Day Two: Skilled Up

If you have ever played any role-playing game such as Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft, you will be familiar with a system assigning numbers (your "stats") to indicate how good you are at something. Using D&D as an example, if you are very nimble and agile you will have a Dexterity of "15" (or higher) and if you are extremely clumsy, your Dexterity may be a "7".Your skill levels are modified accordingly, so a person scoring high in Dexterity will receive a bonus when performing acrobatics.

Now my personal stats run fairly average but I do get a hefty modifier to my knitting skills rolls. If only life were like a role-playing game and all the tasks revolved about figuring out knitting patterns..

.. but it is not and the last year has actually been quite odd from a knitting perspective. I can knit pretty much anything nowadays but I have been suffering from a lack of knitting mojo. It is odd: I have a beautiful stash, I'm blessed with fabulous knitting groups and friends, and I have allocated crafting time .. but somehow Mr Mojo just went out the door for a very long time. It felt as though all my knitting was pligtstrik, or 'i-have-to-knit-this' rather than 'i-want-to-knit-this'.

Technically I have not changed much from the knitter I was last year. I have not learned any new cast-ons or improved my entrelac - but I have become much more mindful about my knitting and what I choose to do with my knitting time. I have learned to disregard much of the Ravelry hype, avoid local knitting drama and not be distracted by what others think. Instead I have begun discovering who I am as a knitter and as a crafter. I can do so many different things but what do I want to do with them?

Like others, I am rediscovering plain knitting and I am a huge believer in 'less is more'. I am knitting for myself, to my own taste and in my own time.

To go back to the roleplaying terminology, it is as if my massive knitting modifier is now working in synergy with my WIS modifier. I suspect that means I've levelled up over the past year although I hadn't realised this. Maybe life is like a role-playing game and all the tasks do revolve about figuring out knitting patterns..

Topic: Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Find more blogs participating in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week by googling 2KCBWDAY2.


When I started university many, many, many moons ago I fell in with the wrong crowd. Looking back, I can see how it happened. The nice girl living next door to me in student hall invited me in for tea and soon after she was offering to "lend" me things. "Nothing bad was going to happen", I was told, "everybody's doing it and it's perfectly normal". And this is when I began playing role-playing games. I had long wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons, but the only ones playing RPGs in my erstwhile home town were boys hanging out in the library basement, and they had a strict "no girls" rule. When my student hall neighbour, Liz, offered to lend me the Player's Handbook 2nd Edition, I felt vindicated. To this day, most of the D&D players I know are women. And they are hardcore, I tell you.

Eventually most of my Copenhagen social circle was composed of RPGers - this is not to say that we only hung out in order to slay orcs, but most of the interesting people I met also just happened to be gamers. Smart, interesting people from all walks of life with real jobs, real lives and actual social skills. They were interested in communal storytelling and in imaginary flights of fancy. I miss them. Sadly I have not been able to find a gaming group here in Glasgow - the ones I have found all meet on my knitting night! - but I keep toying with the idea of starting up a small group.

So, imagine my reaction when I read that a murder spree was linked to the perpetrator playing D&D.. yeah, I was not impressed. As someone in the comments remarked: "1989 called, and it wants its favourite baseless accusation back."

A few apt links:

Wednesday Linkage

An assortment of various links for your pleasure.

  • Dicey knitting - for the ones among us who like to throw dice when we need to make a decision. "Start with the Ivory Cube -- it will tell if you you knit, purl, slip, increase, decrease, or cable/twist. This is where you Impose Chaos". Thanks, L.
  • Golden silk from golden orb spiders: "A unique piece of golden yellow silk brocade cloth, woven from spiderwebs, is on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. To harvest enough silk to make the cloth, more than a million female golden orb spiders were collected in Madagascar, "milked" for silk, and released back into the wild." The links are not for the faint-hearted, but they are incredibly interesting. I say this as a arachnophobe.
  • This has been mentioned a lot on various literary blogs, but it bears repeating: An Open Letter to the Federal Trade Comission. There is a difference between being a lit blogger receiving freebies which may/may not be reviewed and a corporate shrill. The FTC has apparently not noticed the difference.
  • Most of my adult life I have been looking for the perfect Bauhaus teapot. I now know why it'll never be mine.
  • Glasgow Guerilla Gardening. What it says on the tin. Sometimes they include knitting.
  • The house of my nightmares. And probably also of the assigned estate agent..
  • The 56 Geeks. Which one are you? And yes, you will be one because you are reading a blog. Brownie points for guessing which one I am. (thanks, Emme)
  • The continuing saga of Amazon, their Kindle and the concept of "Fail".
  • Hilary Mantel won this year's Man Booker. I can't even pretend to be mildly interested. Sorry.
  • One of Dave's online buddies have started a parenting blog. Normally the words "parenting blog" strikes fear into my heart, but when it's called When Should They See Die Hard and the first post made my day: "The first stage is what I'll call "The Minion Stage". Essentially having a little tiny henchman who does as their told and will make Manhattans for you."


Stick A Fork In It

Today is World Wide Knitting In Public Day. That means I'll be bringing my needles and wool to the F.O.R.K. Gala (as well as a rug and a book and my patient Other Half). Meanwhile, The G delivers a deliberately misguided attack on crafters. I'm slightly disappointed.

I've been reading up on D&D 4.0 and so far it sounds intriguing - particularly the "streamlining of skills" bit which was something which always frustrated me somewhat with previous editions. It didn't feel entirely intuitive that certain skills - say Climb and Tumble - weren't connected (although 3.0 introduced the idea of synergy). I understand the new set of rules have implications for magic users but as I have never been massive on magic (I think I've only had one magic-using PC), it is not such a massive thing for me. You gamers out there, what is your take? Are you going to convert to 4.0 or are you holding on to previous editions?

Finally, because I can, here's something for the easily amused amongst you (and also me).

Just Call Me Ariadne

Friday afternoon I went through my yarn stash and decided to give some of it to charity. Okay, so it was some not-really-funky cheap acrylic novelty yarn that I picked up at the beginning of my knitting career (i.e. February), but it doesn't matter if the destashed yarn was cheap and nasty - I destashed yarn. I have also put myself on a strict yarn-diet after a very sinful yarn excursion with a handknitted pirate last weekend.

So here's what I'm not buying:
+ Natalie Yarn Yard's Wicked laceweight in grey-white-pink.
+ 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Aran in shade 11
+ 6 hanks of worsted merino wool in shade "Forest"

On a different note, I'm amused to see that I'm currently numero duo in Google's search for "fourth edition". I'm pretty sure that won't last very long seeing as D&D 4thEd is about to make serious business. Hey, this might be a really great time to re-purchase all the D&D 3.5 stuff that I gave away when I moved to Scotland..What did I say about not spending any money? Ebay, here I come..