I was all set last week to begin the Ravelympics -- an Olympic style event put on by an online knitting and crocheting community named Ravelry to which I belong. I planned to knit a sweater over the time span of the Olympics as part of Team WTKnitters (Well Trained Knitters, a take-off of the name Well Trained Mind, which is a homeschool book and community).
I had knit a couple of gauge swatches and had my pattern, needles and yarn at the ready.
But then on Thursday, right before the Olympics began, our Irish Dance teacher asked if I could reproduce the collars used on the school dresses. The dressmaker was out of collars, and needed to make new dresses. The teacher wasn't even sure if the woman who had crocheted the collars in past years was still alive.
Well, yes, I could do that. Except it would take a little time, since I couldn't even identify all of the stitches.
This is the collar of Thalia's dress:
By the way, the collar of Thalia's dress is made a little differently than the collar of AnnaBeth's dress. Sort of adds to the excitement of trying to reproduce it, right? In any event, I couldn't figure out what those little blobby stitches in the medallions were.
I finally worked out that they were bullion stitch, which is also known as rolled stitch or rice stitch. But my bullions looked anemic compared to those on the original collars. After much experimentation (not to mention crocheting 2 complete collars that ended up looking sort of "eh"), I figured out that I needed to hold a round toothpick next to my crochet hook when I wrapped the crochet thread around the hood for the bullions. Then I pulled the toothpick out, pulled the thread through, and presto, a plump bullion:
So, a week later I managed to make a passable collar:
The collar itself just took a few hours to make, but the journey to completion took several days.
I handed it in to the teacher so they could look it over and decide if it's usable.
And now I can cast on my Ravelympics sweater, and see how far I get in the remaining 9 days of the contest.