Tuesday, 22 June 2010


I've grown bored of the miles of stockinette needed for needled's Manu so have been looking for little diversions. I recently grabbed some cotton from my stash and whipped up this Mario washcloth

It's just knits and purls but I think it looks pretty cool.

I added a little icord to make a hook.

I had no idea what to do with it so I gave it to my brother. I figure he can use it as a burp cloth or whatever. He's a video game freak, so he damn well better appreciate it.

The chick who created this pattern also has Luigi and Princess Peach washcloths, and it got me wondering what else I have in my Ravelry queue that is geek-inspired. Here's some of my favourites:

Knitted companion cube! By Wren Montgomery. I've never done any 3D knitting like this but I hope I get around to it some day.

Space Invaders sweater by Lisseut.

Epic Super Mario Brothers afghan by CraftNerd1. I wish I had the dedication!

Awesome knitted robot by the lovely MargoC. I WANT A CUDDLY ROBOT PLEASE

Robot fair isle sweater by Elf518 (link goes to her Etsy shop, where you can buy the patterns for her insane colourwork!)

There's not enough nerdy knitting books out there, but I do love this crochet book I have, Creepy Cute Crochet, which has a tiny crocheted Cthulu. Awesome.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Americanisation/Americanization: A Rant

My dad likes to save articles from his newspapers for me to read. They’re always about something he knows I’d be interested in, like museums, classic rock or ‘the you tube’. This weekend he had a gem waiting for me, an article about how American words and phrases are creeping into our vocabulary. And, apparently, how this signals the demise of our national identity. This is an issue that never fails to get my goat, and this particular article was a pretty shoddy piece of writing, with weak arguments and poorly chosen examples. I won’t deny that we are seeing Americanisationisms (totally made this word up because I like how it looks) seep into our current culture, but I really don’t think the word ‘hospitalisation’ is anything to get riled up about. There’s far more interesting terms to choose from. Also, yes, it’s true; Americans do say ‘math’ rather than ‘maths’. But I myself have not witnessed people using the former, and I don’t see it becoming commonly used, so maybe that one we can leave alone.

I don’t doubt that I take this issue to heart because I sound more American every day. Living with a Yank will do that to you – when I had flatmates from Suffolk I started speaking like a country bumpkin. So yes, perhaps I feel people are having a dig at me, but I really think the issue has been blown out of proportion. Our language, the vocabulary, slang, acronyms etc we use every day are a reflection of current popular culture. People study how language has changed over time and how that mirrors what is happening in society. I don’t think we should bemoan it just because we are witnessing changes right now. Moreover, people are constantly influenced by the activities they are engaged in – look at ‘gamer speak’, or popular phrases that stem from sports terminology. The words we use reflect who we are, and in a society where the internet and social networking play such a big part, it is inevitable that we will pick up phrases from our internet-friends-across-the-pond. It’s not a bad thing.

The writer of the article seemed to think that our national identity is so tied up with the language we use, that if we started regularly using ‘from the get-go’ instead of ‘from the onset’, riots would break out across the country accompanied by hair rending and maniacal laughter, and our isle would eventually disappear into the ocean with a pitiful belch. It’s an overreaction and I think it’s petulant and pedantic. If that is all our national identity is about, if it has nothing to do with traditions, diversity, pastimes, regional quirks, well then, I guess we really are screwed.

To bring my rant back to knitting, I shall continue to use the word ‘yarn’ instead of ‘wool’. I hate having to catch and correct myself because my xenophobic mother will roll her eyes at me otherwise. Wool is wool. To me, yarn can be cotton, wool, acrylic, steel, linen, mohair, cashmere, alpaca, angora, silk. Hell, it can even be plastic bags and cassette tape. So I’m with the Yanks on this one. Sometimes, they just make more sense.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Lucky I'm losing my job, in a way...

...because I have so much knitting I want to do.

(Note: My temporary contract came to an end, again, and they sort of need to find out from Mister Cameron-Clegg how much money they'll be getting before they decide if they can, indeed, afford my much-needed expertise. Don't fail me now, Cameron-Clegg!)

- Baby knitting. Since my friends are all baby-hating career women, who knows when they’ll be another littl’un around, so I’d best take advantage of this one. Plus, my brother has more or less convinced me to knit a tiny Link outfit. That’s probably going to happen.

- ‘Sorry I don’t want to see you’ gift for Emily’s grandma. Since I’ve abandoned our annual trip to the Berkeley Show in order to satisfy my own selfish desires, I want to knit a little something for Granny Mary to show I’m grateful for her offer of letting us stay in the cabin again. Plus, I love the lady. Plus, old people appreciate young people who can knit. I’m thinking a floaty shawl or somesuch. Something that will encourage her to put me in her will.

- Geeky things for The Yank. I have a plan, a plan that involves 3D knitting, in order to make something awesome related to the Yank’s work. It will be nerdy and brilliant, but only if I can get my head around creating my own design. My long-abandoned maths skills will have to be employed here. Also, googly eyes.

- I saw a lady on the train this morning wearing a fantastically constructed knitting piece, so I instantly took out my sketchbook and started working out a pattern. No, that’s a lie. I opened up Notes on my phone and tried to describe it so that I would remember what the hell it looks like later. ‘Sideways knitted, seamed at sides, pick up sides for buttonband’. Yes, that will work. For real though, I’d love to move into designing my own knitted garments. It is so much more technical than you’d think. There’s so much maths, and you really have to have one of those brains that can get around engineering things... Seeing something in your mind and being able to unfold it, lay it flat and work out dimensions. We’ll see if I can wangle it.