More Blanket, More Gifting

Would you please stop calling me that?

Would you please stop calling me that?

I know the official GAL2014 blanket has a Star Wars square, but it’s the Jedi symbol and I didn’t even really notice that there was a Jedi symbol. Does that make me a bad Star Wars fan? Because I do love Star Wars… or, more specifically, The Empire Strikes Back. I used to be able to quote Leia’s dialogue at length. I can still throw around a ‘you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder.‘ Leia is an amazing character. She’s a princess and a hero. The only reason she wasn’t trained to be a Jedi knight was that she was already completely brilliant. Her love affair with Han Solo is really rather wonderful too. So this square is in honour of her amazing hair and the snark that binds this couple together!

Watch out for murder!

Watch out for murder!

My blanket is absorbing many awesome female heroes. What would it be without Miss Marple and her knitting? I wasn’t sure that ball of yarn would work, but I think it passes muster! She should be able to solve a crime or two while knitting with it.

As always, I’ve uploaded the charts to my Ravelry project page.

Coffee?

Coffee?

I’m also taking my Gilmore Girls square up a notch. I tweaked the chart and I’m working it up into a double knit scarf, which I’ll write up into pattern shape when it’s done. All individual snowflakes there! There’ll be some other fun motifs coming up. There really isn’t a lot of Gilmore Girls knitting about, so I wanted to fix that. Our female-orientated geekery needs a bit more love.

Although, I’m going to slow down slightly, because I’ve got some present knitting to do! I’d stopped gifting knitting for a few years. Without going into the detail, let’s just say I had a couple of recipients who soured my enthusiasm. I’m still not sure why it’s so difficult to just say “I appreciate all the time you put into this,” even if one doesn’t like the finished product. One doesn’t really need to write a dissertation on why it’s awful and one would never wear it. However, I do have a few friends now who appreciate knitting and handmade gifts, so I’m going to knit up some woolly birthday presents. It’ll be nice to gift knitting again!

Geekalong Blanket Adventures

Looking more like a blanket every day!

Looking more like a blanket every day!

Look at that! That’s starting to look substantially blankety!

To boldly go into the pink

To boldly go into the pink

I added the ‘official’ Star Trek square. There’s an error. You can spot it, you know you can! I, however, will claim it is simply a star. Quite why there’s only the one star in all of space, I’m not sure, but it’s a star!

I was never really a Trekker. Apart from the tribble episodes – which I adored – I really just watched on, bemused, as my friends grew obsessed with Vulcans and androids and such. I do remember going to the movies to see the Star Trek film where Chekov is running around San Francisco asking about the ‘nuclear wessels.’ I watched it again recently and had never noticed how nattily Sulu is attired in those later films. Or how their references have aged so hilariously. However, I caught Voyager and found my Star Trek! I wish we’d gotten to see more of Captain Janeway.

Sexy dodo

Sexy dodo

I went off-script again, though! I updated my Facebook status to say I was knitting sexy dodo legs and planting mangelwurzels and one of my friends noted that she didn’t think anyone else had ever written that sentence before!

The sexy dodo is, of course, homage to Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. Pickwick isn’t actually sexy, to be honest, but a little license here and there is okay. I love the Thursday Next books, which are funny, clever and all about loving books. Thursday is herself a fantastic hero and she has a pet dodo, Pickwick. My blanket needed some Thursday Next love.

(You can find the charts I made for my off-script squares on my Ravelry project pages – gidgetknits – with links to the official geekalong and its charity!)

Making Mighty Ripples

There’s a line in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man: ““No one is actually dead  until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”

Sir Terry Pratchett caused the most amazing, incredible, wonderful ripples riding atop his Discworld! I don’t think he will ever be ‘actually dead,’ but we’re going to miss him. I think every new human being could be issued with a Discworld novel just to help them on their way. It’s a crazy, unfair, screwed up, splendid planet – Sir Terry Pratchett had a way of helping us to not care about what wasn’t important and to care about what was. That’s a pretty outstanding gift to humanity.

So last night, I watched as Neil Gaiman remembered Sir Terry and I cast off my ripply, wonderful Dahlia Blanket in Knitsch‘s “Tangerine” DK and I thought about Sir Terry and was glad I could knit him into this blanket. It now holds warm fuzzy memories of the creator of the Discworld. I never met him. I saw him speak just once. But he’s like a friend. I think he was a friend to all of us. He reached out with his funny, angry little voice and reminded us of how to live.

Making tangerine ripples

Making tangerine ripples

So, Sir Terry, thank you.

Dahlia Blanket

Dahlia Blanket

And isn’t the blanket the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?  At every step of this project, I’ve thought ‘wow, this is just gorgeous.’ There’s nothing like a project such as this to remind you why you love knitting!

Dahlia Blanket - angled shot

Dahlia Blanket – angled shot

I have to confess, towards the end, those rows of increasing moss stitch pebbliness were beginning to try my patience.

Pebbly ripples

Pebbly ripples

But I knew it would be worth it. The Scot is pleased that I’m finished.

The Scot: "Okay, I'm just going to have a nap now. Tell me when you've finished."

The Scot: “Okay, I’m just going to have a nap now. Tell me when you’ve finished.”

But I think I’m going to miss this project. Oh well, I have plenty of other projects to keep the fingers busy!

And I’ve been making zucchini based pizzas – this one with watercress pesto, tomato and haloumi. I just loved how this turned out. The tomatoes and zucchinis were grown in my garden. So to finish with, I think I’ll just say that this pizza is my salute to the Discworld!

Pizza!

Pizza!

When I grow up, I want to be Granny Weatherwax

The Discworld Square

The Discworld Square

I’ve slowed a little with the geekalong blanket, but I did design and knit up a few new squares. One for the Discworld, because any blanket that doesn’t pay homage to Granny Weatherwax simply isn’t fit for a bed! I actually knitted this one up as a charm – Papa had to have heart surgery, so I was knitting away while waiting for the phone to ring. All went well! Better than hoped for, in fact, so that worked!

Psych Square 1

Psych Square 1

Psych square 2

Psych Square 2

I also became a huge fan of Psych recently – any show that features Westley as a jewel thief is my kind of show – so there inevitably had to be a pineapple. Only, now I can’t decide which side of the pineapple square I like best. Any ideas?

I’ve started uploading the charts I made to Ravelry, but they’re on my project pages, so just look up gidgetknits’s projects and you’ll find them. And don’t forget to check out the official Geekalong 2014 squares and their excellent cause, Child’s Play. The original, official blanket is amazing!!! Especially if, unlike me, you know about gaming. I don’t, so I’ve just ad-libbed some of my blanket!

I’ve had long days and nights in front of the computer for work, so this morning I took a little time away from the screen to play with quilting. I’m so terrible at getting my points right! But I’d seen Elizabeth Hartman’s fox quilt about and I fell in love with it. I’m not convinced I’d have patience for the full sized quilt, but she has a fantastic lap quilt with large foxes and it looked like the kind of project that would be good for a novice quilter. This morning I practiced the gigantic square with some scraps I had about.

Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold

Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold

I’ve been reading Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr Fox (it’s fantastic – recommend it!) and I’m a big fan of the fairy tale, so I do have foxes on the mind! Just ignore that one ear is slightly smaller than the other – and the tartan does look a bit wonky… but…

The Silver Fox Lord

The Silver Fox Lord

Tartan… silver fox… galaxies reflected in his eyes… you know where this was going!

I’m planning to make the lap quilt out of florals – now that I know I can cope with the design – so I’m just deciding what to do now with my gigantic silver fox!

And just a little plug at the end, here. I published a short story.

"The Death Of Glinda" in Aurealis #77

“The Death Of Glinda” in Aurealis #77

If you’re a fan of Oz and its amazing citizens or if you ever thought Aunt Em got a raw deal, you might like it!

And as a farewell for today, look at this incredible vegetable stack I made using only vegetables from the garden! Better than a burger any day (still pescatarian since New Year!).

Better than MacDonalds!

Better than MacDonalds!

Verona

Verona

Verona

The third and final Italian-inspired pattern is live. There ends the trilogy!

And what better way to end? I love Verona with all my heart. It’s the most magical place, packed in with history. It is also an ode to a love affair that was written by an English playwright for a London stage. You can wander the city, visiting Romeo’s house (above) and Juliet’s house (below) and Juliet’s tomb… or, as my mother did, you can walk by these attractions loudly wondering, ‘why are all these people here when it was all made up?’

Yet, people flock to visit Juliet. While Romeo’s house is a little trickier to find, you can easily locate Juliet’s house, because it is crammed with people.

Juliet's House

Juliet’s House

I took the above shot very early in the morning, just after opening, because I knew the place would shortly be inaccessible. By midday, you can’t walk down the street outside without pushing through the throng.

Who knows why we all pay our respects to Juliet and tell her our troubles? Does it matter that she probably never existed? As far as I’m concerned, I think she does exist just by virtue of our belief in her. That’s not a bad thing, although I can imagine it gives Shakespeare a good chuckle wherever he is in the stardust.

Coming up with a sock to do justice to Verona, I couldn’t go by the tragic love story. Knitsch’s “The Mad Blood Stirreth” was also far too perfect. So, this is my design of twisted stitch hearts and mock cables. This is my attempt to elevate the sock to new and tragic heights!

Overlooking Juliet's Balcony

Overlooking Juliet’s Balcony

I may have been running around Juliet’s house taking sock photos when the security guards weren’t looking!

On Juliet's Balcony

On Juliet’s Balcony

I wasn’t quite brave enough to model the socks myself, I have to admit.

By Juliet's Bed

By Juliet’s Bed

But it was somehow wonderful to be at Juliet’s house with my sock! Maybe if she’s had a good pair of socks, the whole thing with Romeo wouldn’t have been quite so desperate.

Let’s talk faster and more…

Blanket Progress

Blanket Progress

As my Mum noted, these squares seriously need some blocking/pressing, but that will just have to wait. In the meantime, I’ve added a couple more squares. An ‘official’ GAL 2014 square for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and one of my own interlopers. How could I have a geeky blanket without a Gilmore Girls reference?

The last few weeks have been a little harried and this blanket introduced a much needed dose of sanity. I was back at work last week and that is just unbelievable at the moment! I’m already working overtime and it’s supposed to be our ‘quiet time.’ Then the Scot developed two new lumps – you’ve never seen anyone look so relieved to discover an infection! And that was just the vet looking relieved. The infection’s all cleared up now and tomorrow I’m taking the Scot in to have his stitches AND the evil cone of shame removed. There may be jigging and jiving afterward. Possibly some slipper-stealing.

Back to blanket business, I’m so pleased with how the Luke’s Diner-inspired square turned out.

Coffee Coffee Coffee!

Coffee Coffee Coffee!

There wasn’t any question of it being anything but coffee-inspired (there is a caffeine molecule ‘official’ square) and I think I’m hitting my stride with double knitting and designing the colour work. I’m doing it by hand using my Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal and then popping the design up on StitchMastery. The graph paper is a dream – a knitted stitch isn’t perfectly square. The proportions of my Labyrinth square are slightly out because I designed it directly on StitchMastery. Taking the extra step to sketch it out on specially-designed knitting graph paper is totally worth it.

And in the meantime, I’ve been catching up on the Gilmore Girls twin, Bunheads, which is absolutely amazing and I’m beyond despairing that it was cancelled. Seriously, it’s witty, full of great female characters – and dance!! I was in stitches over the possum scene this morning. I just can’t get enough of the screwball-comedy-inspired-fast-talking of Amy Sherman-Palladino‘s heroines. We need more smart television.

Gelati!

Gelati

Gelati

Want to knit up some socks that pay homage to that greatest of all foodstuffs, gelati? You can now just hop over to Ravelry for a pattern to do just that!

I knitted these as part of my Italian trio of patterns (Como is out already). Here’s the first test sock at my favourite gelati shop in Prato, just outside Florence.

Mmmmm... pistachio!

Mmmmm… pistachio!

When I was thinking of designing a trio of Italian-inspired patterns, I couldn’t not include one for gelati and above you can see the pistachio gelato that I still have dreams about! I wanted the socks to steer clear of ‘candy’ shades and Socks That Rock has the loveliest pistachio colourway perfect for my ode to gelati.

Although, while I was in Italy last year, I may have cheated on pistachio with this peach, but oh, it was so so so so good.

Anyone for something peachy?

Anyone for something peachy?

Here’s how I describe my sock:

Gelato is just about my favourite thing in Italy. Beware of ‘tourist’ gelati, though, particularly the kind displayed in gigantic mounds. You want the good stuff and that means you should check the pistachio. If it’s dull green, that’s a good sign. If it’s bright green, that’s a bad sign. These socks are my ode to pistachio gelato.

The socks are knitted toe up, starting with an impression of three scoops. On the leg you have a delicious, baroque round of gelato cones, some with cherries on top. Be careful, though! They’re starting to drip in a simple pattern of eyelets down the leg.

Three scoops!

Three scoops!

That’s right, there’s three scoops at the toe! I’ve had people insist that two scoops is the max, but if you’re very canny, you can choose the right three flavours to go together (I recommend Stracciatella, dark chocolate and pistachio).

Hope you’ll enjoy this gelati treat!