Winter Olympics 2018 Needlepoint Project

I can't believe that the first events of the 2018 Winter Olympics begin today.  For as long as I can remember I've been an Olympics junkie.  I am in awe of the skill the athletes have honed.  I admire the commitment to training and competing.  I appreciate the competition but most of all it is the team spirit that draws me in.  

I will be glued the the TV for the next 2+ weeks, but not without handwork in my lap.  It is challenging to plan this part: knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, spinning.  The knitting community has organized themselves around teams and projects in an online community, Ravelry.  You can join a team to work on a specific project or you can select your own project.  The spinners quantify their yardage or ounces of spun yarn, setting goals before the games begin.  I have not found anything similar for the needlepoint or embroidery communities.

Last week I started working on a needlepoint design that could be easily completed within the limited number of days that bookend the Olympics.  It needed to be fairly simple but meaningful.  My first ideas were similar to the Temperature Scarves that we've seen in the knitting and crochet world.

In the case of the Olympics, medals would be assigned a color - for instance gold might be assigned turquoise, silver=purple, and bronze=green.  A designated number of rows for each medal won would be knit in the assigned color.

For needlepoint I thought about stitching a square for every medal won.  In my research I learned that the USA  typically wins around 28 total medals in the Winter Olympics and are predicted to win 30 this year.  So, I think to myself, 30 boxes over a couple of weeks is very doable.  

I shared my idea with the Wednesday Needlepoint Niche weekly open needlepoint group.  We talked about it, massaged it, twisted it and the idea emerged transformed, elevated, and more interesting.

Materials Needed:
1 6"x6" piece of blank canvas in your preferred mesh size
appropriate tapestry needle for mesh
background fiber in color of choice
kreinik or other sparkling fiber in colors gold, silver, and bronze
a yard of red, white, and blue in fiber of choice.

Find the center of your canvas.  
Using your background color, stitch one unit of the star octagon stitch.  

Make a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the star octagon stitch. Starting with your red fiber, make the x of a Smyrna cross, next stitch one vertical stitch with the white thread and stitch one horizontal stitch with the blue.  

This unit is now complete and indicates the beginning of your medal count.

The second unit will connect to the upper right quadrant of the first unit.

I am ready to stitch the first medal color as a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the 2nd unit.  
 Here's is the 3rd unit

From this point you will continue to add units to the left edge of the previous unit.  

To manage the project you could  stitch the background units as the medals or won or you could stitch background when you have a chance and fill in medals as we get them.

Will keep you posted on my progress.

The first medals will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 10.