Here I am, part of the Men Who Knit webring, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I posted about knitting. “Who cares, no one reads this anyway,” you say? Okay, yeah, you’re right. But who isn’t up for a little linguistic masturbation from time to time, eh? If anything, at least it keeps my writing (read: rambling) skills bright and shiny. And, hey, at least Lenore probably reads this thing occasionally. Right?
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, knitting. So, yeah, I haven’t posted about knitting in a while, but I figured I’d share a little project I whipped up recently. It’s a hat. Yeah, fine big deal, a hat. But it’s a special hat. Wanna see it? Of course you do! You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t, right? Okay, here it is:
Pretty cool, eh? Cooler yet, I actually designed this thing myself! Though, admittedly, I didn’t actually go through the effort of grabbing the graphics out of the game… a little search for “pacman ghosts” turned up this link, and voila! I was off to the races (oddly, that link is to a website called Sprite Stitch, a, quote, “Video game inspired craft weblog”… apparently I’m not the only one who had this idea). Once I had the graphics, it was a simple matter of charting out the pattern on graph paper, finding some yarn with the colours I needed, and then whipping the thing up.
Of course, charting the pattern did take a bit of effort. The trickiest thing when translating an image into a knitting pattern is altering the images to match your row/stitch gauge. You see, my knit stitches aren’t perfectly square. In fact, they’re a little wider than they are tall. But the images in your average video game are designed to be presented on a display with square pixels. The result is that, if you convert the images directly to a pattern, they come out distorted. So you have to either alter the images to stretch/squish them as necessary, or alter your row/stitch gauge. I opted to alter the images, squishing them horizontally, which was actually a bit challenging, as they’re already very low resolution. But I think the result is pretty nice.
But the question now, is, what next? I’m thinking another classic video game of some kind. One of the Mario Bros. characters, maybe? Or maybe something a little more obscure… Opa Opa, anyone?
Well, I finally have some photos of my latest knitting projects uploaded. First, we have Michelles Scarf, which was actually completed and shipped off months ago, but only now have I gotten to posting a photo:
This is, without question, my favorite piece. The cable pattern is reversible, which is very cool, and the yarn Lenore helped pick out looks really fantastic in pattern (it’s got a glossy, satin-ey finish… very nice, given it’s just off-the-shelf stuff from Michael’s). It was also a heck of a lot of fun to put together (I really love cabling).
Secondly, we have Abigails Baby Blanket, which I just recently completed. It’s a pretty simple pattern, just a nice shell-and-cable deal, but it looks great in the green yarn Lenore, again, helped pick out:
‘course, with all the work on NetHackDS, I’ve had little time to pick up the needles lately. Which is unfortunate, as I really need to begin working on a project for our now-quite-pregnant receptionist. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll be done… you know… a couple months after the baby is born. Ish.
Some of you may remember my entry about the infamous Knitted Pants Suit. I still consider this one of my all-time favorite knitted items, and for the longest time, I bemoaned the lack of a pattern from which I could replicate this masterful work of art. Well, a while back, I decided to send a private message to the poster of the entry where I first encountered this gem (the second link in the aforementioned blog entry), in the hopes that I might acquire the pattern and perhaps create one of my own… you know, to wear around the house, or for one of those wild nights out for which Lenore and I are truly infamous.
Well, as it happens, not a week or two later, I got a response from the individual in question. Yes, he did have the pattern. And yes, he would get me a copy! And so it was that I came into possession of three PDFs which will enable me to create my very own knitted pants suit.
Of course, it would seem unfair to keep this pattern to myself (it’s bad enough I’ve held on to it this long without sharing it with the world), and so I offer it up here (yes, I realize this is copyright infringement, but I just hope Brunswick will understand). Heck, maybe myself and any other interested knitters could each create our own renditions of this masterpiece, that we may then compare our interpretations, and, in the process, enrich the world with the knitted pants suits that it so woefully lacks.
As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the most important bits of advice given to anyone interested in writing is that it’s vital to write as much as possible. After all, how else does one improve at a craft than by practicing it? Furthermore, if one is really serious about improving, it’s important to set some hard, achievable goal which can be used to goad oneself into action. And so it is that I’ve decided to take on the challenge outlined in King’s book: to write 1,000 words a day.
Now, part of me thinks it’s a little premature to announce this here. And I will freely admit that this is quite an ambitious goal (though, what’s the point of a goal if it isn’t at least a little ambitious?). “What if this is just another passing fancy?” a little voice in the back of my head whispers. “What if you get bored or frustrated and just give up?” Well, what better way to strengthen my weak will than to back it up with a public declaration?
Of course, the biggest challenge the past few days has been finding the right time to do this. On a poorer day, it takes me around two hours to pound out 1,000 words (not necessarily good words, mind you, but words nonetheless), and so I need a block of time that would otherwise be unoccupied. I’m also of the belief that it’s important to pick a consistent time of day, so that this becomes a habit (and also helps my brain switch gears from daytime layabout to evening fiction-hack). Fortunately, the two hours after we get home, between 4:15 and 6:00, should work pretty well. We usually spend that time idle in front of the TV, anyway, so at least I’ll be getting something useful (to me, anyway) done.
But as always, one of the biggest difficulties is finding ideas. Fortunately, in “On Writing”, King outlines a simple little scenario and challenges the reader to hack out a story based on it, and so I’ve chosen that as my first project, mainly as an exercise to just get some words on paper. And at 3,100 words, I think it’s making some decent progress. Of course, I have no idea how long it’ll be once it’s finished, and I will freely admit that it’s no Pulitzer Prize winning piece of work, but it’s something, and it’s mine.
Meanwhile, I’ve discovered another difficulty which I hadn’t anticipated: coming up with new, interesting ideas while working on another piece. This morning, while standing half-conscious in the shower (which, as it happens, is where I often come up with my best ideas, whether they be stories or programming solutions), I suddenly had what I think is an interesting idea for a short story. But, of course, being in the middle of something already, it’s necessary for me to set this idea aside for the moment and focus on the piece at hand, something which is much harder than I had anticipated.
As a bit of an aside, no, I haven’t made any progress assembling Jory’s friggin’ baby blanket. I made an attempt to sew the thing together, one day, but was unhappy with the seam I constructed, and so I’ve since felt rather discouraged. On the other hand, I really do need to sit down and just finish it, so I can dispense with all these little red doilie-esque pieces that are laying about our house.
However, for those concerned readers, no, I don’t think my writing goal will interrupt with the progress of the blanket. For one, I’m not making any progress anyway, so unless I start actively unraveling the thing during moments of blind frustration, I fail to see how things could get any worse. And for another, I tend to knit later in the evening while watching TV, anyway, so it should all work out nicely. I hope.