Stash Saturday

noro yarn pic 1

My yarn and game stash were both enhanced this week – Noro Kureyon and Persona 4 Golden. I’ve been a little obsessed with entrelac lately, and I think the Noro will look lovely as a hat or headband knitted using the technique.

The Atlus game has been tempting me for a while now as I don’t have an RPG for Vita and Persona has very high ratings. I am new to the J-RPG world. I have been playing Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, and it is beautifully animated (by Studio Ghibli!) and the gameplay is a lot of fun. However, the idea of an M-Rated J-RPG intrigues me. I guess Japanese wool interested me as well! It has more pink tones than I would usually tolerate, but I love how the color changes look in the woven-look squares of entrelac. Here’s an example of the technique using Noro yarn on Craftsy.

Noro 2CIMG1215

FO Friday

simpleHat

Super Simple Hat in Universal Classic Worsted Tapestry – Sorted Denim. No pattern, I just cast-on 70 on 16″ US8 needles. It fits my small noggin, but would also fit, say, a teen or tween nephew… I love this self-patterning yarn! It looks so much more complicated than it is. I still need to block it a bit, as I don’t like how the top sticks up. The yarn was amazing to work with, and really inexpensive. I picked it up during a yarn crawl hoping to make a hat; it turned out even better than expected.

simple hat 3simple hat 2

Sorry, Next Gen, I can wait.

A bit of history from an accidental ps3 fangirl:

Video games are a major part of my life, and I have been gaming as long as I can remember. I think my first one was a red toy shaped like the front of a car containing a steering wheel, shifter and a small screen. After that it was ColecoVision; I loved a game called Smurf Paint’n’Play Workshop which foreshadowed my later obsession with The Sims. I wasn’t very good at the Atari, Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, but I was content to watch my friends and family play for hours. As a teenager I finally owned a console with the Sega Genesis, and started playing PC games. The most memorable included Myst and Sim City, the ones that jump-started my love of exploration and strategy in games.

When I was twenty, I bought my own computer for my apartment, and life-changing gaming began when my sister gave me The Sims. (It was released earlier that year.) The strategy I loved from previous Maxis titles was bundled with so much more. I got to create a character, decide her actions, build, decorate, and landscape her house; a sim had a job, a lover, a story. I started to see the appeal of living vicariously through an avatar, but I always wanted my characters (and myself) to stay in their own world. Friends told me I might like MMO-type games where people interacted through a common virtual world, but I couldn’t enjoy them. It seemed strange, impure; a world of NPCs was much safer. The Sims was so enhanced by expansions and mods that the addition of real people would have thrown off my creation. I couldn’t be god, the sole creator of my virtual world that way. The game eventually became a catalyst for my technical knowledge. Each expansion had more and more system requirements, so I learned how to replace hard drives and video cards. It was a new and much more expensive game, replacing, updating, troubleshooting, but my love of games made the experience worth each dollar and minute.

I tried many consoles and their games over the years, but stuck to PC games for the most part. I watched friends play Tomb Raider and Tony Hawk; I never played long enough to get past the learning curve, opting instead for Mario Party and console Sims titles. I remember people lining up for the release of the PS2, then Xbox, PSP, Wii. The latter was the first console I played extensively since the Genesis. I enjoyed the self-published Nintendo titles quite a bit, yet the stand out game was one I missed on PS2, Capcom’s Okami. I remembered seeing it reviewed, but thought it looked strange. A wolf that paints things? I realized I was becoming a console gamer about 60 hours later. The release of PS3 and Xbox 360 went pretty much unnoticed until 2009 when my DH and I got ourselves one as a wedding gift. I loved it, but stuck to Ratchet and LBP (so, platformers) after a frustrating attempt at Uncharted.

The next spring I was assigned an expansive paper on ethics in media and pop culture, so I turned to games as the basis of my topic. I wanted to explore the gender stereotypes that can permeate game culture. I attempted to explore the gap between male and female, casual and hardcore gamers. I thought myself in the divide, a nice happy medium, but eventually realized that I was guilty of boxing myself in. I played “girl games,” casual games, and I would not even try self-labeled “boy games,” using my lack of skill as an excuse. (The paper can be read on the Essays page – it’s long, I warn you now.) When finals ended, I decided to challenge my gaming abilities and my comfortable role as a “girl gamer”. Fallout 3 was my choice, a FPS/RPG with a massive following. After few hours of wandering, collecting guns and good karma, I was obsessed. The game opened new doors for me. I will now attempt almost any game, regardless of any previous skills in the genre.

I have played so many amazing games since the buggy beauty Fallout 3, and there are so many I have yet to try. I haven’t even attempted all games my bookshelf, and the ones on store shelves just keep getting cheaper. A second ps3 was added to our household just two years ago, and Mr. Gamer and I co-op games like Borderlands2, Saints Row 4, and no longer worry about hard-drive space. I’ve become a hardcore gamer, but a casual trophy-hunter; there are many more platinums to earn before I’m done with the ps3. I’m excited for the future of games and players, yet I don’t feel the need to get a ps4. I’ll wait until the patches are out, hard drives are bigger, used games are available, the online co-op servers have all been tested extensively. I’ve geeked out like my old days of Sims on this console. I was late to every party in  Sony and Nintendo’s history (I’m late to most parties literally as well). A price drop will likely happen before I am tempted to be part of the next-gen I just downloaded Bioshock Infinite DLC, I still haven’t finished Last of Us or started GTA V, I never did plat New Vegas; this gen just isn’t dead for me yet.

Here’s hoping they keep servers up a while…

WIP Wednesday

Enterlac Throw

The blogosphere tells me that November happens to be a good time to post. I had heard of the novel writing challenge, but wasn’t aware of NaBloPoMo. I started a bit late, yet it should be a great challenge to post every day for the remainder of the month. It also happens to be National Knit a Sweater Month, but I don’t foresee that happening.

Many of my current projects are gifts, and I don’t want to share those photos. Enjoy instead my pride and joy of a WIP above – the Dragonrend throw. (Designed by Marly Bird. She hearted my Ravelry project. eeek!) I guess I didn’t take any pictures without my ps3 controller, but considering my project is named after a shout in Skyrim it’s quite fitting.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dragonscale-throw

The throw is featured in the first knitting magazine I ever bought; I LOVED it. Unfortunately even the beginner project in the mag was a challenge at the time (the spearmint cowl from yesterday), and the throw was listed as intermediate/experienced. I figured it would be some kind of dream project that I’d start someday once I had many years and skills under my belt. Now I know it is much harder to acquire a blanket’s worth of Malabrigo yarn than it is to learn entrelac.  Completing a hat, headband, socks, and dishcloths helped me space out learning decreases, increases, picking up stitches. However all skills in knitting are pretty much based on the knit stitch, and therefore don’t require learning as much as patience, practice, and concentration.
I learned to knit, and now knitting is teaching me…

Starting Out

garterdishcloth

I read recently that knitting introduces itself in life at a time when things are in flux. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but looking back to last August the idea makes complete sense. I was 31 and wandering a craft store with a coupon that didn’t apply to the clearance-shelf markers I held. I had come to the realization that I needed to find a new place to live, I no longer knew who my childhood best friend really was, and I had earned a degree but had no desire or idea how to apply it to a profession. I teetered between sleeping very little or way too much. My dh and I were more distant than we like, and our living situation was straining and depressing us both. I was meandering through more than the craft store; I was wandering through my life.

My soul must have cried out at the yarn that day. I passed beads, fabrics, paints, flowers, pencils, papers; all those lovely items that didn’t seem applicable once purchased and in my hands. I glanced at the how-to books next to the yarn and finally stopped my trek. I stared and pondered, eventually figuring out my mother-in-law and my (newer) best friend both crocheted, and I liked the look of knitted sweaters a little more. The inner-voice summed it up as, “Knitting is the one with smaller holes, I think.”

By the second afternoon with my needles, yarn, book and youtube it all started to come together. I learned variegated sport-weight was probably not the best place to start. After a second trip to the craft store I wrapped bulky yarn around bamboo and my heart and eyelashes fluttered. Somehow wool and acrylic fibers ran over my fingers and produced the feeling I related to music, love, fine food. One of those spiritual moments where one sense isn’t enough to experience the layers present. Like when someone lights up a Pall Mall and transports all my thoughts to grandma’s kitchen and I can almost taste the roast and feel the orange shag carpet.

I have been knitting myself together since that moment and now I cannot stop. I feel like the final missing piece was put into place in my brain. I’m one to let the storm-cloud of thoughts in, one to sit and bite at my lips and my nails and consider the things I could or should be doing, one to wallow in melancholic states. I had tried meditating with music and with mantras, but apparently all I needed was yarn. Now the frustrating moments are fleeting, and if I need a calm, zen, peaceful mind I pick up one of (too) many works in progress and knit myself sane again.