Meg Swansen: Aaaand we’re back to the 2010 Knitting Olympics, where we have first-time U.S. Olympian Rebecca Osborn in the Beading Biatholon. When we left Osborn, she was struggling through some supply issues, not to mention some serious arguments with basic geometry.
Stephanie Pearl McPhee: Thursday, our competitor suffered a serious setback when she arrived at her work shift without an important piece of equipment! Imagine the agony when she realized her beading needle was still at home and she would lose four precious hours of potential knitting time.
Meg: To most knitters this would be a serious blow, Steph, but this girl wasn’t stopped for five minutes. After a quick consult with some teammates, she took this opportunity to start on another one of her Olympic projects!
Steph: Like I always say, Meg, you have to have multiple works-in-progress on the needles, because you never know when a knitting emergency will throw you off. It’s all part of being prepared.
Meg: Osborn definitely seems to be making use of your technique, Steph, and wasting no time doing it. By the end of her shift, she had blasted through about 3/4 of a pair of slippers without looking back.
Steph: This may not look like much to those watching at home, but I’ve made several pairs of these slippers, and believe me, Osborn is well on her way to medaling in the Felting Freestyle. It looks like she’s using Araucañia’s Nature Wool, an excellent choice.
Meg: Now, as enterprising as this move was, it didn’t solve the problem of lost time on her main event, the Shipwreck Shawl. Even after a four-hour spring on Thursday night while watching the Men’s Figure Skating free program, she had only completed about 10 1/2 rows.
Meg: She had a good reason for her slowness, though. If I had one of those cool digital pens they give to the commentators of the downhill skiing, I’d circle that little pile of sparkly strands in the bottom right corner of this picture. Osborn spent hours on Thursday night just stringing beads. She managed to get through the entirety of her first shipment of 1,000 beads! What do you think of this strategy, Steph?
Steph: I’m not too sure, Meg. It’s always a tradeoff that the athlete has to decide for him or herself – stringing on fewer beads at a time increases the frequency with which you have to stop, break your strand, and string more, but stringing on more beads at a time increases the amount you have to continually push your beads further down the strand as you work. Her yarn may be pretty sturdy, but I’m not sure any fingering weight alpaca blend could stand to have 500 8/0 seed beads forced over it.
Meg: Well, we’ll see how that works out for her. On to Friday, where we were still worrying about our young American. Rather than use her time during the day to catch up on her shawl, she instead completed the slippers, spending the afternoon felting them in her washing machine.
Steph: They’re definitely turning out beautifully, Meg. But don’t forget, she set a goal to make two pairs of these slippers, so she’s still shy of the halfway point to a Felting Freestyle gold.
Meg: Well, we’ve still got eight days of competition to go, Steph, and just within the last 24 hours, Osborn really started cranking up the heat. Last night she actually managed to work on her shawl through the entirety of Gone with the Wind –
Steph: – I have to say, she should get a medal just for staying awake through that film with her soul intact –
Meg: Steph, that is an American classic! Anyway, Osborn got a staggering 9 rows done during both that film and during the day today. She is still in this thing, though there’s still a very long way to go. It’s going to take some serious stamina to stay motivated through another 46 rounds.
P.S. congratulations to Fjord on an early gold!!