This was my first-ever Ravelympics, and before it started, I was really nervous about what I was getting myself into.
I had signed up to co-captain the local “team” (the Waterloo Wellington Winter Wonders, or Team 4W), but had no idea what that would entail.
As it turns out, it included:
- Obsessively reading through the Rules, Announcements, and Team Captains’ Lounge posts on Ravelry — which I probably would have done anyway — and flagging updates for the local “Ravthletes”
- Obsessively reading the local team thread and cheering on the team members — which I would have done anyway
- Obsessively creating versions of the team “uniform” or avatar, which I made using an image of crossed skis, cloned and faded, to make a giant W.
- Yeah, you guessed it, I probably would have done that anyway, too
So really, being team co-captain was very little work (aside from what I would already have been doing) — though it would likely have been a lot more work with a larger team.
Which is probably why, about halfway through the Ravelympics, I found myself doing something that was either really awesome, or really stupid…
I volunteered to help out as a moderator for the whole shebang. One of the Bobicii (helpers of Bobicus Maximus, the almighty Ravelympics mascot) had been forced to bail out, and the other mods were struggling to keep up with the incoming tidal wave of projects being entered.
To put this in perspective, according to the official Ravelry blog, there were 440 teams taking part, consisting of 9,538 individual Ravthletes, and of those, 6,296 earned medals for completing a project (or in some cases, many). 24,284 projects were entered into the Ravelympics, and 12,878 of those were finished by the closing ceremonies. That means that each Ravthlete finished an average of a couple of projects — and bear in mind that one project can be entered in multiple events, and the medal count skyrockets…
Every last one of those medals was presented by one of the Bobicii, manually. The Bobicii divide the events amongst the group, and each volunteer reads through every post in the Finish Line thread(s) for her event(s). She (all the volunteers have been female so far) then manually links each qualifying Ravthlete’s name in the Podium post so that the Ravthlete will get a little message saying they’ve been mentioned. There are a few little shortcuts for search-and-replacing the codes that create the links, but still, that’s a heckuvalotta medals to hand out. (There are also private messages to send to people who need to post more/different details to qualify, or who have posted in the wrong place, etc., and there are FAQ threads and news/update threads to monitor as well.)
What the Bobicii do is astounding. I only handled three events, and only from about the midpoint of the Games onwards — but a stupendous amount of work had already gone into making the Ravelympics come to life, long before I got on board. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to take part in the Games in this way, with these phenomenal ladies.
What’s that? You thought this was meant to be a knitting blog? With actual knitting? Oh, okay:
One last Ravelympics project, then: my first-ever socks!
My friend Johanna is getting married in April, and wanted to give everyone at the wedding a wee hand-knitted sock on a wee wooden sock-blocker keychain, as a wedding favour. That’s a lot of little sockies… so she called for reinforcements, and the #uptownknitmob gang came to the rescue. I only managed to contribute three little pairs, of which only one was a Ravelympics project, but I could feel that by the third pair, I had rounded the bend of the steepest part of the learning curve.
I have turned heels! I have picked up and knitted gussets! I feel, in a very odd way, that these little tiny 18-stitch socks have made me into a Real Knitter. I’ve knit lace stoles, I’ve done felting and colourwork and cables, I’ve made a sweater and giant afghans and so on… but until I had a basic sock under my belt, I felt (without necessarily realizing it) that I was underqualified. No longer!