Introducing: Checkmate!

I am happy to finally introduce a new pattern to you, one that has been under construction and scrutiny and testing for quite some time now (I will refrain from stating how long exactly).  The point is, it’s done!  It’s been knit, tested, revised, photographed, written up and has just been uploaded to Ravelry.


checkmate 6

The Checkmate Chess Board is a 3 dimensional game for the whole family to enjoy.  It’s knit on US size 1 needles using fingering weight yarn, so it is small and portable, but will become a stunning family heirloom.

checkmate knight

Each piece was carefully mapped out so that the size and shape would be consistent, interesting, yet not so complicated as to seem impossible.  The knight pictured above was the hardest one of all!


There are more pictures on the Ravelry Pattern Page Here along with a link to purchase the pattern and get to work.  Join the Little Green Pixie Knits Rav group to join other LGP fans.  I’m excited to see it completed and released.  I hope you enjoy!

White Knight Syndrom

In designing this chess board, my goal was to make each piece as close to the “traditional” pieces as possible.  For the most part, this was easy.  The pieces are fairly simple – bulbous and plain.  My challenge came with the knight, which is most often represented as a horse.


I left this piece for last, because I knew it was going to be rough and I thought that inspiration would strike while I was working on the others.  Well, I finished designing the other pieces and was left staring at a blank page and a ball of yarn as I thought about what to do next.  There was a terrible urge to stuff the black and white pieces into a bag and tuck them into a corner for another year.


Do I knit it in separate pieces and sew it together?  Do I utilize short row shaping as though I were turning a heel?  How can I keep it relatively simple and understandable?  I started knitting, then ripped it out and started over.  I sent my notes to my tech editors and they tore it apart, changed things around, and tried again.  None of us were quite satisfied with the way our knights were looking, and, speaking only for myself here, I was getting awfully sick of staring at this knight.  It was the collective effort of the group that kept me knitting away on this piece.  If they hadn’t been bugging me for updates and providing words of advice and encouragement, this picture would never exist.


I just finished the latest design, and I think I nailed it.  Increases on one side to create a muzzle, then short row shaping combined with decreases gave me the head and “ears”, and then the body follows suit with the rest of the pieces.  An I-cord is then knit and sewn to the back and head to create the mane.  It is by far the most challenging piece of the game, yet I think it is not too difficult and it is definitely interesting.

Now, of course, I have to make 3 more before I am officially finished with the frackin piece.  If you don’t hear from me soon, it is probably because I am lying comatose in a black and white pool of fiber. Please remove the double points from my hands and administer generous amounts of whiskey.

Knitting On

Of the many projects on my fiber platter, one is almost as tedious as the endless striped scarf.


It seems like an endless 32 piece monstrosity that has consumed my life with rips and words and calculations.


I go back and forth with the project, loving it, then hating it, then wishing it were over, then marvelling at the cleverness of it all. (Or, as Peter Pan once said “Oh, the cleverness of me!”)


And all I can do at this point is hold my breath and knit onward.

Attention Deficit Fiberactive Disorder

Last night, I could not concentrate, and a terrible thing happened in my living room.  My project bags exploded.


It started simple enough – I just wanted to show off the a project here and there, all in progress, and as each one emerged, I had the strongest desire to “just finish it goshdarnit!” This lovely purple sparkly would-be-scarf-now-infinitely-cowl is blocking so I can sew the ends shut and hand it over to Ellette.  But pretty soon there were half-finished afghans draping over couches, balls of yarn tumbling across coffee tables, and snipped ends scattered across the desk.


Multiple pieces of the chess board have been started – and frogged – and abandoned because the stitches are tinier than I wanted to work with.  All of the pieces have been written out, and now it is just a matter of testing them and getting the ebook ready for release.


And then, I remembered this commission for a black and gray scarf in my queue, and I was struck with sudden inspiration to work double-knit stripes.  I didn’t know how to double-knit.  So, throughout the night, in-between loads of laundry, I striped, and decreased, and wove in ends, and blocked, and striped and cast-on until the wee hours of the morning because I was overcome with this urge to get it all done NOW.

I suppose, I really should view this ADFD as a good omen for how 2013 will be.  Perhaps I will be churning out projects left and right.  Or perhaps my entire stash will mutiny.

Flip Flop

There are so many projects in work right now, and I want them all done NOW.  However, I haven’t quite worked out how to knit and crochet four things at once.  I need to find some radiation so I can grow six extra arms and maybe another set of eyes.  And while we’re at it, how about super human organization skills?


I find myself carrying several projects in my bag throughout the day, because I never know what circumstances will allow for and which project I will be in the mood for.  Above is the head of the king piece for the chess board in the works (look for the completed ebook March 1st).

Below is what I have come to call the Rag Afghan.  I was given 7 or 8 balls of this strange raggedy yarn from a friend.  They were already wound into cakes and had no identifying tag.  They were neatly bundled into a brown paper bag and given to me.  I have had them sitting in my stash for a while now, and only just realized that I could make a wonderful afghan from them.  I don’t know what the material is, but it definitely has cotton or linen in it.  There are smatterings of turqouise and purple and orange, so I can tie in other colors if I end up not having enough yarn for the size of the afghan I would like, and the large granny squares I am working on are easy to carry around.  This is my “zoning-out” project that I primarily work on after Ellette goes to bed and I need to unwind.


Olympics – Day 5

We are on day 5 now of the Olympic games and the parallel running Ravellenic Games.

My start was a shaky one.  I cast on exactly at 3:00 and started knitting.  Not for very long, of course, because I was still at work, but enough to feel satisfied with my start.

Then, I realized that I had started all wrong, and had to pull out my inch of work.  Not like an inch is much when you’re doing what I’m doing, but it was enough for me to cringe.  I cast on again and started correctly.  I got to the same point again when I snapped a needle in half.  I held the two broken pieces in horror.  I had no idea where the rest of my size 1 needles were.  I was rapidly falling behind.  I sent out an SOS on Team Windy  Knitty’s Ravelry page, asking that anyone going to the kick off party – please, PLEASE – loan me a set of needles until I could locate my spares.

I did a massive search when I got home.  I contemplated chosing a different project instead.  And then I remembered I had thrown all of my bamboo size 1s in my sock project bag for the road trip, to protect against needle breakage/loss during our vacation.  With the crisis averted, I set to work once again on the chess pieces and set off for the opening ceremony kick off at Fireside.

And here are in the present – Day 5 – and where am I?

8 pieces done.

24 pieces to go.

25 % completion.

High probability of having enough yarn for the board.

Medium probability of actually getting the board done, if I do have enough yarn.

Completing an average of 1.8 pieces per day.  Need to complete 2 pieces per day to finish in time – more if I expect to knit the board, too.

I’m a little worried.  This week is packed.  Tomorrow we are celebrating Odin’s birthday (even though it is on Friday), then Thursday it looks like we are heading up to Milwaukee for more celebration.  I have faire again on the weekend, which cuts into my knitting time severely.

How are you doing?

Quickly I Write

I had every intention of writing a blog post yesterday about th Ravellenic games that will be kicked off this afternoon in conjunction with the opening Olympic ceremonies.  I had every intention of going into detail about my goals during the next two weeks and how I was going to see them through.   I wanted to do that so today, I could post a picture from work at exactly 3pm central time showing the first feeble stitchs of my self-imposed challenge.  As you can see there was no post yesterday.

What happened was that, while I was typing away, a pile of work fell in my lap and consumed my attention for the rest of the working afternoon.  I got off work, picked up Ellette from camp only to discover that she had – for the second or third time this summer – lost her lunchbox.  As punishment, I told her that she had to make up that money I had put into those lunchboxes.  I had a studio that needed to be moved into the attic and a dining room to be reorganized, plus generic cleaning in preparation for my sister’s visit.  So, I piled up boxes by the attic door and she carried them upstairs and put them neatly in a row for me to sort later, meanwhile giving me pitiful looks and whimpering slightly about how tired she was getting and how boring it was.    I then cleaned up the kitchen, swept and mopped the floors, and vacuumed the rugs.  By this time, we were all hungry, my sister was late, and I couldn’t lift another finger.  We ordered thai, which led to confusion about food, during which my sister arrived, with others in tow, and chaos reigned for a while, pushing the blog out of my realm of thought.

So, today I am catching up what I should have said yesterday and holding off on what I wanted to say today.

1) Info on the Ravellenic Games can be found here.

2) I am a part of Team Windy Knitty.

3) I will be competing in wip wrestling.  The goal is to tackle the works-in-progress that have been piling up.  I will be starting with the Chess Game:


4) Apparently, I tried to post and everything south of the picture was lost (including the picture) – I’m sorry.

5) If I finish this in time, my next wip would be the Panda Fan Shawl I started in Denmark.

6) Followed by the Cog Steampunk Scarf.

7) I have more in the line up if (IF) I finish the above 3.

8) The games end August 12 (that’s 17 days!)

9) Tonight there is a kick off party with Team Windy Knitty at Fireside.  Come on down!


Are you in the game?

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