Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pew-Pew, baby, Pew-Pew!

So, about two weeks ago, I was jonesing for a petting fix. Work is a bit tough in Coder Land lately, and during one of those shifts, I got the undeniable urge for some fiber therapy at my local yarn shop. There are yarns there that I hadn’t petted in quite a while, and they called out to me from across town. I’ve said for years that yarn is noisy.

So I swung by the Yarn Haven on my way home that afternoon, and that’s when I met Jasmine. Jazzy Jasmine was a rescue dog that the shop’s owner, Sandy, adopted and had with her that day. She’s part Boston terrier and part Chihuahua. The terrier shape and coloring is predominant, and looking at her from across the shop, I was immediately put in mind of Ravelry’s mascot, Bob. I asked Sandy if she got a Bob of her own, to which she replied, “No, but she thinks Bob is awfully cute!” Awwwww!

Folks, that little pooch won me over right away. She’s both very social and very mannered, and I feel like our local knitting community has just been blessed with this newest four-legged member.

I know I only just saw someone’s dog, as others might see it. But there’s more to Jasmine and her arrival in that shop’s world, I just know it. It’s kinda hard to explain that sort of thing, but there it is. I went by there again yesterday, and this time I was looking forward to petting the dog as much as the yarn. Sadly, it was Sandy and Jasmine’s day off.

But between my two recent visits, I scored two magazines, some of those new Addi short circulars for my house socks, and placed an order for three books. The books are Knitting 24/7 by Avery and Elements of Style by Hill and Think Outside the Sox by XRX . I brought home some cotton/wool blend sock yarn, 'cause I'm curious about cotton socks and the office at work is downright refridgerated. I gotta wear socks there, but with the warming weather, I gotta be dressed for the hot drive home too. Layers and socks, baby, that's all I'm sayin'. I got Lang Jawoll cotton, Aktion in color 138. I know, I hate numbered color names too. It's multiple shades of brown and tan, with every pastel known to human kind mixed in. Though that sounds very busy, they all have the same tonal values, so it's actually a subtle variegated that has a soft overall look.

About them short row heels: deosil or widdershins? Or maybe, no damn wraps at all in any direction! I want a go-to pattern for really quick house socks, ‘cause I ultimately want a bujillion house socks. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m really over having cold feet. So worsted weight is the first thing, for quick working up. And toe-up, ‘cause I’m really diggin’ the lack of waste and the knowing I won’t run out of yarn just before the second sock’s toe as might happen with cuff-down socks. Between Johnson’s books and Gardiner’s book, I mulled over my toe and heel construction options. These are just house socks, and therefore don’t have to be that structured, like ones I plan on wearing shoes over out in public. So in the name of rapid knitting, I came up with this odd toe thing I hoped would be both fast and mindless. It was. But it’s a little gappy in places. That was my Stock Sock v1.0 and the toe was an adaptation of Bordhi’s square garter toe. I’ll wear ‘em with glee, cause they’re soft, thick, and warm. But they won’t be the stock pattern I’ll re-use.

So v1.1 was with short rows, as Gardiner instructs in her toe-up book, with the wrapped stitches. Maybe I did something wrong, but it too was gappy. I ripped that toe out, and started over for v1.2, this time using Johnson’s wrapping instructions that wrap the other way. Still gappy.

Okay, time to hit the ‘net and see what sort of solutions others came up with. I found Priscilla Wild’s ‘no muss no fuss’ short row heels that have no wraps at all! God love her! So I gave Stock Socks v1.3 a go, and they’re still on my needles. I got the first one finished yesterday, and the second one cast on just this morning. The short rows are still a little gappy, but not nearly as much as with the wrapped ones. And by the way, for both v1.0 and 1.3, I used that new JSSBO, and it will now be my only bind off method to use, ever! It’s just that good.

Once I hit up on a combination of construction options that I’m completely happy with, I’ll post the stock pattern. They gotta be non-gappy and quick to work, and mindless to work. That’s all I want. That’s not being too picky, is it? That last bit, the mindless part? Interpret that as a minimum of counting required. Um, yeah.

So a few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini, mostly ‘cause I heard the Lime ‘n Violet podcast bragging on how good and funny it is. And boy-howdy, they weren’t lyin’. Who doesn’t enjoy insider humor just for us knitters, sprinkled throughout a personal tale and a quickie catch-up version of some of knitting history’s scandals? Besides accomplishing all that while still writing cohesively, she also manages to sprinkle it with some very thoughtful observations.

She quotes the Yarn Harlot, about why knitting has become so big and entrenched in our culture in the last decade. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee put forth, “I’d say it was the socialization of knitting. . . people aren’t just knitting; they’re forming communities, and communities are harder to walk away from than knitting projects. I’ve walked away from thousands of knitting projects.”
I totally agree with the Yarn Harlot, as I see this impact in my own life, as our knitting group and the Ravelry community, and the podcasts, and the blogs all inspire and excite me about knitting.

But ya know, I see that same effect in something else. The other something else that gobbles up my life: that game I play, World of Warcraft. It’s got a lot of elements in it to attract any kind of gamer. For example, if you find numbers a fun thing, there’s the virtual economy to play. If you like direct competition there’s Arena seasons that are small teams fighting cage-match style for a season’s worth of points. If you like the fantasy bits, there’s all the role play one can stand, on certain servers. If you like strategy games, there’s raiding with a group of 5, 10, or 25 player teams. That’s my gig, right there. The teams take on dungeons, or ‘instances,’ that each have unique fight mechanics calling for equally creative strategies. And like any sports team, the raid members have different roles to fill, and if everybody shows up on raid night prepared and ‘in the zone,’ well, it’s a blast!

Although the simple, solo style of questing is fun too, it alone is not enough to keep me interested in just one game for years. Neither is the economy with its virtual flipping and speculating. Nor is the raiding, though it’s my favorite game component. Eventually you’ve explored it all, made the virtual gold, and defeated the latest instance.

So why have I played this one game for three years now? The friends I’ve made in it. We do all those game things together, and there is the joy of it. Much like our local and online friends are all knitting together, and therefore knitting so much more than we used to a decade ago, when it was a solitary couch thing only. In both worlds, what others are doing cause me to cheer them on, consider trying things I wouldn’t have thought of, and double the fun of whatever I am doing at the moment, being knitting a sock or killing Fester Gut in the Ice Crown Citadel.
And as my hunter character 'pew-pews' with her bow, my real life self continues on the hunt for the perfect stock sock pattern. We gals know, the thrill of the hunt is very motivating in a lot of the things we do (wink!).

No comments:

Post a Comment