Thanks to the wonder that is Ravelry I learned about the Iknitarod. The Iknitarod is similar in theory to other knitting challenge events (such as the Knitting Olympics or Ravelympics). During the time span of the Iditarod, you challenge yourself in your sport. The dogs/mushers are taking on a challenge and so can you, if your sport is knitting. Come on now, you've been training for years!
I joined the Ravelry Iknitarod Group and chose my challenge project. The challenge can be anything, a new technique, a bigger project, anything that is a bit of a stretch for you. For me just focusing on one project was going to be the largest portion of the challenge. I'm a non-monogamous knitter always switching back and forth between many different projects.
I fell in love with the beautiful Peaks Island Hood from Ysolda Teague's Whimsical Little Knits 2. It's the perfect thing for the Alaskan winters. The size of it would be enough of a challenge in the 11(ish) days the race ran (though I'd been knitting enough socks I forgot how fast working on size 10 needles would go). Plus it included buttonholes which I had never attempted before. So there was my challenge.
I picked up some Cascade 220 from my local yarn store in a beautiful dark charcoal gray (used their ball winder for the first time - so much fun, I need one) and cast on that afternoon as I was headed to my friend's wedding. I very nicely refrained from knitting during the wedding or reception.
Here's how far I got on day one:
Here's day two:
And at that point I stopped taking pictures. I finished after the first place finisher but before the red lantern (trail sweeper) so that is good. I wore it about three times before our freakishly early spring stopped that. But I live in Anchorage and will never complain about a freakishly early spring.
Mods: The buttonholes as written were really confusing. After reading other people's notes on Ravelry I just fudged it. Bound off 3 stitches and cable cast them back on in the next row. While I had purchased 3 skeins of Cascade 220, it only 2 plus a teensy bit of the third. (I think I used the third skein for the last four rows.) Based off other people's notes I added five rows before starting the buttonholes and two rows between each of the buttonholes. Without the added rows I would not have needed the second skein.
And the final project. I love it!