not knitting: playing Olympic Games!

Today the Winter Olympic Games start in Sochi, Russia.

Inspired by this there’s a knitting event on Ravelry called the Ravellenics. During the Games we knit (or crochet, spin, weave, dye, unravel) and we try to accomplish something in the same time that the Games run.

So that’s Feb 7th through Feb 23rd.

We are Ravthletes!

You set yourself a challenge and you share progress with people who have set themselves the same challenge. This can be: knit socks or crochet a shawl or take a raw fleece, process it and make it into something or one of the many more challenges feasible in wool.

There are various events in which you can compete. These are organized around finished items or techniques used:

We are organized in teams which really are just bunches of people who thought of something that connects them. Can be you like to do Brioche Stitch and there’s a team for that. Or that you’re all Norwegian and want to join a Norsk team. Or that you are drawn to Team Hopelessly Overcommitted (which doesn’t compete this year, unfortunately)
Anyone can join any team, it’s all very inviting.

I’m sticking to the team of the Dutch Karma Swap Group. We are playing our own game this Ravellenics. We just do what we feel like, without the hassle of rules and must-do’s. We just want to enjoy our wool and chat about it 🙂

For the duration of the Games most people change their ravatar to a team-ravatar. It gets all very confusing because you identify persons mostly by the picture they have with their name. When everybody changes their ravatar to similar pictures it’s a big kaboodle.

In our case: a noodle kaboodle!

During the Olympic Games in London, 2012, Ravelry had to change the name of their event. It used to be called Ravelympics. But that was too close to the trademark words the Olympic Committee uses.
Ravelry got a condescending legal lettre and was ordered to change the name. But not after we, the online knitters, fixed the condescending attitude of both the legal team and the Olympic Committee. It was a fun thing to be part of, using the social media to show we’re not a bunch of little old ladies you can push around. We are techsavy ladies with plenty pride and we do not knit for free or because we have nothing else to do.

That’s how “ravellenics” got its name. There were suggestions for a new name and votes were cast and it was all very mature.
But we, the Dutch Karma Group, didn’t like the name that won very much nor the overall attitude of rules-rules-rules. We prefer more playful games and names. So we came up with the name “Raveoly”.

So that’s how we call this event in our group. It suits our approach. We are just having fun and cheering each other on.
This is our ravatar template for this year:

So in the official group everything was being set up for a fun time. Teams were formed, rules were explained about how long an unfinished project had to have been in your closet before it was considered to be elligable for the WIP-event and there were many questions about when a scarf is more a shawl or when a shawl ought to be called a scarf. Nice if you’re into that sort of thing.

pic by Noche

But then it went all pear shaped, internet forum style.
It started with talks about the gay bashings in Russia. Then there was the unfortunality of a moderator determining that talking about that equalled talking about politics which is a no-no in most groups on Ravelry because it always leads to hotheaded arguments and people feeling hurt.

But because sexual orientation itself is nót politics and people feel upset by what’s happening in Russia and want to talk about it this caused discussion. The moderator was not very subtle socially and the moderator team was not very clear on the rules. Then people were being put on time out and prevented from posting. This of course caused friction. Friction lead to heat. Heat to smoke. Smoke to fire. Kaboom.
The group exploded. All moderators resigned. People were insulted. Didn’t want to play anymore. Typical internet drama.

New beginnings:
In a short time a new group was formed for the Ravellenics. With fewer rules. New moderators. It’s all ready to go now and the new group is now full of rainbows! 🙂
Both in team ravatars and in projects. There are even two rainbow events now.

Our group made an alternative team ravatar which celebrates equality:

My ravatar does not have a rainbow. I’m all for equality and freedom to enjoy your sex life -as long as it involves only adults- but I just reaaaally hate rainbows. And I think the template is full enough as it is.
So this is mine, to scale:


At the end of the games, if you’ve played by the official rules and have completed your challenge, you get called to the podium in the official group. Bobicus Maximus will grant you your medal. (Bob is the Boston terrier dog of the owners of Ravelry. He’s a lovely part of the site and pops up on many designs)

This afternoon, at 5 o’clock, the opening ceremony starts and so do the Ravellenics 2014!


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