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An Olympic Stitcher

Jan 22, 2014

The Olympics are coming up soon, and my knitting friends and I are talking about what we'll be knitting during the games. I think I've settled on a non-traditional knitting project: finishing up all of my unfinished projects. Or raveling those that I know I'll never finish. I work best with a deadline, and I think two weeks is a good amount of time to finish up some projects. Who's with me?

Jamie Anderson wearing one of her crocheted hats (photo by NBC Olympus/USOC)
Of course, there are some larger projects that I won't have time to finish, but I've already started a triage of sorts, deciding which projects that can fit in the two-week timeframe.

Did you know that some Olympians are knitters and crocheters, too? It makes sense; they can pull out their needles or hooks during downtime, centering themselves with the calming natures of the craft.

In the Winter issue of Interweave Crochet, author and crocheter Kathryn Vercillo wrote a feature on snowboarder Jamie Anderson. I love this sort of thing, so I thought I'd share it with you!

Stitching on the Slopes

Jamie Anderson is your basic everyday crocheter, except that for her, X stands not only for the abbreviation for single crochet, but also for X Games, one of her many gigs as a professional snowboarder. Her beanie-crocheting time is somewhat limited these days as she prepares to head to the XXII Winter Olympics, to be held February 7–23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

Jamie, twenty-three, is from South Lake Tahoe, California. She first learned to crochet when she was ten or eleven, about a year or two after she started snowboarding. One of her five sisters taught her how to crochet (she also has two brothers). Her sister Joanie is also a professional snowboarder. In addition to crochet, Jamie's craft interests include jewelry making, and she would love to learn to knit someday.

Jamie considers herself a hobbyist crocheter, crocheting off and on throughout the year. Crochet is a great form of relaxation for her, especially when she's traveling from one event to another. She also really enjoys crocheting by a fire as a way to wind down in the evening. "Crocheting is very peaceful and relaxing," she says. Her favorite accessories to crochet are hats and scarves. Jamie's other relaxation outlets include going to the beach, hiking, yoga, and dancing.

       Keep Up with Jamie's
Progress and
Olympic Performance

Learn more about Stitch Mountain, a program co-sponsored by Jimmy Beans Wool and Red Heart, in partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).

Learn more about the scarf program for Special Olympians.


Life on the slopes

Jamie has medaled in SlopeStyle at almost every X Games since 2006, winning gold medals in four of those years. At age fifteen, she became the youngest Winter X Games medalist. In 2012 she won an Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly award—also known as an ESPY award—from the sports network ESPN for Best Female Action Sports Athlete, meeting a goal that she had set for herself several years earlier.

Jamie has seen several other people on the snowboarding circuit crocheting or knitting; it's a good activity for the downtime between events. Jamie particularly enjoys crocheting scarves and hats for people she cares about. She really likes working with alpaca and focuses on sustainable materials in her work. Jamie says that these handcrafted items are made "with love and intention," which makes them really special for her to give to others.

Right now Jamie is focused on her snowboarding career, with her sights set on an Olympic medal. But crafting plays a part in her future plans. One of her dreams is to someday have her own company of sustainable products. It wouldn't be her first experience creating a product line; in 2009 Jamie collaborated with sponsor Billabong to create her own signature outerwear line, which was designed to reflect her fun spirit and positive attitude. She encourages other crocheters to consider working with sustainable wool or cotton, engaging in green practices that benefit the world around us.

—Kathryn Vercillo, from Interweave Crochet Winter 2014

Pretty cool, huh? I'll be knitting as I watch Jamie take home the gold!

I counted my UFOs (unfinished projects) and I have four that I think I can accomplish in the two weeks of the Olympics. Although I'll let you in on my little secret: as long as there are Olympic events on the DVR, the Olympics are still going, so I can extend my deadline just a bit!

If you're a crocheter, or a crocheter in waiting, check out Interweave Crochet. There are a lot of great articles like this one, and tons of beautiful crochet patterns. Try it out!

And, go team!


P.S. Have you got your Olympic knitting projects all lined up? Tell us what you're going to be working on!

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Myoga4Dyarn wrote
on Feb 7, 2014 2:31 PM

Watched Jamie score last night on the hill.  Her family story also made her an athlete to follow on this Olympic journey.  Keep up the great effort.

Myoga4Dyarn wrote
on Jan 25, 2014 7:07 PM

I started knitting while enjoying ABC's Wide World of Sports, Golf, and the Olympics of course, back in the '60's!  And yoga, too.  Glad to share creative challenges of projects to finish or not to finish with a knitter of many more talents..GodSpeed, Team USA. Bring home the gold.  

katbrain wrote
on Jan 25, 2014 4:40 PM

I'm waiting for my yarns from Olympic supplier, Imperial Yarn, to arrive and then I'm going to attempt to copy the RL scarf (start easy) and sweater. I'm happy for Imperial that they were selected, but I won't be too broken up if I only get the scarf done as the whole Putin leadership has cast a bit of a cloud. But I'm in it for the athletes and the positive spirit of the Olympics!

@Darlene@30: Go, girl! I've finished a number of UFO's and have only 1 left, so it can be done!

krroth wrote
on Jan 25, 2014 4:33 PM

I had also thought of finishing UFO's in Feb.  Had 4 in mind - my daughter's cardigan needs buttons and blocking; my Middlefield Pullover (NE Knits) just needs the yoke finished; a pullover needs sleeves for my other daughter; and a shoulder bag in need of sewing together and felting.  So many more UFOs, but too many for the Olympics.... Need a few months to get through the whole pile I am afraid.  (Sadly, the mending basket also needs tending....)

MarissaFH wrote
on Jan 23, 2014 4:48 PM

I hope to have finished more WIPs, so that I can start on something new for the Winter Games, but I don't know what project yet.  That's what I do for special events - start a new project.  

And thanks for linking to my blog page on the Special Olympics Scarf Project!  Much appreciated, and it helped spread the word for this year (and hopefully next year too!)


Burt Tower wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 9:50 PM

I too have been busy creating a replica of the Opening Ceremonies hat that Ralph Lauren designed for the athletes.  I invested in some really nice yarn and it is coming along quite nicely.  I should have it done by the Opening Ceremonies.

on Jan 22, 2014 8:17 PM


You said you counted your UFO's ,  and have four you can finish . I was wondering what the "real" total of UFO's  is ? ( inquiring minds)


Karen from Houston

on Jan 22, 2014 8:16 PM


You said you counted your UFO's ,  and have four you can finish . I was wondering what the "real" total of UFO's  is ? ( inquiring minds)


Karen from Houston

Kathy@111 wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 6:11 PM

Hi Kathleen,

Thanks for that OK to frog a UFO!  I do have a sweater in mind that's begging to be gone from my queue.   Also,  I hate to admit that I have 2 Christmas present items that still need started and finished.  Luckily they are small projects.  I'll get going on it.  Love to watch the Olympics and knit too.

Kathy from Spokane

DJ Hendricks wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 5:55 PM

I love the idea of sorting through my UFOs, figuring out what I am and am not ever going to finish (I've got an afghan in that latter category), and finishing up at least some of the things I've got on needles during the Olympics! Finishing in-progress items was part of my New Year's resolutions, so putting a real dent in it during the month of February before better weather arrives and starts distracting me would be terrific. Thanks for the idea!!

sewandsewon wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 5:33 PM

Finishing things was a challenge on my list of to do projects for my birth year. My projects that are lined  up to finish are three afghans in knit and one in crochet.  then I can finish the sweater for myself. Then if there is still time I will finish the crocheted neck scarf.   And then the knitted kitchen cloths for dishes and hot pads.  Then I can start on the items that are thread bought, pattern with the thread items. This is exciting to think others are knitting/crocheting away on their projects as well.

gumbiecat wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 5:04 PM

I knit a wool hat two weeks ago.  It has an interesting knit band with the rest of the hat a simple knit.  It is so cosy!!  I'm currently working on a Tunisian crocheted vest...a  pattern that will take a while for me to finish.  Following will be the "Luscious Collar" that is made with a combined knitting and crocheted pattern.  And, I would also like to be crocheting the "Birch Bark Scarf" before summer comes.  Judy in SE Wis.  

threads123 wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 4:50 PM

As our cancer center is in need of knitted boobies that is what I will be doing. My group wants me to teach them my pattern so we can get the supply up. I make two a day.

PenC wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 4:21 PM

Four years ago I so loved the Ralph Lauren hats the USA athletes wore for the opening ceremony, I knitted one for myself. This year's hat is similar and I'll be knitting my own copy ... Hopefully the people at RL won't mind, seeing as these are for my own use - and I daresay it would be quite easy to distinguish my copy from the originals.

on Jan 22, 2014 4:09 PM

I will be knitting during the Olympics of course, but I will not be watching them. I find it repugnant that the Olympics are being held in a country that discriminates so badly against gay people. There is also the point that there are so many people living in horrible conditions there but millions upon millions of dollars were spent on the Olympics while people continue to suffer. So yes, knitting, but my channel will be set on PBS.

ehp wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 3:58 PM

I LOVE the Olympics and plan to work on Christmas gifts...cowls, scarves, mittens and slippers.  Should get one project done per day.  WOW!  I might be done with Christmas by the closing ceremony.

Darlene@30 wrote
on Jan 22, 2014 3:46 PM

That was my New Year's finish my UFO' s before I started something new. I'm happy to say I finished 6 with 2 more to go. I am just DYING to start something but so far I have been strong.