the blizzards.

    Save travels!

  5. YarnOverHere

    Have a wicked time in Van! I love hearing different perspectives about the city I grew up in.

    Cypress’ elevation is quite low and combined with our warm winter this year, it has caused a few blimps for the races. However, everyone from VANOC to the IOC said it will go and they don’t see a need for plan B. Races may get delayed, but they don’t foresee canceling anything.

    Also of note, when you guys get some down time. You check out the Canadian broadcasts on TV. CTV (channel 9) is the official network this year. If you get the specialty channels, Sportsnet and TSN will have lots of coverage too. However if you guys are worried about traffic and getting around, grab a radio and tune into 1130 on the AM dial. They have traffic updates every 10 minutes (11, 21, 31, 41, 51 past the hour) and is part of the Olympic network.

    Above all else, have fun and enjoy the city!

  6. Sung-Ji

    Have a great time in Vancouver. I can’t wait to see your pictures when you get back.

  7. kingshearte

    I hadn’t planned on participating in any of the knitting olympics, although the spirit is kind of starting to catch me. I have a baby present to do before April. Maybe it’d be a good Olympic project…

    As for the actual events, with any luck, I’ll be following pairs figure skating & ice dance, and definitely men’s curling. I’m sure there will be some hockey in my watching, and probably some bobsled, but with my hubby being as Olympics-obsessed as he is, I’m sure I’ll catch many other things as well.

  8. Kim

    Correction: There is the Knitting Olympics and there is Ravelympics. Both are happening. Both are compatible. But they are different entities.

    Sorry. (I’m Canadian. I’m required to apologize. ;) )

  9. Nim

    Boardercross! I recently learned to snowboard and am super psyched to see the full-speed version of what I was attempting. Of course, I’m always hooked on the hockey, no question. Have a great time!!

  10. Natalie

    I’m participating in both Ravelympics & Knitting Olympics – but some folks seem to think you need different projects for that. Hmm. Don’t have the time (kids, job, etc.). I’ll be doing Ishbel in as-yet-unwound skein of Swiss Mountain Sea Sock. Mmmm.

    I loved the original Knitting Olympics because it got me to create & write my very first design: a cushion for my daughter. It was a huge stretch for me & has change my knitting & my designing. And that reminds me that I really should put that pattern up on Ravelry as a freebie.

  11. Megan

    I live about 20 miles south of the WA/BC border, and I can see the lights of the ski hills on Cypress Mountain from my living room! That’s as close as I’ll get to the games, sadly. I’ll probably head down to the local brewery to watch live snowboarding coverage on the movie screen though. And no knitting olympics for me this time around – I’m too far behind on my papers to commit to anything else! (Darn grad school!)

  12. katebee

    There are very few Olympic events I don’t enjoy. I mean, if I could put my life on hold and watch the whole thing 24 hours a day, I would. Let me put it this way: I even enjoy watching the curling. Curling is awesome. And the skiing, and the hockey, and the luge, and the figure skating . . . omg. Love it. All of it.

    I have very not-cleverly chosen a colorwork project for the Ravelympics, go not-clever me, and will probably miss a lot of exciting moments by looking down. :) Or perhaps I will just work on my patriotic shorts. We’ll see! Mostly I just dote on the Olympics, and am quite looking forward to Alexei Morozov carrying the flag for Russia this evening.

  13. Heather

    I can’t wait for the opening ceremonies to begin! It would be great to go to an event – maybe one day!

    We used to go to watch live figure skating all the time, and tickets were pretty pricey then. When everything moved to the Verizon Center (remember the old Capital Centre??) it just got to be too much, and then they started splitting up the events – short program on one day, long the next, so it was impossible to see it all and still buy food for the month! But you are right – the drama is so juicy! The ice dancers are my favorites!


  14. Irmhild

    Enjoy your trip!

  15. ccr in MA

    Driving home, the radio told me that the TV coverage starts at 7:30, and the Games will officially open at 9. I blurted out, “I can’t cast on until 9?!” I may have to warm up by knitting on something else. I wanna cast on!

  16. Cait

    Hey, you named the two events I’m competing in. *g* I’m primarily looking forwards to the figure skating. Kim Yu-na, the Korean figure skater, grew up just a few minutes from where I taught school last year and my stupids *loooooooved* her, so I’m hoping she does well.

  17. Chandler

    As a former women’s hockey player myself, THANK YOU so much for highlighting women’s hockey! The American sports media could take a leaf out of your book for its Olympics coverage!

    Have a wonderful, fantastic time in Vancouver! I’ll be cheering with you in spirit…and since I recently found out that I’m a dual citizen with Canada, I’m going to yell GO CANADA! Yay!

  18. knittingoutloud

    Figure skating rules!

  19. Joanna

    How thrilling it must be for you to actually attend an Olympic hockey game! I also love the hockey but I really look forward to speed skating. On the surface, skating round and round an oval doesn’t sound exciting but when you take into consideration that these men and women are aerodynamically zipping around a super slick track on blades that are essentially as thin as razor blades, that adds a whole new wrinkle of excitement! (I also secretly with I had half the amount of stamina and lower body strength those athletes have! Phew!)

  20. KimW

    I joined the Yarn Harlot’s Olympics and I’m hoping to complete the Traveling Woman shawl. I got so involved in watching the Opening Ceremonies, I never even cast on a stitch!

  21. LittleWit

    We’ll definitely be following hockey in this house and I think I might check out curling. As for the Ravelympics/Knitting Olympics I have 3 projects to attempt. Designing and knitting fingerless mitts, designing a veil and knitting up 60″ worth of stockinette stitch into a nightie. Also, given the recent foray into the snow with my niece I plan to knit her up a pair of mittens. However mittens for an 18 mos old almost doesn’t even seem challenging enough to consider :)

  22. felinemagnet

    I love the Winter Olympics and will pretty much watch anything they show on TV! But of course hockey is the best. For patriotism’s sake I feel I must cheer on Team USA, but I confess my heart lies with Team Russia (big surprise). I’m joining the Ravelympics this year and am on 2 teams – Team PuckThis! and Team Motherhood Later. Only one project declared so far, Fetchings for the Mitten Moguls, but I hope to be able to add another project before the Closing Ceremonies. Have a super time, Lolly!

  23. Suz

    I am ALL about the Hockey first and Curling second! The Curling has had me on the edge of my seat and man, it is not looking good for us so far. Men have lost 3 and Women have lost 2. Thank goodness for “round robin”.

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