Knitting Olympics News - Prepare to LOL
Doug Spak reports from Cincinnati, Ohio
February 10, 2006
TODAY'S HEADLINES FROM KNN (KNIT NEWS NETWORK)
We welcome the world to Anderson Township for tonight's opening ceremony of the 2006 Knitting Olympics. The Anderson Twp. Knitting Olympic Committee spent more than an hour this afternoon preparing for tonight's ceremonies. We have spared no expense to ensure the comfort and security of all Olympic Knitters and their pets. We even ran the vacuum twice.
As this will be the first time many of you have participated in Olympic Knitting, the committee felt it was important for you to have a greater appreciation of the magnitude of this event. So, we took valuable time that could have been used for napping to create this commemorative booklet and beer coaster entitled "Great Moments in Olympic Knitting History."
Enjoy tonight's opening ceremony and good luck in the competition. And remember our Olympic Knitting Motto which was written just a few hours ago: "Win or lose, the most important thing is that you leave by 10:30:11 at the latest because we're really tired."
GREAT MOMENTS IN KNITTING OLYMPIC HISTORY
The inaugural Knitting Olympics was held in 1887 at Moose Lodge 487 outside of Sandusky, Ohio. More than 25 women came together to compare knitting skills, share homemade cookie recipes and bitch about their "good for nothing husbands." What began as a lazy Sunday afternoon activity by the Mothers of Moose Lodge 487, has now grown into a quadrennial international event that happens every four years, give or take. Today, the Knitting Olympics will play host to more than 5,000 knitters representing more than 50 countries, including Kentucky. The Knitting Olympics has grown into one of the premiere events in the hobby and craft world, surpassed only by the Boston Macrame Marathon and the annual StencilStock Festival and Pig Roast outside of Nashville.
To commemorate the opening ceremony of the 2006 Anderson Twp Knitting Olympics, the country's leading web-site for knitting, Whogivesaknit.com, has compiled this list of the most memorable moments in Olympic Knitting history:
1938: Winds of War
On the heels of Poland's infamous "Argyll Incident" in1937, the 1938 Knitting Olympics came to Berlin under a cloud of mounting international tension and a shortage of yarn. The '38 Knitting Olympics were hosted by Eva Braun, the seamstress and mistress of German leader Adolph Hitler, and great grandmother of famous American TV personality Rob Braun. Led by 4-time World Doily Champion, Frau Marta Hess, the powerful German team was expected to dominate the '38 Olympics. But those '38 games ultimately belonged to America's Jessie Lynn Owens of Harlem's Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Owens, the first African American to participate in the Knitting Olympics, won four gold medals during the two-week event for a Looped Coat, Floral Jacket, Reversible Bag and a fabulous Cable Throw. Owen's performance single-handedly humiliated the great German squad and ruined Braun's dream of world knitting dominance for the Germans. Following the closing ceremony, Braun returned home and badgered her lover to invade Poland: but only after he finished cleaning out the garage.
1962: It's a Man's, Man's, Man's, Man's World
The '62 Knitting Olympics in Lubbock, Texas will always be remembered for the breakthrough performance of America's first male knitting star, Dick Buttonhole. Long-embraced on the International stage, men were increasingly frustrated by their inability to break through the hated "scrotum barrier" that existed in American knitting circles. Peoria's Buttonhole was something of a knitting prodigy, having first "cast on" at the age of two. He became a legend in Peoria during his freshman year in high school when he crocheted all 50 uniforms for the school's football team in just two weeks. In the face of intense pressure from the leading female knitters of the day, Buttonhole earned a place on the '62 U.S. team and went on to win three gold medals. His historic Olympic performance was punctuated by a breathtaking "Cap Shaping Bind Off 3 (3,3,4,5) sts. At beg of next two rows-57 (61,65,69,71) sts." In 1980, Buttonhole because the first male to be enshrined in the Olympic Knitting Hall of Fame at Moose Lodge 487 outside of Sandusky, Ohio.
1968: Terror Casts On Wheeling
On the morning of June 12th, 1968 the knitting world awoke to a crisis that would rock the foundation of the Knitting Olympics for years to come. Five Methodist extremists from Tacoma, Washington disguised as Lawrence Welk and The Andrews Sisters slipped past Al, the night watchman at the Wheeling Community Center, and took control of the knitting supply and refreshment room. The extremists, who dubbed themselves The Thread Brigade, placed second in the Tacoma Ecumenical Knit-Off, thus failing to earn a place on the '68 U.S. Olympic Knitting squad. Through Al, the night watchman at the Wheeling Community Center and newly named spokesman for the Thread Brigade, the group issued a statement saying they would discharge 10 skeins of Rowan Chunky Print Corinthian 083 every hour if they were not added to the U.S. team. The tense, three-hour stand-off ended peacefully when Clyde Vanderhoven, husband of Thread Brigade leader Millie Vanderhoven, called to remind her that they needed to be at the Reinhoff's that night for their 7PM Canasta game: and that he was a tad hungry and wondered what was for dinner. Based on the events of the '68 Wheeling Knitting Olympics, the International Olympic Knitting Committee (IOKC) made major revisions to its security efforts, adding at least a second night watchman for all subsequent Knitting Olympic events.
1980: From Russia With Love
The 1980 Wilkes Barre Knitting Olympics began under a cloud of international tension on the heels of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. A number of countries, including Greenland and Cleveland pulled out of the '80 games. The remaining countries, at the suggestion of the IOKC, joined together in a show of support for Afghanistan by refusing to participate in the Advanced Afghan competition. The stage was set for a "Cold War Stitch Off" between the U.S. and the mighty Soviet Union team, coached by Sergi Petrovic, known throughout the knitting world as "The Baron of the Babushka." Inexplicably, two days prior to the opening ceremonies, Petrovic announced that he was leaving the team to be with his lover and future wife, Liza, a 162 pound Rambouillet Sheep. Petrovic met Liza during the Soviet Knitting Team's World Tour. "We were in New Zealand." Petrovic recalled. "We were in the team bus passing a large herd of Rambouillets and I happened to notice one of the sheep staring in my direction. I stopped the bus and introduced myself to Liza and fell head over hoof in love with her. I tried to wean myself off of her but soon realized that every moment was shear delight: and I didn't want to be without her." Petrovic's sudden departure devastated the Soviet Knitting Team, resulting in a stunning fifth place Olympic finish. Petrovic and Liza married and settled in New Zealand where they have stayed active on the international knitting scene; he as a much-sought-after coach and she as an internet entrepreneur with her popular web-site: ewecanknittoo.com
1984: The Attack!
In a story that shook the knitting world, Team America's captain and national knitting champion, Nancy Cardigan, was brutally attacked as she left Wilma's Wool and Wicker Hut in Bethesda, MD. Olympic officials, working in conjunction with the cast of Law and Order DSU (Dropped Stitch Unit) traced the attack weapon, an Addi Turbo 20 inch JumpFlex needle, back to Cardigan's chief U.S. rival, Tonya Hardly. Hardly confessed to masterminding the attack, saying she became increasingly despondent over Cardigan's selection as team captain. Though not injured in the attack, Cardigan was really annoyed and decided not to attend the '84 Knitting Olympics in Duluth. Hardly ultimately left knitting and went into pornography, starring in more than 20 films, including the 1989 cult classic "Knit One, Feel Me Too."
1998: Extreme Competition
Olympic Knitting competition has traditionally been dominated by women from America's Bible Belt, Denmark and Croatia. These countries have maintained a stranglehold on the Olympics, ensuring little in the way of change or innovation. However, with changing demographics, power within the knitting establishment began to shift from the traditionalists to a new breed of younger, more rebellious, more attention-challenged knitting elite. The power shift became complete during the '98 Knitting Olympic games held in the trendy Buckhead section of Atlanta. A number of new events bowed during the Buckhead games, including Xtreme Speed Knitting, Xtreme Knitting Combined (knit one, purl two, shoot at a moving target with a high powered rifle) and Xtreme Downhill Knitting. New names entered the ranks of the knitting elite, such as Mildred Ono and Bodina Wasserstein. With the passing of the '98 Buckhead games, the face of international Olympic Knitting changed forever.
February 26, 2006
TODAY'S HEADLINES FROM KNN (KNIT NEWS NETWORK)
2006 KNITTING OLYMPICS SET TO BIND OFF
Preparations are underway for the potluck supper and awards ceremony that will bring the 2006 Knitting Olympics to a close. Opinions vary as to the success of the first Knitting Olympics to ever be held in Anderson Township. Kate Jacobs-Spak, head of the Anderson 2006 Knitting Olympics Committee and the only township resident who is a liberal Democrat was pleased with event. "Upper middle class, conservative Republicans typically pay someone to knit for them," said Jacobs-Spak. "It was nice to see Republicans and Democrats coming together to embrace the Olympic spirit," she added, "even if they do make my skin crawl." Anderson Township, the surprise choice for the 2006 Knitting Olympics, received mixed reviews by both knitters and knitting fans alike. Lou Kerr, four-time Gold Medalist in the Speed Afghan Knitting Competition said: "Anderson Township turned out to be a great place for this Olympics. I loved the new Anderson Commons. I mean, where else can you find a BoRics Hair Salon, Scrubs & More and CiCi's Pizza in the same strip mall?"
As for performance, most professional Knitting Olympic observers felt that the 2006 Anderson event was a mixed bag, with more memorable disappointments than shining moments. There was, of course, the last minute withdrawal of Mildred Kwan, the darling of the cable-knit world who was in search of her first Knitting Olympic Gold Medal. Kwan pulled out of the Olympics because of undisclosed "issues" with her husband of 36 years, Larry. Kwan's decision to forgo her quest for Knitting Olympic Gold obviously had no impact on her future as a major endorsement star. Within hours of her departure from Anderson Township, "Knitting Illustrated" Magazine announced that Kwan would be on the cover of its upcoming "Sexy Summer Lightweight Shawls" issue.
The biggest disappointment of the 2006 Knitting Olympics was the monumental collapse of Bodina Miller, the Sandusky, Ohio native who was expected to dominate the games and win as many as six medals. After a series of uncharacteristic dropped stitches, Miller left the Olympics without winning a single medal. She shrugged off her failure to win a medal as a function of bad timing. "This was a difficult two weeks for me," said Miller. "My arthritis acted up, I had to help the ladies down at the Lithuanian Center prepare for this week's rummage sale and Mr. Miller was feeling a bit more frisky than usual, if you know what I mean. I just didn't have time to focus on knitting."
The traditional pot-luck dinner and awards ceremony that closes each Knitting Olympics will be held at the home of Julie Poe, starting at about 7PM, but don't worry if you get there a few minutes early. Following the awards ceremony, Mrs. Jacobs-Spak will officially close the Anderson Knitting Olympics by handing the "Skein of Nations" to Mrs. Stella Fleck, chairwoman of the 2010 Knitting Olympics to be held in Ithaca, New York.
WIFE OF VP IN KNITTING ACCIDENT
Lynn Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, accidentally stabbed a close friend in the eye during a knitting circle in the basement of Peoria Community Presbyterian Church yesterday. According to witnesses, Mrs. Cheney, an experienced knitter, was trying to explain an advanced Cable Knitting Technique called C3R to prominent Peoria knitter Mrs. Harriet Whittington. "It was the dangdest thing," recalled Millie Shultz who was sitting across from Mrs. Cheney and Mrs. Whittington. "Harriet was leaning over to get one of Dorothy's ginger snap cookies just at the exact same time that Mrs. Cheney was leaning forward to show her that darned C3R. Next thing I know, Harriet's sitting there with a needle sticking out of her right eye."
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Cheney refused to comment, saying that the incident is currently under investigation by Peoria knitting authorities. The needle in question was a 12" Shetland Lace Needle, a favorite of Mrs. Cheney's. According to sources near the scene, Mrs. Cheney's Shetland Needle was properly licensed in the State of Illinois.
Mrs. Harriet Whittington is highly regarded in Peoria knitting circles and is a major fundraiser for the Republican Party. Her annual "Cast on for Conservatives" Pot-Luck Supper and Knitting Bee nets upward of a dozen sweaters and shawls for Republican candidates in the Midwest. Through Sandy, the church secretary, Mrs. Whittington released the following statement: "I am truly sorry that I let my cornea get in the way of Mrs. Cheney's needle. While I lost an eye, it troubles me greatly that Mrs. Cheney lost several hours of her important time answering silly questions about what happened. We hope she comes back to Peoria real soon."
According to records kept by the NIK (National Institute for Knitting), incidents involving bodily harm are rare in knitting circles. In the past ten years, there have been only two known incidents where a knitting needle was used as a weapon. Statistically, knitters are 1,000 times more likely to have allergic reactions to certain fibers than to have a knitting needle rammed through their eye socket.
BROKEBACK YARN-OUTLET SET FOR OSCAR SWEEP
Knitters around the globe anxiously await next week's Academy Awards ceremony to see if the highly acclaimed knitting-come-of-age story "Brokeback Yarn-Outlet" completes its unlikely sweep of this season's awards circuit. "Brokeback Yarn-Outlet" is the poignant tale of two men, one an avid hunter/fisherman and the other a life-long bowler. Each man harbors a secret desire to knit, but feels trapped inside the lie of being a "macho sportsman." They discover knitting and each other at an evening class that they attend with their wives. They become passionate knitters after casting on for the first time, creating a life-long knitting friendship that helped release them from the hobbies that once defined and confined them.
In its review of "Brokeback Yarn-Outlet" the New York Times said: "This film is a major breakthrough for Hollywood. Knitting has always been a taboo subject at the major studios. Nobody was ever willing to risk his or her career by being associated with a project that had knitting as the primary theme. Fortunately, it took the courage of an independent studio, Sony Arts and Crafts, to bring knitting to the big screen. Brokeback Yarn-Outlet is an emotionally raw film that captures the passion, intensity and bad snacking habits of typical knitting circles. Through breath-taking cinematography, the film brings to life the majestic beauty and splendor of community centers, social halls and church basements throughout the country. Indeed, Director Ang Lebowitz has delivered an epic film that will redefine how Americans will view knitting and crocheting for generations to come.
The unanticipated success of "Brokeback Yarn-Outlet" has had a cathartic impact on the Hollywood creative community. Three major films with knitting themes are in final production and planned for release in the next 12 months. The most anticipated of the three is Steven Spielberg's prison knitting drama, "Shawl Shank Redemption" scheduled for a July 4th release. Martin Scorsese has just finished shooting a drama starring Robert DeNiro set in 1960's New York City called "Raging Spool." And in early 2007, Tom Hanks, Hillary Swank and legendary director Clint Eastwood are teaming up for a remake of the classic Humphrey Bogart film, "Castablanket."
The Academy Awards will air on ABC, Sunday, March 5th at 8PM EST.
BRAD DROPS ANGELINA FOR SENIOR KNITTER
Brad Pitt's publicist today issued a brief statement putting to rest rumors that have swirled in Hollywood circles concerning the star's relationship to Angelina Joilie: "After much consideration, Brad Pitt and Angelina Joilie have decided to formally end their relationship. They continue to be close friends and wish each other only the best in the future."
According to sources close to both parties, the Pitt/Jolie relationship has apparently been strained since Brad met Irene Kozinski at a local Hobby Lobby several weeks ago. Pitt, an accomplished painter-by-numbers, is said to have struck up a conversation with the 66 year old grandmother of 12 and life-long knitter as she was ahead of him in the checkout line. Millie Spencer, 54, was working the cash register that afternoon and shared the following with Entertainment Tonight: "I've knowed Irene for years. She ain't never missed one of our 50% off yarn sales. What with her Val Pac coupon and senior discount she practically don't pay nothin' for a good skein . Anyway, we was talkin' that day while she was checkin' out and this cute fella pulls up behind her cause we wasn't very busy and I was the only girl workin' check-out. And I says to myself, Millie, that there is George Clooney. Well, he starts talkin' to Irene and says how he likes her cardigan sweater and how he's always been interested in knittin' and I'm thinkin' what a line of BS cause this guy ain't interested in knittin' he just tryin' to sweet talk Irene. Let me tell you, Irene's a looker what with her water aerobics and fox trot classes at the community center. Well, one thing leads to the next and `fore you know it, they're tradin' phone numbers and makin' plans to get together. I'm tellin' you, them sparks was flyin'."
It only took days for the Pitt/Kozinski rumors to begin spreading throughout Hollywood. Pitt made no effort to hide his affection for Kozinski and the new couple began making the rounds at some of the toniest knitting circles in Hollywood. Angelina was incensed and issued an ultimatum to Brad, but it was too late as his relationship with Kozinski was sealed.
A close friend of Pitts, who asked to remain anonymous, told "Knitting People" that the relationship with Jolie was destined to fail. "Brad has always wanted to knit," his friend said. "Throughout his relationship with Jen (Jennifer Anniston), he wanted the two of them to begin knitting together. But she kept saying that she wasn't emotionally ready to begin knitting and that she wanted to focus on her career. It wasn't a big surprise when he took up with Angie. After all, she was beautiful, available, willing and an OK knitter. But frankly, Brad needed more and it took meeting Irene to show him a whole new side of knitting that he would never know with Angie." After a few seconds of thought, the friend added: "Look at it this way: if you could spend the rest of your life having raw, uninhibited, mind-altering sex with the most beautiful women on the face of the earth who is an average knitter or spending your days having someone like Irene teach you how to pick up the yarn in the ladders between the first and second stitch on an existing row, what would you do?"
Assuming she can get approval from her doctor, Kozinski will join Pitt on the Oprah Winfrey show to air in early March.
Copyright 2006 Doug Spak All rights reserved