An Olympic Stitcher

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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